Night illusions

Contributions from other Persons With Dementia (PWD): Jennifer Bute,

with Lewy Body dementia.

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This week I was reminded of the differences between Hallucinations, Visual Misrepresentation and Visual Misinterpretations, which is purely academic in the middle of the night when one is terrified
….awaking to find a woman hanging from the ceiling by a rope above ones bed.

I realised it was not an hallucination (a real perception in the absence of a present external event) and doubted it was Misinterpretation (understanding something incorrectly) as there was nothing that big hanging from the ceiling that I could have misinterpreted.
So I tried to keep calm, although too terrified to even turn on the light. I tried to think and decided it was Misrepresentation (a false statement of fact) So I tried to work out the facts ..feeling so very much for those who cannot do that and whose carers cannot understand what is terrifying them when there is nothing obvious in the surroundings.

Well, the rope was the electric flex and the head the lamp shade although rather changed.. so what was the body? I had a dress hanging up outside my wardrobe way off to my right and the curtain scrunched up a bit like a cloak but they were nowhere near the lampshade and the cloak on the figure was on the other side of the dress. I calmed down. I had woken suddenly (no idea why) the lights were on low outside in the corridor and in dementia we can have severe visual spatial problems and our depth of field can also be dramatically altered in low light The brain we know also tries to make sense of things and can ‘fill in the blanks’ So I decided it was a combination of all these things breathed a sigh of relief, turned on the light and of course ‘She’ disappeared !

I had no idea before that our brains could misrepresent our surrounding in such an incorrect way…. It has also been suggested that with REM ( Rapid eye movements) when half asleep I could have picked up the other images like double exposure and then the brain putting them all together to make some sense of it all! Help! I shall certainly consider a far wider range of possibilities for those apparently terrified for no reason in future.

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According to the Lewy Body Dementia Association,
Recurrent complex visual hallucinations (typically well formed and detailed)
are a core feature of Lewy Body Dementia.
((see Link here))  >>


Link for Jennifer’s video on hallucinations >>

This entry posted 21Nov2019 (and approved 06Dec2019) at >>

Jennifer’s index for other pages is at >>

Explanatory page for Lewy Body Dementia is here >>

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