February 18th, 2013
Tricks of the Mind
Everyone has heard the old expression, "Your mind is playing tricks on you." This can be used to a variety of things, the human brain is a complex organ and sometimes it does not function as it should. On occasion one may think they have seen a shadow out of the corner of their eye, or even heard someone say their name or speak to them when they are alone. These simple mishaps are usually attributed to simply having an overactive imagination. For the hallucinations that become more vivid, sleep deprivation is a common cause. These minor “glitches” of the mind are fairly common and most have experienced one at some time or another. In more severe cases, these mild tricks of the mind can go from a small scare to a living nightmare. Controlled by the subconscious, hallucinations almost always seem real to whoever is experiencing them. Being a product of the subconscious mind they can manipulate and terrify the person experiencing them better than anyone else. In some cases hallucinations can even take the form of friends and family, or even of the form of the person experiencing them. For instance, in the story “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman the narrator suffers from severe hallucinations. Although she believes that one of her hallucinations, referred to as the “creeping woman”, is a separate woman, the narrator is actually projecting herself into the reality her mind is creating for itself, as is educed by the similarities between the narrator and the "creeping woman”. Both women feel trapped, and both are "quiet and subdued" by day. The first similarity between the narrator and the creeping woman is that they both feel trapped. The narrator, though not physically confined by bars or chains, feels even more confined by the "rest cure". The narrator speaks of it almost as a prison sentence; “So I take phosphates or phosphites--whichever it is, and tonics, and...
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