Oneiroid Syndrome: Inception
In Inception, Christopher Nolan takes two and a half hours to tell us that Leonardo DiCaprio has entered a man's dream, implanted a thought and (probably) gotten back out, dragging an 8,000-year-old Japanese man to freedom with him.
Also called Arnie Grape yells at Robin.
A major point of the film revolves around people being confused about whether their lives are real or if they're merely dreaming, and the tragedy that can result once that confusion boils over into full-blown madness. In the movie, DiCaprio's wife commits suicide because she is convinced that she is still dreaming and believes that if she dies, she will wake back up to reality.
DiCaprio, on the other hand, spins a top.
Getting lost in a dream world would be pretty frightening, especially if you were suddenly no longer able to tell the difference between reality and hallucination.
People who suffer from oneiroid syndrome experience the exact confusion that leads DiCaprio's wife to jump out of a window in Inception. The disorder causes you to completely lose track of reality, essentially putting you in a dreamlike state that can last for weeks. You'll experience vivid hallucinations, increased agitation and usually amnesia, although by that point any amnesia might be welcome.
Much like Marion Cotillard's character in Inception, patients often harm themselves and others due to their fear and anxiety. In a personal account of the syndrome given by a 20-year-old college student, the patient explains how days and nights lost all meaning and significance to her. The world became a washed-out slate of gray:
"Everyone's just sort of ... loitering and brandishing guns for some reason."
She experienced no concept of time or mortality, only a boundless, hateful eternity. Things were swirling quickly all around her, constantly changing and flying through the air:
"It's like my every waking moment is directed by an asshole!"
To her, the world "seemed topsy-turvy":
"The fight scenes were pretty badass, though."
That's right, Internet -- you are one syndrome away from living in a Christopher Nolan movie.
Alex doesn't have any books or websites to plug, but you can add him on Facebook, if you're into that kind of thing. You can also send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more for on illnesses, check out 6 Real Diseases That Have Somehow Become Trendy and 6 Terrifying Diseases That Science Can't Explain.
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