In my never-ending quest for sleep, I recently went to see an "alternative health practitioner". I won't even bother telling you what kind because it's all equally ridiculous horseshit, but at this point - that is, approaching the eight-year anniversary of the start of my torrid affair with insomnia - I decided I'm willing to accept a placebo effect.
Actually, I can sortof see why people go to quacks. Sortof. You get your placebo effects. You get the feeling that you're doing something about your problems (real or imagined). And what I think is probably the biggest draw, you get a fresh new audience to listen to your (real or imagined) problems - a sympathetic audience. A caring audience (never mind that they're robbing you blind while "caring"). This is in direct contrast to your actual medical doctor, who you might (rightly) suspect has long since decided you are a fruitloop, and to your friends and family, who are probably** sick to death of hearing you yammer on about your endless health-related "issues" and associated internet "research".
While I was speaking with my quack about my insomnia, I did notice how over-the-top supportive and understanding she was but I was so focused on getting my placebo effects and getting out that I almost didn't think to soak up this important potential contributor to my effects - whoops! Once she felt I had been thoroughly validated as a human with insomnia, we moved on to "treatment". (I'm sorry - I actually can't stop with the quotation marks. Be grateful I'm not telling you this story in person; it's probably even more annoying with air quotes.)
And the treatment - oh, the treatment. It was like a solid hour of bad sex, with an excessively earnest partner. (I know you know what I'm talking about.) Oddly, given that I was paying for the experience, I just felt bad for the gal and thus deferred to that old bad sex standby: I faked it.
(What is it you think you're doing, exactly?)
(Aw, did you just SAY that?)
I'm doing just great, thanks.
(What is going ON here?)
... Oh, yep, I'm definitely feeling it now.
(Is this over yet?)
*slightly more enthusiastic noncommittal sounds*
(Oh thank gawd this is over.)
Hey, that was great! Welp, gotta run!
(Nope, not a chance in hell.)
Sure thing, anytime! Call me!
Hm, I wonder if I can get some placebo action for my conflict avoidance problem, too?