When my daughters finally convinced me to watch this show on Hulu, I was skeptical at best and slightly bored with the way they described it. Its a true story. I had heard of people who manipulated the system to get what they wanted so I thought it was pretty typical. Of course, I told them, “NO SPOILERS” and got to watch them squirm in their seats as things slowly began to unfold..
First of all, I was in shock because it all took place so close to where I live and I had never heard of the story. Secondly, the 1st episode was may more than I expected!! As I sat and stared at the scene where the mother opened the cabinet where all her daughters’ medicine was stored. I was literally sitting there with my mouth hanging open trying to wrap my mind around what kind of mental illness would cause this type of behavior on this level?? But, it was a familiar feeling and very uncomfortable. I had the same response when I watched Hoarders for the 1st time. I mean I knew people were sick (me included) but this was sick on a whole other level!! If you haven’t heard about the story by now, don’t feel bad.. I was lost too. It stars Patricia Arquette (CSI: Cyber) playing the mother and Joey King (Ramona and Beezus) as Gipsy the daughter. For decades, the single mother (Dee Dee) suffered from Munchausen by Proxy and learned how to manipulate the system and gain sympathy from people, doctors and hospitals all over the world to keep her daughter sick, broken and dependent on her. Ultimately, Gipsy gains her freedom through one unspeakable “act” that forever changes the trajectory of her life. (Trying not to give too many spoilers lol.)
Contrary to popular opinion, we all judge when it comes to things we don’t understand and mental illness is no exception. We may not like to admit it. But, every mental illness is different and usually shocking to people who don’t struggle with it and even more shocking for people who do. We tell ourselves “at least my issues aren’t that bad” or “Thank God I will never struggle on that level.” We put ourselves on these pedestals and that’s why we can’t relate when we hear about a mental illness that is outside of the “norm.” Hopefully, Gipsy’s story will shed new light on Munchausen and other people will get help for it before its too late.
My heart broke for Gipsy and I initially felt a deep rage and anger toward her mother.
Then I got to see just how sick she actually was and I felt an incredible sadness for her as well. She gave me a inside look at how far a mentally ill person would go to ease the pain and suffering she was feeling inside. I could only imagine the mother’s childhood and the things she went through before she had Gipsy. At one point, I had even more sympathy for her. Dee Dee used Gipsy as her security blanket. Just as a baby uses one for comfort. Gipsy loved and adored her mom and never wanted to do anything to hurt or upset her so she went along with her mother’s “act” even when she could sense something was wrong. How many of us have felt that way?? Before our diagnoses?? After?? I remember growing up and pacifying my mother’s behavior. I remember overlooking all the dysfunction just to feel some type of genuine love in my heart. Dee Dee was Gipsy’s world and I didn’t blame her for protecting her mother.
So overall, once I got over all the shock I could see a lot of their behavior in countless stories I have heard over the years and even in a little bit of my own story. So my take away was that we need to allow people to use their voices and share their story, Especially, when it comes to criminal justice!! Not everyone is just “acting.”