Munchausen syndrome is a factitious disorder, a mental disorder in which a person repeatedly and deliberately acts as if he or she has a physical or mental illness when he or she is not really sick. Munchausen syndrome is considered a mental illness because it is associated with severe emotional difficulties. (Links don’t work, just a copy and past job.)
An article sparked this line of thought in which it claims some mental health patients exaggerate their symptoms, in an effort for attention and sympathy. While I don’t dispute society does have hypochondria, attention seeking behaviors, as well as Munchausen syndrome, is it really that prevalent or is this an excuse they use when patients prove med resistant and therapy doesn’t cure them?
I can only speak from my own personal perspective and I can assure you…There is NOTHING exaggerated about my long battle with mental health issues. I am in introvert, very private (unless, ya know, using a pen name on the internet) so if it’s bad enough for me to cry uncle and actually seek treatment and splay myself open that way…It’s the real deal.
With the stigma attached to mental disorders, it is unfathomable to me that anyone would choose it as a way to seek attention. The only attention it gets you is negative and hindering. Admitting you have a mental illness, can in some cases, be as good as confessing to leprosy. They haven’t sent us to an island YET but, you get the gist. I’m tied of having my intelligence questioned, as if bipolar depression somehow negates me being anything but below average in intelligence. So it’s just not easy for me to imagine anyone, no matter how disturbed, CHOOSING this as a way to get attention.
There has not been a moment in my struggles with this mental shit that made me feel anything but degraded, isolated, and somehow tainted. Is there really a dignified way to confess to anyone that your anxiety is so bad, you can’t go out because diarrhea keeps you tied to a bathroom? Is it so awesome to go on a date and get so nervous, you puke over the side of a boat? Does showing up to a job interview drenched in nervous sweat in spite of six applications of industrial antiperspirant seem like a way to impress someone?
How about the six plus month long depressions in which you stop bathing, stop grooming, wear clothes you slept in, and either stare off into space or curl up in a closet bawling? I mean, how much pride can one take in admitting that? You lose friends, jobs, significant others because you’re so far down the rabbit hole they either can’t cope or they’re getting dragged down by their inability to do anything to help you so they flee the scene.
Oh and the pleasant manic episodes. Oh, yes, your energy boils over. You’re to the moon with happiness even when your grandpa dies, your car breaks down, and you have to eat ramen for a week. Nothing can get you down. You are ten feet tall and bulletproof. You are riding around on a pegacorn, touching the clouds and taking nibbles like it’s cotton candy. You talk too fast, you have big ideas, you spend money you don’t have. There is NO tomorrow, only this moment where you feel like motherfucking Godzilla on steroids and could stomp major cities with a single foot. Oh, and the added bonus of hypersexuality where you flash your boobs at a concert, wake up with some troll you’d otherwise have told to die in a fire…Then there’s ya know, failing to show up for work for a couple of days and you forgot to call but it’s okay, ‘cos nothing is gonna bring you down!
And the added bonus is..YOU GET TO LIVE WITH THE SHAME OF YOUR BEHAVIOR, AND ITS REPERCUSSIONS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!
Why anyone would choose to fake or amp up mental illness is beyond me. But I guess that’s the thing. They get to choose. The rest of us didn’t get a choice, we just got smacked upside the head with the slab of concrete that is mental illness.
Ya know, if you wanna by a ticket for the doubledecker suck bus of life with mental illness, whatever moves your furniture.
But when you do shit like that…It’s harmful to those who truly have a disorder and it makes you an asshole.