“Do you think studying monolayers of cells will tell you why you fall in love with a girl?”
The quote comes from Rudolf Hess, who won the Nobel Prize for physiology in 1949. His students remembered him as telling them never to study a neurotransmitter or even a cell without thinking about where this bit of the body comes from and what it is supposed to do.
This is one of two posts on boundaries – we want you to read this and Gateway to the Soul.
A boundary is the most basic, most primitive, essential to life. Something producing an inside that can be “defended” against an outside. Something creating an order that can be “stabilized” in the face of disorder.
Boundaries created life. The next step was boundary splitting to create more than one individual followed by boundary to boundary contact in order to pass on, reproduce, any secrets any individual has learnt. Sex has always been a boundary issue and boundaries were where it all happened long before we had brains.
You’d expect our most primitive chemical agents to be linked to boundaries. What you find on our boundary is lots of 5-hydroxytryptamine.
5-hydroxytryptamine was discovered in the gut – the gut is stuffed with it – and so it was first called enteramine.
Guts are buried deep in us – seemingly as far from our boundary as you can get in the human body. Not so. The gut is a hollow tube through us. What’s in our gut is outside us. Our skin and gut are continuous – and mark our boundary – a boundary that relatively speaking is bigger than the Great Wall of China and by far our biggest component, by definition, given that everything else has to fit inside it.
From the recent fuss about our microbiomes, you’d think we had millions of bugs living in our guts, all smarter than the average human, who essentially dictate out personalities, destinies, diseases and a lot more. There are also a ton of bugs on our skin, digging in and burrowing around but nobody ever figures these guys are all that bright and we’d rather not think about them.
In fact, the bright, intelligent thing is our boundary, whether the skin or gut wall. It’s much brighter and brainier than any bugs. The diversity of life on earth hinges on boundary adaptations – these give us the sexual plumage of birds, the hard skin of crocodiles which despite its hardness has built in vision sensors, the hooves of horses. All these shape shifts to our boundary make life on earth possible from ocean deep to mountain high, desert hot to polar chill. They are central to our vanity from the hair of women to the hair-loss of men.
The next place 5-hydroxytryptamine was found was in our blood, especially in platelets, leading to another name – serotonin. There isn’t any part of our boundary that isn’t supplied with blood the whole time. The heart is big and muscular, not to contain the soul, or to get blood to our brain, but to get blood cells out to our skin, where among other things when the boundary is punctured platelets release serotonin causing blood vessels to constrict so we don’t lose blood and triggering clots to stop any bleeding.
Our boundary is right in front of us the whole time. We delight in our children’s boundaries or the boundaries of our loved ones but yet we know less about these boundaries we see and touch every day than we know about the brain, which none of us ever gets to see or touch. Although it is right in front of us, or gurgles at inopportune moments, we know almost nothing more about our boundary that we knew a century ago.
Again and again when people with PSSD fill a RxISK report on the horrific effects an antidepressant has had on them, when asked what advice would they give to someone considering taking the drug, they typically reply on the lines of “You should not take these drugs without knowing the full effects they can have on your brain”.
There is almost no serotonin, 5-hydroxytryptamine, in our brains. But still most people with Post SSRI Sexual Dysfunction (PSSD), or enduring withdrawal problems from SSRIs, think they have damaged brains.
In the case of people who have an enduring sexual dysfunction syndrome very similar to PSSD, after Finasteride (Post Finasteride Syndrome) or after Isotretinoin (Post Retinoid Sexual Dysfunction) or in the case of people with what seems to be the mirror image condition – Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD) – those affected don’t talk about brains as often. Those with PFS talk hormones. Those with PRSD looking through a glass darkly see a void where the culprit should be.
This turn to brains or hormones looks like the hand of pharmaceutical company marketing at work, directing people who have been on SSRIs to think their problem must lie in their brain, and people taking finasteride to think hormones.
The root cause of the persisting sexual dysfunction problems that stem from the use of retinoids, finasteride and antidepressants may lie in our brains or hormones or, wherever it lies there may be knock-on effects on brains or hormones, but retinoids, finasteride and SSRIs also act on our boundaries.
Retinoids do so obviously – hence their use for acne. But almost as common is the effect they have on our gut from our lips to our anus causing what can be an intense and catastrophic drying.
We take finasteride to stimulate growth of our hair – a component of our skin.
The single commonest and most immediate effect of SSRIs is on genital skin sensitivity followed by the nauseating gut changes they trigger.
We also have a large number of reports to RxISK of hair changes – people finding that colour put into their hair doesn’t take or hair texture changes if they are on an antidepressant.
Four decades ago, in the relatively early days of neurotransmitter research, there was great excitement when an increasing number of gut peptides were found to be neurotransmitters and were also found to be present in the brain. There seemed to be little in the brain that wasn’t already in the gut.
The transmitters in our skin are still relatively unexplored compared to the gut. There is a must read book by David Linden, called Touch, which is a fascinating read but even it sticks primarily to describing the relatively well-known sensory receptors in skin – that deal with itch, vibration, temperature and pressure.
There are a host of other senses in skin. Our skins likely see – they contain a transmitter called neuropsin, which is closely related to the colour pigment, rhodopsin, in our eyes.
