The woman who thought she was a chicken

A recent issue of the Dutch journal Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie (Journal of Psychiatry) reports on the case of a woman who believed she was a chicken. From the report (via Google translate):

Patient A, a 54-year-old woman, consulted the emergency department with her brother for acute attacks of deviant behavior, expressing the belief that she was a chicken and displaying behavior reminiscent of it.

Clinically, we saw a lady profusely sweating, trembling, blowing her cheeks and displaying stereotypical behavior in which she seemed to imitate a chicken, such as clucking, cackling and crowing like a rooster. After ten minutes, she seemed to tense the muscles for a few seconds, her face flushed and she did not respond for a short time. These symptoms repeated at intervals of several minutes, between which anamnesis was possible. The patient's consciousness was fluctuating, attention was hyper-reactive and the patient was disoriented in time and space. Her memory could not be tested objectively, but she could adequately tell her history.

She said she had barely slept since five days and wandered barefoot and dressed in a dressing gown on the street at around 4 a.m. the previous night. A general feeling of unwellness had been present for several days, as well as a strange feeling in the limbs, as if they no longer fit her body and flapped uncontrollably. The patient expressed the thought of being a chicken and that they had been forgotten to roost her.

Patient's brother added that he found her in the garden in the same condition as we saw her now. Between that moment and the registration with us, the bizarre behavior in attacks occurred.

The researchers note that clinical zoanthropy (the belief that one has turned into an animal) is an extremely rare delusion. Apparently there have been only 56 cases of this reported between 1850 and 2012. Some of the animals people believe they have become include "a dog, lion, tiger, hyena, shark, crocodile, frog, bovine, cat, goose, rhinoceros, rabbit, horse, snake, bird, wild boar, gerbil and a bee."

More info: The Guardian
     Posted By: Alex - Tue Aug 04, 2020
     Category: Animals | Bad Habits, Neuroses and Psychoses | Psychology

When asked how long she had been acting like a chicken, her brother said "Oh, about two years."
"Why didn't you bring her in sooner?" the doctor asked.
"We needed the eggs." replied the brother.
Posted by Patrick on 08/04/20 at 07:57 AM
Did they ask her why she crossed the road? She might be able to finally answer that pressing question for us.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 08/04/20 at 03:48 PM
For everybody. But especially Patrick.
Ray Stevens - Makin' The Best Of A Bad Situation (Original)
Posted by eddi on 08/04/20 at 09:26 PM
I fess up: I did not write that joke. I heard it many years ago in a Woody Allen movie. I don't remember which one, and I don't know if Woody wrote that joke (I suspect not). The WU article was just ripe for telling that joke in the comments section though. 😊
Posted by Patrick on 08/05/20 at 08:55 AM
I suspect that joke was around long before Woody's birth.
Posted by ges on 08/05/20 at 05:58 PM
Why did the chicken go only halfway across the road?
She wanted to lay it on the line.

Why did the chicken go to a spiritualist?
She wanted to cross over to the other side.

And I'll just leave this here without comment:
Posted by Phideaux on 08/05/20 at 10:18 PM
Did she ever get nervous when driving past a KFC?
Posted by Brian on 08/07/20 at 08:24 PM
OK, I'm Dutch, so I can read the original. Two points:
- That computer translation is pretty damned good! "Been" in the last sentence of the penultimate paragraph is obviously (but if you read the original, explicably) spurious, but apart from that, I'm impressed.
- For those who want to know, the case had a decently happy ending. The patient had had a lot happening in her life, was depressed, and presumably just snapped one day; but with treatment, she's doing as well as anyone who has been properly depressed (et ego...) will. No more chicken episodes for her, and she's back in her normal life.
- And no, she never got the chance to drive past a KFC. This was a very temporary thing.
Posted by Richard Bos on 08/08/20 at 09:14 AM
Richard Bos, I looked it up. Does “et ego” mean “as I am”?
Posted by Judy on 08/08/20 at 05:00 PM
"And I", to be exact. I'm getting better all the time (and I never did think I'm a fowl - foul, maybe, but not fowl), but it never leaves you. Then again, it doesn't have to. It might be better to know how bad it can be and how how much less bad you are today, than never to realise how bad you are.

(I shouldn't be this honest on a random humour site, should I?)
Posted by Richard Bos on 08/08/20 at 05:17 PM
@Richard...Yes you should be this honest. How else can we learn and also appreciate what time we spend here 😊
Posted by Steve E. on 08/09/20 at 01:57 PM
Richard Bos, I appreciate your candor, but people can be cruel, especially on the internet where they can be anonymous. I just pray they are not cruel to you.
Posted by Judy on 08/10/20 at 03:35 PM
Eh, I can deal with it. Random internet goons can't possibly be as cruel to me as I have been myself, nor as love-affirming as the people I've since met in real life.
Posted by Richard Bos on 08/11/20 at 01:22 PM
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