panic/depression & CH

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Posted by gary g ( on October 20, 1999 at 13:09:12:

In Reply to: panic attacks and ch posted by doug l on October 19, 1999 at 14:03:18:

What follows is NOT addressing any individual , or any individual's post.
I'm dropping it in this thread because it relates to depression & CH which is the topic of the thread.
I know what I'm gonna post probably won't be the "popular" outlook, but that isn't our mutual goal here
the idea is for each of us to share our "best, considered thoughts" on these topics - then others can use as they wish, or ignore

that said:
I am familiar with both cyclical depressive periods and panic(anxiety) attacks. I have experienced them. I have read up on them. I have talked to DRs about them.

Guess what:
I don't think they have a damn thing to do with CH, except that some of us have both.

IMHO they are almost totally independent of Cluster Headache.

IMHO they might often occr at the same time we're in a cluster, but that doesn't mean they are CAUSED by the cluster, or even aggravated by it.

It seems to me that cluster periods themselves would be REMEDIAL to depression, if anything. because of the array of physiological characteristics of CH:

1. There is a tremendous amount of energy released somehow - the opposite of depression, which is physical as well as mental.
CH definitely exhausts us, but that is differeent from enervation.
2. Depression includes a lack of focus on much of anything - the "who gives a damn, it's no use anyway" response - well, I've yet to see anybody having CH attacks who doesn't get VERY VERY focussed several times a day - the whole CH cycle tends to breaks up the steadily downward grinding depressive state.
3. In my case,and it seems most others, there are associative symptoms and/or physical/mental manifestations that are definitely NOndepressive: eg: heightened sensory perception (light, heat, cold, sound, etc)
As far as panic attacks are concerned - the root of the anxiety attack is pre-existing internally, WHEN it begins to take form, we focus it on whatever part of our life is drawing our attention at the moment. They're REAL boogie men, and a "bright light" shining on their falsity can completely defeat them.
Why so many people claiming their CH CAUSES depresson ?


1. They have depressive disease, they have CH - the two are going to frequently coincide, and in an attempt to "blame" the depression on something, they target CH (or vice versa, in some cases)

2. They ALREADY have a depressive situation resident, and the CH is used as a voluntary focus for further negativity in thinking - which might certainly lead to a prolongation of the pre-existing depression.
At this some people will be "righteously outraged", I'm sure - but that doesn't disprove it. We ALL do lots of self-destructive things, totally voluntarily, and our tendency to rationalize "good reasons for doing bad things" doesn't void the basic fact - we do things that hurt ourselves, frequently and voluntarily.

3. They are confusing depression (a combination physical medical state that takes many forms, in many degrees of intensity, but which doesn't require negative stimuli to set it off) with understandable low points in mood & emotion, which certainly CAN be caused by the battering we take from CH

WHY do I think the distinction is important ?

A. If someone has the disease of depresson, then it probably needs to be investigated and treated IN ADDITION to CH, according to the individual severity and manifestation, and it is VERY important that the Docs for each condition are fully aware of what the other is doing

B. If there isn't true clinical depression, then the posts about Cognitive Therapy, positive thinking techniques - whatever you want to call it - are dead-on !!!
It IS possible to GREATLY relieve the overall burden of CH on your life, AND reduce the trauma of the individual attacks through mentally controlled emotional/spiritual techniques.

I recognize that this concept - for some reasons - ENRAGES a predictable fraction of any patient community. I even think I know why - but it gets into political philosophy that isn't directly relevant to CH.

To those of you who DO seem so adamant that using mental/emotional/spiritual discipline to HELP with physical ailments (CH) is a waste of time - I say only this - you haven't tried it thoroughly and/or long enough.

The Cranky Yankee Caveat:

All of this, and most everything else I post, has an important underlying conviction:

We are NOT victims.
We do not suffer unfairly.
We don't have to have CH ruin our lives unless we voluntarily allow it to.
It's just they way things are for us.
There is NO quality aspect to us.
It just is.

But, if it bothers me - then it's my responsibility to find a way to deal with it.
Nobody else has "done me wrong" and nobody else owes me ANYTHING to help me feel better.

I am GRATEFUL AS HELL that there ARE resources available to me to help make things better for myself, if I chose to learn about them, and avail myself of them.
IF I don't chose to do that and continue to feel poorly - it's my own damn fault.
I may not be able to completely cure this - but I CAN make it better, and better-is-better

The GLOBAL WHINING response that seems so prevalent in our whole society of late, call it victimitis if you wish, is self-indulgent, counterproductive bullshit that can solve nothing, but only prolongs the negative conditions that it is focussed on.

many of us LOVE our "diseases" revel in them, protect them at all costs -
It's a way to demand that people pay attention to us, and indulge us in special treatment, without having to DO anything special to deserve or earn it.

And I believe that applies as much to CH as to everything else.
And I say that after having been ClusterBombed out of sleep this AM by a real humdinger, after 6 weeks of holding the beast at bay.
But you know what ?

I just beat it for 6 weeks, I'm way ahead of the game. That's REAL progress !
Now the battle has changed, so I change weapons.


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