Kyle is a pharmaceutical rep who wanted to “get normal again”. He said “I’m out of whack, too nervous, too much fear. I need to become strong mentally and physically. I feel vibration from a nervous standpoint, when I wake up, and I feel like I’m vibrating now. For many years I have not felt mentally clear, and my reading comprehension has gotten very bad. I comprehend as I’m reading, but a few minutes later can’t remember or understand it. It’s getting worse. I can change emotions on the drop of a dime.”
Kyle was four blocks from the World Trade Center when the buildings fell on September 11, 2001. He said he zoned out and “went into Army Medic mode” with the crisis that day, and just kept putting one foot in front of the other, somehow making it through. He was on edge for a long time after that, never knowing whether another attack was coming, from the sky, from anthrax in the mail, or from something he couldn’t imagine. Two months later, Kyle was in a tunnel in New York City in heavy, slow traffic, when another airliner crashed. He said he felt trapped when he heard the crash and the sirens of the emergency responders. He didn’t know what was going on. He had his first panic attack there in the tunnel.
He said his vision went to tunnel vision, and everything went dark except for a small point where he could see. He didn’t know what he was doing. He had gotten out of his car and was shaking, when he was nearly hit by an oncoming bus. A kind stranger from the car behind him pulled him to safety and told him he was having a panic attack. He gave Kyle cold water and told him to put it on his head and turn on his car’s air conditioning.
The cold application and the cold air on his face helped him at the time to get his breath back, and gave him enough composure to get to his parking garage. He sat on the steps of the parking garage for hours, unable to go into his building. He couldn’t work. His breath was shallow and difficult. He was trembling, shaking all over. He continued to have panic attacks periodically, and lived in a state of fear and anxiety about many things. He said “it took a lot out of me”. I asked him if the trembling he felt when he gave his case was similar to the trembling he felt at his first panic attack. He said it was – sort of like a little tap: “I’m here…I’m here.”
He was afraid to fly after 9/11. He felt trapped on a plane – the same feeling he had in the tunnel. When a panic attack was coming on, he would get tunnel vision like he experienced during his first attack.
My analysis was that Kyle was still trembling from the terror attacks and his experience in the tunnel. He had been shaking for 13 years.
Analysis using MTEK
At Allen College, we approach cases with MTEK: Miasm, Totality, Essence, Keynotes. Fifty percent of the case work is to find the miasmatic picture in the case, and find the surface miasm. We also ask for symptoms from head-to-toe. Kyle’s anxiety about everything was evident in this part of the case. He gave me symptoms that were extreme, and symptoms that worried him that occurred for only brief moments every week or so. He had detailed complaints for every category on my intake form. It was difficult to decide where to step into the stream.
Although there was a lot of life history of sadness, abuse and trauma before the events of September 11, 2001, Allen College students are trained always to look for an etiology. This case had a strong one, a starting date for his extreme anxiety which was crippling him, and in my opinion, he couldn’t move forward until the panic and anxiety were resolved.
I wanted to lift the bad effects of the terror attack from his shoulders. I needed a medicine that could handle extreme anxiety, fear, and trembling, and had the important modality, >cold applications.
Miasmatic breakdown of symptoms
Putting a client’s important symptoms into a table, sorted by miasm, helps me visualize a case by giving me sort of a bar chart to look at. Kyle’s case turned out to be heavily Psoric, with Syc coming in second, but quite a lot of Syph and Tub as well. I needed a medicine that covered all of the miasms, but it must cover Psora and Sycosis very well.
