Archive for the ‘Vampire Community’ Category

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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Vampires: Discloser and the public

Posted: Thursday, 16 July, 2015 by deacongray in Vampire Community

Alix
July 16, 2015 10:40 AM MST// By Deacon Gray

 

At this point the internet is flooded with articles about the study conducted by Dr. D.J. Williams, about people who call themselves a ‘Real Vampires’.  These are people who Identify themselves as needing blood, or some kind of energy taken from others in order to live a happy and healthy life.

He was concerned with the idea that people with this Identity feared disclosure to medical or mental/behavioral health providers, and thus were not seeking treatment when needed. On social media the various community groups and organizations have been flooded with articles related to the study, but is it a reasonable fear? Should the diverse VC population have concerns about what such professionals know about them?

Is it a matter of asking ourselves about the simple pros and cons? If that is the case, as a community there are very few benefits for stepping out as a group. As an individual there are benefits if you desire some kind of treatment for your version of vampirism, but otherwise, what benefit is there to exposure?

What we have seen from the latest round of academic inquiry is pretty much what we have come to expect and these headlines are good examples

“Is Vampire Discrimination a Thing?”
“Real Vampires Exist and they need counseling too”
“Vampires are real: New Research Exposes Them!”
“Why real life Vampires are afraid to go to the doctor”
“Human ‘Vampires’ keep doctors in the dark: Study”
“What it’s like to be a Real-Life Vampire”

For me these articles are a prime example of the issue at hand. When you speak to a provider you are immediately placing yourself up for consideration as mentally ill. This is the default position taken by both the medical and mental health fields when they hear such a claim, and it is no different in the media.  Even in the above articles the primary entry point for the writers are that; Yes there are some pretty weird people in the world but we should consider their feelings and needs regardless of what identity they claim, because they obviously need mental health treatment sometimes.

My issue is that nearly all these articles by-pass the possibility that there could be more to being a vampire, than simply being a behavioral health aberration.  In t heir view you self-identify as a ‘Vampire’ or, they link it to “clinical vampirism”  which is a bogus mental health term, or the community all out “butterfly nets and men in white coats,” ill in many of their eyes.

The original article pleads for understanding and compassion from providers, but in the end it is a plea for these providers not to lock up the patient before figuring out what their real complaint is. “I know you came in for extreme anxiety after your home invasion, but you said you are a vampire, so let’s focus on that instead. Do you plan to harm yourself or others?”

One of the issues, as it was pointed out to me today, is that the community is so diverse that you can’t really make any statement that represents all of it. I agree, and that is as true today as it was 30 years ago. At the same time people from outside of the community, and tourists inside the community, try to do that exactly, pigeon-hole the community.

All of these article have in common the single aspect that there are some mental health issues at stake, and no one really looks to see if there is any other cause. It tells the world that; There is a lot of diversity so we can accept these poor deluded souls, as long as they aren’t causing harm.

That is great for legal issues. When a spouse goes to court for custody with emails and Facebook posts where you are claiming to be a vampire, it would be nice to have the judge be compassionate and considerate of your “Identity” or “Beliefs”

But, it is far more likely that a denial and a good excuse will get you further. “Your honor, I certainly have an interest in the vampire in myth and the subculture, but I am a long way from believing that I sparkle in the sunlight. With the way the health care system is today, Sir, I would be lucky to live till I’m sixty.”

You know, statements that aren’t just true, but reasonable. Saying “I’m a vampire, I drink blood to stay healthy and I want full custody of my kids” might not have the effect you’re looking for.

Talking to a mental/behavioral health provider about your vampirism isn’t needed, but if you do feel the urge, consider the abstract look a little more. “Doc, I need to get my energy right” doesn’t sound as attention grabbing as “I need to feed on blood!”

I am not saying you should make excuses for what you are, only that you need to understand that what you are, isn’t locked into a single term.  You don’t have to declare your disposition to get that treatment.  
 If Depression, Anxiety or any other issue comes up that you need help with, you should seek it. Just don’t muddy the waters by insisting on a term usage, or if you do expect some level of treatment bias. You might be lucky and find an open minded doc, and I hope you do, but don’t expect it to be the average.

For me, I don’t want to see people in the community categorized as having a mental or behavioral health issue simply because we can’t find anything else at present. The lack of evidence doesn’t positively indicate that the issue at hand is simply a “self-Identity” or a mental health issue. We might just need more evidence.

It is up to each VC member to decide how much they want to expose their Vampirism, but the price of not exposing it is nearly nothing.  The price of exposing your vampirism, in whatever form it might be, could be devastating.

I know I wouldn’t give up my child just to hold onto a term that kind of represent who I am. I don’t see any benefit for fighting for the term with people who are clueless and likely to remains so, no matter what you tell them.

Look obviously it’s your life, do with it what you consider wise. I only ask you consider this…not disclosing isn’t going to stop you from marriage, it won’t keep your love life hidden, you won’t be discriminated against for not talking about it, the only way you can be against for being a vampire, is if you disclosing it to others, who in reality have no reason to know. It is firmly in your control.