The healing of the paralytic in Capernaum (2:3-5) and the narcoleptic Jairus’ daughter (5:38-43) are examples of rapid remission of depressive stupor. The girl prior to being raised by Jesus, would be in a state of spiritual death analogous to the one described by the Thanksgiving Hymn (1QH) at Qumran:
My spirit is imprisoned with the dead
for (my life) has reached the Pit;
my soul languishes (within me)
day and night without rest
But this state of almost total helplessness also bespeaks of the things just just about getting out of control on the other end. Emil Kraepelin, the German psychiatrist who in the early 20th century described diagnostically major mental illnesses observed what he called manic stupor as the phase of the episode which immediately precedes a sudden switch into madcap cheer. The modern compendium on Manic-Depressive Illness discusses the severe psychomotor inhibition which the patient exhibits during this period of deep mourning:
The patient, usually, is confined to bed, is mute, inactive and uncooperative. His bodily needs require attention in every way; he has to be fed, washed and bathed. Precautions have to be made to prevent the retention of faeces, urine and saliva. In some cases all attempts at movement are strongly resisted. In other cases the muscles are more flaccid, and the body and limbs can be molded into any position. On the surface it may seem as if there was a total absence of feeling and emotions, but that is often more apparent than real, for after recovery many patients give a vivid account of the distress they have experienced. The idea of death is believed by some to be almost universal in stupor reactions, and may be regarded as a form of expiation for the wickedness for which they hold themselves responsible…..