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This is my story...

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This is my story...

Postby tammy23 » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:24 pm

I’m not really sure how I should begin, so I’m just going to hit this keyboard and hope for the best!

I’m 20 years old and I have Munchausen syndrome. It all started when I was little, my brother spent a few months in hospital when I was around the age of 6. Mum spent allot of time with my brother while he was in hospital, because she was a single parent that meant I had to stay with strangers. I remember being really jealous, my brother was getting all this attention not only from my mum and family but also compete strangers, I felt so left out, so alone.

After that I really craved for attention. I legitimately hurt my arm one day at school and I remember the teachers making a big fuss and my mum being called. My mum took me to the hospital where it was discovered I dislocated my shoulder, not going to lie I was really hoping I broke my arm so I could have a cast, but nope I just got a sling. After that incident it was like something clicked in me, that I need to be hurting to be loved. Weird I know right?
We moved allot, so that meant I changed schools allot… how ever I spend most of my school time in the sick bay from one thing to another - feeling sick, headache, sprained ankle, sore arm ect. Being so young I still yearned for that attention. My mum got to a point where when the phone rang she knew it was the school she’d just pick up and say I was faking send me back to class. That hurt me allot, that she didn’t believe me, even though I really was faking..

I’m going to jump to when I first started to self harm. I was 13 and in high school, I wont describe what I done as I don’t want to give anyone ideas on how to get into hospital but I hurt my left leg in a way that it got infected. I hid this from everyone for about 4 days until I got to the point I was scared, I was vomiting, shaking from being so cold and not to mention in share agony. When my mum saw how sick I was she took me straight to the doctors only then for the doctors to tell my mother to get me to the hospital. I already had this big story of how I hurt myself, even though it was complete lies. I had to have an operation on my leg and spend about 2 weeks in hospital. I acted like I wanted to go home, I pretended I hated being in hospital even though deep down it was exactly what I wanted, I even started hoping I needed more surgery! I’d go back home for about a month and then do it all over again. Hospital stays varied and so did the number of operations, this continued for a few months. Then one day my mum had to take me in for a check up on my leg when the doctor accused my mother of hurting me (Munchausen syndrome by proxy) or that I was doing this to myself. I couldn’t believe what was happening, they found out I was doing this to me.. The doctor was saying that things just weren’t adding up. My mum was very calm during this whole conversation which sort of shocked me, I felt so nervous, my heart was racing I thought I could pass out! So the doctor came up with a plan to put me in a plaster cast from the top of my thigh all the way down to my foot for 3 weeks to prove there was something going on, my mum agreed to this and on went the cast (finally I got a cast, even though it was in the shittiest of circumstances) I remember in the car ride home I just started crying, my mum pulled the car over looked at me and said that she knows with all her heart I’m not doing this, and that we’re going to make that doctor look like a fool. Oh crap what did I get myself into, I couldn’t believe this was happening I needed to figure out a way to get into my cast. After some nifty work and 3 weeks up my sleeve me and my mother went back to the hospital for the moment of truth. The cast was cut off and the doctor was just as shocked as I was, my leg looked and smelled horrible and was even black in some places I was then rushed to emergency as the black meant gangrene. As sick and twisted as this may sound, I was proud of myself. I proved that doctor wrong, my mum stuck up for me, believed me and loved me.

So I’m now 20, for the last 7 years I have been in and out of hospital ranging from once a year up to 4-5 times. I’ve had numerous amounts of surgery, well into the hundreds by now. My leg is considered a medical mystery and some specialist even went as far as to blame the first hospital where I had my first operation that they screwed up somehow. I know the truth.. Only me. I’ve never told anyone any of this before.. I’ve just kept it inside. I constantly think about the future. I feel like I’m not normal, what kind of person would do this to themselves? What kind of person would put their family through this? Wastes so much time, money and resources? What kind of person can be this organized on what to say, how to say it, how to act so there is no suspicion and how to keep inflecting this self harm on my leg? This leg that so many doctors have said I’m lucky to still have. I’m ashamed, embarrassed, confused, angry and alone. I don’t want to do this anymore, I don’t want to be this person anymore. Being so good at lying sometimes I believe myself. I have anger towards my creator, why did he make me like this? Why couldn’t I just be normal? I want help but I don’t know where to start, I want a normal life, I don’t want to be ashamed of myself anymore.. I want to start living.
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Re: This is my story...