Our skins probably hear. Many people prefer live concerts or loud music to the radio or other means of listening to music. The experience is much richer, probably because the vibrations are part of their experience in addition to what we think of as hearing.
It seems highly likely that the keratinocytes in our skin respond to changes in atmospheric pressure and something else is what puts our “nerves” on edge if we live in any of the many places noted for having seasonal winds that can have dramatic effects on the population.
Our skin and gut, our boundaries, probably do more than our brains to determine our emotional state and our moods.
There is a nucleus in the brain, the locus coeruleus, the blue spot, that is stuffed full of catecholamines, the fight, flight or freeze hormones. This is critical to keeping us alive. Opioids turn the blue spot off and the resistance this nucleus puts up to being turned off is what creates opioid dependence and withdrawal.
Its job is to be vigilant. You might think evolution programmed this in to help our ancestors keep an eye out for the many animals on the savannah or in the jungle that could have wiped them out. You’d be wrong. Up to 90% of the inputs to the locus coeruleus come from our bladder (another boundary), bowel and skin – our boundaries – with only 10% devoted to the wider environment.
Our brains in other words are wired to monitor our boundaries.
There are lots of people with PSSD, PFS and PRSD who figure there is something slightly mad or quixotic about the RxISK focus on genital numbness as a cardinal feature of these problems. Many, in particular those on SSRIs, say their emotional numbness can be even more devastating and wonder why we don’t include this in our definition of PSSD.
There are a few answers to this. One is the very simple one that genital numbness is a much more clearcut phenomenon for researchers to get their teeth into. Especially as lidocaine produces an almost identical genital numbness. How exactly does this happen – well however it does, it’s a problem that looks a lot more soluble than establishing what is causing emotional numbness. But the reason to focus on genital numbness lies in the hope that nailing down what is happening in genital numbness will reveal what causes emotional numbness also.
There is no question that SSRIs can cause a devastating emotional numbness and for many that this may be worse than genital numbness.
But where does this emotional numbness come from? Our brains? What about from our skin or gut? Genital numbness happens too quickly after a first dose of an SSRI for there to be much of a brain effect and the same effect can be produced by rubbing things into the skin. Significant and enduring genital numbness, and the change in sexual function that goes with this, can in turn be expected to reduce libido – which happens weeks or months after the first genital numbing.
In the same way, the emotional numbing and depersonalization that is linked to SSRIs may stem from wider skin effects of these drugs. It may be a sensory numbness.
What wider skin effects? Well, all SSRI and most drugs that inhibit serotonin reuptake are derived from anti-histamines and have anti-histamine effects. As everyone with an allergic knows, they act on the skin around the body.
When we take an anti-histamine for itch or allergic skin responses, we don’t think its helping by acting on our brains.
These same antihistamines can cause akathisia (agitation), suicidality, sexual dysfunction and most of the problems we link to SSRI antidepressants. It’s the marketing that gets in the way of us thinking this is all happening in our skin rather than our brain.
What’s the brain got to do with it? Probably very little other than to interpret the threat that has been signalled from some part of our boundary. The brain is probably not where our soul is – it’s in our boundary.
Akathisia is one of the greatest threats any medicine can cause. It leads to suicide and homicide and intense restlessness. But no-one knows what akathisia is or how it happens. There is no akathisia centre in the brain.
What about in our skin, gut, bladder? Could it be boundary problem? A lot of the descriptions of this horrific state, talk about an almost indescribable inner itch that gives rise to fleeting disconnected “thoughts”, an emotional turmoil. This would map well onto the idea of a brain trying to make sense of the flood of inputs that are unfamiliar and wrong.
Skin drugs like Otezla, Siliq, Taltz and others along with Isotretinoin are among the drugs most likely to trigger an akathisia that leads on to a suicidal act.
Looking at PSSD, PRSD PFS and PGAD this way, we would see them as peripheral sensory disturbances.
Withdrawal from serotonin reuptake inhibiting may be the single commonest boundary problem – peripheral sensory disturbance syndrome – we have.
People finding it impossible to get off an SSRI, think brains because that’s where the key component of opioid dependence lies. Maybe we should be thinking skin, and gut, and bladder which is where the symptoms are.
As Willie Sutton might have said why look at skin – that’s where the symptoms are.
There are real cognitive problems on SSRIs and on stopping SSRIs but this doesn’t mean the problem is in the brain. None of the brain testing ever shows a cognitive problem there. But if our periphery is not working right, a normal brain will function abnormally.
Whether you agree PSSD, PGAD, PFS or PRSD or Antidepressant dependence and withdrawal have anything to do with our boundaries or not, it would be wonderful if some readers could start thinking about boundaries – without being too worried about current neuroscience orthodoxies. Having no background in these areas may make it easier to come up with just the kind of idea that are needed at the moment.
We need to come up with good descriptions of the sensory effects people may be having. We are so unused to thinking this way that we almost don’t have the words for it.
In an adjoining Gateway to the Soul post we ask you to improve on the questions we ask or to send us in comments or thoughts that might point to other questions we should be asking.
