Influential singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell just turned 70 last Thursday. In a retrospective piece about her career published by U-T San Diego, this particular line caught my attention. She no longer performs because she has a rare medical condition, Morgellons syndrome, and because decades of chain-smoking have ravaged her once-angelic voice.
It’s a huge tragedy that someone of her talent can no longer sing, but what was truly surprising to me was the revelation that she has Morgellons syndrome. It’s truly courageous for someone as well-known and widely respected as Mitchell to go public about it because people suffering from Morgellons have often been dismissed by the medical establishment as being “delusional”. The issue is clouded by the fact that reported physical symptoms of Morgellons syndrome are indeed similar to delusional parasitosis and in some cases it may also have neurological symptoms (though in most reported cases the symptoms include brain fog, fear, depression, decreased coordination and personality changes rather than delusions).