‘No, Munchausens syndrome does not make you into a conman.’
Yesterday, television and radio personality Fifi Box put into words exactly what so many of us are thinking about the Belle Gibson revelations.
Venting her outrage over the social media entrepreneur’s false claims that she miraculously cured cancer with a healthy diet, Fifi made it clear that she didn’t care if Gibson’s actions were caused by a disease – and that she needed to be held accountable.
“People are making choices about healing themselves from cancer based on her blatant lie about curing herself of a disease she never had,” the 38-year-old radio personality said on her Fifi & Dave Breakfast show on 101.9 The Fox.
“To make light of cancer, but then to tell people how to cure themselves — it is disgraceful.”
Read more: FiFi Box slams Belle Gibson.
While there has been some suggestion that Ms Gibson’s lies could be attributed to a mental disorder such as Munchausen syndrome – a possibility acknowledged by The Australian Women’s Weekly in its exclusive interview with Ms Gibson this week – FiFi and Dave’s show again aired a segment that has us all talking today.
In it, a listener called Casey who actually suffers from Munchausen syndrome set the record straight.
Casey, who has battled the disorder for five years, talked openly about her condition and strongly voiced her view that Ms Gibson definitely doesn’t suffer from it herself.
“Munchausens syndrome is …where people make themselves sick or pretend to be sick to get attention form people in hospitals and the medical field,” Casey explained on the segment. “Generally it (occurs) because people have an underlying disorder already, such as depression, bipolar, borderline personality disorder, or anxiety.”
Casey went on to suggest that if Ms Gibson had Munchausens, she likely wouldn’t be profiteering off her lies.
Read more: ‘My cancer was a lie,’ admits Belle Gibson.
“In the diagnostical statistical manual for mental illnesses, one of the primary exclusions – so say someone thinks you’ve got Munchausens, if you’re making money off it, it’s not Munchausens. Because the primary reason for fictitious disorders is to get attention, it’s not to make money.”
She added: “When you start making money it’s called either malingering or just being a conman.”
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Asked whether she feels furious when people point to the condition as a possible explanation for Ms Gibson’s action, Casey confirmed that she did, because factitious disorders are “already so maligned”.
“But when you’ve got people saying ‘Oh I think this person has Munchausens, they’ve pretended to have cancer and they’ve made so much money of it and got so famous – that’s not Munchausens.”
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