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I Don’t Want to Get Better Because I Feel Like Mental Illness Makes Me Special

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Hello! I’m a fifteen year old girl diagnosed with ADHD, major depression, and depersonalization disorder. I’m currently being treated for the first two with medications.

Thing is, although a lot of this really sucks, I don’t think I’m ever going to get better because I don’t want to. I seem to enjoy being a bit of a “special snowflake”, if you know what I mean. Sure, I might get urges to throw myself in front of cars, I might be failing school, and I might not feel like I really exist half the time… but at least I’m unique, right?

I’m in therapy, but it does nothing for me. I’ve seen over ten therapists in the past five years or so.

Is there any way for me to stop this way of thinking? Is it even worth it? I understand that a lot of my behavior is dangerous (for example, self-harm and attempting to cut off my limbs because I believe they aren’t mine), but somehow I don’t care.

I Don’t Want to Get Better Because I Feel Like Mental Illness Makes Me Special

Answered by on -

A.

You don’t need to have an illness to be special. It’s possible that some event reinforced that idea in your mind. When something is reinforced it tends to increase in frequency.

The only reason a person would want a disorder is to receive attention. Attention makes a person feel special and valued. People who would fake an illness might do so because they don’t fundamentally feel special or believe that they have value. In fact, there are psychological disorders in which the primary symptom is deliberately producing or exaggerating symptoms of an illness to gain attention.

It’s not unlike people who “catfish” an unsuspecting love interest or pretend to have cancer. Consider the recent story of Brandi Lee Weaver-Gates, a 23-year-old former beauty queen who pretended for two years that she was dying of cancer. She explicitly said she did it in order to gain more attention from her family. It is understandably difficult for the public to feel sympathy for people like Ms. Weaver-Gates because the general public does not have the psychological knowledge necessary to understand the need to seek attention through the faking an illness. It is not done for fun or as a joke. It is a deep need for validation that can only come, for these individuals, through the demonstration of concern and caring by others.

You admittedly don’t care that your behavior is dangerous. If you don’t care, then it’s going to be difficult for any treatment to work. You have to care in order for treatment to work.

You have worked with many therapists already, but you should continue to do so until you find one who can help. It can also be a function of age. Perhaps you weren’t ready before but you now are or soon will be. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

I Don’t Want to Get Better Because I Feel Like Mental Illness Makes Me Special

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). I Don’t Want to Get Better Because I Feel Like Mental Illness Makes Me Special. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 20, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/08/27/i-dont-want-to-get-better-because-i-feel-like-mental-illness-makes-me-special/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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