Dr J C Barker - Sudden death, asthma and the need for the will to live
Type of spiritual experience
There is some important implied healing information included in this observation. An asthmatic having an attack, or anyone who has experienced terrible fear or shock, needs reassurance, calm, confident unhurried and competent support to assuage fear and make them feel safe again
A description of the experience
Dr J C Barker MD, MRCP, DPM – Scared to Death – An examination of fear, its cause and effects
It would appear that sudden death in man, as in rats, results from a psychological condition of helplessness and hopelessness which can be induced by a variety of reactions, all of which are complementary to one another and tend to operate in the same direction.
Life must have a purpose.
As Meerloo says, "man possesses an almost unlimited power of endurance. But take away the hope, the happy expectation, the idea, the fiction for which he suffers, and he dies."
There is undoubtedly a good physiological explanation for it, but the primary initiating factors for the physiological response are certainly emotional.
At present, it has not been definitely established whether the mode of death is principally mediated through sympathetic or para-sympathetic agencies, although it is probable that both systems are involved.
In man, particularly, psychosomatic factors also seem to play an important part. This is seen in the sudden death which occasionally occurs in asthmatics. The real impairment of oxygenation, coupled with fantasies of suffocation, may evoke extreme fear, particularly in those who have not acclimatised themselves to their condition.