TW: conversion disorder, discussion of psychiatric illness
Spoilers for Chicago Med episodes 1×08 and 2×17
So I like to laugh (inside my mind) at medical shows. When I watch more than one at a time (e.g. Code Black and Chicago Med), I see how they often have patients with very similar stories and conditions within a very short time, if not on the exact same week. I see how the patients become the B-story foil for the doctors’ emotional arcs, I see quite a few variations on ‘that’s not how … works’ – things like sterilisation (or lack of), ER doctors overseeing day-to-day care on long-term or chronic conditions, rare conditions being instantly diagnosed and cured in 40 mins.
Last year, I was actually really excited to see conversion disorder mentioned on Chicago Med, although I agreed with the rather loud internet reaction at the time, that using it the way it was used wasn’t responsible and devalued an actual real physical diagnosis.
Since then I’ve been put firmly in the position where my real physical issues have been flat out dismissed because I have a diagnosis of conversion disorder. Everything, even things which predate the incident which supposedly precipitated the conversion disorder, is written off by my psychiatrist as psychosomatic – sore throat and low thyroid levels? just my brain not wanting to talk! – I can really understand and empathise with that position. Except my psychiatrist, somehow, positioned himself as directing my physical care as well, which has actually prevented me getting physical medical care, and so I’m the other way around from what was in the show.
Now, it normally takes a few seasons for these types of shows to begin repeating themselves, except for things which are really common or dramatic (pregnancy, heart attack – things which function as plot shortcuts that most people understand), or are things which are repeatedly shown so that viewers learn them as plot markers (for example, dead body + broken hyoid bone = strangulation, even though that’s not strictly true in real life).
Imagine, then, my surprise when the new episode of Chicago Med pulled it out again.
SPOILERS below the cut
Continue reading That’s not how it works – Conversion Disorder edition