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Posted by Kenn ( on April 27, 2000 at 00:42:35:

This is mostly for those who are new to this board and are facing desperate times because of Cluster Headaches.

The subject is Clusterhead suicides or attempts. It is not a fun subject and it is unsettling to many. But it is a fact of the Clusterhead community and cannot be ignored.
I'm collecting these stories for the press and for use in a piece I am writing for future publication. There are enough of us who can relate to this. Please don't yell at me for writing about it.

Also, any stories like this that you or someone you know might be willing to share, please post them here of email them to me at

You can add such accounts to our efforts to get 20/20 to examine the Cluster Headache phenomenon by sending them to

and urging them to give some real attention to this incredible medical condition.

So, here's another one --(This account comes from a former Clusterhead):

Last summer, a young Portland man was in his third week of Clusters and was having regular #8's and #10's at the rate of at least two a night...He had no medication at all except for Tylenol and the usual over-the-counter stuff. His sister said the he had taken "more than twenty pain pills" of various kinds in less than three hours that night and added that he had taken more than that in previous nights. He didn't care at all that these pills might cause liver or other organ damage or worse. All he wanted to do was to stop the torture.
Most of us can relate to that, eh?

After all of that he was still screaming aloud out in the garage. She was helpless to do anything but wait it out.

Pretty soon -- after twenty minutes into his second attack of the night, she said he became quiet. Something told her to get up and go check on him. It was 4:30 AM.

She found him hanging from a dog chain attached to the rafters. He was making choking sounds but not moving.

Somehow, she got him down and called 911. But, before they got there, he roused himself and proclaimed that he had found a treatment for the pain that "worked like a charm". He was ecstatic, despite the deep grooves and rapidly growing bruises on his neck.

Along this line, let me mention that I have personally tried that remedy with similar results. In 1988, after weeks of constant, horrific pain, I hung myself from a tree in our back yard during a violent attack. But, I took the (smart?) precaution of rigging the rope so that I could hold it in both hands, figuring that when I lost consciousness I would let go of the rope and fall three feet to the ground without actually murdering myself.

It was not hard to do, given that I would have done literally anything to stop the pain at the time. And, after passing out I did fall as planned and sprained a bunch of ankles and knees. But, as I regained awareness I found that the headache was on its way out.

That's all I cared about, believe me. Well, of course you believe me if you've had #10 cluster headaches.

Please don't try this at home. Please don't do anything that resembles suicide because they won't understand and they will think you were being a bit too dramatic.
Besides, there are treatments that will help you that are probably better than suicide.

And it is worth mentioning again that all pain medications obtained either over the counter or via a doctor's prescription are potentially deadly. The most common type of death surrounding the Cluster Headache problem is accidental overdose or improper use of medication intended to treat the pain. Without question, some of these are not accidental.
All sorts of other medical problems often arise directly from the use of pharmaceuticals.
Be judicious in your choice of treatments.

And don't let yourself reach the stage where death seems better than one more minute of this kind of pain.
It'll piss me off if you go that far. I can certainly understand it, but I'll have to haunt you.

PS.,I have spent a mountain of time and effort over the years on the question of suicide and of death in general. It is a subject we cannot ignore. If you or anyone close to you is in that kind of danger or if you have questions about it, please feel free to contact me or others on this board who can help.

We care about you all.

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