Sickened by Julie Gregory
Quite possibly the scariest book on child abuse that I have ever read.
“Sickened” is a story about Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome (MBP) where a young girl is subjected to her mother’s persistent cries that her daughter is sick and the frequent doctor’s appointments and tests that the child must undergo. However, the nature of the illness is that the parent deliberately injures or sickens the child so that the doctor’s think that something is wrong, and end up doing tests and surgeries that are completely unnecessary, often painful, and force the child into a position of complete submission and complacency to the abusing parent’s will.
The child trusts the parent that the medicine will make them better, when actually, the parent is making them sicker to maintain their dominance over child, family and doctors.
Julie is another candid writer. Her description of her family history and life, her own emotions and physical pains, and her sudden realization of what was actually happening make for a great descriptive story about how her life was lived before doctor’s (and family and friends) realized that a parent could actually do this to a child.
The psychological makeup of her family is beyond frightening; her mother makes Mommy Dearest look tame but the book brings you inside how psychology and medicine need to work together. It also effectively proves that child abuse is not just limited to physical beatings, but there is an emotional and mental aspect that more often is ignored than assisted.
Like Wasted, realize that the author does not spare words in describing what happened in her youth. But as MBP is a frequently missed diagnosis and is most likely more prevalent than we realize, it is a great book for spreading awareness of the disease and helping the medical profession to recognize that “doctor shopping” may have a hidden meaning.