The first consultation – June 6, 2014
Darryl 61, had been diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease approximately 7 years prior to his first appointment. Though he had had a remission of symptoms for 3 years by adopting a strict diet prescribed by a naturopath, for the past year his symptoms had returned. The episodes of debilitating vertigo had become more frequent. His condition was beginning to affect his ability to work. When the attacks came on, he went home immediately and was unable to return. He even had to cancel several outings with friends which especially frustrated him as he confessed to loving boats and getting out on the water. Darryl was a soft-spoken man. He wore a baseball cap throughout the session and seemed difficult to draw out. I invited him to give me a timeline of his life. I wanted to look for patterns that might reveal how he had become sick in this particular way.
Darryl stated that he believed his condition began a year after taking the job he currently held. He worked as an architect in a firm that was led by a highly unstable man. This man, his boss, would unexpectedly show up to work and rage at various employees indiscriminately. No one ever knew what to expect or why this man would choose to yell at them. It was a very unpredictable environment which created a lot of stress in Darryl. Darryl said this stress was compounded by the fact that he had quite a tendency to feel performance anxiety. “My boss is irrational. He’s unpredictable. Employees feel victimized by that. If you are the victim of that in a public meeting, it feeds into my feelings of performance anxiety and failure.”
I remember in the session wondering to myself why someone would stay in a situation like that. Darryl answered without being prompted. He talked about being 61 years old and the challenges of finding a new job in a profession that was continually becoming more technological. He talked about retirement and trying to “hold on” until he could leave. Once again, looking for patterns, I encouraged him to go back and share a timeline of his life.
He talked about being the second son in a family led by an unstable mother and an almost invisible father. The mother was completely domineering, but only towards Darryl. Her older son was treated like “the golden child” who could do no wrong. Darryl and his mother continually fought. “My mother and I were at loggerheads my entire life. I went to college at 17 and never came back. That was because of my mother. I’d rather live under a bridge. We fought about everything…what to eat, what to do, what not to do, who my friends were, who my friends weren’t. We knew each other from our battles.”
During his second year of college on a full scholarship, he dropped out when he realized he wouldn’t make any money applying himself to math and science. He then fell into the music business as a sound technician and travelled extensively. It was only when he met his future wife that he began to consider a life with a more practical schedule. He tried other jobs but without a college degree and two children and a wife to support they began to “go backwards financially”. An aptitude test led him to a career in architecture.
After he had finished sharing, I began to press him for more details surrounding certain themes that had emerged. As I pressed a bit more about his feelings for his mother and their relationship, he began to have a vertigo episode. He said this was highly unusual because he had just had an episode the previous day. I asked him in that moment to tell me what he saw. He said, “The room is turning”.
#1: Performance anxiety
< from getting up in front of other people
“It’s my reputation that is at stake”
Many recurring dreams about exams.
Vertigo accompanied by sweating, a feeling of being distracted and an inability to visually focus.
#2: Fear of failure but succeeds
Kind of liked his life on the road as a sound engineer, but had to become more responsible. Feared he would fail throughout his architecture studies, but finished first in his class. Talks extensively about finances, money, stability. “Most of my worries are financial.”Symptoms that accompany are an increase in blood pressure, lack of sleep, wakes around 2-3 am in the morning, recurring thoughts.
Susceptible to depression. “I withdraw from my wife. I might get irritable.”
The pathology he has forces him to withdraw from life.
#4: Unstable, explosive relationship with someone in an authority position
Relationship with his mother and boss both extremely stressful. He’s always seen as “not good enough”.
#5: How the pathology of Meniere’s Disease is manifesting in him uniquely
Common symptoms of Meniere’s Disease
A degenerative disorder of the inner that causes debilitating episodes of vertigo that force a person to lie down. Nausea and vomiting. Hearing loss and sometimes a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear. The frequency of episodes can be cyclical.
Deadening the ear or removing the inner ear
Darryl’s unique symptoms
Left ear affected with constant ringing > occupation
Vertigo, room is turning
Triggered by stress, anxiety, humiliation
#6: Other symptoms in the schema
Undescended test-icle as a child
Pain with morning bowel movement
Wakes around 2-3 am
Sharp pain in hips when sleeping
Rubrics I used from Vithoulkas Compass(1)
MIND, FEAR, failure, of business, in
MIND, ANXIETY, money matters about
MIND, TALK, INDISPOSED to, desire to be silent, taciturn
MIND, INDOLENCE, aversion to work
RECTUM, PAIN, morning
RECTUM, PAIN, stool during
LARYNX and TRACHEA, VOICE, low
VERTIGO, TURNING, as if everything were turning in a circle
Remedies I strongly considered
Bryonia, Sulphur, Calcarea, Lycopodium
Lycopodium and Bryonia
Challenges up to this point
Though it is difficult for me to convey in writing the trepidation I experienced when Darryl went into a vertigo episode during the session, I can truly confess that at that moment I wondered whether I would be able to help this man. The roots of this causation seemed to stretch far back into his life. Furthermore, having just begun my practice, I wondered if I was obligated to pass him along to someone more experienced.
Lycopodium 30c, split dose, 4 hours
“Ill effects of fear, fright, chagrin, anger, anxiety. Loss of self-confidence from anticipation. Averse to undertaking new things yet when he undertakes it he goes through with ease and comfort. Vehement, headstrong, cranky, miserly. Indecision. Timidity. Ears humming and roaring with hardness of hearing.”(2)
“Often verbally criticised when younger-no confidence. Doesn’t take risks when older. Carefulness. Sadness < company. Fears, shuns responsibilities. Generals: < 3-4 am. Underneath this deceptively slow surface frequently smoulders a choleric temper given sudden vehement outbursts. Lycopodium has three subtypes…’the Wimp’, ‘the Strutter’ and the average Lycopodium….The ‘Wimp’ does not resort to bravado. His nervousness is undisguised and often quite crippling.”(3)
Lycopodium is present in the following rubrics:
VERTIGO, LYING amel
VERTIGO, OBJECTS turn in a circle
REMEDY :Lycopodium 30c, split dose, 4 hours
The second consultationJuly 23, 2014
“No negative reaction. For a week to ten days after the remedy I felt really stable with the vertigo condition. I had a general sense of well being and the dreams were very clear and constructive. Usually I have dreams where it’s like a needle getting stuck on a record emotionally and physically and you can’t get out of it. You’re stuck. My vision got clear. I felt more centered, more grounded. With this balance thing, I don’t always feel like I have my feet on the ground. Now, some waves of semi-vertigo or pre-vertigo coming and going. Pressure in the left ear modified and is now back to normal.”-Darryl
-No full vertigo episodes for 3.5 weeks. But, now, a relapse.
-Even though he states there was no aggravation, he reports having to urinate four times in the night and seven to eight times the following day after taking the remedy.
-While looking at a revolving architectural model he almost went into a vertigo episode, but it faded. Darryl said it is unusual for him to regain his balance once it is triggered.
-An intuitive masseuse told him that he was holding a lot of suppressed anger as well as grief regarding his mother. When I asked him to say more about suppressed anger, he confessed to, while working in the music industry, behaving like the boss he currently suffered under: “I was cynical. I had a bad attitude. I was very good at what I did, so I got away with it. I was easily fed up, intolerant of people and situations. Four letter words, throwing equipment around, making others miserable.”
-No pain with morning bowel movements.
Lycopodium 30c, split dose, 4 hours
“Temper is a problem….flies into tantrums or goes berserk if provoked or ticked off…tends to dwell on injuries, real or imagined, to harbour resentment and exaggerate trifles….sudden explosions of wrath. The silent, sallow, rather sombre individual suddenly erupts into brilliant talk or blazing wrath.”(4)
Present in the following rubric:
VERTIGO, LOOKING revolving objects, at (unique rubric for Lycopodium)
The third consultation – September 16, 2014
-Sharp hip pain while sleeping hasn’t happened in 2-3 weeks
-Continues to relapse every 10 days or so. Unable to remain stable despite two repetitions of the 30c potency.
Lycopodium 200c, split dose, 4 hours
Progress via email
-One week after taking the remedy he reported having had a soreness in the corners of his mouth as well as weight gain of 5-7 pounds.
-Symptoms of “Meniere’s Disease” not present. No vertigo and no pre-vertigo.
-Darryl remains symptom free for 6 months.
The fourth consultation – April 19, 2015
-Relapse and Lycopodium 200c repeated. Despite repeating Lycopodium 200c at this time, Darryl’s symptoms continue to return.
Challenges at this point
I considered what could possibly be preventing this remedy from working after such a good long response.It occurred to me that Darryl had spoken about doing the finishing touches on his beloved boat, which he was hoping to get into the water this summer. Though I had asked him about antidoting factors like coffee, it came to me suddenly that he could be working with strong chemicals in a closed space. Sure enough, when I asked him if he had been working with strong chemicals he confirmed this to be true. We agreed to wait until that process was over to continue treatment.
“Kent’s Sixth Observation: Short relief of symptoms. Interpretation: Blocks to cure. What to do: See whether block is unconscious or intentional. Remove blocks. Administer constitutional remedy in a different potency.”(5)
May 30, 2015
Remedy choice –Lycopodium 1M, split dose, 4 hours
-Darryl wrote to me soon after taking Lycopodium 1M: ”Soon after taking the remedy I had three strange episodes of “falling”. Doctors sometimes connect this with Meniere’s or hearing problems. In all three episodes I was standing up and then suddenly I was on the ground. They were very sudden and I connected these episodes to the first time I ever saw my vision completely “flip” while driving, when I knew many years ago that something was wrong. Since then I have had no vertigo, a diminishing of tinnitus and a diminishing of the pressure in my ear. I feel that I am at the end of it.”
-Darryl has remained stable and without need of treatment for over 3 years.
- Vithoulkas, George. Vithoulkas Compass v.3.2. 2014
- Phatak, SR, Dr. Materia Medica of Homoeopathic Medicines. B. Jain Publishers, Ltd. 2008. 435-441 p.
- Vermeulen, Frans. Prisma. Emryssbv Publishers. 2002. 848-852 p.
- Gibson, Douglas, Dr. Studies of Homoeopathic Remedies. Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd. 2000 reprint. 317-318 p.
- Kent, James Tyler. Lectures on Homoeopathic Philosophy. 7th ed. B. Jain Publishers Ltd. 2007. 303 p.