Steve Keller keller at flash.net
Sat Jul 27 23:06:47 EST 1996


This letter is from an individual to their doctor seeking help for their 
condition.  If anyone has knowledge of this sort of problem we'd like to hear 
from you.  Thanks.


The letter is as follows-

Dr. (XXXXX),
	This letter is a bit longer than usual (2½ pages)  -- but it is very 
important that you read it right away, before you even put on your white coat 
and start seeing patients.
	Since we have reached a point in our relationship where all the stops 
have been pulled out, I am going to write the most brutally honest, direct 
letter I've ever typed out to you.
	It is my nature, as you know, to be polite and reserved.  But I think 
it may tell you more about me if I just say whatever comes to my mind.
	First things first:  I want to wean off Clorazepate (I''ve been having 
a problem with my abdomen hurting constantly for the past several days, even to 
the point of keeping me awake; Phrenilin aggravates this after a certain point, 
and I'm not sure but that even Clorazepate does the same).  If you would give 
me one fill (about 30) of the low-powered kind (3.75 Mg.) of Clorazepate, that 
should be enough.
	As you know from my letter yesterday, I failed miserably in a job I 
tried to take on Friday morning.  I have to tell you, frankly, that I wept over 
that on and off all day... because it's happened so many times before.  
	As I start this letter, it is 2:00 A.M. Saturday morning.  I have been 
trying without success, despite Clorazepate and even a little Phrenilin, to get 
to sleep for the past 2 hours.  I cannot rest; these thoughts are churning 
through my head and I might as well put them down on paper.
	I recently wrote a letter to a friend of mine, Craig Smith by name, at 
the City Christian Fellowship church.  Craig is an extremely gifted Christian 
recording artist -- his music is beautiful and touching -- as well as a very 
kind-hearted person who deeply loves God.  He presently occupies the role of 
pastor of that inter-non-denominational church (to which many Catholics come, 
because the people are so kind, love God so much, and have such a cheering and 
positive outlook.  They firmly believe in what the Bible says).  
	I will include here a modified excerpt from that letter about how 
things proceeded for me after a certain date in 1978:
	From that point on... well, it's almost impossible to put into words, 
but I'll try to get something of it across to you.
	Think of the worst, most terrifying nightmare you ever had in your life 
-- one in which the entire atmosphere was so deadly that you were literally 
scared spitless.  Then, imagine waking up in the morning... and instead of the 
dream-fabric fading away as it normally does, the fear remains completely with 
you; you are just as terrified while awake as you were while having the 
	And the fear doesn't go away.  All day, all night, all the next day... 
and on and on and on.
	Next, think of the most bummed-out, depressive, miserable day or brief 
period of time you've ever experienced; a day or two that is so completely 
wretched that you really wish you would be the victim of a drive-by shooting -- 
and I'm not exaggerating.
	This terrible depression, just as the awful fear, does not go away 
either.  On and on, day after day, week after week, month after month.  You can 
barely sleep; you totally lose interest in doing anything whatsoever; you can 
hardly function at all.
	Finally, imagine waking up each day with a powerful feeling of physical 
malaise.  Your body feels bad, all over, in a way you can't put into words.  
You ache; worse, you get attacks of bad abdominal pain alternating with 
frequent horrible headaches.  You've had the same type of headaches and 
abdominal pain earlier in your life -- but they're worse and more frequent now.
	In a word, you feel absolutely horrible.  Life is just absolutely 
wretched for you.
	Naturally, you seek the help of Physicians and even Psychiatrists / 
Psychologists and Counselors.  You even end up going to Treatment Programs.  
The Medical Doctors run some usual tests but can't find anything specifically 
wrong; the Psychiatrists prescribe Antidepressant medications which not only 
don't help, they actually make the problem even worse (Elavil, for a start; 
this causes even worse bad dreams).  The Counselors talk to you and the 
Treatment Programs try to put you through disciplinary regimens.
	None of these do any good whatsoever.
	Try very hard to imagine all of these things afflicting you at once.  
There are no answers; no insights; and absolutely no relief.  Period.   
