DANIEL PAUL SCHREBER MEMOIRS OF MY NERVOUS ILLNESS PDF

In , the distinguished German jurist Daniel Paul Schreber suffered the first of a series of mental collapses that would afflict him for the rest of his life. In his madness, the world was revealed to him as an enormous architecture of nerves, dominated by a predatory God. There was only one remedy; as his doctor noted: Schreber "considered himself chosen to redeem the world, and to restore to it the lost state of Blessedness. This, however, he could only do by first being transformed from a man into a woman…. Daniel Paul Schreber was the son of the preeminent nineteenth-century German medical authority on child-rearing. Before his mental collapse, he served as the chief justice of the supreme court of the state of Saxony.

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Schreber was a son of the famous German physician Daniel Gottlob Moritz Schreber, who invented—and practised on his own family—a draconian regimen of mechanical exercise.

Daniel Paul studied law and became a judge, a profession he practised with success until he fell ill. Schreber, a rational man, is distinguished by the sheer lucidity of his descriptions of his experiences and his solid, sometimes exasperated, attempts to make sense of them, which eventually result in a delusional system that takes comprehensive account of the future of not only humanity but also other planets.

The book is a textbook of psychiatry from the viewpoint of the patient: an insight into the suffering, and occasional amusement, of someone beset by a roll call of classical psychiatric symptoms and syndromes. On a later occasion I even boxed his ears. The voices challenged and mocked me for my apparent lack of manly courage until at last I struck him. These more than anything else restore my faith in the possibility of a humane psychiatry.

Together they proposed, and effected, a gradually progressive plan of sanctioned leave—initially escorted and latterly unescorted—which Schreber used effectively and which backed his successful appeal. He never stopped hearing voices, bellowing, or receiving communications from birds woodpeckers, blackbirds, swallows, crows, and sparrows but not pigeons, chickens, geese, or ducks.

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Memoirs of My Nervous Illness

Schreber was a son of the famous German physician Daniel Gottlob Moritz Schreber, who invented—and practised on his own family—a draconian regimen of mechanical exercise. Daniel Paul studied law and became a judge, a profession he practised with success until he fell ill. Schreber, a rational man, is distinguished by the sheer lucidity of his descriptions of his experiences and his solid, sometimes exasperated, attempts to make sense of them, which eventually result in a delusional system that takes comprehensive account of the future of not only humanity but also other planets. The book is a textbook of psychiatry from the viewpoint of the patient: an insight into the suffering, and occasional amusement, of someone beset by a roll call of classical psychiatric symptoms and syndromes. On a later occasion I even boxed his ears.

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Daniel Paul Schreber

The first of these, in was what was then diagnosed as dementia praecox later known as paranoid schizophrenia or schizophrenia, paranoid type. During his second illness he was treated by Prof. Pierson Lindenhof , and Dr. Schreber was a successful and highly respected judge until middle age when the onset of his psychosis occurred. He woke up one morning with the thought that it would be pleasant to "succumb" to sexual intercourse as a woman. He was alarmed and felt that this thought had come from somewhere else, not from himself.

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