Sick note: Faking illness online

Welcome to the Coping With Epilepsy Forums

Welcome to the Coping With Epilepsy forums - a peer support community for folks dealing (directly or indirectly) with seizure disorders. You can visit the forum page to see the list of forum nodes (categories/rooms) for topics.

Please have a look around and if you like what you see, please consider registering an account and joining the discussions. When you register an account and log in, you may enjoy additional benefits including no ads, access to members only (ie. private) forum nodes and more. Registering an account is free - you have nothing to lose!

I'm often visiting a pregnancy website and have met two different fakers in there. They have the craziest stories and keep repeating them until they've made so many errors their lies are discovered. Then they are kicked out. The problem is, they just start over again with a new name. How do you prevent that?
If they've got a dynamic IP address, or come in through lots of different proxies, there's not a lot you can do technically :( Some hoaxers do tend to have patterns in their names/stories though, a lot of them just can't help doing that for some reason.

What you need is great mods to constantly keep on top of it. You do definitely develop a 'knack' for noticing when the story isn't straight and it's hard not to get cynical about it all unfortunately.

The net's just a microcosm of the real world- there'll always be bad apples out there to spoil the barrel, we just have to keep an eye out..
Cadsgj, No apology necessary, my friend. I was just trying to understand your thinking. Though we certainly have something in common on this site, none of has walked in anyone other's shoes, and we are not as equipped to make judgments as we may sometimes think. I'm sorry you've had problems with other sites, and I doubt you'll find any here. I too know what it can be like as I have some other neurological deficits as well with support sites that don't seem so supportive. Of course, they all devolve into political doublespeak. NOT HERE!
Well it's important to keep an eye out for sure. The fakers sometimes come with some really bad advice based on "their own" experience and give others false hope. :-(
I don't often , oh Hell, yes I do, try to think about these things from a perspective that examines my life and that of others from 'outside of me'. Nobody likes to think that they themselves have a 'Hair O' The Dog' when discussing this subject, but remember your youth. Who here can say they never faked a stomach ache or some other pure baloney to avoid school? Maybe there was a test we wanted to avoid, or maybe there is some important paper or homework due. The point is that sometimes we got away with it and got the desired result. That is positive reinforcement as a result of the action we took. I guess some folks fall into a pattern and can't stop...
I was also bullied and mocked in school, and didn't always finish my assignments on time. But my mother, like many I'm sure, had some kind of "illdar", and almost always said she could make home seem a lot worse than school when she detected attempted a phoniness (always)! Believe me, I believed her!
I did too. I just don't think it's the same. People who fake an illness on the internet don't do it to avoid bullies. It doesn't really hurt anyone if you fake a stomach ache because you're lazy, forgot to do your homework or whatever. But those online achieve attention and the feeling of being part of a group, I guess. A group of pregnant women, people who have cancer, epilepsy, lost a child, etc. They receive attention and compassion. They can give bad advice to sick people who read their stories and believe them. They chat with people online who gets involved in their lives that way and truly grief when they are told the lie that the faker is now dead. Faking a stomach ache is to avoid going to school - this is for attention!
I was part of an online forum once for men's issues. There were lots of good people and good comments, but the "bad apples" finally got to be too much for me so I quit participating. The main thing that bothered me was that those people could get away with saying things, and acting in ways, that they could never get away with if they were in an actual, in person group. Other people simply wouldn't put up with their s--t, and they would probably get punched out somewhere along the line. One guy, for instance, only made posts in free verse. That might not get him hit in an actual group setting, but he sure would be shunned by a lot of the others.
Trolls are a common occurrence on forums. It doesn't seem that we have any obvious ones here, though!
I really didn't mean to in any way equate what these 'challenged' individuals do with a kid faking a stomach ache to get out of school. I only wanted us to think back and realize that we did indeed get what we wanted when it did work. And speaking of attention, didn't that bit of extra attention from Mom feel quite good; even when you had 'invented' a minor illness? It was a tightrope walk we learned to do; you had to be sick enough to stay home without being 'too sick', lest you be escorted to the Medico! All I'm saying is that perhaps it would do us (including me) some good to realize what motivates the emotionally ill to commit what I certainly realize is a much worse offense in adulthood. The way I see it, everybody has just a tiny bit of all the things they see other pathetic cases do. I know this is at least somewhat true. I am an avowed non-violent person who can say that at the age of sixty five I have NEVER struck another human being, yet when I was given Dilantin without Phenobarbital I went into something called Toxic Psychosis. I was angry and about nuts and NOBODY wanted to be anywhere near me. I had an awful reaction years later to Prednisone, which also brought parts of me out that nobody, including myself, ever knew before. It wasn't pretty. These things don't make up any part of what I consider my personality, but there they were. I've seen this with two other individuals as well. We all encompass more than we'll (with luck) ever know.
Oh that's what you mean, I understand. Like people with depression. Their feelings and thoughts are all natural and normal like everyone elses but in their case it's extreme and continue for no obvious reason.
I've seen people who have posted on here who seem to want sympathy, people to be sorry for them, instead of help or advice.

