01 July 2015

Something Dreadful

by F. X. Turk

As I take a summer vacation from my permanent hiatus, I want you to think about something with me for a moment.

"Hypochondriasis" was first diagnosed as we understand it today in the 19th century.  This debilitating condition is the result of an inaccurate perception of the condition of body or mind despite the absence of an actual medical condition. An individual suffering from hypochondriasis is known as a hypochondriac. Hypochondriacs become unduly alarmed about any physical or psychological symptoms they detect, no matter how minor the symptom may be, and are convinced that they have, or are about to be diagnosed with, a serious illness. (thx, Wikipedia)

These people cannot be convinced that they are just fine no matter how many tests you run which demonstrate they are just like everyone else.  Science cannot dissuade them.  About 3% of all patients visiting their primary care physician have this problem.  The treatment, I am told, is the effort to help each patient find a better way to overcome the way his/her medically unexplained symptoms and illness concerns rule her/his life. Current research makes clear that this excessive worry can be helped by either appropriate medicine (targeting the anxiety) or targeted psychotherapy.

Diving deeper: the right treatment for this problem is not the one the patient would choose for himself or herself.  The problem is not the patient's body at all -- unless you count the state of anxiety in this person's brain over his or her perceived illness.  It would actually harm this person if we caved in to their false perception of a problem and treated them with the means they were demanding.  The right treatment is to approach their anxiety over the false self-diagnosis and resolve the problem that they are not sick no matter how sick they think they are.

This diagnosis and approach is one of those things that modern medicine simply accepts and works to treat as it presents itself -- in most cases.  But today there are some versions of this where the demands of the person with a perfectly healthy body but the feeling that something dreadful has happened have trumped the traditional medical diagnosis.  And in those cases, it doesn't matter how extreme the treatment the patient demands is: it must be rendered.  Drugs must be administered.  Every prosthesis must be added; every offending piece of flesh removed.  Organs with no functions must be implanted.  Organs in perfect health must be -ectomied. And if any of the treatments are refused, the person demanding treatment is somehow being violated, kept from a true form of self which would finally fulfill them.

That's pretty weird, right?

Now imagine a world where those people obtain the right to dictate to the rest of society what families look like and how children will be raised.


Robert said...

I would add that some people even seek physician assisted suicide for these problems as well. And we can see in Belgium that they are opening the doors for those who feel mental anguish to seek this "remedy" at any age. We are truly aliens in this world.

Michael Coughlin said...

Ahhh! Poignant. Appreciate the post, brother!

Randy Talley said...

I read this pretty soon after I got up this morning. After reading it, I was wide awake with no caffeine.

Once again, the only antidote for the schizophrenic and bipolar cultural wind shifts is the gospel. And in light of the ever-increasing proclamations that "sin is the new holiness", we had better know it, believe it, live it, and teach it.

Michael said...

I didn't take away from this most thought-provoking post your conclusion.

Andrea said...

This is dreadfully creepy, and getting more plausible by the day. If I didn't trust God completely, it would be hard to face that possible (probable?) future. There really ought to be an audience for Christian speculative fiction on the kind of... well not post-apocalyptic, but certainly dystopian society that could likely result from the current changes in cultural thinking, up to and including the issue of "gender fluidity." Not just to prepare us for what's likely to come, but also to put flesh on what the struggle will mean for disciples of Christ and whatever remains of the Church in such a toxic atmosphere.

But better yet (and ever so timely) will be sermons on the prophecies that apply to our immanent struggle. Pastors who follow this blog, take note. And yes, we're looking at you, too, DJP.

Feather Blade said...

This is dreadfully creepy, and getting more plausible by the day. If I didn't trust God completely, it would be hard to face that possible (probable?) future.

It is not plausible. It is happening.
It is not a possible or probable future. It is the present.

Denise G said...

I really appreciate this post. Sounds crazy but It's a reality now. As an RN, I had a patient, born a female, becoming a male with a wife! Her testosterone injection was ordered. As a Christian, I could not, in good conscience, give this injection. I was going to ask someone else to give it, knowing I might have some repercussions. Fortunately it was ordered for the next morning and I wasn't working. Now we are going to have more and more situations like this to deal with. It may even mean the loss of a job!

Daniel said...

What I find irritating is how ready the culture is to play along with this nonsense while simultaneously painting everyone (who refuses to regard the emperor's new gender as "real") as hate-filled bigots. It isn't enough to be forced to politely tolerate madness, now we are being legislated into playing along.

It took some time for our culture to recognize that forcing another to breath in secondhand smoke violated their (previously undefined, but self-evident) right to breath air untainted by tobacco smoke. How long will it take to realize that our "right" to hide our nakedness from persons of the opposite biological gender is being taken away to bring in a new, legally imposed (im)morality? Someone needs to articulate these previously undefined rights before they are trampled roughshod into oblivion.