Okay, so you are ill. You have bad skin, you feel tired, you can’t think very well, you itch, you find fibers on your skin, and doctors don’t take you seriously.
There are a number of diagnoses that might cover many of your symptoms. But let’s assume for now you have a novel infectious disease which we shall call “Morgellons”.
Now, how do we know this is a disease?
Let’s consider another diagnosis – one that many people feel is related – “Chronic Lyme“. Many people seek out a diagnosis of Chronic Lyme, thinking this diagnosis with allow them to deal with their problems. People even report great happiness when they are finally, after much effort, are diagnosed with Chronic Lyme. Believers congratulate one another. Typical quotes from the previous link:
- “I feel vindicated”
- “It’s a milestone to be diagnosed with Lyme disease”
- “congratulations on getting a diagnosis ! what great good news ..bad news “
- “Getting the Lyme dx, I was elated, happy to finally know what I had..”
These people are HAPPY that they have Lyme. Finally they can put a finger on the cause of their fatigue. What’s the problem here? There is not much evidence to support the concept of late stage Chronic Lyme – studies show people who have had Lyme do not get sicker than people who have not.
Sure, these people are sick – but lots of people get sick, lots of people have chronic symptoms of eczema and fatigue for no known reason. The difference here is that some people are so desperate for a diagnosis, that they either diagnose themselves, or they seek out a doctor who will give them the diagnosis they seek.
The people who choose Chronic Lyme to explain their symptoms are fortunate in that they choose a real disease, that might actually occur in chronic form. It’s also fairly new, so the literature is still in flux. The fact that the CDC and AMA downplay the incidence of Chronic Lyme does not dissuade them, they have choosen Chronic Lyme, they seek out a friendly doctor, and they start happily “treating” their disease.
People who choose Morgellons are less fortunate. Morgellons is not based on a real disease, so they have to claim it’s an unidentified infectious agent. They still want the joy of validation, they seek a diagnosis. Unfortunately there are no friendly doctors. They are reduced to diagnosing themselves, and forming support groups to diagnose each other, and pescribing each other treatments, to validate and reinforce their own belief.
Statistics do not Chronic Lyme is not the epidemic some people claim it to be, it is probably a mistaken diagnosis in a large part of the group that claims to have it. They are simply unhealthy, as many people are, particularly in America.
Similarly, Morgellons is just a collection of chronic symptoms that are typical of a percentage of the demographic that reports those symptoms. You are not the carrier of some novel infectious agent, you are simply getting old. Seeking a diagnosis of some exotic disease is a very seductive idea. Unfortunately, in all likelihood, you are simply getting a bit older, and are in poor health – in part due to stress, bad diet and lack of exercise.
The seductive diversion of “Morgellons” is an illusion. It is wasting your time, and the “treatments” are probably making you sicker.