This post is absolutely fascinating. May I throw a personal observation into the mix? I have gallstones which sometimes are well behaved and sometimes, depending on what I eat, cause a pain through the upper chest, like what I imagine a butterfly would feel if someone pinned it to a board. I’ve been trying to suss out what goes on inside me to trigger this, believing that if I could crack it, I could restore my gallbladder to normal-ish functioning, and so I could keep it. What I have figured out is that when something out of order is going on amidst the ranks of the pesky gallstones, there is a very strange smell in the skin, particularly in my forearms. It’s a sort of chemical smell. It’s not unpleasant, it’s just strange. It will go on for a day or two, the day after the butterfly pinning pain. Is my skin telling me that a gallstone is making an escape out through my bile duct, and what I’m smelling is cholesterol maybe, as apparently gallstones are mostly made of this? Is it telling me that once it escapes the boundaries of the gut, the smell goes?
Tom Shearer, who does YouTube interviews with people who have been badly affected by PRSD and other isotretinoin side effects, has a theory that the gallbladder plays a bigger part in all this problem than we realise. Also the leaky gut syndrome. So toxins from medications sneak out into the blood, cross the blood brain barrier, and wreak havoc. Isotretinoin damages so many different parts of the brain and body, because presumably, whilst doing the job the dermatologists want it to do, dry out the skin and stop sebum production, it actually dries out everything else, inside and out….the eyes, the nose, the lips, the gut, the cell membranes, all the bits that join us together. No respecter of boundaries there then?
All I’d contribute anecdotally to this is that my son’s mental state on isotretinoin could be temporarily improved when he drank, mixed liberally with bottled water, first thing in the morning before anything else reached his gut, a liquid gastro-intestinal support preparation made by Nutri called UltraClear Sustain. This contained a healthy balance of enzymes, vitamins and minerals which lined his leaky gut; (he was clinical diagnosed with a leaky gut aged 10, long before any acne appeared, but when he was still beset by asthma). In retrospect I think that’s how he stayed alive as long as he did, despite frequent bouts of AKATHISIA when yet another SSRI or antihistamine or antibiotic or antipsychotic was suggested to him, to help him battle the ongoing misery of RoAccutane/acne. Obviously these are just the observations of one who is searching for answers. They may mean nothing of consequence at all. But I do wonder if the gallbladder is a Cinderella we’d do well to show more interest in, when it comes to boundaries.
Interesting David. I do have a lot of skin problems, sensitivity, itching, pins and needles burning. I’ve had Psoriasis on my skin and hair follicles. I’ve also had Hives, blisters and painful hard spot like lumps as well as a feeling of insects on my skin. I’m a hairy person and this diminished but has since returned. There’s also numbness in my hands and feet as well as numerous gastrointestinal issues.
I had an interesting experience weeks ago after I took a dose of Viagra in that I had some relief for a few days from my protracted symptoms. What do you think that can be attributed to?
What did the Viagra help?
Energy, mood and physical symptoms. my skin felt more responsive less sensitive and my sleep improved.
A bit late in the day I checked out why I described the effect of the one and only dose of amitryptiline years ago as being like the way a frog twitches and strongly jumps with the legs stretched out straight behing him. I felt a strong clutching feeling in the base of my spine which made me clench the lower part of my body to try to relieve it then jerk my legs out straitght – then the unreleting urge to keep walking very quicky began – it now reminds me of the small steps people with parkinsons take as it wasn’t normal walking style. Luckily i lived in a place where I could walk without being noticed until exhausted or could have been reported . I know lots of people have reported this already.Why should a drug supposedly used for depression cause dominant physical effects creating the . the ‘inner turmoil’ which was caused by the need we have to make meaning of what is a bizarre and terrifying experience – which could lead to yet another wrong diagnosis of ‘paranoia’. – a misunderstanding of the restlessness and need to try to get away from the feeling somehow -or/and .schitzophrenia’ the individual assigns different meanings according to their experience or interest. Or finding themselves in another terrifying part of the experience ie being ‘interviwed’ by a medic in a bare inhospitable room where the ‘relationship ‘/situation itself creates more fear .Thhere are studies being carried out into ‘psychosis’ with view to understanding the meaning of ‘psychotic’ – something people so diagnosed have been saying for decades – but but they start at a point after the drugs have been used and set up yet more check lists regarding their personalities and child hood experiences.’parenting’ back to the ‘bad parents’ theories however nicely wrapped up in ‘attachment theory’ I looked at how energy is made as the drugs are so highjly related to unbearable constant movement and it seems to be electricity in our cells. Maybe there should be more studies of which part of the cells are going into overdrive. Lots of people use physical activity to deal with depression etc so maybe they are using up the extra harmful charge created in their cells . I was given something to stop it but I dont know what that was, assumed it was a kind of tranquiliser but unfortunately the notes I requested were ‘lost’ I don’t by the way even think we think only with our brains but with our whole bodies as one interconnected organism – what comes firt thoughts or feelings/sensations …
Another area of interest, I suppose, is why some people seem to have bad reactions to almost every medication they are put on. Is that BECAUSE of their first unfortunate reaction or is it that they have a problem with drugs/meds REGARDLESS of that first encounter? Also, why is it that some of those same people have a terrible time coming off their meds? It seems as if their bodies reject the intake but are also unwilling to let go of any small amount in reduction. Or are their bodies extra sensitive in some way?
