Also, for those who are unawares, it became clear to me soon after meeting him that my co-author had dissociative identity disorder (or multiple personalities.) The main personalities that I deal with are the adult ones, Pelle the host personality and Dead the protector. I will also mention Yngve in this essay who is best described as the lead adolescent personality. He is about 16 years old.
I HATE when I accidentally come across "that" picture. I think a lot of these morons who think it's "cool" to post it can't get it into their heads that it's really real. They've played too many video games. To these nimrods, it's simply another gory image. Anyway, that's a theory of mine.
I was actually playing a bit with my co-author, creating a humorous scenario. We were looking for photographs, which is always risky. We came across "that" picture and I was hit by a wave of emotions, like I always am. I was inside a maelstrom of emotions including regret and a desperate need for acceptance and comfort. These are the emotions that I received when I first made contact with him. But there was something else this time. Dead rembered something beneath the emotions of self-hate that drove him to this act. He said "I'm going to be sick."
I said that he wasn't the only one. I was hit by a wave of nausea that nearly knocked me over. I reached for a plastic garbage bag because I thought that I was going to vomit. This lasted for several minutes. I was breathing deeply and slowly sipping on the water in the bottle that I keep by my bed (ok, the trashed-out collapsed couch that serves as my bed) and being glad that it was cool. He returned to me and although his touches are usually warm, this time he deliberately made his hands cool and touched my face.
"I'm really, really sorry," he said. "I didn't mean for that to happen to you. I don't know where that came from."
I told him that it wasn't his fault. As an empath, I'm going to feel strong emotions of that nature from others. After all, it was feeling the emotions from "that" picture which caused me to connect with him in the first place and I wouldn't change that. This recent incident was a break-through for him even if he can't remember the details, (or I can't yet perceive them) and I'm glad that he had it because it will eventually help him to heal.
I asked him if it hurt when he killed himself and he said that it may seem surprising, but from a physical perspective, there was too much shock for it to hurt very much.
"You know how if you fall and hit your head or if you get hit on the head by something very hard? It's like that," he said. "Momentary pain and then numbness."
Apparently the last desperate act of the body was to send a rush of endorphins to numb the physical pain. He has also described before a "blinding flash of light" and temporary deafness, even when he found himself sitting outside his body. He said that he was stunned and then when he realized what was happening, horrified, as there was "no end to my emotional pain. I am still there, and now I see the truth of what I have done, but there is no return." Of course, as described before, a horrified Pelle appeared at this point demanding "What the fuck did you do?" and the animosity between Pelle and Dead wouldn't be resolved for years.
At this point Pelle also appeared. He told Dead, "It's all right. I'm sorry I wasn't more supportive of you. Maybe if I had been, you wouldn't have done this."
I also realize at this point that their body did incur several head injuries. This comes together partly due to new real-world knowledge and partly due to thoughts and feelings imparted by them. Although intelligent, there has always been a tendency to "spaciness" on all of their parts, which Pelle says some people interpreted as their being stoned, although they didn't do drugs.
Pelle, Dead and Yngve all liked drinking beer to a degree. Regarding smoking, it was mostly Dead's habit. Yngve smoked occasionally, so he didn't mind coming into the body if Dead had recently smoked. Pelle, however, despised the taste of cigarettes. Dead says he still gets a bit of a laugh, thinking about the faces Pelle would make when he returned to control of the body after Dead had been in it and had been smoking.
"He would run to find some mouthwash and brush his teeth--it was fucking funny!" Dead says.
Dead doesn't currently remember the exact circumstances of the head injuries he suffered (or I am not yet able to perceive what he is imparting about them) although he says "the first ones happened very young."
The speculation that Dead had something called Cotard syndrome has merit, given his belief that 'the blood had frozen in his veins' and a sense that he was already dead although he was in a living body. The thing that I find fascinating is that the other personalities didn't suffer from this although they had the same body and the part of the brain that was damaged in such a way as to cause this problem was, of course, the same for all of them. It's also apparent to me that Dead had borderline personality disorder (his black and white thinking when it came to his friends and associates) while the other personalities did not appear to suffer from this. Dead presented as possibly schizophrenic (he wasn't) where Pelle presented as balanced and sane though given to episodes of severe depression. Dead was prone to self-injury. Most of the other personalities didn't do this.
