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December 06, 2007

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By His Grace

Great angle to a common situation, my friend! Um...having been one who was told that her neurological problem was really all emotionally based, only to find out my C1 is still broken and now that my skull slipped off a bit from my C1 and fused there, well, needless to say, I'm a bit cranky these days when I hear someone condemn a friend as being too "obsessed" with medical research online! Oh yeah, I heard that one not long ago, too.

Know what eats me up, too? Is people saying "Fred got addicted to painkillers." I try to ask this judgmental person, "Was Fred addicted to the meds or to feeling normal?" This query always ends up on a trajectory up in the ionosphere above the "judge and jury's" head.

SOOO great to see how much you've written here and also, so great to have seen you in NY. Just not long enough and during a time that I was probably at my lowest. The candy was a big hit on the east coast and on the west! I have a lovely pic of you to remind me you really WERE there and not one of my hallucinations.

God bless you, my friend...see you again in six months or less!
love, BHG

One Sick Mother

I was thinking about you a lot when I wrote this piece actually, because let's face it: Someday your case will be held up as a textbook example of what NOT to do in the case of a serious trauma like yours. And then what not to do next (and what not to do after that... ad infinitum)

Because if they said that about you... well, how can the rest of us defend ourselves?

...but there *are* two sides, so stay tuned for Part II.

It was great to see you too, although we'll have to stop meeting over specialists appointments. One of these days -not in six month and maybe not even in twelve- but one day we'll go dancing together. ;)

...and you have to scan that pic and send me a copy!
love,
-OSM

prism

~ah~ one of the largest, longest, saddest stories in my life~
I was told my neurological problems were psychosomatic for a literal 20 years! It's hard to fathom even now.
It just goes to show you how much we don'T know~
and how mucH we should trust our own gut level instincts. (I knew it wasn't All in my head All along)
I really enjoy how you framed the telling of the hypothetical story~ I can't wait to read part two!

HUGZ~
Wising you a rainbow,
zoe
www.CarePages.com (prismed)

Joy

I have a friend who visits the doctor probably once a week and switches doctors 2x a year. She seems to get the newest problems that appear on the news. When she gets a new prescription the first thing she does is checks the side effects. Hours later she has each effect. One time she claimed to be having a seisure at her house. I went over and she was obviously pretending to flail all over her bed. I did all I could do to not laugh. She is a single mother of a 13 year old girl who is constantly worried about her, often staying home from school playing sick but obviously just doent want to leave her mother home alone. Recently my 3 year old and I had a 3 day cold, day 2 we had a fever, day 3 we started to get back to normal. She made a visit to our house during this time. I told her to leave cause we were sick and I didnt want her to get it. (I knew she would "get sick" in a matter of days) Sure enough, but it was "a worse strain" with a higher fever, SEVERE chest conjestion, etc. I am at my witts end with the dramatics. Yesterday she came over, got right on the computer looking up a new pain killer she was on, started reading the dangerous side effects. One of them was hallucinations. I wanted to cry! I thought of an excuse as quick as possible to get her out before the "birds started flying around the room" What do I do???? When she is not in this state she is absolutely wonderful, funny, smart, helpful... I have talked with her about her prescription abuse and this hypochondria stuff two separate times to no avail...any advise

One Sick Mother

Joy,

Thanks for posting. I don't think I am truly qualified to give advice but I am going to give this a go.

First I want to say I never wrote part II of this piece, which was the other side: What if a person has no physical ailments, but still insists on trying to find some?

This is a completely different issue to Part I which assumes a person is really sick and suffering with an invisible condition, but does not appear so to the outside world.

True hypochondria is a different story altogether. So is Munchausen's syndrome. Hypochondria is an anxiety disorder, where the person is genuinely terrified of getting sick, and of every little cough or cold. Munchausen's Syndrome involves a person who pretends to be sick in order to receive attention. In extreme cases of Munchausen's a person can actually posion or injure themselves to meet this end. I am grossly generalizing here, naturally. There could be more disorders around these topics and there is definitely more nuance within these disorders. But there is only so much information one can impart in a blog comment. You can research both of these topics in more detail on sites that specialize in this stuff.

I do think in cases of both hypochondria and Munchausen's, the person needs professional help. Indeed, in straight drug-seeking behavior (which your friend may also exhibit), professional help may be needed too. The trick is persuading that person that he or she needs help.

It is not an easy trick.

You could try talking to other friends and family of your friend and see if they see the same thing and if they are willing to speak with her about it. maybe if she hears the same thing from multiple people in the same week, she will take your concerns more seriously? But you do have to tread carefully with this stuff. there is always the risk of alienating her too.

I feel for your situation, I do. But the only solid advice I can give you is this:

1. Research these conditions as much as you can.

2. Research local options for you and for her. Maybe there is a local support group for one or both of you, where you can meet people with real experience of these disorders, who can advise you more practically?

I hope this helps some.

Good luck,

OSM.


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