A former soldier became a “dead man walking” after a rare medical condition caused him to believe he was no longer alive.
Warren McKinlay was starving himself to death because he became convinced he had died after suffering from a brain injury in a motorbike accident.
The 35-year-old, who served in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in Bosnia, told the Mirror: “I know it sounds utterly bizarre, but I genuinely believed I’d died in the crash, but for some reason my spirit hadn’t moved on.”
“I was convinced that I didn’t have to eat, because I was dead I had no need for food anymore. I’d sit for hours in a room refusing to talk to anyone…I felt I was literally a dead man walking. It was as if I was a ghost.”
According to the newspaper, he was cured after meeting another British soldier who was also suffering from the rare Cotard’s Syndrome, while they were being treated at the Headley Court rehabilitation centre.
The illness was discovered in 1880 by neurologist Jules Cotard, who described it as Le délire des négations (“The Delirium of Negation”). There have only being a handful of recorded cases.
Warren, who suffered a serious brain injury, ruptured lungs and a broken pelvis and back in the crash said: “I couldn’t process the fact I had a brain injury – which I now know is actually a symptom of having a brain injury.”
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