Warren McKinlay truly believed he was dead when he awoke after a horrific motorcycle accident in which he suffered a broken pelvis and two punctured lungs. Yet he continued to live his life on earth, walking and talking as normal assuming he was living in purgatory. Warren was becoming more and more withdrawn from his family and emotionally defunct, believing himself to be no more than a #walking corpse. The situation grew increasingly dangerous as he started to refuse food declaring it was no longer necessary for him to eat in his newfound state...

An elaborate trick of the mind?

Warren McKinlay fell victim to a condition known as Cotard syndrome, a disorder which leaves people believing they are dead when they are in fact very much alive. Stephen Buckley of the charity 'Mind' said that #Cotard syndrome is fundamentally a denial of self-existence. Even though he had returned to thew familiarity of family life after his accident, Warren simply could not accept that he was still a living, breathing human being.

The condition is so rare that little is known about it other than that it is a form of psychiatric delusion, the exact cause of which is unknown but likely in this case linked with traumatic brain injury sustained during the accident.

Other instances of psychological trickery include sleep paralysis or waking hallucinations, however both of these are relatively much more common. Experts have attempted to explain Cotard syndrome as a coping mechanism for situations that are confusing or distressing - two feelings that were likely to be prominent in the wake of such a horrific accident.

Basic human needs are ignored

McKinlay claims that he was living in an 'alternate reality' in which he no longer existed in the physical form therefore any form of sustenance was simply uneccessary. He claims to have simply stopped caring about improving his health, refused to partake in rehabilitation and went as far as to deny food and drink.

He went for long periods without sleep again believing that it was no longer required now that he was dead.

His condition began to improve after he against the odds met with another sufferer of Cotard and the two talked through their illness together. He has since made a good recovery and is now continuing his life as normal with his girlfriend and two children.

What is that song again? Back to life, back to reality...