First published in The Homeopath Journal no: 66, Summer 1997 and on the Athena Mailing List August 1997
This case could only really be understood from the physical history of Streptococcus infection……In fact this case was completely missed because the bias to look for psychological causes is so very strong. – Sue Young
There is much evidence to suggest than most cases of severe mental and emotional pathology arise from abuse somewhere in a person’s time line, thus practitioners can find themselves on the lookout for this, even when it is isn’t there.
When a client first presents, there is often no way of knowing what the actual aetiology is, as the case history or time line may not reflect the true picture due to denial, fragmentation, or loss of significant portions of memory, and we must admit, to preconceived notions.
In this case, my clients’ mother and maternal uncle had been sexually and physically abused by the maternal grandfather father, resulting in her maternal uncle requiring mental hospital admission and ECT. My client’s mother had ‘survived’ and managed to parent my client adequately, though she had been a strict disciplinarian who lashed out with her hands. This family history predisposed clinicians and homeopaths to look and think in a certain direction, which ultimately proved to be completely misleading!
This 41 year old woman (dob 1954) first consulted me on 10.7.1995, giving 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 our initial consultation, she cried and sobbed very loudly, screamed at every question and was completely hysterical.
I will radically summarise her case here;
- Non-Hodgkin’s Disease
- Psychological problems
- Nerve trouble/anxiety
- Sexual and physical abuse
Siblings: Twin elder sisters.
As a small child:
- Scarlet Fever, whooping cough.
- Stuck hair grips into her vagina, requiring hospital admission.
She was an outdoor person who liked team games and walking, though she was also academic and loved knowledge and reading. She remembered crying in bed ‘… about where I would go to when I’m dead…’
As a school child:
She was locked out of her twin sister’s social set and the siblings fought all the way through their childhood to become their mother’s favourite. She always clung to her mother as she was her ‘… best friend…’ Mum was dominant in her own marriage, but ‘… dad wound her up…’ and he always pushed my client down.
However, she loved school and worked hard, getting grade one passes in all her 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, and she loved to ride horses.
As a young adult:
She completed her English degree with distinction and then travelled abroad to Iran in 1977 to teach TEFL and she then lived in Istanbul for two years where she married a Turk, but she divorced him and returned to London.
She then went to Germany in her late 20s and became depressed after a fight with a neighbour and lost her confidence. A German psychiatrist worked with her around issues of her father ‘… who always ridiculed me and threw my Lenin books out of the window…’
She then returned to London but hated it and her GP gave her tablets but she took too many and ended up in hospital, where she 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 it’s the only place she can work, so she took frequent time outs abroad… she worked as a hotel cleaner in Europe and Germany, coming back to London to teach supply and then off abroad again, 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 where she woke up crying one morning and could not stop. She saw another psychiatrist and worked through her parent’s relationship as it affected her ‘… I wated to be a vet but mum and dad stopped it… I hated my job (as a teacher) and I still do,, living in a city… and I knew I had to go back to England…’ She has smoked cannabis all her life.
Back in London after an unhappy love affair, she was again sad and her GP gave her Amitriptyline ‘… I got scared I would go off centre so I smoked loads of dope all the time…’ She was soon back in 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 and began to be depressed in winter, but ‘… I was happy enough with the east German state supporting me and I had lots of friends...’ However, her directionless began to take its toll and she began drinking on her own, but she 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. In 1991, she was pregnant and had a daughter. She began homeopathic treatment in 1992 as she was always ill with her colds and she 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 and by February 1995 she was on Amitriptyline and Prozac, which ‘… rocketed me off into panic and anxiety…’ with visual disturbance, vertigo and hysterical fear.
With summer coming, she was terrified. Her homeopath could not pull her out of it prescribing stramonium/staphysagria/phosphorus/ignatia/sepia/ sulphur/medorrhinum/calc carb/calc phos and she panicked and decided to change to a female homeopath.
She had been ‘… bombing…’ arg nit all day just to get to see me. She was seeing an osteopath. She was doing a further degree at present which eases her, and as always, she worked constantly and obsessively. Indeed, she reported her only ameliorating factors were walking and working.
This was the whole case as I received it on our first consultation. 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 had 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 I witnessed time and again as I prescribed for her daughter who suffered from very severe chest infections and eczema and required weaning off steroids. I’d always found her to be sensitive, sensible, competent and mature.
On 10.7.1995 I prescribed Hyoscyamus 200c sipping occasionally in water over a few days: Over the next month, she slowly calmed down, tailing this off to one sip daily, which enabled me to get some more information. She told me she had panic attacks in Tesco’s and was unable shop there; she had been caught shoplifting age 7 and is still terrified of being found out. She had had a gushing diarrhoea and a ‘… quivering anus…’ so she could not go out of the house.
Throughout the coming months, I prescribed Aconite 10m (as required) and Lac Humanum 1m (twice daily): She also insisted on taking Phosphorus 30c as prescribed by her previous homeopath and pleaded to continue with this.
Again, she slowly calmed down and her osteopath was pleased that her head felt more normal and the pressure in her head had calmed down. She felt the Aconite had helped her to relive her of her mother’s death and she felt better about this. Though she reported good sleep, she had dreamt of tidal waves and rats.
She was angry with her partner who ‘… puts me down…’ She reported symptoms of PMT, complained of a blocked nose and a constant feeling of having the flu with a headache and a right ear ache. She said the congestion in her head built up until her menstrual period released this pressure.
