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“Out Patients” – Elise Wu

Elise Wu is trying to portray the life of those who have a mental illness called Factitious disorder which is when one fakes an illness or exaggerates symptoms they may have. Although she has the disorder, I notice that when she describes the community of FDers more often than not she does not include herself. Is as if she is a different entity than them. I also notice that Wu writes about the families and friends affected by those closest to them who fake their illness. She notices that the majority of the people in the website she is on, are people seeking advice on how to deal with someone with FD. She provides details on what the people are commenting and their response to one another. When Wu joins a group chat of FDers, she describes them as conversational by sharing their stories and developing friendships with one another. Through this group chat she meets different types of people such as those who confess to their therapist about their disorder and those who want to confess but do not know how to. The more she reads, she confesses that she does not feel any type of empathy for these people and worries that she doesn’t belong. She uses multiple websites as the sources for her research as well as her personal experience regarding her topic. She ends up coming out to a former doctor about her Factitious disorder. The footnotes serve as context to what she is citing in her writing.

Comments ( 3 )

  1. Marieme Jiddou
    I agree with you, I don't think she considers her self part of that FD community. I wonder why though, maybe she doesn't want to use too many personal stories/identity in case she overshadows the people in the community she's observing?
  2. Ashley Borja
    I think that you made a valid point about her feelings and connection to the community. As a reader, the initial thought is that she would feel some sort of connection with the people on the forum-- however like you mentioned she says she feels no empathy.
  3. Milton Isaiah Rivera
    I agree with you, and I like the way she switches from subjective and objective in her essay so that she isn't always talking about herself, but rather highlighting other people in this community.

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