Vampirism: Is it all in your head?

Posted: Saturday, 18 July, 2015 by deacongray in Ask the Vampires, Vampire Community

*Is it dangerous to think so?*

17 July 2015 08:15 // by Deacon Gray

(c) 2015 by the graveyardpress

All in your head

 

It’s not a new phenomenon rising in prominence in the public discussion boards of the vampire community, or (VC). Our small but overly exposed population evades an easy diagnosis. Despite an increase in credentialed scholars taking note and conducting “Studies” about the community at large, we still see the predominant conclusion about the vampiric condition as being physiological in nature.

Most point to issues that are “All In your head” The medical field has improved in leaps and bounds since the time of Hippocrates, but there is still a lot about the human body that is not completely understood, and when a condition isn’t easily tracked down, or a symptom sounds incredible, the resulting diagnosis tends to learn toward the mental health of the individual.

The presumed culprits are

  1. Depression: one of the popular scapegoats for Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms or (MUPS) is depression. Depression is well known to cause many various signs and symptoms of illness.  There are connections between depression and fatigue, stress, pain, and innumerable other complaints. When no easy solutions present themselves, depression is usually blamed for a patient’s aches and low energy.  But when depression is also a symptom, treating it alone can be ineffective and further confuse patients and medical professionals.
  2. Hypochondria: Real Hypochondriacs are people who claim illness though there are no consistent signs or symptoms of an illness. These guys aren’t really connected to the VC unless the issue becomes disruptive to their daily lives of the person making the claim. Studies by the Atlanta Vampire Alliance have indicated that most members of the VC actually claim to live normal lives, some with degrees in the medical, or mental health fields.
  3. Conversion Disorders: These are a collection of several disorders that are psychological in nature but that manifest in a physical way. For example, depression leading to sexual dysfunction, or stress leading to decreased immune response

If your doctor suggests any of these illnesses as a possible diagnosis for your condition, you should request a referral to a psychiatrist for additional assessment and a second opinion.  If you are diagnosed with a somatoform disorder by a reputable psychiatrist, you should not feel that you are being dismissed. These disorders are just as real and life altering as other diseases, and this diagnosis does not mean that you are “creating” your symptoms.  Your focus should be on improving your health and quality of life, not what label your symptoms are given.

The important thing here is that if treatment doesn’t address your health issues after a reasonable period, than perhaps talk to your doctor about further explorations.

The method of identification of MUPS is basically; medically explore the issue until you hit a dead end in known medical treatment and diagnosis, psychological treatment until treatment doesn’t improve your situation, than exploration of new medical possibilities.

While in the VC many have spoken to their doctors initially, the feeling of having your symptoms dismissed as a mental health leads a lot of people away from this process of discovery. The isolation of having the symptoms and no known cause, can push people into believing they have a vampiric disposition, more so if those alternative methods of easing the symptoms are effective.

The problems over all is that many conditions are passed over for years before they are realistically considered by medical research. Fibromyalgia is a great example of this.

For years medical doctors and physiological providers looked at people with fibromyalgia has having something akin to a conversion disorder. With the only real symptoms being pain, and no real signs to indicate a known problem, it was easy to dismiss the symptoms. However, after years of study, due to aggressive demands for research, medical researchers have isolated the condition, and they have found real treatment options.

Fibromyalgia is just one example, but it is not the only one by far. People used to get told their ulcers were a result of stress, as were migraine headaches. Anxiety used to be considered merely female hysterics, mostly due to their uterus and the phases of the moon.

VC Members are easier to dismiss because of their claims of being vampires. Once you put that tag on the ailments source, you have encouraged the providers to dismiss your claims as psychological in nature. Getting them to act objectively after that is pointless as the treatment bias is already there.

Donna Michele Fernstrom and VC Message board participant put it this way while in discussion with critic “   The dangers of defaulting to psychology as an explanation are very, very clear in medical history. It has always resulted in poor funding for experiments into the medical side of things, and it’s always resulted in social stigma. It’s resulted in a lengthening of the time it should have taken to find the real causes”…”Psychology should only be explored as a possible explanation after everything else has been ruled out. There are people involved in this, and their lives may be affected by it.”

She went on to say “The problem with a psychology-based explanation is that it essentially requires no proof at all. Do you see how this works? There is no positive, objective test for psychological conditions.

The psychiatric conditions which DO have positive, objective tests for them have recently shown evidence of being medically-based after all – inflammation and autoimmune processes, or brains structure abnormalities, seem to be the cause.

Frankly, psychology is barely more science-based than metaphysics, when you look very, very closely.”

While there are medical and mental health professionals in the VC, the ability to conduct large scale testing and research is still very limited. The term “Vampire” and many of the spiritual or metaphysical aspects brought forward by the community has increased the limited interest in the conditions people case medically because once more it is too easy to dismiss the whole as ‘delusional claptrap”

 

More and more there is a push is to allow the psychological and social sciences to label the VC members as having a default disposition as a psychological construct, a plea for attention, or a desire to be a part of a unique identity group. We are even seeing a renewed call for a clinical diagnosis like the not debunked Clinical Vampirism and Readfield’s syndrome. With one academic suggesting, perhaps partially in jest “Vampire Identify Disorder” Resisting the recognition of having a diagnosis can be hard considering how long it has taken just to get some level of acceptance. Many people believe it is better to be diagnosed and accepted, as opposed to undiagnosed and unrecognized, but I am not sure they consider the ramifications of that act.

History has demonstrated that with every diagnosis of a mental, or behavioral disorder, comes some level of stigma. Is some cases that stigma can result in child custody issues, career suicide, relationship struggles and the contempt and condensation of our peers. We have seen just such things when dealing with other issues that eventually were established as ligament, though the stigma isn’t likely to leave.

What Can You Live With?

In the end it comes down to this simple question. What can you live with?  If you have symptoms that you can’t live with, seek medical treatment for the symptoms, not for your own diagnosis. Having a Diagnosis of MUPS is far better than one of Vampire Identity Disorder. You might still face stigmas and doubts, but at least they are doubts about things that don’t involve things that are seen as mythical creatures.

For many in the Vampire Community, the uncertainty of life without a known cause of their issues can make it difficult to deal with all the doubts and critics. Worrying that “it’s all in your head” is a normal reaction, but if you believe that something is really wrong with your body, don’t give up on finding an answer. The VC is a support system, it always has been. For those who can live with their issues and identity but need support, the VC isn’t hard to find. So take an active role in discovery and don’t get mired down in the questions, doubts and critics that add nothing to the dynamic of your life.

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