A British man suffering from a rare brain disorder claimed his brain was 'dead' and that he was a zombie. He even spent time at the cemetary because he felt he would fit in.
The man who can only be identified as Graham was diagnosed with Cotard's Syndrome, also known as 'Walking Corpse Syndrome'.
Sufferers of the extremely rare condition, which is closely linked to depression, report feeling like they cease to exist or that parts of their body are destroyed, dead or missing.
Speaking to New Scientist magazine, Graham explained he thought he had killed his own brain during a failed suicide attempt.
"It's really hard to explain," he said. "I just felt like my brain didn't exist any more. I kept on telling the doctors that the tablets weren't going to do me any good because I didn't have a brain."
According to New Scientist, the disorder is caused by misfiring of the parts of the brain that are responsible for recognizing faces and for attaching emotion to those recognitions. This can lead sufferers to feel a sense of isolation and detachment even when they view their own reflection.
In addition to being rare the condition can also be dangerous. Because patients don't believe they are alive, many think they don't need their body. Consequently many sufferers stop partaking in daily activities like eating, drinking and bathing. New Scientist claims some have even tried to get rid of their own bodies with acid.
Although family and friends cared for Graham to ensure he didn't harm himself, he says he was unable to feel pleasure in anything. "I lost my sense of smell and my sense of taste. There was no point in eating because I was dead. It was a waste of time speaking as I never had anything to say."
Scans of Graham's brain revealed his metabolic activity was so low it was comparable to that of someone in a coma.
“I’ve been analyzing PET scans for 15 years, and I’ve never seen anyone who was on his feet, who was interacting with people, with such an abnormal scan result,” Dr. Steven Laureys of the University of Liège in Belgium told New Scientist.
“It seems plausible that the reduced metabolism was giving him this altered experience of the world, and affecting his ability to reason about it,” Laureys said.
Over time, Graham was able to recover from Cotard's Syndrome with the help of drug and therapy treatments.
“I’m not afraid of death,” Graham said. ”But that’s not to do with what happened – we’re all going to die sometime. I’m just lucky to be alive now.”