	In the understatement of the century, this is pretty darned bad.  If 
you're expected to stay on your feet and function, it can hardly get any worse 
than this.
	Now... not too long after these things have got hold of you, you 
suddenly end up unexpectedly, one morning when you're supposed to start a new 
job, in hospital for a kidney stone.  I don't know if you've ever had one of 
these but it is said there are very few things that compare with the pain they 
produce.  You will be writhing all over the place, groaning, throwing up, 
because the pain is so unbearable.  You can't possibly drive; someone else has 
to take you there.  
	Then, at the hospital, you are given shots of painkillers -- I.E., 
Demerol, Morphine, etc.  
	And now, something very like an epiphany occurs.
	After the administration of the drugs, the pain recedes into the 
background.  But that is not the thing that immediately grips your attention.  
	What does make you literally sit up and take notice is the fact that 
not only does the physical pain float away, but all the fear, the depression, 
the misery, the anguish, the physical malaise -- all these drift away too, as 
if they had never existed.  For the very first time in months, you feel just 
like you did before all the horrors started.
	From here on I will make the story as brief as possible.  Ever since 
that ordeal in the hospital (August 1978), my life has been a running battle 
with opiate-type pain medicine -- because it was the only thing that gave me 
relief from the unbelievable wretchedness I suffered.  I've seen photos of 
myself from that time frame; one can tell by looking at my face that something 
was seriously wrong with me -- I had this awful expression on my face, as if I 
were suffering from some unbearable internal pain.  I looked so bad that it 
drove some girl I used to go to school with to start praying for me.  I've 
probably driven my personal physician (whom I've known for 10 years) close to 
stark raving mad with my incessant requests for pain-type medication [NOTE: 
This is you, Dr. (XXXXX)].  A lot of times the requests were legitimate enough, 
as I do get very bad migraine-type headaches and bad attacks of abdominal pain 
-- but more frequently it was just to relieve the awful depression and physical 
bad feeling.  Whenever you've seen me with the familiar bit-into-a-sour-lemon 
countenance, you can just about bet that I haven't had any medication of that 
type recently and am really suffering.
	There was more to that letter, but that was the part pertinent to this 
	Dr. (XXXXX), do you begin to get the picture?  Can you imagine waking 
up just about every blessed day, having an indescribable but very bad feeling 
over your entire body and/or aching all over?  And it being a literal torment 
from hell just to get up and do anything at all?  And being so miserable and 
depressed that you just do not give a damn about anything?
	In all honesty, I would not want you to.  I would not want Adolf 
Hitler, that unbelievably evil and cruel leader of Nazi Germany, to go through 
	Everyone wakes up not feeling so good occasionally, but this goes very 
far beyond that.  This, to me, is a cruelty beyond belief.  You may have 
already guessed this -- but I will confirm to you that I have had a death wish 
for at least the past 13 years.  
	Now, do not misunderstand me on this:  I have never -- repeat 
emphatically -- never, entertained the idea of ending my own earthly existence. 
 The same deep, deep belief in God that keeps me from falling apart completely 
makes me know, of a certainty, that a human being does not have the option to 
end his or her life.  It is God-given, for some reason; however unfathomable 
that reason may be.  
	That does not mean that I have not still desired to die very greatly.  
I tell you the truth:  I have craved death as a man stranded on a desert craves 
water.  I have hoped I would die in an accident.  I have fantasized about dying 
in a short-term but fatal illness.  Any way at all, as long as it would let me 
out of this horrid existence.
	Naturally, nothing even remotely like that has ever happened to me.
	Once, years ago, a pretty knowledgeable pharmacist informed me that 
some medical studies had shown that certain people had either a deficiency of, 
or another problem which caused the interference of the action of, the natural 
morphines (endorphins and enkephalins) in the body.  He said that these people 
suffered exactly the same sort of things that I had been suffering for so long 
-- they just felt awful all the time for no apparent reason.