Electricity sparking between cells, interesting. Energy apparently goes on, even after bodily death.
On the subject of bladders, (not gallbladders), I have seen several elderly people diagnosed loosely with apparent dementia who also turn out to have bladder infections. When the bladder returns to normal functioning, infection gone, dementia disappears. I saw this in my mother in law, twice. So, does the bladder affect the cognitive process?
Steroids and antihistamines definitely gave me AKATHISIA. The worst state of unrest imaginable. Pacing, with great waves of internal shuddering. I had a weird experience once with steroids and reflexology. In desperation first of all with the feeling like I would explode inside, blown up like a frog like Susanne from the steroids, (by day 11 of a course of Prednisolone) I went to see a local woman reflexologist and begged her to get this stuff out of me. I didn’t really believe in reflexology but I was so desperate I would have tried anything. She said she really shouldn’t treat me, as I’d had the last dose the day before, but I begged. She did, she just treated my feet. No idea how she did it. She just touched and pummelled the soles of my feet and my toes. The akathisia then changed into rolling surges, like great waves going repeatedly, terrifyingly, down through the body, I paced round the room, the waves going from the top of the back of the head shuddering down the body in rhythmic motions. I thought I was dying but I really didn’t care any more. Sweating, pacing, endlessly. No rest. All day and all night, for 2 days. Then, gradually, the shuddering stopped. Was I burning off electricity triggered by swelling cells, their boundaries messed up by the steroid’s action?
When given antihistamines for hay fever I always got terrible reactions. GP said you can’t be allergic to antihistamines, they are given FOR allergy treatment, you must ‘have a problem’, ie you must be psychologically crackers. I am so glad to know they are not what they necessarily purport to be. For me, anyway. Perhaps I wasn’t mad. But why don’t GPs know this? Why does the poor suffering patient have to fight their corner when they are feeling so ill, or just walk away in despair, as I used to do.
Itchy skin links with liver problems, and with gallbladder problems.
Itchy skin also comes with varicose veins. Varicose veins interfere with blood flow and return.
Itchy skin in the form of hives can come for me when eating certain foods, hence gut involvement? Chocolate can cause a lift in mood, followed by headache and a feeling of unease. Although I KNOW this will happen, I still very occasionally reach for the chocolate, as though the cause and effect lesson cannot be learnt.
Personally I only have post SSRI sexual dysfunctions but I know several people with other horrible symptoms that are not even mentioned in the literature as persistent post-drug symptoms. my concern is that anyone with a complex syndrome may end up interpreting any unrelated health problem as a symptom of the syndrome. for this reason it will be important to investigate the symptoms very carefully. I am grateful to David Healy for being so involved and attentive to our voices.
There is no question that there are other symptoms not mentioned, including for instance pain that can be present in the midst of numbness. There are terrible bladder problems that in men are put down to prostatis and in women to urinary tract infections with the treatments given making things worse. The hope is that if we can explain one bit of the picture, it will lead on to answers to all of the other elements – many of which are just as bad as the genital problems.
I dont know whether this fits with the blog as it’s not specifically related to drugs – but many people have ‘winter blues’ – really severe depression because of a lack of bright light -there used to be hospitals which treated it and sometimes with light lamps These can still be bought and used at home but I don’t think they are around as much these days Is it a problem with eyes
Hi Heather – I had the butterfly feeling when my heart was beating out of sync after taking amytriptiline – is it the same fast rhymic feeling as yours on the skin?
I notice people like yourself are giving loads of info re tips on eating drinking etcwould there be a possibility of collecting them together for a lleaflet ? I am avoiding milk as have excema patches only on eyelids for first time -desire to scratch drives me nuts!
Susanne, a foodie leaflet sounds interesting, might be something Samizdat would find interesting in their List?
Trouble is, things that are helpful for one are not good for another, so,I guess it would have to be categorised under ‘symptoms’, ie for such and such a problem I used this and it helped me, but this is just me, kind of thing.
As to frogs and butterflies – well, First, apologies because I totally misunderstood your frog analogy, when I was describing what Prednisolone did to me; I assumed you’d described swelling up like a frog, fit to burst, when actually you were describing that experiment with frogs’ legs shooting out and twitching.
As to the butterfly thing, well, no, mine isn’t about a fluttery heart rate, I meant to describe how with gallstones when they are really irritated you get a stabbing like a knife through the chest, like I’d imagine a pin going through a butterfly into a cork board (when it was legal to do that kind of thing to butterflies for collections). It’s very like having a heart attack, it restricts your ability to breathe, some sufferers describe it as the worst pain they’ve ever suffered, women say it’s worse than having a baby. I’ve been getting it on and off since 3rd Feb 2018, but I think I had vestiges of it for several years before and assumed it was my T4 vertebrae jamming up, (it goes through to the back) so must have spent an unnecessary fortune on the osteopath for manipulation of same!
