I have been struggling to collect my thoughts lately, thinking about what my next post should be on. I’ve spoken to a few people lately about attitudes towards medical conditions lately and a lot of these people I have spoken to have experienced similar things… We have all met people who have copied and faked illnesses.
I was pretty shocked when I first heard about other people doing this because I assumed that it was pretty rare, I mean it isn’t a topic that comes up a lot in conversation but when it did, I was astounded, amazed, saddened and sickened all at the same time… That’s quite a few emotions to have at the same time, and maybe it can all be named under one emotion, but I don’t know what that emotion would be.
Personally, if I didn’t have any medical conditions, I would be happy to be healthy. I know that compared to a lot of people, I am remarkably healthy and compared to others I am lacking a bit in the health department, but I would never dream of imitating someone else’s illness to gain attention, nor do I feel particularly confident in telling people face to face about my medical conditions for fear that I would get more attention… I don’t really like attention that much, I mean I am happy to speak to people and teach classes and blog but tell somebody face to face how I feel about being in chronic pain, or that I am, in fact, in constant pain would completely floor me.
But speaking to friends with chronic illnesses, many with serious conditions, I have found that I am not the only one who has met people who fake their illness to get attention… I know a few people who have experiences with other people stealing their medication and pretending it was theirs, flaunting it to get attention. Hearing that stunned me, why would someone ever want to take medication, 1) which is not theirs and 2) they do not need?
I know some people have mental conditions that causes them to need attention, and some people have mental conditions that would mean they purposely bring on illness but these conditions are not common. And I do sympathise with anyone who does fake illness because I know you must have your problems but please talk to someone about it, it will help you and it will help us.
As a side note I want to say a few things: 1) Having asthma is not cool, it is not an easy condition to have that is a quick way of avoiding exercise, it is a serious and potentially life threatening condition that has a stereotype of being simple to treat and very mild 2) juvenile and rheumatoid arthritis are not the same as osteoarthritis although both causes pain, please do not forget that both rheumatoid and juvenile arthritis can not only effect joints and mobility, but it can steal your eye sight making you blind, and it can cause inflammation of any organ of the body. Autoimmune arthritis can kill, why would you want to fake it? 3) if you believe that you do have an illness with your whole heart, go to the doctors, get tested, persist until you are heard. I know what it is like to be ill but to be undiagnosed and it isn’t nice. But if you are ill, you need to see a doctor and get diagnosed as soon as you can.