They will post a question about something and get a good bit of replies and answers to they posted. They don't like the answers they get so they will post another thread basically saying the same exact thing. Again they will get told the same things in the replying posts but they won't like the answers they get there. The whole thing keeps going on and on and on. When I see that a thread is started by that person I just don't even bother to open it and read it now.

There are different people who start posts dealing with the same topic but this is not what I'm referring to.

This is not a "Sit down and cry for me because I have epilepsy" web site! It's a "Make me feel good and help me with the issues I'm dealing with because I have epilepsy" web site!

I know this doesn't deal with faking an illness so I'm not sure if it was the right place to post it. I apologize if it was inappropriate or rude too. If it were either of these things please move it or delete my post all together.
It's a fair point- there are lots of reasons for fake posts, from serious mental conditions to needing empathy to people just being asshats to someone because they can.

I get what you're saying- for many of us this is one of the few places when we can actually talk to people who share the experience. What you're describing is different to turning to your friends here when at a low ebb for support.

It's really exploiting the willingness of the community here to share support because of E, and that does sadden me.
Yes indeed. It's sad for the individual and it's sad that it wastes the time of those who are taken in by it while sincerely trying to help. But, just like a homeless persons who beg on traffic islands and whom you try to help with a fiver, and who might just drink it away to dull the pain of their situation, you can't look back in anger at the 'waste'. YOU did a good thing and there is no one who can take that from you. There isn't really any sense in looking back in anger. I'm not too religious, but I hear that God loves a cheerful giver.
There have been times during my 'epilepsy career' when I've been able to come here and offer support to others freely at little cost to myself, times when I didn't need any support at all. During the last six months when my epilepsy's been uncontrolled and my meds, a nightmare, every little post I make takes something out of me. There are some CWE members who are constantly in this state, always having seizures, always feeling ill, so I think another important thing to look at is what these fake posts actually take from members who are very ill. These fakers knowingly come to a site full of members who are ill with no regard as to what they're sucking out of members who get tangled up in their stories. From what I've read here, they'll even go so far as to fake hospital stays and near fatal admissions. That means those members who care might be feeling very anxious and worried, which can snap an uncontrolled member into days of seizures. I guess that's why this kind of behaviour is antisocial.
I find that when I post it actually energizes me with good vibes, and I imagine it's that way for a number of others as well. Your theory of ever draining participation worries me. I do understand what you're trying to express here, and I surely do respect your opinion and your experience. So in my case, the opposite of what you experience happens. It's weird, but so's this GD disease.
Yes, good vibes and energising support are there when you're well enough to sit in front of a PC. When sitting up for five minutes makes you feel very ill and you need every bit of energy you can coax out of yourself to make your meals and get yourself cleaned up in the mornings, good vibes don't fix your physical exhaustion. I didn't say that my participation was 'ever draining.' I did say that during times of good health, it's been a pleasure to come here and offer something back, and that it was only during the last six months that my health had declined to the point where I was house bound (first time in five years, in fact). On your profile you say you've had three tonic clonics since 2009. Until two weeks ago, I was having at least one a day, along with a few partials daily and up to 20 absence seizures a day. With that, I was also having severe reactions to my meds, and I was being taken off some AEDs and very suddenly just lumped onto a ton of neurontin without any titration. I was completely whacked. Can you understand why, in that scenario, it might be tiring to type? My situation was not the worst of it: there are people here who experience far worse and over more extended periods of time.
Last edited:
I should add that there are rather a lot of people on this forum that I've come to really treasure, and I'd never resent interacting with them or anyone who was honestly wanting to chat and interact with others about their epilepsy. If I'm struggling over a post because I'm tired, but I'm talking to someone who is not just faking epilepsy to get attention, then that's scarce energy spent well. I'm trying to hone in on the worst case scenario: where Munchhausen by internet gets to the point where a member is pretending to be in a serious and dangerous physical condition and there are people involved and worried who have intractable epilepsy, the result for the victim can be extremely serious.
Kirsten, I'm sincerely sorry that you are so ill. I have been about where you are. I'm not sure how you got the idea I only had three TCs since 2009. Oh, how I wish that were true. I've been seizing with TCs for 25 years. My seizures are never short of wrenching head slamming monsters. Lately I've been lucky, but I have gotten into spells where two or three a week was not unusual. Let's not fall into playing "I've got it worse than you" here. I just wanted you to understand that I'm no lightweight on this. I'd estimate that since this started in 1987 I've had three hundred TCs. Through it all I have been at pretty low points, but I have maintained an upbeat attitude about it all; because what's the alternative? Different people are just plain different. I think we all learn that here.
Top Bottom