I do feel that if you give the body the right ingredients, it is so clever it will sort itself out. Dr Healy’s post here I feel shows us just how amazing the osmosis or signalling system is, connecting all our little cells, all working in unison to keep us ticking. But finding the right balance of ingredients to keep them happy is tricky, I guess it has to be by trial and error. I seem to react to just about everything. I’ve always liked milk and my son drank lots of it, and I do wonder now if it affects the skin. I think it makes acne worse. Possibly also excema too. I don’t think we were designed to drink it, it is really for animals to feed their young. And I guess today it’s full of added hormones anyway, to boost the cow’s production levels.
The UltraClear Sustain gastro-intestinal support powder mix drink I have always found helpful, ever since we were affected badly and sensitised by organophosphate sheep dip in the 1990s, is brilliant because it’s designed to line the stomach. It’s free of allergens itself, so if you have it half an hour before eating, on an empty stomach, and then if you eat something you normally couldn’t tolerate, (even like milk or chocolate etc) it seems to stop toxins getting through the gut wall into the bloodstream and thence the skin. I like it as it has a ready worked out balance of supportive vitamins, minerals and above all, enzymes. But that’s just me. I don’t like swallowing pills. Being perhaps lazy, I like to have a safe balance of nutrients ready worked out for me and take a very small amount each day, with testing breaks every so often. Never having been a big drinker, but loving a glass of Merlot now and again, I stopped drinking alcohol almost completely three years ago when the gallstones really got pesky. I was amazed how much better I have felt, how well I sleep, how happy I feel, except that I miss the joy of the taste and the instant relaxing effect of a glass of fine wine. I guess, it’s all about balancing these things out. Making a choice.
Drinking plenty of water is so good for us and we don’t rate it highly enough I think. Even splashing the face with water (as described in the Sher System, London based clinic) is so ridiculously simple and yet so effective for skin health. You can imagine, over the years, we tried loads of ways to treat acne! It’s just so tragic that my son finally gave in and took RoAccutane when 21, assured at Uni by medics that all the warnings about it were exaggerated and side effects terribly rare and reversible anyway. His life was changed in a month, and lost really, once he took that first pill. He descended into 11 years of hell, with us panting along beside him trying to find lifebelts to throw him, but there were none. And there still aren’t, for all the unsuspecting others. So far…
I think heather’s comment that what works for one won’t necessarily work for another is very true and, due to this, each individual needs to experiment for him/herself. Shane has tried a whole variety of different mixes of vitamins etc.in an attempt to relieve the dreadful exhaustion that plagues him. His body has rejected every single attempt – not only have they not helped but they make him very poorly. He, of course, has a ‘rejection problem’ as far as any medication is concerned I fear! Whether that is due to the mixture of drugs that he’s been on or just his makeup is, I suppose, very difficult to figure out.
Allergies are hard to understand but you learn to live with them – you live at the point of least reactions as you might say. I can enjoy about 5 grapes – the 6th. one will taste absolutely disgusting, therefore I tend to avoid grapes. I can enjoy a glass of red wine some times; at other times, by the third sip it will taste absolutely horrid even if same brand and grape variety. Both of those I would describe as a metallic taste. For many years, if there was a plastic bag or rubber bands anywhere near me I would itch even when I hadn’t touched either of them. During those years, if I did carry a plastic carrier bag I would have hives. There would be an unusual taste around my lips too and a wheezy chest.
All of this in a person whose sense of taste and smell are almost non-existent!
Thanks very much tp both of you for all the info. loads of research gone into all that -much appreciated! I agree we need a trial and error aproach as wea re all different but it can save a whole lot of seeking out of various things to even try.- if there is a trustworthy list of things others have tried even if not succesffully foir them it can be a good start. Your ref to hormones in milk is interesting – i worked on a friends farm as a youngster – there was no such thing as putting hormones in food then although hygeine was worse in general -(but use of antibiotics was pretty cavalier!) maybe that exposure to ‘muck’ helped to immunise both us and the animals..but wonder if there are more or less illnesses induced by milk these days, even non reported ones,compared with then.
Have read what causes a needle prick sensation which spreads with the excema It’s apparently when a bit of skin flakes off a nerve ending Could this be happening to others on different parts of the body where describing this pin pricking and itching perhaps
Rub a little fresh cream (top of the milk in our younger days!) on your eyelids – should clear them up a treat. Same applies on your lips at the first tingle of a cold sore.
A further thought on the retinoids and PRSD. Dr Doug Bremner, a psychiatrist from Emory University in the USA, has shown in brain scans that some subjects lose 21% of the pre-frontal cortex in the brain after taking isotretinoin. This drug, Accutane, was originally designed as a chemotherapy drug to shrink brain and pancreatic tumours.
One theory for its depressing effects, considering the evidence in the visible work on Dr Bremner’s scans, is that it damages the brain. Another is that it binds to lipids, to fat in the brain. There is a condition it can cause called pseudo-tumour celebri which I understand means a non malignant swelling of the brain in the skull, behaving in the way a tumour would, but not being cancerous. I’m not sure how this fits with the boundaries theory. Or the sexual dysfunction PRSD. ‘Those with PRSD looking through a glass darkly and seeing a void where a culprit should be.’ Some of us reckon that our culprit is the lack of function in the reduction of capacity of the pre-frontal cortex, so we would assume we are dealing with organic brain damage.
