Two policemen and a Representative of the State dragged him from his bed.  He was taken to the institution where such deviants are held, and subjected to the procedures (The Re-Education Process) which the laws of his nation allows, indeed, insists upon, in such cases.  His occasional, weak cries: 'You are killing me' were taken as evidence that his re-education was proving effective.  However, after two years, he has been moved to an institution for the incurables, motionless in his wheelchair, no longer able to speak, showing no glimmer of recognition even to those members of his family now allowed an occasional visit.  (For all the time of his Re-Education Process he had only been allowed visitors who adhered to the Party Line, supporting the Re-Education Process, and visits were monitored to insure that no deviation occurred.)

His silence might allow us to suppose that the pain he endured is at least at an end.  However the experience of others similarly deviant....persistent refusal to meet their government’s requirements for active engagement in economic activity...who have undergone REP... report that this is not likely to be the case.  The effects, they say, are long-lasting, the pain intense, unremitting, and untreatable.


Pain is our Body's way of Telling us there is Damage

  • When we are in pain, especially severe pain, all we want is for it to stop;
  • Medical systems exist to help us get rid of it through treatment of what's causing it;
  • Medical practice and medical research are full of safeguards against unnecessary infliction of pain through deliberate abuse, negligence or carelessness.


Legal systems involve laws to stop people from inflicting harm/causing pain to each other

  • These includes penalties for inflicting bodily harm between adults, and extend to  legal frameworks for systems designed to  protect children, vulnerable adults, workers and the general public;
  • Even in institutions created for the punishment of criminals, there are regulations limiting the infliction of physical and psychological pain;
  • Social Services Departments are meant to provide protection for specific vulnerable groups, while Health and Safety legislation is intended to protect the general public, especially in work situations.

International law makes provision for limiting damage to civilians in war, and specific provision for the treatment of prisoners of war, and against the deliberate infliction of pain for the purpose of obtaining information (torture).

We regard the development of scientific means for alleviating pain, and the development of more and more humane cultural practices as the marks of advanced civilization.

Reading the scenario described above, the reader may well think that this must be either a piece of fiction or a record of practices in a brutal dictatorship....a nation clearly in need of the humane values practiced in our Western democracies.




The events described involve a 26-year-old woman suffering from severe ME, Karina Hansen. (Something rotten in the state of Denmark. Karina Hansen's story, 2013) (Update on Karina Hansen 'you are killing me', 2013) Dx Revision Watch: 

The ‘treatment’ was directed  by psychiatrists.

The country is Denmark (‘the happiest nation’).

The ‘Re-Education Programme’ is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy/Graded Exercise Therapy.

Her present condition is as described.
"Three years on, Karina remains a de facto prisoner of the state. She has been moved to a nearby “rehabilitation centre” but allowed very little contact with her family. Her father was permitted to visit her in December 2015. Whilst she was physically clean and cared-for, she was nevertheless in a wheelchair and unable to speak except for incomprehensible mumbling and grimaces. She did not appear to recognise her own father."


Similar events are occurring in the UK, the US, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, and other democratic nations in what calls itself ‘The Free World.’ 




Now that we know that this is not a young man, courageously protesting an oppressive political regime, but a sick young woman, what changes in our responses?

Amnesty International refuses to involve itself with ‘medical’ matters.

It is happening to a sick young woman.  It is a factual account.




Severe Me from Amazon

Severe ME - Featuring Justice for Karina Hansen by Greg Crowhurst

Whenever I want to write about the pain suffered by people who have ME, (ME/CFS/FM/SEID) I find myself immediately encountering my own just sounds like a lot of complaining.

When I began to write about the different responses that doctors have to the pain of women and to the pain of men (Hoffmann & Tarzian, 2001) I found myself referring to 'women's complaints' and 'men's reports'.  Even in the act of protesting against this distinction, I show it embedded in my own vocabulary. How deeply, then, is it embedded in our whole culture, and in our whole culture's response to the specific disease from which this young woman suffers?

