Published in The Homeopath Summer 1997 No: 66
There is much evidence to suggest that most cases of severe mental and emotional pathology arise from abuse somewhere in the time line, thus practitioners can find themselves on the look out for this, even when it isn’t there.
When a client first presents, there is often no way of knowing what the aetiology is, as the case history or time line may not reflect the true picture due to denial or fragmentation (i.e. loss of significant portions of the memory).
In this case, the client’s mother and her brother had been sexually and physically abused by their father, resulting in the uncle (mum’s brother) requiring mental hospital admission and ECT. This client’s mother however, had ‘survived’ and managed to parent my client adequately, even though she was a strict disciplinarian who lashed out with her hand. This information ‘predisposes’ the practitioner to look in a certain direction, which may be quite misleading!
This 41 year old woman first consulted me on 10.7.95, giving a history of severe depressive episodes. Her GP had told her she was a ‘psychiatric case’ and her osteopath had told her that her frontal lobes were ‘rearing like frightened horses’. Throughout the whole of the initial consultation, she cried and sobbed very loudly, screamed at every question and was completely hysterical.
I will radically summarise the case here:
Non Hodgkin’s Disease
Sexual and physical abuse
Siblings: Twin elder sisters
As a child: scarlet fever/whooping cough/stuck hairgrips up her vagina (required hospital admission). Outdoor type, liked team games and walking, also loved books and knowledge. Used to cry in bed ‘about where I will go when I’m dead’.
As a school child: she couldn’t get into twin sister’s social set (fought all through childhood with them because they thought she was the ‘favourite’), always hung around with mum who was ‘my best friend’. Mum was dominant in her marriage, but ‘dad wound mum up’. Dad always put me down. She loved school and worked hard, getting grade one passes in all exams. She was a leader ‘disruptive, mischievous and obedient’, she got into fights with boys. She was a tough child who stood up for herself. She liked to ride horses.
As a young adult: She completed her degree (with distinction) and then went abroad to Iran in 1977 and lived in Istanbul for two years where she married a Turk. Then she divorced him and came back to London. She went to Germany in her late 20’s and got depressed over a fight with a neighbour and lost her confidence. A German psychiatrist worked with her around her father (‘who always ridiculed me and threw my Lenin books out of the window’).
She returned to London and hated it, her GP gave her tablets for being sad and unhappy in the City, she took too many and ended up in hospital and saw another psychiatrist for a few weeks. The nurses in hospital called her nasty and evil which upset her considerably!
She has always hated London, but finds its the only place she can work, so she took frequent time outs abroad – working as a hotel cleaner in Europe and Germany, coming back to London to teach supply and then off abroad again – often back packing around Greece, North Africa and Eastern Europe, preferring to travel alone.
At the age of 30, she moved from East to West Germany and the woke up crying one morning and couldn’t stop. She saw another psychiatrist and worked through her parent’s relationship as it affected her. ‘I wanted to be a vet, but mum and dad stopped it – I hated (the job I do), living in the city – and I knew I had to go back to England!’
She has smoked cannabis all her life.
Back in England, after an unhappy love affair, she was again sad and the GP gave her amitriptylline – ‘I got so scared that I would get off centre so I smoked loads of dope all the time’.
She was soon back in East Germany again and happy ‘I loved this – no pressure and lots of long distance walking alone, but I was lost and directionless’. She then had two miscarriages in Germany and began to be depressed in the winter, but was happy enough with the ‘state supporting me and lots of friends’. Her directionless life began to take its toll and she began drinking on her own, but smashed all the bottles against the wall one day and returned to London in 1989.
Settling down in London: Back to work in London, she continued to back pack at every opportunity. By 1991 she was pregnant and had a daughter. She began homeopathy in 1992 as she was always ill with head colds and had developed a terrible fear of HIV/ME. Her mother died in 1993 of cancer.
