I, like many people, have minor hallucinations when I'm tired or stressed. Nothing big, just flashes in the corners of my eyes and thought-I-saws in the shadows.

Sometimes those minor hallucinations are people. Not threatening people or dangerous people, just people, minding their own business. Actually, that's phrased wrong. Sometimes nearly 100% of those hallucinations are people; sometimes nearly 0%. It's very binary.

I think I've figured out one of the determining factors. Yesterday I spent all day at work talking. I argued and tried to convince and figured out and explained and asked and laid out and worked through and generally spent my whole day in small-group or 1-on-1 active communication. Then I went to a small-group event in the evening with interesting people and had active and lively communication. By the time I went home, there were people in every fencepost and pool of shadow.

When I was about ten, my family gave me a kit for making balloon animals. It had an instruction book, a hand-pump, and a bunch of long thin balloons. I loved that kit and I spent most of the day playing with it. When I went to bed that night, I could still feel the smooth curved pressure and the almost-squeaks of balloon-twisting in my hands. My pattern-matching brain had been trained to expect the tactility of balloons.

I think the people-based hallucinations may be caused by a similar mechanism: if I spend much of my waking attention focused on people, then the lazy pattern-matcher in my brain will continue to overlay people on all of its interpretations. Then, when it's reaching for ridiculously under-informed snap judgements (which is what my hallucinations seem to all be), it knows what to fill in. People, people, people.



June 2014

891011 121314
151617 18192021


RSS Atom

Page Summary

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags