Be Careful Who You Hang Out With
Our newest story finds Agnus meeting a socially awkward guy named Peter Evans. The next morning they search for a cricket in her apartment that ends up being only the smoke alarm. As he removes it to silence it he begins to explain how radioactive smoke alarms are. Here is where the decent into madness begins. There are no insects in this story but that is the whole point. They are both very broken souls, he is crazy and she is vulnerable. Be careful who you hang out with because they influence you, for good or ill. As you can imagine, this one is for ill. Directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist), we see a different kind of possession take place. The possession of the psyche.
Irrational VS Rational Erosion
Agnes and Peter fins solace in each others misery and become involved. After a romp in the sheets he notices a bug in the bed but upon showing it to her she can’t see anything and writes it off. Peters persistence in his delusion begins to convince her but the interesting thing is why. Agnes either doesn’t want to come out and call him crazy out of manners or she doesn’t want to use the powers of deduction, thinking she is ignorant of the subject. Either one of these will lead her down a dark road. The first clue that something is amiss mentally with Peter, is seeing bugs that no one else sees. The 2nd clue is in his 1st speech on the subject which utilizes a plethora of entomological ignorance in order to figure out what is biting him in the bed. These behaviors are very typical in delusional parasitosis cases. DP is defined by the National Institute of Health as the fixed belief of being infested with pathogens against all medical evidence. In this movie the ignorance and delusion lead him to deduct that aphids are the culprit. The problem is several fold, you can see aphids, they don’t feed on blood, they don’t bite, and they have no reason to be in the bed anyway. In fact, Agnes and her friend R.C. point these facts out to Peter but it doesn’t matter. This is the 3rd clue, when presented with facts contradictory to the sufferers delusions, they don’t accept it and often get angry that you don’t believe them. I have brought facts to DP sufferers and It never goes well, that usually indicates to me that it is time to bid them adieu.
Folie à Deux: the Madness of Two
As Peter continues to reveal his darker beliefs that would force most of us to don tin-foil hats, Agnes seems to find it interesting and even begins to believe. As his explanations get ever crazier he forms a web of conspiracies that seemingly intersect with the government being out to get him. He fears being taken back to Groom Lake (Area 51) where he went AWOL from the Army. Agnes relents and wants the place sprayed but he refuses because he can’t trust anyone in the apartment. Peter wants to get pesticides himself and spray. When people do this it only exacerbates the situation by adding irritants into the environment applied by an untrained mentally ill person.
Folie à Deux is French for The madness of two. The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) describes Folie à Deux as “the delusional material from the dominant partner provides content for delusional belief by the individual who may not otherwise entirely meet criteria for delusional disorder.” The classification has changed several times from schizophrenic spectrum to shared psychotic disorders. No matter the name, in layman’s terms they see and believe things that aren’t there and don’t make sense causing them to act irrationally usually hurting themselves or others trying to eliminate what isn’t there. I am no head shrinker but I see this in action in the field and it is never easy. Spouses either think the other is nuts which leads to arguments, or they begin to share in the delusion. It is pretty sad to watch and it is something I cannot fix with pest control.
Agnes starts to see the imaginary bugs and feel them biting, sharing Peters delusions. Here, as I have seen with customers, it begins to manifest itself by the overuse of pesticides, scratching abrasions on the skin made worse by the pesticide use, and extreme anxiety. The bugs must be dug out of the skin to stop the itching and to prove to the naysayers they exist. When I state I can’t see them they actually tell me that only they can see them. It’s sad they don’t see how illogical what they are saying is and don’t bother trying to convince them it’s all in their head. Morgellons Disease is closely linked to Delusional Parasitosis where people claim small fibers are growing out of their skin. All research I have seen has been inconclusive at best. In fact, the Morgellons Research Foundation website even links the condition to chemtrails. Go look for yourself and put a tin-foil hat on so the microwaves from space don’t fry your brain. They don’t even touch on delusional parasitosis, which is the real cause, except to say that doctors often misdiagnose patients with morgellens as having delusional parasitosis, opting in stead to blame bio-terrorism, parasites, and other laughable causes. Sounds allot like the textbook definition of delusional parasitosis to me.
Delusions Turn Violent
R.C. is the only character so far who can think rational and takes Agnes to the doctor who prescribes a lotion for the rash she created digging for invisible bugs. Even though the doctor couldn’t find any bugs, this does not convince them and they get even more upset with R.C. for not believing they have bugs. Somehow Peter gets the idea that the egg sack was placed inside his tooth by the Army so his perfectly ration response is to pull out his tooth, crush it, and examine it under the microscope. The delusion degenerates as they now believe not only are there bugs in his crushed and bloody tooth but the bugs are living in his blood. The next rational counter is to cover everything in tin-foil. Do you see how one delusion feeds a worse delusion prompting an irrational solution? And of course none of these things actually work because the real problem is a mental disorder.
The Climax of Madness
Peter’s doctor finds them and tries to help but gets killed for it because they believe he is a robot. Peters final speech tying all his delusions together is expertly written and performed. It was absolutely mesmerizing to see the illogic made to sound logical. In the full transfer of delusion called Folie à Deux we see Agnes screaming “I am the super mother bug!” before dousing themselves naked in gasoline and ending their nightmare. Remember, Agnes used to be semi-normal before the influence of Peter. Be careful who you spend your time with. You might end up crazy and barbecuing yourself in a room covered in tin-foil. IMDB gave Bug a 6.1/10 and Rotten Tomatoes a 6.2/10.
Phoenix gives it an invisible 5/5 bugs.
If any of this sounds familiar please do not call me. I kill real bugs. Go see the dermatologist if you must but find someone to talk to about your feeling as well. This is a serious condition and should not be taken lightly but you must identify the actual cause before being able to choose a solution. If your bugs are real and everyone can see them, give me a call, I can fix the real bugs.
Phoenix Pest Control serves Knox and Blount counties in East Tennessee.
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