By autumn 1994 she was hypomanic, SAD was diagnosed at the hospital, by February 1995 she was on amitryptilline and prosac, which ‘rocketed me off’ into panic and anxiety, with visual disturbance and vertigo and hysterical fear.
With the summer coming she was terrified. Her homoeopath couldnt pull her out of it and she panicked and wanted to change to a female homeopath. Her previous homeopath had given her stramonium/ staphysagria/phosphorus/ ignatia/ sepia/ sulphur/ medorrhinum/ calc carb/ calc phos. She has been ‘bombing’ arg nit all day just to get to see me. She is seeing an osteopath.
She is doing a further degree at present, which she says eases her, as she always works obsessively and constantly. She reported her only ameliorating factors as working and walking.
Remedy: This was the whole case as I received it that day. She was crying uncontrollably all the way through and I was put off asking too many questions because she just screamed and jumped – she had come prepared to tell me this story and having done so, had run out of steam.
I have been treating her child since 1993, but I’d no idea she was in such a state as she usually presented to me with a very good calm, controlled persona, which was proved time and again interacting with her over her daughter (who had very severe chest infections and eczema, and required weaning off steroids. I’d always found her to be sensible, competent and mature). I gave her hyoscymus 200c hourly.
12.7.95 to 19.7.95 She slowly calmed down on the hyoscymus, tailing this off to one a day, which enabled me to get some more information. She told me that she has panic attacks in Tesco’s and is unable to shop (caught shoplifting aged 7 and is still terrified of being found out). She has had gushing diarrhoea and a ‘quivering anus’ so she can’t go out the house.
Remedy: aconite 10m as required and lac humanum 1m twice a day, phosphorus 30c as required (a remedy she had found very helpful from her previous homeopath and pleaded to continue).
19.7.95 to 2.10.95 She slowly calmed down even more. The osteopath was pleased that her head felt more normal and the pressure in her head normalised a bit. She felt that the aconite helped her to re live her mother’s death and she feels better about this. She reported good sleep, but dreams of tidal waves and rats. She was angry about her partner who ‘puts me down’.
She began to report symptoms of PMT, complained of a blocked nose and a constant feeling of having the flu with a headache and right ear ache. She says the congestion in her head builds up until her period releases the pressure. She looses very little blood and uses only panty liners during her period. She is extremely conscious of ovulating, saying she gets the ‘flu’, itchy eyes and a headache from ovulation till her period, then has a few days off before the whole cycle begins to build again.
She is obsessed with counting the days of her cycle. She reports very offensive fishy odour during this time, and reports a heavy vaginal discharge which can excoriate and dries to mustard yellow and will not scrub off her clothes. She has genital herpes which also flares up at this time. She is exhausted most of the time.
She also builds up pressure with weather and rain releases this pressure. Her sleep is ‘great’ since the hyoscymus, but she reported a recurrent dream of snakes coiling around her ankles – an old symptoms from the past – with a great fear of snakes – but recently she has been able to tolerate pictures of snakes. She also reports a fear of heights.
She told me about an ‘attack’ by a male lecturer in February 1995 over her degree course work ‘he raped my thoughts’ and ‘negated my existence’ – she cried over this for a long while. She was frightened to give up the lac humanum, but I finally convinced her to stop this, and all other remedies and take kreosotum 30c one a day for five days 2.10.95.
2.10.95 to date During this time, she as very exhausted as she put down all the panicky behaviour and began to normalise. However, her fear of winter and SAD proved troublesome. She continued to count every day of her cycle for the whole of this period. Her itchy eyes resolved. Her ‘free floating anxiety’ eased off. She continued to walk and overwork to ease off her anxiety, saying that this was the only thing that really helped. She finally went to visit her mother’s grave.
Her osteopath struggled all winter to try and ‘release’ her head. She reported post nasal catarrh, with constant nasopharyngitis and sore throat, and pressure in her ‘brow chakra’ which makes her squint her eyes. She complained constantly and bitterly about her offensive vaginal discharge and ‘smelly armpits’ and offensive gas. She reported skin rashes when ever her skin is exposed to the sun, which itches violently.
She had plummeting PMT with every period, with screaming and sobbing, exacerbation of all her ‘flu’ symptoms and she refused to be left alone (which necessitated rotas of friends to keep her company around the clock). This whole picture worsened as winter onset. She would crescendo into her period from ovulation, till her period released the state, then she would become excessively tired and then manic as the build up began again.
She cried huge amounts of tears. She used hydrocortisone on her skin every time she felt any sunlight, suppressing urticarial type, bright red rashes all over her hands and forearms.
She repeated the kreosotum 30c one a day x five days on 2.10.95 and 4.12.95, and began to report a ‘click release’ in her head, ‘I felt something shift’ and she felt a bit better. She had a return of her gushing diarrhoea and became very irritable, remembering incidents from the past when she didn’t fight back, screaming and shouting about events long gone.
She spent her time walking long distances and crying, but began to report islands of feeling better in between these outbursts, and in between her crescendoing build ups to her periods.
She began to get very close to her dad, spending more and more time with him, thus seeing more of her sisters and getting much closer to them and their children. She and her dad cried in each other’s arms on the last visit. At other times, she felt vulnerable and alone.
I was now able to get some details on her previous physical history, Which I was very eager to do, but all this time had been taken up helping her to control her hysteria. I have been her daughter’s homeopath since 26.6.93, a full two years before, so I knew this woman reasonably well. I also knew the story of her pregnancies. I was eager to see what the overall physical history actually was.
She reported a history of huge multiple recurrent styes in 1991 when pregnant, she had a coil fitted in 1977, which was replaced in 1979 whilst she was living in Turkey. She then had a ‘very bad infection’ which required hospital admission and a fight over whether to operate or not, and whether they should remove the ovaries, with multiple antibiotic usage and crawling about in excruciating pain.
She already had a history of genital herpetic eruptions. In 1981, another coil was inserted, but she had pain and mid cycle bleeding, so she insisted it was taken out. The GP couldn’t find it, neither could the hospital – it had burrowed its way up and out of the womb and was removed by laparoscopy. She has never had a coil since and cannot wear tampons, which she used to do. Sex is a problem before a period due to deep dyspareunia.
From her daughter’s notes, I quote the following:
‘Uggh, do we have to talk about pregnancy?’
H/O five previous miscarriages ‘like living on a knife edge’
This pregnancy was a twin, but at 16/40 there was a ‘bloody, gungey discharge’ and then evacuation – ‘something came away’, but the other twin ‘stuck like a Klingon’ and survived. This child suffered intensely severe chest infections, behavioural swings and skin eruptions of a rapidly varied and fluctuating nature.
Always crises would be signalled by a ‘fungal circle’ that would appear on her tongue. After three years of treatment, and only this ‘circle on the tongue’ remaining as a symptom, streptococcus in potency removed the stain of the disease from the daughter, and the ring from her tongue.
Back to mum’s case:
During this time, I gave her opium 30c od x 3 days 16.10.95 (to try and stem the flood of shock hysteria) and pyrogen 30c (to try and address the putrid nature of her discharge and her ‘head flares’ – I was aware that I was dealing with an active inflammatory and infective condition – kreosotum seemed to give her a bad emotional ride and she refused point blank to take any more – ever!) She pleaded to keep the phosphorus 30c (which she was convinced as calming), so I agreed.
After the opium and the pyrogen, she dramatically normalised, had some nose bleeds between ovulation and menses, noticed the pain in her uterus behind the discharge and a reduction in the offensive odours. She reported a history of bowel trouble before the first ‘episode of emotional trouble’
in Germany in 1979 when she moved from Turkey. This was the date of her first infective episode with the replacement coil. So this woman had never been emotionally well since an episode of bowel trouble, followed by a PID infection in 1979?