Postby CrackedGirl » Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:38 pm

Thank you so much for being so honest and open about your life. I am sorry you are going through this. Tho it will be very difficult it sounds like you want to change. Would you consider therapy and going in and being as honest with them as you have here. I think you would feel a weight lifted off your shoulders. Please keep posting and let us know how you are doing. You sound like you have very good insight and you want to change and that is the first step.

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Re: This is my story...

Postby luma » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:15 pm

i read this post and it really made me feel so bad for you and the things youre struggling with, very strong story to read. It can imagine that the shame/guilt/lying issues takes a toll on you. Must feel like having a seperate life that noone knows about.

I get how you felt loved when you were in the hospital and everyone was worried for you, i dont think its that uncommon to like that, actually. I remember the same from when i was sick that i loved the concern and the attention i got. In fact i think i did something similar when i was a kid- faking that i had bad vision and needed glasses, i even got sent to a specialist. I remember being horrified that my parents might find out about the lie and yet i loved the fuss they made about it. But thing has really got a hold of you.
Hmm can you think of any other times when you feel loved in a similar way? Do you think theres anything that could somewhat replace the function that munchausen has for you?

It worries me that you say you can loose your leg, it has me thinking that its really gone very far and is getting dangerous. i dont mean ot scare you by saying this, just my honest instinctive reaction. you said you dont know where to start, i think its good what youre doing now with sharing your story. Have you ever considered going to a therapist with your munchausen? or are there anyone in your life that youd feel ok with also sharing it with?
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Re: This is my story...

Postby tammy23 » Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:14 am

Thank you Cracked and Luma for your speedy and kind responses, it defiantly made this whole experience easier. I really do want to change and I do want help I just don’t know where to begin. I’ve never spoken to a counsellor or a therapist before and I’m worried about their reaction, letting someone fully in, seeing me for what I really am, judging me… or worse, turning their back on me.

Must feel like having a seperate life that noone knows about
exactly, it's like the real me is a completely different person to what everyone else see's, it's like being two people.

I know what I’m doing is dangerous and extremely unhealthy but I cant even explain it, it’s like I’m causing this harm to myself for the attention and the love but I also want people to see me as a strong person, a fighter… like for example numerous threats of my leg being amputated I would make a huge fuss and ‘fight’ to keep my leg. As I write this I just feel sick, sick of what I am, what I do, how I feel.

I don’t have very much of a support system, I think that could also be a reason as to why I do this. The more I’ve grown up doing this it’s become my life, sort of like a routine. I feel like I’m in too deep to pull out now, that I’m either going to have to keep this up for the rest of my life or runaway from everyone and everything I know. I have very little family, in fact my brother is no longer in my life anymore due to drugs and violence, so really I just have my mother. I also have a best friend who I live with and that’s it other than a few acquaintances. That’s what makes me so scared of them finding out, the only two people in my life I love and trust would leave, I’m so scared that will happen. I don’t ever see a day where I could tell either one the truth. I have a tremendous amount of guilt for what I am doing, all the people’s time I have wasted when there are actual sick and dying people out there. I wish I could make sense of all this, but I cant. What is even more scary, I want so badly to be a nurse. I know this fit’s the profile for a muncher, someone who works in the health care system. I genuinely do care for people and want to help. Ahh I just don’t understand why I’m like this!
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Re: This is my story...

Postby CrackedGirl » Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:20 am

I really do think that the first thing to do is to talk to a therapist. You could research someone with an interest in Munchausens but a good therapist should not be shocked by what you say. I can understand how you are scared to tell as it might mean pushing ppl away but I think that is a long way in the future. You seem to understand a lot about your illness and I think you would do well in therapy. Have you ever read Patient Or Pretender? That might help you and may give you some suggestions for how to seek help.

