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Wessely psychologises Chemical warfare

Discussion in 'Action Alerts and Advocacy' started by Orla, Apr 7, 2010.

  1. Orla

    Orla Senior Member

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    Radio interview with Wessely re Shell Shock victim

    This is a bit long but worth looking at to see Wessely's absolute lack of compassion for the family of the man they are talking about.

    Following publication of his article The life and death of Private Harry Farr in the Journal of The Royal Society of Medicine (JRSM:2006:99:440-443), on 2nd September 2006 Wessely was interviewed on the BBCs Today programme on Radio 4 by John Humphrys. This is the transcript.



     
  2. Orla

    Orla Senior Member

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    Just to put the human face on the background to the story. This is part of an article from a UK newspaper

     
  3. Angela Kennedy

    Angela Kennedy *****

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    Thanks very much for this Orla.

    Wow.

    "JH: But we now know it wasn`t cowardice, that`s my point

    SW: We don`t know that, it`s actually back then they called it shell- shock, now we call it something different, they did know that he had
    a history of shell-shock, but it doesn`t have the same meaning to them as it did to us
    "

    I can't help wonder how Wessely defines 'cowardice'. It does point to my ongoing concern about how psychiatrists seem sometimes (often when it comes to some of them) to make value-judgements about people's actions, based on their own subjective beliefs. There's a case for arguing that a psychologist's fallacy is at work here in Wessely's reasoning, even if Wessely does imply others are doing that sort of thing:

    Wessely: "[it's not for] us to, from our extremely comfortable present, to kind of second guess and judge the past we can understand it and understand why things happened the way they did make acknowledgement of..."

    I think it significant Wessely believes people know little about WW1 (his own children only know about WW1 from the last episode of Blackadder? Honestly? I have to say, my kids knew a LOT more even as young children. A trip to the Imperial War Museum helps with that. Even a read of a Horrible Histories book is useful!). Obviously Blackadder is a comic, satirical narrative, but it works as that BECAUSE people understand the wider context of WW1.
     
  4. Orla

    Orla Senior Member

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    A few comments on parts of it

    Just because they are not on the medical notes doesn't mean it didn't happen.

    I am not convinced that Shell Shock was purely a psychological phenomenon. I wonder whether it was something of an umbrella terms for people with a range of "unexplained" health conditions who had been at the war front?

    Having seen footage of people who had "shell-shock", some had real difficulty walking, were sort of wobbling all over the place, and not just psychiatric problems. I think in some cases this carried on for years. Of course it cannot be studied properly now but I wonder whether there was some sort of neurological injury in some cases?

    That view was obviously coloured by military/political policy. (He is, in theory, putting what happened in context, but in a way accepting politically motivated decisions as if they were acceptable or reasonable)

    A bit off topic for this discussion, but when I saw this comment on phobias, I thought I would point it out. Exercise phobia came up onanother thread. I mentioned on that thread that phobia would mean something in particular to mental health professionals, not just a little rational worry about something, and that is basically (in bold) what they would mean by a phobia.

    And yet, he insists on being against the pardon.

    Edit, in theory he is putting the event in conext in this article, but in practice he is avoiding mentioning the bigger picture of the war, motivations for the war, how the "higher up" people in the army or government viewed the people on the front (basically as expendable). And another poetry moment thay I think illustarates some of what I am talking about:

     
  5. Mithriel

    Mithriel Senior Member

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    I was reading a novel which had a lot of detail about shell shock and WW1. Not the same as a factual book, but it got me interested and if I feel well enough I will try to find out what I can.

    I think it is important for us because some of the ideas of somatisation and hysteria come from studies of soldiers. There were psychiatrists who got very interested and did lots of work, some compassionately. (Though the criteria for damage was changed to reduce the number of pensions paid out.)

    Recently, they have shown that percussive damage causes micro brain injuries. They are trying to develop helmets which will cushion the brain because as it is shook by blast small tears and damages occur which do not show up easily but cause lasting problems.

