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new user -- i think i'm going crazy


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I'm so glad I found this forum -- because I think I'm losing my mind.

I'm currently being treated for a serious illness, and I've become obsessed with my doctor. It's causing me so much stress and guilt. I've heard about transference and how it's common for women to have crushes on their doctor. If it were just a harmless crush/fantasy, that would be OK -- but it's becoming more than that and it scares me.

It's not interfering with my treatment (I would never make up symptoms to see him or not carefully follow his instructions), but it's interfering with my life. I can't sleep; I don't eat much. I think about him all the time. If I go out anywhere, I take care to dress nicely in case I "run into him" (has never happened -- which depresses me). I've only ever seen him at the hospital, but I think about walking by his private office which is close to where I live. I tried to research him on the Internet and find out his home address.

I've been married for almost 10 years -- happily, I thought. I haven't felt this way about anyone since I was an adolescent. I didn't like it then, and I really don't like it now that I'm a grown-up married woman! I'm terrified my husband will find out, or that my doctor suspects my attraction. I think my husband senses that I'm pulling away -- but he's giving me a lot of psychological space due to my illness.

It's not possible for me to change doctors. I would have to have an explanation for my husband and my doctor. He's also an excellent doctor, and I might not trust a new doctor as much. I probably won't be seeing him much longer -- my treatment has been successful and is ending soon -- but I will have several check-ups in the next year or more.

I don't know if I'm having a mid-life crisis or what. I'm starting to compare my husband to an idealized fantasy I have of my doctor (whom I don't know well, really). If my husband does something annoying, I think, "Dr. X would never do something so stupid!" I replay every encounter I've had with my doctor over and over in my head. I've tried to dwell on his bad points. The other day I was thinking, "You are really short and not that handsome, my husband is better looking than you, you aren't my type at all" -- but it didn't help. I just keep thinking about his soft hands and how kind and funny he is, how he saved my life.

Right now, I know there's nothing between us and that this is not real, but I'm afraid of slipping into some kind of delusional state where I read more into his every word or look. I've heard about women who become obsessed with their doctors and start stalking them and sending them love letters and presents, etc.

Please help me.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Penny,

It is possible that you are having a mid life crisis. Of course, there is no way I can be sure. I suggest that you enter psychotherapy and the psychodynamic or psychoanalytic type where you can explore all of your feelings and fantasies.

You seem to realize that there is something unrealistic about your feelings for this doctor. In real life terms, no one human being is "so wonderful and perfect" as you imagine him to be. We call this "idealization" or hero worship. It does happen to many people: women with criticall illnesses who fall in love with their doctors or men who idealize their doctor, want to be just like them and even thinking about becoming doctors.

Of course, knowing, as you do, that this is "idealization" and fantasy does not help because the feelings are just there and they hurt.

How is your marriage? Sometimes these problems are routed in marriage and when a crisis occurs, such as a serious illness, "all the problems can home to roost" so to speak.

Are you willing to tell us a little about your self, your illness and your marriage?

There is lots of support here and we want to hear from you. In addition, it would be good for you to find a really good therapist.


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