[Editor’s note: This post contains text written by both Janet & Forest Wanderer, and starts with Janet. Yes, there was a switch mid-post.]

In the post that was pulled, I briefly discussed how I’ve seriously considered that I may have factitious disorder, or be malingering, or something. I had no idea how much that would hurt Saoirse, who has fought so hard to keep us out of a life of being on disability. Even though that hurt didn’t make it into the blog post itself, I can tell I’ve fucked up, because some of that hurt is bleeding over to me right now.

So, I guess I have some ‘splainin and apologizing to do.

First, in the “We’ll Lie to You” post, we discussed how sometimes we DO fake being sick with a stomach bug or something when we’re really a different kind of sick. This isn’t done for any big ulterior motive (money, attention, whatever), but to cover up the fact we’re having more complex issues. But, over the years, it has often made me stop and think – if I can fake being physically ill, what if I’m faking being mentally ill?

I’ve been told that I was “made” to be the “normal” one. I wasn’t supposed to know all this crap. I was meant to be trauma and D.I.D. free. And so maybe it’s understandable that I have a super hard time believing any of this. The easiest way to get me to dissociate has always been to bring up the topic of dissociation itself. I’ve never been able to finish a book on the topic. In fact, I think my record is getting to chapter 3. I simply…. check out.

So this blog is actually super hard on me. Honestly, if it wasn’t for discovering the dissociative youtube community months ago, I wouldn’t be this brave…. but I digress.

I want to believe that I’m making all this shit up. Why?

  • It’s an easier explanation than mistreatment by those I love / loved. If I’m making this up, then they are innocent after all, and I’m the bad party. That’s actually easier to accept.

<….aaaaaaanndd coming back to this 6 hours later…..>

  • If I’m making this up, then it’s totally in my power to Just Stop. Also, it means none of the bad stuff actually happened.

<…..and starting to space out again….>

This really hard for me to self-examine. What amazes me, and why I think I must be making this up, is that my brother, 6 years older than me, seems to be pretty well adjusted as an adult. How did I end up so fucked up, and he is apparently fine? Or maybe he is really fucked up, and I just don’t know about it. It’s not like we talk.

FW: Part of it has to do with our ages when things got bad, we were in the magic “develop DID” zone, he wasn’t. 6 years makes a difference. Then, there is that whole “window of tolerance” mentioned in the trauma video. Let’s not forget gender dysphoria. We also went through things he didn’t, like lots of 1:1 with an increasingly crazy grandma. And, we just lost the genetic lotto when it came to co-existing mental illness. Bipolar, etc.

So, let’s just face this head on. You’re ready. First, let’s talk Malingering. Here’s what Google had to say.

What Is Malingering?

Malingerers engage in many of the same activities as people with factitious disorder. They exaggerate or make up symptoms of an illness, either physical or psychiatric. Whereas factitious disorder is a mental health condition with no clear cause, malingerers do it for personal gain. They have clear external motivations that drive their behavior. Some reasons why people malinger include:

Insurance fraud or other form of financial gain

So, have we benefited financially? Yes, we’ve been on short term disability a few times in our lives, but never for more than a few months. Our longest periods of disability, when we really couldn’t handle things, we quit and were unemployed. During those times we didn’t seek disability, ssi, ssd, food stamps, etc. Instead, multiple times we’re racked up huge personal debt of $100k or more, yet we’ve never declared bankruptcy, always preferring to work our debt off.

To get time off work

So, did we do it to get time off of work? Anyone who knows Saoirse knows that she’ll have one hand on a keyboard, trying to work, even while on her death bed. We’ve worked on days most people would call in sick. Yes, we miss work, but if all we wanted was a day off here and there, a whole intricate, decades long history of dissociation would hardly be necessary.

To get prescriptions for controlled medications

To get prescriptions for controlled medications. Seriously? As much as we’ve struggled over the years with taking medication? And its not like we on pain killers. Antidepressants aren’t exactly street drugs.

Shirking obligations for military service

Reducing work obligations

An attempt to avoid prison time

Military service – well, that doesn’t apply. Nor does prison time. And we have a way of taking on more work obligations rather than less, so that doesn’t wash either.

OK, let’s take the other one now:

Some signs of factitious disorder include:

A medical history that includes one or more previous serious or dramatic illnesses

Well, I can’t argue that we haven’t had a dramatic illness. But before this blog we’ve tried to hide that drama as much as possible.

A history of seeking treatment with many different doctors and/or at many hospitals or clinics

News flash, we’ve been with PacMed for 16 years for everything. While our current therapist isn’t in PacMed, I made sure to try and connect her to our PacMed psychiatrist. We haven’t been in a mental hospital more than once. While we’ve been in hospital for physical illness, you can’t exactly fake pneumonia. And then, it was always the same hospital anyway. So no, doesn’t apply.

Having an extensive knowledge of medical terminology

Exactly how many books have you read on dissociation? Never completed one, have you? Oh sure, some of us have read up a little, yes, but we’re book nerds, and wanting to know about your condition is different than knowing medical terminology for everything. Psychology students we aren’t.

Knowing textbook descriptions of illnesses and symptoms

OK, this one is kind of funny, because we’re looking at textbook descriptions right now. But it’s not like we have a copy of the DSM-whatever number its on now. 5? 6? Doesn’t matter.

Just how many books do we own on mental illness? What, one, two? Out of 100s?

Being willing or eager to have medical tests, be hospitalized or have surgery

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. This one. Um, no.

New symptoms appear after receiving negative test results or after a diagnosis is ruled out

To my knowledge this has never applied.

The patient doesn’t get better, even after having appropriate treatment

But we have gotten better. Compare life now to 25 years ago.

So no, I don’t think you have factitious disorder, as much as you might like to.