« 上一頁繼續 »
INCUBATION or INSANITY. 249
morning, in March, 1858, I was giving a lesson at Miss M ’s school here, and, looking up, I saw a thin man in blue cloth coat, with turn-down velvet collar, standing by the side of my pupil. His figure was just like poor Mr. G , the violinist. His face I could not see, as my pupil’s head came between us. I was startled, and screamed, thinking it was one of the masters at the first glance. I just had time to notice it when it vanished. I told mamma when I got home. Next day we heard that poor G had died at just about the time I'saw his figure. I had not even heard that he was ill, and knew nothing of it till I was told he was dead.
“ Another case I forgot to mention, occurred, I think, some time in last November. I was aroused from my sleep by a loud knocking at my bed-head. After I woke I listened, and in a few minutes heard it again. I said to mamma, ‘ Do you hear that P’-—‘ Hear what, child ?’—‘ Why, that loud knocking.’ She said, ‘ Why, I have been awake for more than a quarter of an hour, and there has not been a sound that I could hear.’ Afterwards I heard it again at the window. It was daylight, and I could see if there had been any one there; but I saw nothing. I told mamma I was sure we should hear of the death of some one we knew; and sure enough, a few weeks after we heard that my aunt’s father had been found dead in his room, just about the time I heard the knocking. I was a favourite of his when he was living.
“I cannot remember anything more now; I think I have mentioned every apparition that I have ever seen.“ feeling-s, unnatural trains of thought, strange inclinations, intense irritability, unequal powers of attention, confused, painful, disturbed, and sometimes ludicrous association of ideas. As these unhealthy feeli ings are flrrifly an entrance, and trying to obtain a pfrlennl in the mind, the patient is vexed, and tated with himself for permitting them to intrude upon the sanctity of his thoughts. An heroic effort is often made to dissipate and dislodge these morbid scintillations of insanity, or, when this cannot be accomplished, to studiously, artfully, and ingeniously conceal their existence from others.
Accompanying the other symptoms characteristic of the stage of consciousness, are the following :—-The mind is harassed and bewildered by odd notions, unusual
' “ American Journal of Insanity." Oct. 1859.
A morbid aversion of a parent to his children en.twining itself into the secret recesses of thought ;—a growing, unreasonable, and unaccountable dislike to the companionship of old friends, (ol’cen to those formerly dearly and tenderly loved,) creeping insidiously and stealthily into the mind; —strange, inexplicable misgivings;—motiveless, unaccountable, and unreasonable suspicions as to the afi'ection of a loved son, a favourite and tenderly attached daughter; —apprehensions as to the chastity of the wife;-——doubts as to the constancy and fidelity of the husband, flit sometimes, like a thick mist, dark shadow, and a troubled dream, across the morbidly disturbed and anxious mind, years before insanity is imagined to have commenced its ravages.‘ arron'rs MADE TO CONCEAL INSANITY. 251
' There are no delusions so sad and fatal in their consequences, as those relating to the fidelity of the wife. Many valuable lives have been sacrificed to this frightfully dangerous hallucination. A man was confined in an asylum whilst suffering from this delusion. For many months this idea. was uppermost in his mind, and appeared to absorb all his thoughts. At the expiration of eight or nine months he appeared to be much improved in bodily and mental health, and the delusion had apparently less hold of his imagination. Eventually, he cunningly declared that his mind was quite at ease his wife, and that he no longer believed that she had or could have been unfaithful to him. _ Under a mistaken in pression that he had recovered, the patient was discharged from the asylum, and permitted to return home. In about a week or ten days afterwards, be murdered his wife and child, believ
These symptoms (long before they are recognised to be morbid) cause much acute and bitter anguish, masked and concealed suffering, great and unobserved misery in the bosom of families, often sapping the foundation of domestic happiness. A contest of this character in an unhealthy, but not yet insane mind, has continued for a long period unknown, except to the wretched sufferer, before the intellect has entirely succumbed to its baneful and destructive influence. In this state of disordered health, the patient endeavours, whilst pursuing regularly his ordinary occupations, frequenting places of amusement, and mixing daily with his family and friends, to appear to those about him in good mental health, and to act like a rational man. In many cases he is able, for a period, effectually to simulate perfect sanity of mind, and to effectually mask from others his disordered condition of intellect. _
\Vhen influenced by physical stimulants, a person in the incipient stage of intoxication will make a determined efl'ort to comport himself like a sober man, being fully conscious of the lamentably degrading and brutalized condition to which he is reduced. Under these circumstances, he endeavours to conceal from observation his actual state, will make a great effort to control his ideas, talk rationally, and walk steadily, and, although much under the potent influence of intoxicating drink, he is able, by a resolute and determined effort of the
ing that the former had commith adultery, and that the child was not his mm! For several days after joining his family, he appeared quite well, so cleverly and efl'cctually did he mask his lunacy from those immediately about him. A baker suspected the fidelity of his wife. He was clearly deranged on the point. He eventually, whilst under the influence of this delusion, emuculated himself, and when spoken to on the subject, insanely argued, that as his wife was with child, the fact of his mutilation would clearly establish to the world the truth of his accusation as to her unfaithfulness, as no one would, for a moment, Men believe that he could be the father of the child with which she was pregnant!
