Derangement of Mind. Insanity.
MOST writers on this disease have attempted a definition of it. I have never seen one which suited me. Here is mine. Insanity is a wrench of man's nature, which sets his intellectual and moral faculties awry in their relations with the external world.
In a state of mental and moral health, he looks straight at the out, ward world, and sees it as it is; insanity gives him an angular connection with it and he sees it as it is not; its objects have all changed their relative places; objects at the right in the panorama of life have moved to the centre, or gone quite over to the left; while things at the top have gone to the bottom, and those in the lowest places have taken the highest. With the thoroughly insane, the world has gone bac7c to chaos.
These persons have their sensibility very much altered and perverted. Errors of the senses and illusions cheat them. In many cases, they cannot read because the letters are mingled in a confused mass. They often do not recognize their friends, and regard them as strangers or enemies.
They become awkward in the mechanical use of their hands, and their touch loses the power to correct the errors of the other senses. Hence they are cheated in regard to the size, form, and thickness of bodies.
They are haunted, at times, with smells which have no existence, and they hear voices distinctly speaking to them from clouds, or from trees ; and these voices have the familiar tones of a friend, relative, or enemy.
The insane lose the power of comparing ideas. They associate things the most unlike, and often in a ridiculous way.
They also lose the control of themselves, and come under the dominion of their passions; and then they will do acts which they themselves disapprove. One of strict integrity, of unblemished morals, and of excellent standing, becomes insane, and immediately steals what be does not want, makes infamous proposals, and indecent gestures, and is in every respect the opposite of his past self.
The insane often become averse to those who were previously among the most dear to them. For acts of kindness, they repay abuse. They fly from their best friends. This is the result of their fear and jealousy; for they are very cowardly and jealous. This alienation from friends is almost a characteristic of insanity, and is one of its saddest features. The moral affections are always disordered, perverted, or annihilated in insanity. So much is this a leading feature of the disease, that it is only when the insane begin to recover their moral affections, when they begin to wish to see their children and friends, to fold them once more in their arms, and to enter the family circle and renew its joys, that we can count upon any certain signs of a cure.
The insane have a thousand strong fancies in regard to themselves. One thinks himself inspired of God. and charged with the conversion of the world; while another, equally sincere, believes the devil has entered into him, and that the pains of hell are already taking hold of him, and he curses God, himself, and the universe. Still another is the 14 monarch of all he surveys," and much more; he governs the world, and directs the stars. One has all knowledge, and affects to teach the wisest. Another is proud, and withdraws from his fellows, bidding them not to come into his presence without proper acts of homage, calling himself, it may be, a king.
There are five kinds of insanity. I will speak of each of them briefly.
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