Re: RE: CHAs & abuse

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Posted by Laurence on September 04, 1998 at 10:57:23:

In Reply to: RE: CHAs & abuse posted by Jeremy on September 04, 1998 at 07:52:50:

Hi Jeremy,

Thank you for the clarifications and additional comments. I hope you will appreciate, however, that the reason your original posting produced some of the responses that it did, may well be because of the way in which you put your points across.

Everyone here understands only too well and has every sympathy with the pain that you must be suffering from clusters. But in your post you went on to say that your psychiatrist informed you that “all his patients who suffer from acute headaches have one thing in common – they were severely mistreated by their parents”.

The use of the word “all” is where the problem of interpretation for many of us may have started. How many is “all” and how many of the “all” suffer from clusters rather than some other form of acute headache. If the “all” of cluster sufferers is just one or a handful of his patients – perhaps even matching the statistical proportion of cluster cases in the total population – then his observation does not seem to take matters very far.

You then went on to say that your psychiatrist had suggested “while the headaches are pathological – the root cause may be suppressed rage”. Putting that another way, if I may, it seems that your psychiatrist has now moved on from an “observation” – which might just as easily have been accounted for by a simple coincidence - to a suggestion, perhaps even a tentative conclusion, that there is or may be link. Now if he had, as a scientist, kept that to himself and carried out some further research that would be one thing, but he passed on the observation and the suggestion to you his patient.

As his patient you also seem to have drawn some conclusions for yourself (or they are your psychiatrist’s suggestions, as it is not clear from the way in which the post was written) that in your case “the clusters serve several purposes: provide punishment for guilt….. an outlet for all the rage I feel……allow me to deserve and warrant care.” If these were your own conclusions, then everybody here was simply telling you in effect that in their humble opinion your have drawn the wrong conclusions. If this was a reflection of your psychiatrist’s opinions and conclusions, then words almost fail me. Clusters is not sent as a “punishment”.

The anger you detected in the responses, Jeremy, is simply because of the suggestions, however well intentioned, that we may be suffering from clusters because we were “severely mistreated by [our] parents”, that we have as a consequence feelings of “suppressed rage” and that finally, this is a “a form of punishment”. Whatever way you cut it, Jeremy, those suggestions are outrageous and so they provoked the response that they did. The “defensive tone” you noted is also perfectly natural. Many of us immediately leapt to the defence of our parents. Our parents aren’t there to conveniently take the blame for our condition.

I did not detect in any of the responses any attempt at stigmatising mental illness. Yes there were some unflattering comments about your psychiatrist but there was no criticism of his patients or of what they may be suffering from.

We all understand and share your quest to learn more about Cluster Headaches. I am not sure, however, whether “everything” per se is worth exploring. Exploration of paths and routes that are more likely to lead to answers than those that are not should mean that we reach our goal sooner than if we go up blind alleys. It’s a free world however, Jeremy, and your are perfectly entitled to pursue whatever path you think is likely to lead to answers and to hold whatever views and opinions you think are valid for the root cause and consequences of clusters.

Bye for now


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