That's the interesting thing about DID. The different personalities react differently, not only in behavior but in physical characteristics. For instance, it's difficult to provide medications for a person with DID because some of the personalities will have bad reactions to a medication whereas others are perfectly fine with it.
Dead also had/has very acute senses. Pelle finds Dead's fascination with smells "mildly disturbing." Dead says that the irony was that in life he sought the smells of death, but now he enjoys "breathing the smells of life." This includes me! I remember that when I first met him I had this funny dream that he was following me around and in some recess of my mind I was worried that he was a brain-eating zombie. At the last part of the dream I was in the grocery store getting something from the freezer case. He was behind me and, being about a foot taller than me, his head was above mine and I could feel him breathing on the top of my head. When I turned to accuse him of trying to eat my brain, he told me that my hair smelled nice, and I could tell by his demeanor that this is exactly what he meant. It's hard for a ghost to lie, especially to someone who perceives emotions, because they communicate in thoughts rather than words. Dead is also rather an innocent being in many ways, despite his dark and imposing persona. It doesn't really occur to him to lie.
Dead will also sometimes "send" me pleasant smells, like flowers or pine. He jokes that "In life, Pelle likes to use this after shave that makes us smell like a fucking pine tree."
Here is a description of Cotard syndrome for those that are interested.
The Cotard delusion or Cotard's syndrome, also known as nihilistic or negation delusion, is a rare neuropsychiatric disorder in which a person holds a delusional belief that he or she is dead, does not exist, is putrefying or has lost his/her blood or internal organs. Rarely, it can include delusions of immortality.
It is named after Jules Cotard (1840–1889), a French neurologist who first described the condition, which he called le délire de négation ("negation delirium"), in a lecture in Paris in 1880. He described the syndrome as having various degrees of severity, ranging from mild to severe. In a mild state, feelings of despair and self-loathing occur, however it is in the severe state that a person with Cotards actually starts to deny the very existence of the self.
In this lecture, Cotard described a patient with the moniker of Mademoiselle X, who denied the existence of God, the Devil, several parts of her body and denied she needed to eat. Later she believed she was eternally damned and could no longer die a natural death.
Young and Leafhead (1996, p155) describe a modern-day case of Cotard delusion in a patient who suffered brain injury after a motorcycle accident:
[The patient's] symptoms occurred in the context of more general feelings of unreality and being dead. In January, 1990, after his discharge from hospital in Edinburgh, his mother took him to South Africa. He was convinced that he had been taken to hell (which was confirmed by the heat), and that he had died of septicaemia (which had been a risk early in his recovery), or perhaps from AIDS (he had read a story in The Scotsman about someone with AIDS who died from septicaemia), or from an overdose of a yellow fever injection. He thought he had "borrowed my mother's spirit to show me round hell", and that he was asleep in Scotland.
It can arise in the context of neurological illness or mental illness and is particularly associated with depression and derealization.
Neurologically, Cotard's is thought to be related to Capgras's Syndrome, and both are thought to result from a disconnect between the brain areas that recognize faces (fusiform face areas) and the areas that associate emotions with that recognition (the amygdala and other limbic structures). This disconnect creates a sense that the face that's seen is not the person's it purports to be because although it is identical with the face it purports to be, it lacks the familiarity it should have. If it is a relative's face, it is experienced as an imposter's (Capgras); if it is mine, I conclude that because I don't have the usual emotional context of self-familiarity associated with the face, I am dead (Cotard).
Treatment is difficult, and tricyclic and serotoninergic antidepressant drugs have shown little efficacy. Electroconvulsive therapy has shown greater promise, "curing" Cotard's sufferers in five studies of its efficacy with that treatment.
 Cultural references
In the Scrubs episode "My Lucky Charm", a character suffering from Cotard syndrome complains of the hardships of being dead.
British electronic musician Matt Elliott named a song for the condition on his 2003 album The Mess We Made.
Chuck Klosterman makes reference to Jules Cotard and Cotard's syndrome in his book, Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story. The protagonist, Klosterman, feels like he might be a victim of the syndrome, especially when he is in airports.
American serial killer Richard Chase may have had a mild case of Cotard delusion (blood turning to powder).
In the 2008 Charlie Kaufman film Synecdoche, New York, the main character's surname is Cotard, reflecting the trope of the film.
In the fictional book The Echo Maker, by Richard Powers, the main character's brother suffers from Capgras Syndrome, as well as a few other delusions, including Cotard.