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September 02, 2014

Joni Mitchell Isn't a Happy Woman

I wouldn't post this, because, seriously, who cares about Joni Mitchell?, except reading Ed Driscoll's piece triggered an internet memory.

Joni Mitchell is, as you might expect, a soul so sensitive to suffering that she despises humanity. (Whatever.)

But this caught my eye: She suffers from Morgellons disease.

Morgellons is constantly morphing. There are times when it's directly attacking the nervous system, as if you're being bitten by fleas and lice. It's all in the tissue and it's not a hallucination. It was eating me alive, sucking the juices out. I've been sick all my life'.


...

'There's a lot of lethargy with my illness. I'm fatigued', she laments. And the medicines she was taking gave her brain fog, adding: 'My creative energy went into survival and into furnishing the interior of the house [in British Columbia]'.

Her increased irritability and intolerance she attributes to Morgellons.

Here's the thing, though:

Although many people claim to suffer from Morgellon's Syndrome -- in which tiny little parasites, often claimed to resemble black or white fibres, burrow into the victim's skin -- medical authorities are fairly certain that the disease, while real in a way, is in fact a delusion.

There are no tiny fibre-like parasites burrowing into you. Yes, you have a sickness, but the sickness is the mental delusion of thinking you have tiny parasites burrowing into you.

Wikipedia documents the possibility that this might be chiefly an internet-transmitted form of viral delusion:

Morgellons patients usually self-diagnose based on information from the Internet and find support and confirmation in online communities of people with similar illness beliefs.

In 2006, Waddell and Burke reported the influence of the Internet on their self-diagnosed Morgellons patients: "physicians are becoming more and more challenged by the many persons who attempt self-diagnosis on-line. In many cases, these attempts are well-intentioned, yet wrong, and a patient's belief in some of these oftentimes unscientific sites online may preclude their trust in the evidence-based approaches and treatment recommendations of their physician."...

Vila-Rodriguez and MacEwan said in the American Journal of Psychiatry that the Internet is important in spreading and supporting "bizarre" disease beliefs, because "a belief is not considered delusional if it is accepted by other members of an individual’s culture or subculture."

The LA Times, in an article on Morgellons, notes that "(t)he recent upsurge in symptoms can be traced directly to the Internet, following the naming of the disease by Mary Leitao, a Pennsylvania mother." Robert Bartholomew, a sociologist who has studied the Morgellons phenomenon, states that the "World Wide Web has become the incubator for mass delusion and it (Morgellons) seems to be a socially transmitted disease over the Internet." According to this hypothesis, patients with delusions of parasitosis and other psychological disorders become convinced they have "Morgellons" after reading Internet accounts of others with similar symptoms.

I'm not a doctor and I can't say if "Morgellons syndrome" is a real thing or not, but people who are doctors seem pretty convinced that it's not.

Enough people have frantically gone into their doctor's office complaining of tiny fibre-parasites that if these parasites actually existed, we would know about it by now.

And what does this have to do with Joni Mitchell?

Well, people often say a leftist outlook makes people miserable. That may be true, but I think that the more important thing in this relationship is that tormented, miserable people frequently seek out a politics -- a philosophy, a religion -- that gives meaning to, and thereby redeems, their own pain.

And that politics is leftism.



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posted by Ace at 07:34 PM

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