Why could not these exist with some sort of similar mechanism? (perceived bodily numbness and emotional/anhedonia?) The bodily numbness and other bodily symptoms sure have a great part for some (btw very often much wider than genitals), but in many cases the perceived mental numbness and general loss of pleasure and motivation is the worst part for those that have it too or even stronger. And then there are many people with no bodily numbing but otherwise lost sexuality and heavy mental numbing. In my view this tells about a similar malfunction or damage in multiple places of the neuro/endo system including brain as one key piece, bodily bound
The issue in the worst cases is every receptor in the brain, nerves, and body is fucked. Likely through gene silencing. Only way to explain lack of drugs working either recreationally or therapeutically, loss of visual imagination, no emotions, no libido severe insomnia, sudden dick shrinkage, muscle wastage, etc. I have full body numbness but not every “PSSD” (stupid name that fucks our cause btw) victim has it. Some have full genital sensation but no libido, loss of emotions, and genital shrinkage. A recent PSSD suicide victim had no genital numbness. So things are all over the place. But gene expression is at the root of it. These drugs have been shown to cause DNA methylation by Prof. Csoska and his team. Numbness is not the root for everybody and the core issue may be too deep for a psychiatrist sorry to say. Still appreciate all the work Dr. Healy does and attention he brings but thsi shit is too cutting edge honestly.
And whatever happened the brain is absolutely effected and abnormal fMRIs were already shown in PFS guys. Also neurosteroid abnormalities so the brain is absolutely “damaged” and at the core of plenty of the many of the problems. It’s ALL messed up in the worst of us.
I remember many years ago reading about some Japanese research about the way cells communicated with each other, and how some people seem blessed with higher levels of energy/electrical interconnection in these cells, than others. These lucky people made better recoveries from illness, their immune systems seemed to work better. They seemed to have a more upbeat side to them, more stamina. These were the ones who ‘should’ have died from their cancer but somehow went on living years longer than expected. And it wasn’t ‘mind over matter’ exactly, although a positive hopeful attitude always helps, it was something else. I think the Japanese researchers called it APT. Or some similar name.
Some people do seem to have a gift for healing others. But THEY would say, they act as a conduit to raise the ‘energy/electrical’ level of the unwell person’s immune system. They effectively give them a shot of their energy to boost them. So could it be that the healer’s cells, through touch, or close proximity, are sending electrical signals? Almost like charging a human battery?
I know many clinicians are sceptical. But I well remember when my son, aged 9, had ME after coming into contact with a very nasty virus, was sent to an ME Consultant in a UK NHS hospital. This man carefully diagnosed the ME and then, looking a little awkward, said he had recently had initially one patient who had improved amazingly by being treated by a healer they had found, who used bio-energy healing. Her extraordinarily high levels of this electrical energy had been scientifically measured in laboratories. The clinician said he’d since mentioned this to other ME patients and some had also gone to investigate. They had all made surprising improvements in their condition. He made it clear he wasn’t recommending this person, he was just reporting back what he had witnessed and noted down in each case, and he was very intrigued.
We went to see this healer, she ‘diagnosed’ by letting her hands float close to us, what the virus problem had been, which organs it had attacked. She then used her transference of energy in a couple of healing sessions. We all got better, including my son who had been worse effected by the virus and sunk into an ME situation. She explained that she ‘feels’ the charge flow through her hands, and afterwards she herself feels weakened. So, this isn’t faith healing exactly, this is something I think to do with cells communicating through their boundaries.
Taking the premise that the body has the skills to heal and renew itself given the right conditions, could bio-energy healing be tried, to reverse damage in cells from adverse drug reactions? I realise this is a controversial thing to raise. But I do feel that Dr Healy’s post gives us the opening to consider this at this moment in time.
Heather, I wonder how someone would know whether or not they were in touch with a ‘genuine healer’ should they venture down this route? You, of course, followed the recommendation of the doctor – safe in the knowledge that this was, indeed, a healer I imagine? I’m glad that it seemed to work for all of you.
Having said that, I doubt whether it would work, under the hands of the exact same ‘healer’, should you have had deep-rooted doubts about the possibility of success. Would you agree that there is a need for complete trust for any possibility of this type of recovery?
As far as PSSD sufferers are concerned, I feel that they are at the end of their tether and would have great difficulty in having sufficient realistic hope of this type of healing making any difference to them, for it to work. The same goes for any other drug-related condition I fear. An absolute belief in the POSSIBILITY of success is difficult, especially if you’ve already tried umpteen different ways of finding a way out of your problems.
I firmly believe in the power of ‘healing’ but feel that the ‘power’ is just as much in the hands of the ‘receiver’ as it is in the hands of the ‘healer’. In other words, ‘healing’ is a two-way power and will not work as ‘one way traffic’.
Mary, actually I don’t think it IS necessary to believe, indeed, if the healer’s energy transference works, it’s almost like a scientific thing, not quite the same as prayer etc, which in itself works for some believers. It’s maybe all about communication, in both respects.
You can read how this lady whose service we used, operates, and the scientific testing she has undergone, and also there a part where the doctor who told us about her, describes why he did so and what results he witnessed. Her name is Seka Nicolic and her book ‘You know more than you think.’
