The Stranger in Your Head

I am increasingly concerned that I am not me.  Take this morning, for instance.  I was in Waitrose holding a jar of pickled whelks and some semi-skimmed organic milk when I glanced down at my arm.  There were two things that were alien to me.  Firstly, I do not like pickled whelks.  My Mum likes them and tried to get me to eat them but I think they are gritty, fishy snails.  Secondly, I had a tattoo on my arm that was not there last week.  It was a tattoo of a dragon.

I am not me.

Of course, not recognizing yourself is different from thinking you are someone that you are not.  It’s actually quite rare to think you are someone else.  In a 1959 study of 25,000 psychiatric patients in America, only a small group of people who were locked up thought they were someone else.  Several thought they were Jesus or God.  None thought he was Napoleon. One thought she was Snow White.

This is also different from thinking you are very similar to someone else and therefore trying to become them through impersonation.  On American Idol, there were seventeen people who thought they were Lady Gaga.  Four of them were men.

I put the pickled whelks back on the shelf.  But the tattoo of the dragon won’t wash off.  I wonder what stranger will be inside my head tomorrow.

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