By K W Warburton, The Reluctant Spoonie

*Contains some spoilers*

My husband and I chose to watch Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency because of the Corgi. Going in, I had no idea that this show would be featuring a chronic illness. Yes, ‘pararibulitis‘ is a fictional illness in Dirk Gently, but the way it is portrayed is very real and relatable to those with chronic illness. This show is based on the books by Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and it is as silly and fun as you would expect it to be. The plot of Dirk Gently is very complex, so I’m going to focus on ‘pararibulitis‘ for this article.

dirk gently pararibulitis
Hannah Marks as Amanda Brotzman in BBC America’s Dirk Gently

Pararibulitis‘ is a fictional neurological disease In Dirk Gently, that causes painful and realistic hallucinations such as being on fire or being covered in insects. The main character, Todd (Elija Wood) claims to have been cured of ‘pararibulitis‘, but he has never had it. His sister, Amanda (Hannah Marks) has ‘pararibulitis‘. She does not work and rarely leaves the house; a life that many of us with a chronic illness will recognise. Todd supports her with his job as a bellhop and keeps her company because she has no one else.

Let’s think the unthinkable, let’s do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.

― Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

For those living with an invisible illness, we rarely see characters on TV that we can relate to. Amanda was the first character that I saw in a show who was just like me- no job, a debilitating illness and isolated from society. In the end, Amanda finds an unorthodox way to manage her illness and Todd gets his comeuppance for pretending to have it.

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This show is definitely worth a watch if you would like to see a character with a chronic illness. There’s also a cute Corgi, so what are you waiting for?

dirk gently pararibulitis
Elijah Wood as Todd Brotzman and Samuel Barnett as Dirk Gently

Do you see any parallels between your illness and ‘Pararibulitis’? Let me know in the comments below.

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