HiHow do you share with someone who professes to be a christian but is a hypochondriac? This person is always sick or makes a really big deal out of every little sniffle to get attention. This person has driven a lot of people away and I want to share truth with them with out being hurtful but I am not really sure how to do that?Any suggestionsin HimEllie
Hi wind_blows...I knew a woman who was a hypochondriac. She was always "under the weather" or worried about getting sick. She was taking lots of medicine (and much that was probably unnecessary). One day, she decided to accompany a group of missionaries into the rugged Sierra Madre Occidental in Western Mexico. We traveled high in those cold, pine-covered mountains to the indigenous Tarahumara. Many of them still lived in caves...and had no knowledge of electricity, running water, bathrooms, cars, paper, computers, radios, or modern products. There, this woman witnessed how people probably lived a thousand years ago. There were no doctors...no pharmaceuticals...and no modern conveniences. People just didn't complain about a headache...backache...or sore tooth. When people really got sick, it was because they were VERY ill...and they often died. On our last night in this village, this woman testified about how she was going to be "free" from worry and stress. Back in the United States, this woman's demeanor truly had changed. I don't think that I ever heard her speak about sickness after that trip. Maybe you should suggest a mission trip into a third world nation? Maybe this person would realize that they don't really have problems.
Hey ChrisThanks for sharing that story with me. Awesome testimony to what the Lord can do:)This lady is a tough situation though. She has had some illness that has limited her ability slightly so I am guessing that a mission trip would not be possible. The thing with her is that she not only imagines things but when she does have something she blows it up to be huge, really huge.I encouraged her to help with another lady who is dying of lung cancer, I thought maybe it would help her to see that things are not so bad for her, but instead every time I speak to her its like it has almost become a competition for her. all I hear is how hard it is for her to care for this other lady. She feels that nobody really cares for how sick she is and how hard things are for her. She has pushed so many people away from her with this behavior and I want to help her but I don't know if I should just come out and confront her about her behavior or take some other approach. I feel really bad for her, people make fun of her because she is always going on and on about her health. I almost wonder is it possible that she does not even realize what she is doing? I mean could this be something that is not in her control, this need to always have attention from others?in Himellie
Hi Ellie.I was going to suggest the same as Chris and having her look after those worse off, but it seems that is not working either.Her behaviour really does need confronting as it is selfish and attention seeking in it's root. She has already driven people away with her attitude and that needs pointing out to her.I will warn you though that there are people who just don't want to be helped as they enjoy the attention being focused on them - I know from personal experiences and many late nights and early mornings with such folk!If she will not be told then you will have to walk away or she will drain you of psychological and emotional energy and end up making you ill.There is nothing wrong with walking away when you have done all you can to help. Jesus never chased after anyone - he just said his piece and left the decisions with them. You have to do the same. Don't let her tie you up in bondage and make you feel responsible to her, you will really have to be firm with her or it'll be like pandering to a spoilt child and her demands will drain you. Please don't be a martyr to her cause. I broke free after years coping with a lady like that who would even phone me at all hours with a latest crisis! I never realised just how selfish she really was until I broke free and the relief I felt lightened my life.
thanks Ceri I know this lady acts this way because she is desperate for attention but is it possible that she is not able to see what shes doing is sin? I was talking with her just the other day and she was telling me about these headaches that she gets. She got very emotional and began crying and said that the doctor told her that it probably was just her sinuses but that if she was worried she could have a cat scan done to rule out a brain tumor. I asked her if she really felt it was necessary to have that done because it is really expensive all these tests. She got even more upset and said no one seems to really understand the pain she suffers with. I told her I would keep her in my prayers. When ever I have tried to bring up the subject that maybe she is allowing herself to exaggerate her illnesses she gets all emotional and goes on about how no one really cares about her. Its seems in her mind she is always a victim. Honestly I want to be of help to this lady but I don't know how to at this point. I find that if I spend to much time listening it just feeds into the situations and she gets worse. in Himellie
Hi Ellie, seriously, you do need to back off and have space, and not give so much attention to the condition she feels she has, as you are feeding the anxiety.It sounds like her doctor is onto her and that is why he has recommended a cat scan. With Hypochondria the person will not be happy until the serious extreme of a condition is ruled out. She will have a pain and immediately think it is the most serious of whatever that pain could be.It is a type of obsessive compulsive disorder/extreme anxiety that needs treating.Could she have suffered a sudden bereavement in the past that has triggered this fear of death?something in her past has triggered this 'victim' mentality.You have to lighten the atmosphere with her, try and have a laugh with her - it's scriptural! Listen to her of course, but don't allow her to keep talking and dwelling on herself as that is only feeding the condition.She really does need medical help for the anxiety and counselling to get to the root. Pray for God to reveal the cause and for her to find complete release from this bondage. I would also strongly advise you to back off from her a bit though for your own sake. Don't allow her to dominate your life. It is so commendable that you have a heart to help, but she needs professional help. Be aware that you can also be distracted from whatever else God has for you.In the case of my friend of 30 years, she was all take; take; take; as in the warning in Proverbs 30 v 15.When I hit a deep crisis after coming forward as a victim of abuse and needed the support of my friends, she was still take; take; take! even having me at her home at 3 in the morning to comfort her. One day when she refused to ring numbers I got for her to have professional help but was still asking advice, saying the same things I'd heard day in day out - due to the situation I was also carrying, I collapsed in the kitchen and my daughter and hubby had to carry me through to the living room. It really scared me as I realised how close to a breakdown I had become, all my energy had drained. Another friend, who was our Pastors daughter and worked as a detective and was looking after me, banned me from answering the phone and was so angry that this friend had continued to behave so selfishly towards me. My husband told her that I couldn't handle her situation any more and I'd tried everything I could to help.I realised I had to back off and have space and be cruel to be kind, so she'd have no choice but stand on her own feet and do something for herself.My mam prayed so fervently over me breaking the cords of the friendship, as she was like a leech in proverbs 30, draining away my energy, peace and joy. The prayer worked and although I still see her at church - and she still only rings me when she desperately needs a favour - aaargh!! there is not that power over me anymore, the bond of 30 years has been broken and she did get herself sorted out. She was then so proud telling me of her acheivements.Please don't allow yourself to become in bondage to her and lose what God wants of you.Search the internet for advice on 'dealing with hypochondriacs' there's a lot of information out there, but as I say, she needs professional help. I do hope this helpsbless you EllieCeri