Written By Guest Contributor, Kat Hammond

Gypsy Rose Blanchard—a name that has been getting a lot of attention, and has been for the past couple years, enough attention that Hulu created a new series based off of her story. If you have not yet seen the HBO documentary, “Mommy Dead and Dearest” or the interview with Dr. Phil and Gypsy that aired in Season 16 last year, I suggest you familiarize yourself with either one of those before watching the new series on Hulu, The Act.

To very briefly sum things up, Gypsy was a girl who was raised by a mother that had Munchausen by proxy. According to Web MD, this is a “Psychological disorder marked by attention-seeking behavior by a caregiver through those who are in care.” Gypsy’s mom, Dee Dee Blanchard, convinced doctors that her daughter had illnesses such as MS, Leukemia, Epilepsy and several other maladies.

I had watched the interviews with Gypsy long before The Act aired so I felt like I had a pretty good grip on this girl’s horrific story – I was wrong. Seeing it as a visual story was completely mind boggling! I felt like I understood just how warped Gypsy’s mind was with the isolation and the type of life her mother forced her to live.

Now, through my own research, I have found that some of the things portrayed in the series are for dramatization, and the series actually has a disclaimer at the end of each episode that states that very thing. One of these is that Gypsy was allergic to sugar. A sugar allergy is actually extremely rare and a human would most likely die in the early years of life because sugar, even natural sugar, is in almost everything. This, however, portrayed how extreme this mother was in keeping her daughter prisoner through illness.

Think about that phrase for a moment – keeping someone prisoner through illness. Usually what follows with illness is medication. Our bodies more often than not become dependent on medications or they cause side effects that lead us to need more medication. This alone is a vicious cycle.

The abuse wasn’t only physical. Gypsy’s mother manipulated her into signing over the power of attorney for her own life even after she had turned 18. Gypsy felt like her only way out was to kill her mother.

If someone forced you to stay in a wheelchair even though you could walk and would punish you with physical, mental and emotional abuse if you disobeyed, forced you to have a feeding tube even though you did not need one, kept you completely isolated from the outside world, how far would you be willing to go to escape that person?

Definitely watch this series on Hulu. I waited until all the episodes were out so I could binge watch it and I am regretting it. That was far too much horror to watch at a time. I suggest maybe once a week on this one.

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