Keep posting.

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Re: This is my story...

Postby luma » Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:39 am

a little comment about feeling judged. in a way you have tested this a little bit, you have already told us. now before any replies we were just a huge mass of possible responses and yet you were brave enough to tell everything how it is. if you look at our responses you see that your story makes us hurt for you and want to help. i think that if you go to someone that is trained to meet a wide range of different people with all sorts of problems, many that they are ashamed of, that its likely that they wont judge you either.. idk what do you think about that?

i think that opening yourself has a lot of benifits for you- it exposes the hurt that is there so that people can tend to it, it makes it harder to keep the harming behaviors you have, it takes some shame away and might even teach you some ways to deal with emotional needs. cause the needs you have seem to be highly emotional by nature, and the needs in themselves dont seem unhealthy to me at all! its just that your way of dealing with it might not be good for you.
maybe you just stumbled upon this way of dealing with it, and then you were unlucky because it was unfortunately both really efficiant AND at the same time very unhealthy.

youre not the first one to use other means to still emotional needs, and there are a lot of unhealthy ways that many of us do that. i think a lot of mental illnesses have that at the core. please dont think im saying that to make ya feel like youre 'nothing special', but hopefully it will make it easier for you to forgive yourself for this.
i really wish you luck, girl
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Re: This is my story...

Postby Katz_33 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:04 pm

Hi,

Just a quick message from someone on the other side, I am a recovering munchausens sufferer and have not lied about my health for 12yrs.
This is in no way to make everyone congratulate me, it's a message of hope. That there is life after lying, it is not what defines you. I did and said some pretty awful things which I have had to live with but you can do it. You have already taken the first and most important step. YOU HAVE ADMITTED the problem.

If you want to ask me anything specific about my recovery please don't hesitate to contact me.

Love Katz
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Re: This is my story...

Postby going_crazy » Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:08 am

Thank you so much for posting your story. It just recently clicked in my mind that this is a condition that I might have too. In a way, it is comforting to know that I am not alone in the weird things that I do to myself to get love and care and attention.

I have Crohn's disease but when I have periods when I am genuinely ill, I am forever exaggerating the symptoms to the point where I have literally poisoned myself to make it worse when I am genuinely ill and warrant an admission to hospital! My most recent hospital admission was 100% faked.

I am also terrified that the few people in my life that genuinely love me will find out and then I will have nobody. But I am also terrified that my doctors will find out. I started off as a medical mystery. However, now I live in fear, trying to read between the lines of every letter that he has writen to my GP or other doctors about me. DO you get scared about that too? It seems like doctors are much more wise to this condition than perhaps I first thought...

Funny you should say about wanting to be a nurse - I am currently in medical school training to be a doctor :) I didn't realise that people with this condition had a fascination with healthcare.

However, it is like a drug. A compulsion. Now I have started, I can't stop. I can't just suddenly have a miraculous recovery. But what do I do? Go on forever like this?!

You seem so strong in your posts. If you work out how to fix this, please let me know. Am desperate to be better!!!

S xx
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Re: This is my story...

Postby CrackedGirl » Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:08 pm

Hi S

Thank you for sharing your experiences on here. I would caution you to be very careful not only for the sake of your health - even if being unwell seems attractive to you, but also because of what you are studying as your course wont take kindly to it if they find out what you have been doing.

Good luck tho and let us know how you go

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Re: This is my story...

Postby going_crazy » Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:44 pm

Thanks Cracked! Yes, I know that with regards to my medical degree it would be a DISASTER if anyone was to ever find out!! This is why I MUST stop. It is just so hard though - like a compulsion of sorts :( I don't know what it is in my life that has left me so unfulfilled that I would do something like that? By any outsider's point of view, I grew up in a perfect family! But something always left me so unsatisfied. I wish I could work it out so that I could sort it out... But I am too scared to go to a counsellor or psychiatrist because then someone may have to report me to my college... That would be the end of my career that I have always dreamed of and then what would be the point of existing? However, I don't think I can do this on my own...
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