Out Patient’s by Elise Wu
In her essay, Out Patients, Elise Wu portrays those who have been diagnosed or self diagnosed with a disorder called factitious disorder (FD), with her being among those people. Upon her history of faking severe illnesses, she decided to google why she does so out of guilt & concern & discovers a web page dedicated to the condition run by a Dr. Marc Feldman. Though abandoning it for 2 years, she returns to it & sees to her dismay that the forums under his page are not to assist those with the actual disorder, but rather those who know others with this disorder; These entries in the forum also don’t typically ask how to help those in their lives with the disorder, but rather how to distance or cut ties with the person & receive responses in great detail from others or from Dr. Feldman pitching for his book to be bought for more information & assistance. When Dr. Feldman finally posts a response that links to a support group, cravin4care, Wu finally discovers a forum for people who actually suffer from the disorder like herself. This is a drastic difference from the last forum setup & audience, as this forum requires subscribing to the list and will display public information. Ultimately, Wu, despite the noted difficulty there is for recovering from this order, decides to seek professional help upon the comfort crave4care provides her & gets a therapist who genuinely makes her feel supported.
Wu creates a verbal portrait of the two sites by contrasting their different appearances. Upon describing Dr. Feldman’s page she feels discomfort towards fully trusting & relying on the site, as she describes it to have a “sea green background” and at the top of the page, Dr. Feldman with an “expert smile”. In comparison to Dr. Feldman’s site, crave4care’s forum was one that was more trustworthy & comfortable to her as it provided a community for people like her, as well as “coming out” stories that reassured her. The footnotes she displays with her essay provide additional information for the context in which she is discussing and for citations.