will, for a time to play well his part, and thus disarm all suspicion as to his actual condition of inebriation.
Such is often the state of a person in the incipient stage of insanity, battling courageously, and it may be successfully, with eccentric, unnatural, odd, singular, impure and unhealthy mental impressions, clearly the first beginnings and early manifestations of derangement of mind.
A clergyman of the Church of England, who had led a life of Christian purity and active benevolence, became (as a consequence of over-study) the subject of this type of mental disorder. He was in the habit frequently of knocking his head violently against the mantelpiece, until the skin was covered with contusions, in the fruitless struggle to dissipate the physically impure images, and blasphemous thoughts, that originated involuntarily in his mind. This patient entirely recovered his reason after the lapse of nine months.at
' With what consummate knowledge of the human mind has Dr. Johnson portrayed the incipient stage of insanity, when the intellect, still, to a certain degree, conscious of the dawnings of morbid thought, endeavours to struggle, and, for a time does so successfully, against the suggestions of a disordered and rampant imagination. I refer to his account in “ Rasselas" of the astronomer's recognition of, and conflict with, delusive impressions,as well as his description of their eventual and melancholy triumph over his reason. Addressing himself to Imlac, the astronomer says, “ I have possessed for five years the regulation of the weather and the distribution of the seasons; the sun has listened to my dictates, and passed from tropic to tropic by my direction; the clouds, at my call, have poured their waters, and the Nile has overflowed at my command; I have restrained the rage of the Dog-star, and mitigated the fervours of the Crab. The winds alone, of all the elemental powers, have hitherto refused my authority, and multitudes have perished by equinoctial tempests, which I found myself unable to prohibit or restrain."
“ Might not some other cause," said Imlac, “ produce this concurrence? The Nile does not always rise on the same day."
“ Do not believe," said he, with impatience, “ that such objections could escape me : I reasoned long against my own conviction, and laboured against truth with the utmost obstinacy. I sometimes suspected my“? of madness, and should not have dared to impart this secret but to a man like you, capable of distinguishing the wonderful from the impossible, and the incredible from the false."
" Why, sir,” said I, “ do you call that incredible which you know, or think you know to be true P"
“ Because," said he, “ I cannot prove it by any external evidence, and I know too well the laws of demonstration to think that my conviction ought to influence another, who cannot, like me, be conscious of its force. I therefore shall not attempt to gain credit by disputation. It is sufficient that I feel this power, that I have long possessed, and every day exerted it."
INSANE IMPURITY OF THOUGHT.
In some women the insanity (particularly if it be of the puerperal type) is characterized by a singularly distressing perversion of thought, connected with a morbidly exalted state of the reproductive instincts. The conversation is, in these cases, occasionally tinctured with expressions, from the contemplation of which the unhappy sufi'erer would, like a sensitive plant, have recoiled when in health. The gentlest of the sex, the purest and most delicate of feminine minds, pious, refined, and cultivated of moral natures, are often, alas! the first to exhibit, when suffering from particular types of mental derangement, this painful moral and psychical degeneration. Such melancholy manifestations of poor human nature, fallen, crushed, perverted, and often destroyed by disease, suggest to the man of the world, medico-psychologist, theologian, and moralist, sources of deep and profound thought, and subjects for grave philosophical meditation. It is, however, consolatory to reflect, that the mind may pass through this terrible and mysterious phase of alienation intact, emerging from the fiery furnace without the slightest remnant of moral taint, injury, or contamination! How true it is that,
" Thoughts impure May pass through minds of angels and of man And leave no stain."
When analysing these sad states of morbid idea, distressing forms of disordered emotion, and painful types of excited passion, we are obliged, alas I to confess, that there is very little in connexion with them to elevate, expand, and purify the taste, or to charm, captivate, and enchain the poet’s fancy. In this malady, the emotions, sensations, and appetites are unhappin in a melancholy