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BRAIN MATTERS: Dream or waking reality

A few months back, one of my close friends called me and apologized for not being able to attend a function in my house. When I brought to his notice that there was no function at my house nor I had invited him, he remained quiet for few seconds and then hurriedly concluded our conversation by saying that he might have dreamt about the function and my invitation.

All of us get dreams at night and most of us are lucky enough to differentiate between a dream and waking reality. But if a person is not able to distinguish between a dream and reality, how will he react? This phenomenon can be a good plot for a thriller movie.

It may be noted that about 1% of the population suffer this problem of not being able to differentiate between dream and reality and Elyn Saks was one among them.

Elyn Saks- Professor of Law at the University of Southern California, has recently published an autobiography on her recovery process from schizophrenia (a mental illness in which someone cannot understand what is real and what is imaginary). Elyn started experiencing schizophrenic episodes when she was 16 years old. During her schizophrenic episodes, she felt like the houses were trying to communicate with her and were able to read her thoughts. She had very weird thoughts which she believed to be a reality, for example, she believed that her brain was leaking from her ears and soon people around her will get drowned in it or sometimes, she felt like her brain will explode injuring people around her. Now, on being cured of this mental ailment Elyn laughs at these thoughts. However, when she was suffering from the schizophrenic episode, she firmly believed those thoughts to be a reality.

Her story conveys a very important message to all of us. We usually assume that our experiences are defined by the external factors i.e. our immediate surrounding or environment. But a lot depends on how our brain interprets it. 

- Prakash Prabhu
Email: 
prakash_dent@yahoo.com
[ Mr.Prakash Prabhu works for The Manipal Group as a Senior HR Manager with over 15 years of corporate experience. He has been the lead writer and contributor to CHIRP magazine. (An intra-Manipal group monthly employee magazine) An avid reader who devours one book after another, Mr.Prabhu is also a certified handwriting analyst.]
 

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