    I am convinced that many of the cases of "shellshock" and the like were actually percussive damage. The strange movements, dystonias and tics of ex soldiers were seen as psychological and experiments done then are the basis for somatisation in neurology.

    One experiment struck me. When soldiers with difficulty walking were hypnotised they resumed a normal gait. This was taken as proof that psychology cause walking difficulties. Yet if one part of the brain was sending a signal causing contractures then deep relaxation could damp down that signal and release the muscle to walk properly. I doubt if they had the men walk far and they may well have exaggerated how "normal" the gait was the same way "recovery" for us is so far from the usual meaning of the word.

    Mithriel

    Meant to say thanks to Orla for all the information, very interesting.
     
  6. Orla

    Orla Senior Member

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    Thanks Mithriel, so my suspicions may have been correct then.

    I have some notes I took from a documentary on the first world war which covered the issue of shell shock. I will look for it and see if there is anything relevant.

    And if people can bear it, here is another article on Wessely, with some interesting history and comment on CFS. Sandhurst is some sort of military training college. I have put some of the text below in bold and underlined to highlight some important points.


    He is saying that he would choose his words (rather than ideas) more carefully if he had to do it over again. I have noticed that the psycho-social school sometimes write more diplomatically now, same ridiculous ideas, but more manipulative language. Personally I prefer it when they come straight out and say what they are thinking.

    Orla
     
  7. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Thank you, Orla and Mithriel, for reminding me of all the grim details of this tragic story. I can sometimes begin to feel pity for Simon Wessely because he begins to appear such a sad a desperate little fool but when I am reminded of his immense cruelty... Base Details was just right. Just right.

    It's unbelievable, really, that someone could go on and on being pathologically cruel and be well compensated for it. I forget, sometimes, that something so bizarre is possible. I really do think he gets away with it because ordinary people, like me, find it hard to remember that this kind of thing really does go on and that sadistic people can appear banal and slightly idiotic.
     
  8. justinreilly

    justinreilly Stop the IoM & P2P! Adopt CCC!

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    Orla, Thanks for all your great posts!

    What a scumbag. Farr was a WWI soldier executed for cowardice and Wessely is going out of his way 90 years later to sh!t on his grave.

    Wessely would lose it if the cowardly baby wasn't allowed to engage in his raison d'etre: abusing disabled people. And his fragile psyche surely wouldn't last 10 minutes in a war trench. A true human POS par exellance.
     
  9. justinreilly

    justinreilly Stop the IoM & P2P! Adopt CCC!

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    "[G]as... was associated with a sense of unfairness" :confused::confused::confused:
    How can anyone write or read this stuff with a straight face?

    Obviously, he's doing the same thing in the same way with all the groups he victimizes. Thus, I'm sure these veterans who 'have no health problems' really are very sick and the ones who were permitted adequate testing have reams of significant lab abnormalities, just as we ME patients, according to Wessely's articles, have 'no pathology' and just 'believe' we are sick.
     
  10. Dr. Yes

    Dr. Yes Shame on You

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    Orla, thank you once again for filling me with disgust. :mask:

    It has to be for political reasons, i.e. an effort to quash sympathy for and discussion of victims of GWI and PTSD. He is doing exactly the same thing about ME/CFS; trying to prevent the governments and insurers from having to compensate victims of this disease (or any other one he and his colleagues can manage to label as "medically unexplained symptoms").

    Btw, as you noted, I didn't know that 'cowardice' was a psychiatric diagnosis.

    Oooh, can I make that my signature?

    Of course, that spares him from ever having to REALLY figure anything out. It becomes a playground for weak minds.

    He would be well suited to the history departments in many universities. You can arrange or ignore evidence however you want to fit your own biases, and rewrite reality on a daily basis.