My older son had cancer in 2002 which had spread up to the kidney. Things were not looking good. He was operated on within a few weeks of its discovery. He was totally skeptical about healers, but there was one near our home who had a good reputation with animals. Just before he had surgery and subsequently chemo, our son went along to see this person, just to please us, with no belief whatever. He did comment that the man had unusually warm hands but wondered if they’d been toasted by an electric fire. They hadn’t. My son was skeptical, did not I think, at that age, even believe in prayer, or anything at all. He was about 25. I’m glad to say he made an excellent recovery. We could argue that this was the surgery and the chemo, as indeed would the healer, who insisted that all he does is raise the energy levels of the patient to best cope with the surgery and the chemo. We will never know how much difference he made, of course.
I had a much loved cousin with ovarian cancer who had great faith in a renowned healer living near her. She had all the conventional treatments and went along to him – and died just about when anyone with ovarian cancer of her type would have been expected to die.
We’re not going to hear about the people who die earlier than expected after going to healers
In writing about healers here I was raising the question of electrical energy between cells being transferred from one individual to another, to enable a weak immune system to gear itself up to fight disease. Rather in the same way that plants can influence each other by being adjacent. ‘Secret Life of Plants’ by Peter Tompkins describes how putting a vibrantly healthy plant beside a sickly one, and caring for both in the same way, can sometimes ‘jumpstart’ the sickly one faster than by the owner keeping it standing alone and nurturing it. We have tried this many times and it has worked.
I was not saying that all healers can ‘heal’ all diseases. I was not even beating the drum for all healers. I was simply wondering whether the energy within the boundaries of cells can be passed between one individual and another and whether some healers have the ability to act as a conduit. The scientific test results carried out on Seka Nicolic are interesting in this respect. When we feel energetic, when our mood is positive, we can cope better with any challenge in life. Possibly our own immune systems, our own self healing processes, can work better in these conditions too. It is inevitable that we will all die of something, but our remaining quality of life (be it a long or short one) can surely be enhanced by raising our energy.
In the fascinating book ‘Touch’ by David Linden, the effect of touch on mood is covered. In the olden days, a doctor such as my grandfather, a much loved GP, would touch the hand of a patient to reassure them, if they did not object, and that touch could be as therapeutic as any medicine for some folk. We could maybe describe it as a healing touch. That would very rarely happen these days.
As Mary has previously agreed, in answer to Susanne’s idea about recommending nutritional remedies, everyone is different, and what works for one person may not help another. But one can share ideas so that people can test them out.
With regard to bio-energy healing, I wonder if it has been tested on PSSD or PRSD sufferers?
Healers can be as expensive as privatelypracticing doctors, but some healers may be open to testing out their abilities for free if part of a trial. At least bio-energy healing cannot damage the brain like antidepressants, isotretinoin and other drugs. So long as one has no set expectations of success, approaches it with an open mind when all other avenues for a cure have been explored, where’s the harm in trying just a few sessions? So long as a regulated accredited healer is used, and so long as one holds tight to one’s common sense throughout and doesn’t become reliant on endless visits. A very few sessions will indicate whether you feel better energy-wise or not. Then it’s over to you and your immune system to do its best. At least you can always access the energy of hope, whatever you do. That’s, I feel, the best form of energy there is.
Obviously not every ill can be healed, nor every life prolonged, but the quality of every life can be improved. This is why so often we are now hearing about the healing power of kindness too, as in Tom Hanks’s film about Fred Rogers, the children’s tv presenter of the 1970’s – ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.’ (In UK cinemas now). If we, as Fred Rogers did, can help very young children to like themselves and be kind to each other, thus raising their energy, maybe this can help them to be more resilient as teenagers as they navigate what can seem a very gritty confusing world, and avoid resorting to antidepressants with all the problems they can bring, including teenage suicides.
I’ve no doubt touch can be important and this was what the post was about. But while some healers can be great and there should be a greater awareness of inputs like this, many (perhaps most) are charlatans and can do as much harm as doctors. If people don’t know what they are doing or why what they are doing helps, then they can do harm and this almost certainly applies to PSSD where no-one knows what is going on. I agree with Mary that dogs can help sometimes and they don’t know what they are doing – but they don’t pretend to know, don’t spin a line, and don’t try to make money out of it
Heather thank you I am interested inwhat you are saying and have rcently found a book by Steve Jones called Darwin’s Island which touches on some of it.He is a very pragmatic scientist as you;ll know and noted Darwin’s interest in doing ‘foolish’ experiments’ which he mainly did by using plants. There is a fascinating chapter -‘The Thinking Plant’ which explains the similarity between plant and human biology eg how cells respond to light and touch and sound. It is not in the least mystical has some difficult science to grasp hold of -although he appreciates the poetic or metaphysical sensibility associated with the study of plants and animals. My reference to ‘praying’ was off the mark as perhaps that does involve a measure of belief but I an not even certain of that. Meditation works for some and not orthers, massage is found beneficial for some not others , acupuncture medicinal plants ditto , dare I say healing for some not others. Finding the right one I guess is a leap of trust same as finding the ‘right’ doctor = a snippett from the end of the chapter -S J says ‘some of the signal proteins used by plants resemble certain molecules that do the same job for us. Control our heart beats switch on hormones ..that alter blood chemicals that change mood from happy to depressed. …there is something magical about the way that scientific rationalism connects raindrops with heart beats and battered trees with depressed infants’ (a ref to touching).I am glad the topic of this blog has boundaries porous enough to add your comments.
