One of my colleagues called recently and tried to lay a new word on me. He was explaining how when he sees mosquito or another bug in the room, he gets the feeling of itching , as though he had been bitten.
I know exactly how he feels, except my sensation involves the sight of breaking glass in my line of vision, even if I’m halfway across the room. Soon, I “feel” the shards of glass on my skin.
What is the name of this phenomenon, if indeed it is a “thing”? He offered up dermaform, which has a great prefix but ultimately didn’t pan out. I’m not buying hypochondria, which is “a condition in which a person is excessively and unduly worried about having a serious illness.”
I considered paresthesia, which is “an abnormal sensation such as tingling, tickling, pricking, numbness or burning of a person’s skin with no apparent physical cause. The manifestation of a paresthesia may be transient or chronic, and may have any of dozens of possible underlying causes.” Well, maybe.
I suppose it is one of those somatoform symptom disorder, or SSD; when it’s known by its initials, you KNOW it’s serious.
It is “a form of mental illness that causes one or more bodily symptoms, including pain. The symptoms may or may not be traceable to a physical cause including general medical conditions, other mental illnesses, or substance abuse. But regardless, they cause excessive and disproportionate levels of distress.”
It’s not DISTRESS that I experience, more like discomfort. “Before vowels somat-, word-forming element meaning ‘the body of an organism,’ from comb. form of Greek soma (genitive somatos) ‘the body, a human body dead or living, body as opposed to spirit; material substance; mass; a person, human being; the whole body or mass of anything,’ of uncertain origin. somato- in Medicine.”
So it’s a bit ironic that when I went to the local Altamont Fair recently, and somehow I got bitten on the upper lip by some bug. I didn’t even feel it until it swelled up. I used ice and some Benadryl to tend to it.
Hey, have any of YOU ever experienced this, phantom bug bites when seeing insects, or faux cuts when seeing glass breaking? Whether or not you have, what would you call it?
“Crazy”, nuts”, and “have you seen anyone about this?” are not really the type of answers we’re looking for.