    Great points by you as well Mithriel. I was thinking the same thing. All the explosive devices used in WW I (and even worse since then) are capable of shattering ear drums and damaging peripheral vestibular systems that control equilibrium. They also induce concussions, which cause brain damage themselves. Quite a few American football players have suffered from something called Multiple Concussion Syndrome; the first time I read about the symptoms of one player, I was stunned by how closely they resembled my own. It can't have been 'deconditioning'; these guys are of course in incredible shape; yet they suffered some of the same symptoms that for us are dismissed as 'deconditioning effects' by so many doctors.

    Can we get this information on Wessely out to a wider audience? Not just within ME/CFS communities... all of this would, for example, be the basis for a great piece in Harper's or any number of other magazines. I can see the caricature now..

    (Also, perhaps certain people within the ME/CFS community who feel it is appropriate to try to convince or be convinced by the arguments of people like Wessely would benefit from knowing what they are dealing with.)
     
  11. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    That would be an awesome signature, Dr Yes!

    Do it!
     
  12. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Shell Shock vs PTSD

    or

    Making it up as you go along.

    [video=youtube;NJUn7Koe01g]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJUn7Koe01g[/video]
     
  13. justinreilly

    justinreilly Stop the IoM & P2P! Adopt CCC!

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    Wow, he never ceases to amaze me. Veterans get PTSD because they saw in Platoon that they're supposed to get flashbacks?? Shell-shocked veterans were 'unmanly'?- look who's talking! Will someone flush this turd already?
     
  14. Orla

    Orla Senior Member

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    No problem, my pleasure :D


    Yes, he can waffle to his hearts content, and also be right so many times, as like a psychic he is spreading the risks by saying a few different things at the same time, so that one of the things he says might be right.

    What is that you are saying about historians! :Retro mad: :Retro mad: :Retro mad: :Retro mad: ok just kidding ;) I agree.


    That is very interesting.

    Orla
     
  15. V99

    V99 *****

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    I suppose that PTSD has a time passport then? Or is it just a little baby still new to the world?

    And NO war films do not always use the flashback, that is how Weasley organises his memory. (Great Escape, Lawence of Arabia, Bridge too far - nope nothing there)
     
  16. Orla

    Orla Senior Member

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    Thanks Min, Camelford water incident

    Thanks for the link. Is there no end to what this man well get up to? He is like a gun for hire to help cover things up.

    That second article there has this:

    I have heard about a few other things Wessely has been involved with (when I have the energy I will look for the information). He seems to have roughly the same script for every condition.

    And Koan, thank you for that lovely little video of him waffling away as usual. I have the notes from his speech at Gresham college (aren't I lucky?).

    Orla
     
  17. V99

    V99 *****

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    Imagine what he would make of those who were at ground zero breathing in the dust.
     
  18. Orla

    Orla Senior Member

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    Unfortunately we don't have to imagine V99. I have out some of the text below in bold.

    These are just some extracts, worth reading in full if you can stomach it.

    Orla
     
  19. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    This diatribe is dated May 23, 2002. So, SW had formed and was shopping a theory regarding what ailed people who lived in an environment which was literally blanketed in a thick snow of pulverized buildings and airplanes - a hitherto unique situation - following a terrorist attack which took place just 8 months earlier.

    I cannot understand how he is allowed to carry on with his half baked ideas which drip with psychopathology consistent with having a big, big issue with illness in others. I am left, always, wondering who in this man's early life was ill -- one of his parents, his mother perhaps? Why did that upset him so much and why has he been unable to come to terms with his anger and anxiety as an adult doctor.

    No matter what scenario he is faced with, he finds a way to explain all symptoms and distress as whinging. It's stunning. It's also pathological. I do not believe he is a happy or a well adjusted human being.
     
  20. V99

    V99 *****

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    Orla
    WOW, what a loony toon. Why he bothers studying anyone is beyond me, he already has the answers to everything.

    Interestingly he says cancer is just cancer, but for ME, it's more complicated. Biopsychosocial only when it suites him.
     

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