We don’t know how many clinicians might support this theory as it is so unacceptable to even take an interest much less test it. There was a clinician working in the Middlesex hospital years ago who had a friend who practiced healing. If people on his wards were receptive he would introduce them. I don’t think it is any more off the wall than , say praying. There was something to do with heat transference between the two which could be used to make a diagnosis, I dont know if it led to actual healing or it was a kind of add on to conventional treatment , that’s all I know.
Access thebmj.com – The BMJ logo
Peter Brindley and Matt Morgan: It’s time to be super heroes for scientific truth
February 7, 2020
Patronising articles like this make people want to throw up never mind ‘throw our arms up’. ‘super heroes’? – grow up ..The tone and language ‘chastise’!shows how little they are able to shake of the ‘we know best’ plus suggestions of mingling with the common people in pubs in order to educate us is a bit creepy.
A snippet -.’Recently, Simon Stevens, the NHS chief executive, spoke about the impact of fake health – it’s time to fight back. It’s time to be super heroes for scientific truth. It may be that in the midst of a busy clinic you smile your way through your 20th debunk’. (Imagine trying for a discussion with him or even teaching them anything..) ‘It may be that you teach learners how to critically appraise the literature’. .(Really? Not much evidence of the likelihood of objectivity or open minded exchange of views likely here).For us it includes writing opinion pieces that simultaneously challenge and chastise..
I may be off piste again with this idea but just wanted to try it out.
Under ‘Skin and Mood’ above, DH explains that ‘there is a nucleus in the brain, the locus coeruleus, ….affecting the fight, flight or freeze hormones critical to keeping us alive – opioids turn it off. Up to 90% of the inputs to the locus coeruleus come from our bladder (another boundary), bowel and skin – our boundaries – with only 10% devoted to the wider environment. Our brains, in other words, are wired to our boundaries.’
I well remember the Nat West Bank brought in a new logo in the 1970’s, of what looked like three angular black slugs dancing in a circle, I think they still have it today. In the Great Recession of the late 1980’s and 1990s when many of us were battling mortgage/bank interest rates of 15% p, often having lost our self employed jobs and being ineligible for any kind of benefits, it was a stressful time and many of us dreaded getting letters from the bank, reminding us that we’d incurred more charges by overshooting our overdraft arrangement. I remember well that during the period, just the sight of just that three black slugs logo on the back of a brown envelope lying on my doormat was enough to necessitate a rush to get to the loo as my bowels went into flux. There was no logic involved, the sight of the logo IMMEDIATELY kicked off the bowel reaction, within seconds.
So, was this my locus coeruleus doing what it is meant to do? Had I been on SSRIs, which I never have been, would this have been different?
Then on Touch and the same kind of short circuiting, if that’s what this is…,I well remember setting up an automatic reaction, happened on quite accidentally, with my then baby son Olly. To get his wind up after a feed, I would sit him on my knee and rub his back (touch) with circular hand movements. When the long awaited burp sounded, I’d kiss the top of his head and say, ‘well done Olly’. With time, just by kissing the top of his head (touch) a burp could be produced at any old time. This produced hilarity between us when he was a bit older, when, with his permission, and not in front of an invited audience of course, a kiss on the top of his head always triggered a burp, despite his efforts to staunch it.
Now, was this something like Pavlov’s dogs syndrome, or was it the same communication but affecting a different area, as mine with the Nat West Slug logo. Was his deeply ingrained ever since the age of 2 months, in his locus coeruleus. If so, could some kind of unwanted ‘training by medications of the locus coeruleus’ deeply ingrained, account for PSSD and OCD? You can’t seem to eradicate it. Like a needle getting stuck in a record. I didn’t test the kissing the top of the head theory in my son’s later years but I wish I had now, especially as he’s no longer here to embarrass by so doing. He did suffer OCD-like suicidal thoughts as soon as he took RoAccutane isotretinoin, but as far as I know, never prior to that. Could his locus coeruleus have been particularly receptive, or even pushed the other way, by isotretinoin, if opioids can block its functioning?
Apologies if I’m completely off the wall with this, and commenting in the wrong string, but I find this ‘auto reaction by boundaries beyond reasoning’ fascinating. I’m just postulating that maybe the PSSD numbing could be a learned behaviour by the locus coeruleus, which has got itself confused by medication interference.
The effect of taking antidepressants during pregnancy
Early exposure to antidepressants changes sensory processing in the brain
December 16, 2019
Society for Neuroscience
When elderly people begin to have falls they are not routinely offered a skilled examination of their ears. Not by unqualifie GPs or ususally nursesThis makes an audiologist I met so angry as blocked ears can cause imbalance ,it can lead to falls, distressing tinnitus and medication for fractures and depression caused by people shouting at them on the understanding ‘deafness is caused by your age dear.’- the problem he said .quite often, and not only in older people has been simply they needed wax removing by an expert
Isthere going to be some way of teasing all these different things out or maybe it’s proving that we are all different but some of us have some affects in common?