|Amiable +++/+||Extrovert +++/+||Hurried++||Impatient||Irritable (SycPsor)|
|Company likes ++||Angry++||Jealous||Sociable +++, now +||Des sour (PsorSyph)|
|Mild++||Neat/Clean++||Methodical||Desires beef||Stool offensive 50% of time (PsorSyphTub)|
|Sentimental||Positive/Optimist, was ++, now –||Sweat on neck wears out shirts||Green stool w/blood on tissue||Comprehension difficult (SyphTub)|
|Sluggish||Restless||Disturbed sleep||Nails glossy, blanch and blush||Changeable emotions Tub/Psor|
|Sympathetic ++||Talkative||Unrefreshing sleep||Sleep – wake groggy, worn out||Fears Psor/Syc|
|Des sweet||Des Warm food||>>cold (cold air, cold water, open car window in cold weather, ice on head)||Exhausted after sleep||Mouth foetid odor Psor/Syph/Tub|
|Des Chicken||Nails slight vertical ridges||Disturbed sleep||Crave things that make him sick|
|Sweat on forehead||Facial discoloration||Sticky discharge from eyes||Vertigo >being quiet|
|Grind teeth||Cloudy urine, 1st urine of the day||Nose congestion opens in cold air||Vertigo at different times of day (changeable)|
|Skin dry||Memory impaired||Lots of amalgam fillings (quite a few cavities, root canals)||Postnasal drip|
<<spring, <fall, <allergies
|Anxiety||Nose blocked sensation||h/a >cold, cold applications||h/a <heat, hot car, heater, heat in summer|
|Fear||Coryza greenish||h/a from heat in summer||Sleep unrefreshed w/great exhaustion|
|Vertigo||Nose sx <humidity||h/a burning, as if brain in flames|
|>lying down||Sleep, wake, then return to sleep||When wakes at night with anxious thoughts, thinks of being on clean sheet of ice alone, feel coolness, ice skating, hitting hockey puck|
|Exhaustion||Very practical, cares for security, money, responsible person|
|Tired all the time||Exaggeration: many of his sx are really slight, but they seem big to him. Ex: “Blood pressure higher than ever” – 130/82.|
|Itchy eyes||Memory weak|
|Burning eyes||Rapid breathing|
|Heavy feeling in head (starts in morning, goes throughout day, to evening)|
|Head heaviness >sleeping|
|Sleepless due to thoughts/ideas|
Never Been Well Since
The strong etiology in the case was NBWS events surrounding 9/11. I thought the trembling and vibration he felt was a red thread running through the case – the result of fear from being close to the Twin Towers when they fell, and being in the tunnel and unable to escape when the next plane crashed two months later.
Totality of case
– Trembling and vibrating
– Anxiety in many situations, when rushed, when driving at night, about finances and security for family
– Anxiety about health out of proportion, gave lots of tiny details about almost every category
– Fears something bad will happen
– >>Cold, cold air, cold water, ice, thinking about ice
Essence of case
I thought the strain of living in New York City during the weeks after the terror stressed him tremendously, and he broke when he was trapped in the tunnel as the plane crashed two months later. Interestingly, the thing that helped him in the tunnel – cold applications and cold air – continued to help him in the years following his first panic attack.
Kyle said several times, “I’m afraid something bad will happen”. When I asked for clarification, the thing he was afraid of was that he would break down physically in some way, such as black out, have a seizure, or have a stroke.
I evaluated a list of medicines, among them Carc, Cann-i, Merc, Lyc, Calc, Acon, Nux-v, Arg-nit, and Nit-ac. Although some of these medicines have very strong similarities to Kyle’s case, a story told to my class by Dr. Subrata Banerjea, about a mine cave-in, gave me the understanding to choose my medicine.
A miner was trapped underground in a mine collapse, in the dark, for more than two days, wondering if he would be rescued and live, or die in that dark mine. After his rescue, he developed neurological symptoms. Dr. Banerjea pointed to Allen’s Keynotes, in the Argentum nitricum chapter, “acute or chronic diseases from unusual or long-continued mental exertion”, and said that in Arg-nit, the weak links are in the nervous system and in the mental sphere. He gave the miner Arg-nit with great results.
Kyle’s case seemed very similar to the miner’s case, with the long-continued mental strain felt by all New Yorkers, wondering whether every loud sound was another attack. Then, Kyle was trapped in a confined, dark place, when there was another plane crash. He started shaking and never stopped, and was then crippled by fear and anxiety.