	At the time I rejected this idea; for some reason it repelled me.  I 
suppose it was because it sounded like a death sentence, like something no one 
could do anything about and would be ultimately fatal many years down the road.
	But now... I'll be damned if I don't think that may be just exactly 
what's wrong with me.  Look at the facts:  Apparently there is a natural 
check-and-balance of endorphin flow in the body at most times, which makes 
people feel normally good and able to function.
	I feel horrible all the time; I ache, feel terrible otherwise, and am 
depressed.  It's like the endorphins simply aren't there at all, or are somehow 
prevented from doing their job.
	Many people are on an exercise kick.  They push themselves hard; they 
can run until they hurt and keep on running, and then they get what's known as 
the Runner's High.  This is because after a certain point of muscular strain 
their bodies release endorphins, which make them feel ever so much better (and 
they weren't feeling bad to start with).
	Do you know what happens when I exercise to the point of aching, 
shaking all over, and of nearly fainting?
	Nothing, that is, except the most horrible feeling I've ever had in my 
life -- the feeling that I'm going to die and wish that I could.  
	It does not make any difference how often this cruel regimen is 
repeated.  It can be prolonged endlessly and it does not help to the slightest 
	I feel horrible all the time and cannot function at all.  Apparently my 
body is either not producing the endorphins, or else they are somehow being 
prohibited from doing their job.
	Doctor -- I am absolutely desperate.  What am I going to do?  Truly, I 
might as well be dead as go on like this -- it is pointless!  I cannot 
function; I cannot work; I cannot live.  
	This is exactly why I have sought pain pills, etc. so much.  In 
addition to relieving the very real and violent headaches and bad abdominal 
pain I sometimes get (sometimes together -- now there's a real treat!), these 
medications mimic what my body is apparently lacking.  With them, I don't 
generally feel drunk or high; I just feel like I did before this whole damned 
thing started so many, many years ago.  I can live.  I can work.  I can 
	Of course, pain medication isn't perfect by a longshot; its effect goes 
downhill after a time and it can have side effects.  And, of course, it can 
produce physical dependency over a period of time -- though I've learned to be 
pretty careful about that.  
	But it is absolutely the only thing I have ever found that make me feel 
like a normal human being again -- like I felt before that turning point in 
	The most practical thing I've ever found, surprisingly, has been 
Lomotil.  Let me explain about Lomotil.  It doesn't really behave exactly like 
normal pain medicine.  Lomotil takes a long time to take effect; it is very 
slow and gentle about coming on.  I just become gradually aware of feeling 
normal again, the only side effect being that it makes my mouth a little dry.  
Also, though the effect of Lomotil is much less pronounced than that of pain 
pills, the effect is prolonged.  4 to 6 Lomotil can make me feel well enough to 
function for a whole day.
	Doctor,  this is truly the bottom line:  If I really can't have even so 
much as Lomotil or Darvon any more (which is a pretty poor painkiller, not even 
as effective as plain Codeine), isn't there for heaven's sake something that 
can be done?  The only other alternative I see is for me to be certified 
completely and permanently disabled, in which case I am certain that I will 
probably end up dying soon from sheer misery.
	Is there anything, anything at all, that can stimulate the production 
of endorphins in the body?  I've heard of certain little externally applied 
electronic boxes that produce carefully regulated electrical shocks that 
stimulate endorphins.  I've even read that acupuncture can cause this.
	I know you don't have all the answers.  I know that some things are 
beyond you.  But you are very intelligent and well-informed.  If you can think 
of anything practical, anything at all, please discuss them with me TODAY.  
This has to be addressed NOW; it cannot wait!

Sincerely and Desperately,
   &&&&   &   &  &&&  &    &    &&&  &&&& 
  &       &  &   &    &    &    &    &   & Steve Keller 
   &&&&   &&&    &&&  &    &    &&&  &&&&  keller at flash.net 
       &  &  &   &    &    &    &    &   & (214)279-1531 <modem/voice>  
  &&&&&   &   &  &&&  &&&  &&&  &&&  &   & http://www.flash.net/~keller

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