“How can thousands be experiencing the same DOP at the same time? That does not make sense.”
That’s a good question, because it’s a point often used by people who believe they have “Morgellons” to “prove” that it’s real.
Dismissing things because they “don’t make sense”, is an “argument from a lack of imagination“, which is somewhat ironic, since the one thing that Morgies do not seem to lack is imagination. They believe in several things that do not make sense, but they believe them because they seem to fit their view of the world.
So, how can thousands of people have the same condition? Obviously that’s the wrong question right there, as nearly every medical condition has thousands of sufferers.
No, the question being proposed is “how can thousands of individuals have the EXACT SAME DELUSION”?
This question actually has two complementary answers. 1) Easily, and 2) They don’t.
Let’s be clear about the delusion. A delusion is fixed false belief, held contrary to the evidence. The Morgellons delusion is not that people have sores, which they obviously do. It is not the fibers themselves, as there are clearly fibers everywhere. It is not the itching, since itching is a subjective experience. No, the Morgellons delusion is that the fibers are somehow connected to the sores and itching.
(1) How can people share this same delusion? Easily. People itch for a lot of reasons, some scratch a bit too much, forming blisters and sores. Sores are wet and sticky, they get debris in them, people think the debris (fibers, dirt, etc) is what is causing the sores, so they try to pick them out. Later they hear of Morgellons, and think “that’s it!”
(2) How can people share this same delusion? They don’t. They all have different delusions. They all have different experiences with their symptoms. Their physical illnesses are varied. Their theories are varied. Even the fibers are different. Compare Anne Dill, Greg Vigil, Stan Skoumal, Andrew Leitao, Mister X, Ever Hopeful, Cindy Casey. There’s a lot of variety there. They don’t all have the same thing.
People are ill. People are genuinely ill. They deserve compassion and they deserve treatment. Some of them have a lot of imagination. I just wish they could use that imagination to try to imagine the possibility that they might have been mistaken in some of their beliefs, and imagine the possibility that their lives might be a little better if they let go of Morgellons.