Monday, February 6, 2012

Conversion Disorder Is Real

Don Shetterly on Dr Drew
show 2/1/12 - Leroy, NY

Since I am now part of this story in Leroy, NY that Dr Drew is covering on HLN, I am saddened by some of the things that is happening.  Conversion Disorder is real and it does happen in people.  Just like Dr. Drew said the other night, it happens far more than we may realize.  Yes, I know there are syndromes where people fake symptoms.  I am well aware of that, but Conversion Disorder is real!

Some of the hurtful comments coming from people watching these news stories is downright awful, hurtful and unhelpful to those experiencing it.  I can only observe some of the people on TV, much like everyone else.  However, to make "faking" the focus of comments is some of the most hurtful things you could do to another human being.

Conversion Disorder shows up in different ways and intensities.  When I went through what I did, it was so intense and all at once that I could hardly function in life.  I still remember the seizures that would have my body flailing around until it reached exhaustion.  Once at that point, I would sleep for hours.  In one instance, they even rushed me by ambulance to the hospital emergency room, only for me to have gotten to the point of exhaustion by the time I arrived.  No one knew what to do with it or me because there were no symptoms that made sense.  The symptoms would come and go at various times through out the day.

For those who have been through a conversion disorder, they know exactly what I am talking about in these experiences.  Unfortunately, there are far too many who don't understand, yet act as if they do.  My only concern is that the public needs to let this play out, rather than making things worse.  I am glad Dr. Drew is bringing attention to this story because when you go through something like this without any answers, it is extremely frightening.

No matter what you may or may not believe, Conversion Disorder is real.  It happens every day and at a frequency higher than most people realize.  I went for years wanting so badly to connect with others who had been through this and could not find any other person.  In the past 6 months to a year that I have put my story out on what I went through, that has all changed.  For the first time in my life, I am now aware that I was not as alone as I thought I was in this experience.

I hope that these people affected in Leroy, NY will get the necessary help they need to get to the underlying cause of what has happened.  It may take some time and I hope they get connected with the right help.  Not everyone out there understands this condition or how to treat it.  Many think that they do, but their effectiveness often falls short.  My thoughts and my prayers go out to anyone dealing with this condition in their life but please know, you are not alone!  Conversion disorder is real!

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  1. Don,
    I just today "stumbled" on this post of your. After almost 10 months of hell, including 4 separate hospitalizations more medical tests than I can count, I have been diagnosed with conversion disorder. I was released from my last hospital stay yesterday and have spent today frantically searching online for anything I can find about this illness since even my doctors have confessed they know little about it. Thank you for this post. It has made me feel validated and not quite so alone.

    1. You are definitely not alone. Check my book out that I tried to share some of my own journey. I am working on another book about conversion disorder. Here's a link of an interview I did with Dr. Paul Canali on Conversion Disorder - he's helped change my life in amazing ways. This is my other website I'm working on. If the link doesn't show up, just copy and paste it into your browser.