A person who is complaining is violating social requirements to be stoical, courageous in the face of difficulty.  Especially in women, being 'uncomplaining' is a highly regarded virtue.  The complainer must be encouraged to put up with their difficulties, silenced.  In Accident and Emergency departments, women who complain of pain wait twice as long as men to be treated, the source of their complaints is likely to be considered psychogenic, and they are given tranquillizers. (Hoffmann & Tarzian, 2001)

A person who is reporting is passing on information about something which requires action to deal with the problem that is being reported on.  In Accident and Emergency Departments, men who report pain are seen twice as quickly as women, the source of their pain is likely to be considered a physical disorder which must be diagnosed and dealt with, and they are given opioid pain-killers.  (Hoffmann & Tarzian, 2001)

Greg Crowhursts book, Severe ME devotes 40 pages to descriptions of the symptoms of severe and very severe ME, of which more than half are types of pain, and many additionally describe multiple sensitivities…the ways in which even slight amounts of light, sound, scents, and even personal interaction can precipitate drastic increases in already intolerable levels of suffering.  (Crowhurst, 2013) pp 218-249. These are not ‘complaints’, they are reports.

Nearly 50 pages of the book (Crowhurst, 2013) pp 123-170 are devoted to reports of research studies explaining the range of physiological abnormalities found in ME patients, and how they account for the types of pain experienced.  ME is not “medically unexplained”.

Yet “medically unexplained symptoms” have become not reports which must lead to renewed efforts to find the explanation.  They have become MUS, a psychiatric diagnosis, and there are detailed instructions to the physician about how to manage these difficult, tedious patients…tell them their symptoms are ‘real’, and keep pushing for the connection to emotional distress, give them CBT to help them change their belief that they have a serious medical disease, and get them to change their “illness behaviour”, with progressive increase in activity and exercise (even when in worsening pain).  Their symptoms are not reports, they are complaints, which must be, kindly, of course, silenced. (Chitnis & Shiers), (Smith, 2003)

“And sometimes I simply don’t cope.  I shout, I cry, I am distressed, I am in indescribable multi-level burning, throbbing, crawling, screaming agony: I cannot move, I cannot think, I cannot feel, parts of me have disappeared completely from awareness.  I can do nothing when I want to.  I can mostly do nothing at all except cope or despair.  This is the true reality of Severe ME.”  (Crowhurst, 2013)  p 111.

This is not a complaint, it is a report.





Calderone K. The Influence of Gender on the Frequency of Pain and Sedative Medication Administered to Postoperative Patients. Sex Roles, 23, 11-12, 713-25. 1990.

Chitnis AD & Shiers D. Guidance for Health professionals on Medically Unexplained Symptoms (MUS) , Royal College of Psychiatry. No date.

Crowhurst G. Severe ME (2nd ed.). Stonebird. 2013.

Fassler, J. How Doctors Take Women's Pain Less Seriously. The Atlantic. October 15 2015.

Hoffmann, D. E., & Tarzian, A. J. The Girl Who Cried Pain: A Bias Against Women In The Treatment of Pain. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, 29, 14-27. doi:10.2139/ssrn.383803. 2001.

Invest in ME.  Lost Voices from a hidden illness (2nd ed.). (N. Boulton, Ed.) Mabe, Cornwall, UK: Wild Conversations Press. 2010.

Smith Re. Treating patients with medically unexplained symptoms in primary care. JGIM, 18, 478-489. June 2003.

Something rotten in the state of Denmark. Karina Hansen's story. May 11 2013. from Dx Revision Watch. Retrieved June 25 2013.

Update on Karina Hansen 'you are killing me'. from Dx Revision Watch: June 19 2013. Retrieved June 25 2013.


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About Nancy Blake

Nancy Blake BA CQSW, has worked in mental health settings since 1971. She served as the Chair of the ANLP PCS (now the NLPtCA), as well as on a National Working Party developing postgraduate standards for Psychotherapy (NVQ Level 5), and contributed to the document which led to NLP being accepted as a therapeutic modality by the European Association for Psychotherapy.  She has presented workshops at UKCP Professional Conferences on an NLP approach to working with victims of abuse, and in psychoneuroimmunology.  Recovering from ME since 1986, she is the co-author, with Dr Leslie O Simpson, of the book Ramsay’s Disease (ME) about ME, as well as A Beginner's Guide to ME / CFS (ME/CFS Beginner's Guides). Both titles are available both in paperback and Kindle formats on Amazon. Nancy was previously enrolled at Lancaster University in a PhD doctoral program; her thesis topic was Conflicting Paradigms of ME/CFS and how the Psychiatric Paradigm creates its Influence in contrast to the Medical Model. She may be contacted via Her books are available to purchase at

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