The original picture at that time was headaches (German GP sent her off for a scan which showed no abnormality) and symptoms of IBS.
Then she had a sudden episode of depression.
This pattern has been repeating ever since, and has been treated by all concerned, even the patient like a mental/emotional illness, no doubt because of the presentation and because of the family history.
The truth is little bit different!
It took another fourteen months to calm her down and to treat through the consequent emotional disaster area that this state had caused. I gave her very low doses of staphysagria, sepia, hyoscymus, nux vomica and nat mur, in short burst of three or five days over a period of eight months, all the while intercurrenting the case with pyrogen 30c, hydrogen 30c and eventually streptococcus, which I use in the 200c as this seems to be the most efficacious potency imho!
She took streptococcus 200c od for the period between ovulation and menstruation for two months, and she had a good summer.
She then had a flare up on 9.9.96 (going back to work after the holidays and SAD threatening). These anniversary hiccups in these type of cases need to be prepared for, and sure enough she started to blow out (starting with her tyre on the motorway) and the resultant adrenaline rush brought on the period and a flood of responsibility, a decision to move house, change her job etc., renewed obsession with counting her days between ovulation and her period, with exhaustion and run away fear states and restless legs and desire to run away – but this time, she knew it was coming because we had all the time line mapped out, she knew that streptococcus had released the state in her head before, she agreed to a similimum prescription, and prepared to confront her central dilemma.
Prescription: Tarantula 30c one split dose 9.9.96.
She plummeted a bit, but her osteopath was jumping around – her head had changed and stayed changed, but her womb was stuck fast! She blew out lots of gas with lots of severe cutting pains, her body odours increased and had lots of crying sessions. Her nose began to run ‘a snot factory’. She did enormous quantities of work (is finishing her degree this year).
Tarantula 200c and some arnica 10m (for the depth of the toxic shock picture) in odd doses sailed her through the winter. The osteopath was convinced that he had found an old concussion in her right temple (lots of falls from horses as a child), and he also found evidence of ‘falls from horses’ in her right hip and knee.
She finally reported the extent of her skin rash history, which she has always suppressed with 1% hydrocortisone and pseudo cream < any sunlight. The dry skin on her face returned, the irritating little sore place between her little toe (right) which she has had for years returned.
She sorted out her partner (who has been violent to her), such that he just sat with his head down and agreed to do better (February 1997)! She has also been given one split dose of carcinosin 1m 16.12.96 and a further dose of staphysagria 200c one dose 10.2.97, but has normalised to such an extent now that she is managing her own discharge from treatment with me, and has discussed with her GP (who is very pleased) her wonderful recovery.
At this time April 1997, she has no remaining problems, and has been very well throughout this winter. Her confidence in her mental and emotional health is very clear. She is at present experiencing the total release of her head congestion, with old green discharge post nasally, which is slightly excoriating and the route of the lymphatic drainage down the front of her right chest/breast is a little tender. Her right cheek, ear, nose and upper teeth have flared up on the second day of her period for the last two months, and she has had some blood spotting from her right nostril.
Otherwise, she has no build up between ovulation and her period, no offensive odours and she can feel her eyes clearing. The osteopath has finally released her head and is now working on releasing her right cheek bone and the tightness in her right hip. She was complaining of sneezing in the sunshine and a sun sensitive dry, itchy rash on the back of her right hand, which she is still daubing liberally with pseudo cream and 1% hydrocortisone.
I have given her mercury 30c one a day for five days.
This case could only really be sorted by reference to the physical history of streptococcus infection, which is quite characteristic when you have become familiar with this remedy. In fact this whole case is really a case of streptococcus.
The bias to look for psychological causes is very strong, but there is a physical underpinning to this case. I have seen a lot of these type of cases, and a lot of sexual abuse cases. They present almost identically which predisposes the practitioner to a certain line of treatment.
However, all the talking in the World would not have helped a case like this.
Sue Young RSHom
Copyright© Sue Young