Your desire for attention and your creating situations in which you will gain attention may fall under the broad category of fictitious disorders. These disorders involve individuals pretending as though he or she has a physical or mental illness. As you can probably attest to, this causes distress in one’s life. If those around you were to learn about your feigning illnesses, they would no longer trust you and some would cut ties with you altogether.
These types of disorders often stem from underlying emotional problems. Individuals with fictitious disorders wish to stop, but they often find that they can’t. It is almost like an addiction. Professional help is often required.
There is nothing wrong with self-help if it works, but as you stated “I just can’t help it.” Your own self-help efforts have led to a reduction in intensity, but it remains an unresolved problem. This would suggest professional help is necessary.
The fear of shame or embarrassment can hinder individuals from beginning therapy just as the fear of the boogey man can stop people from opening their closet door. But there is no boogey man in the closet just as there is no shame or embarrassment in therapy.
The fear of therapy stems from the false belief that you are supposed to know how to fix your own problems and that there is something wrong with you if you need therapy. Unfortunately, those sorts of stubborn and false ideas prevent many people with resolvable mental health problems from seeking help.
There’s no reason to fear therapy. I hope you will consider it. It would help you to feel better. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle