Dissociative Identity Disorder: A Week in the Valley of Shadows

Art by Rob Goldstein

Repulsion and Trauma

First posted 2/24/2016

Decompensation:Psychology, a loss of ability to keep up normal psychological defenses, sometimes resulting in depression, anxiety, or delusions.Dictionary.com

One of my favorite literary descriptions of decompensation is from the 1933 short story, Miss Lonely Hearts by Nathanael West.

Miss Lonelyhearts is an advice columnist who slowly loses his mind from the suffering he reads. This is toward the close of the story:

“After a long night and morning, towards noon, Miss Lonelyhearts welcomed the arrival of fever. It promised heat and mentally unmotivated violence. The promise was soon fulfilled; the rock became a furnace.

He fastened his eyes on the Christ that hung on the wall opposite his bed.

As he stared at it, it became a bright fly, spinning with quick grace on a background of blood velvet sprinkled with tiny nerve stars.

Everything else in the room was…

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