She loses very little blood and uses only panty liners during her period. She is extremely conscious of her ovulation, reporting ‘… the flu…’, itchy eyes and a headache until her period begins, then a few days off before the whole sorry cycle begins to build again, so she is obsessed with counting the days of her cycle.
She also reported a very offensive fishy odour during this time, and reports a very heavy vaginal discharge which can excoriate and dries to a mustard yellow which will not scrub off her clothes. She also had 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. Her sleep had been ‘… great…’ since the Hyoscyamus, but she reported a recurrent dream of snakes coiling round her ankles… an old symptom from the past… with a great fear of snakes, though recently, she had been able to tolerate pictures of snakes.
She also reported a fear of heights. She then told me of an attack by a male lecturer in February 1995 over her degree coursework ‘… he raped my thoughts and negated my existence...’ She cried over this for a long time, and was ‘… frightened…’ to stop the lac Humanum though I did finally convinced her to stop all the remedies for a complete break to clear the picture.
During the winter of 1995/6 I prescribed Kreosotum 30c od x 5 days: During this time, she was very exhausted as she put down all the panicky behaviour and began to normalise. However, her fear of a SAD winter proved troublesome, and she continued to count every day of her cycle, though her itchy eyes resolved, and her ‘… free floating anxiety…’ eased off.
She reported post nasal catarrh, with a constant nasopharyngitis, sore throat and pressure in her ‘… brow chakra…’ which makes her ‘… squint…’ her eyes, and she constantly complained bitterly about her offensive vaginal discharge, smelly armpit and offensive gas. She reported skin rashes whenever her skin was exposed to the sun, which itched 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 her friends to keep her company around the clock.
This whole picture worsened as winter onset. She would crescendo into her period from ovulation, until her period released the state, and 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, to suppress urticarial type, bright red rashes all over her hands and forearms. She continued to walk and overwork, saying 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 my head…’
Kreosotum 30c od x 5 days repeated twice over the next two months: She reported a ‘… click…’ response 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 crescendo 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 her last visit. At other times, she felt vulnerable and alone.
Grabbing my opportunity to get some details on her previous physical history, which I was very eager to do, but all the time since her first consultation (10.7.1995-4.12.1995) had been taken up helping her to control her hysteria.
I had been her daughter’s homeopath since 26.6.1993, so I knew this woman reasonably well. I also knew the story of her pregnancies, so I was eager to investigate what her overall physical history actually was.
She had a coil fitted in 1977 which was replaced in 1979 when she had been living in Turkey, but she soon went down with a ‘… very bad infection…’ which required hospital admission and a fight over whether to operate or not to remover her ovaries; she won and they did not operate, but she did have multiple antibiotic prescriptions and crawled round in excruciating pain for quite a while.
She also had a history of repeated genital herpetic eruptions. In 1981, another coil was inserted but she had this taken out because of pain and mid cycle bleeding. Unfortunately, her GP couldn’t find this coil, neither could the hospital; it had burrowed its way up and out of her womb and was removed by laparoscopy. She has never had a coil since and cannot wear tampons anymore. Sex has been a problem before her periods ever since due to deep dyspareunia.
From her daughter’s notes, I quote the following: ‘… Uggh… do we have to talk about pregnancy?…’ H/O 5 previous miscarriages ‘… like living on a knife edge…’ Her daughter is the result of a twin pregnancy in 1991, but at 16/40 there was a ‘… bloody, gungey discharge…’ and then an evacuation ‘… something came away…’ but the other twin ‘… stuck like a Klingon and survived…’
She reported a history of huge multiple recurrent styes in 1991 when she was pregnant. Her daughter suffered from recurrent intensely severe chest infections, behaviour and mood swings and skin eruptions of a rapidly varied and fluctuating nature.
Her crises were always signalled by a ‘… fungal circle…’ that would appear on her tongue. Streptococcus 200c one dose removed the stain of the disease from her daughter and the ring from her tongue. Medorrhinum 1m split dose cured her daughter’s case completely.
Back to mum’s case: During the following spring months I gave her Opium 30c od x 3 days and Pyrogen 30c occasionally, to try to stem the flood of shock and hysteria and to try and address the putrid nature of her discharges and her ‘… head flares…’
By this time, I became aware I was dealing with an active inflammatory and infective condition, and she came to believe the Kreosotum had given her ‘… a bad emotional ride…’ and refused point blank to repeat this remedy. She pleaded with me to keep the Phosphorus 30c, which she was convinced was calming, so I reluctantly agreed to this.
She dramatically normalised and had some nose bleeds between her ovulation and her menses; she noticed some pain in her uterus behind her discharge and had a reduction in the offensive odour. She reported a history of bowel disturbance before her first ‘… episode of emotional trouble…’ in Germany in 1979 when she moved there from Turkey.
This was the date of her first infective episode her replacement coil. Her original picture in 1979 was of headaches. Her GP had sent her off for a scan which was normal. She then had a sudden episode of depression, and this pattern has been repeating itself ever since, and has been treated by all concerned, even the patient herself, as an emotional/mental illness, no doubt of her presentation and her family history.
So this woman had never been emotionally well since this episode of IBS followed by a PID infection back in 1979.
It took another 14 months to calm her down and support her through the emotional carnage created in the wake of this original infective illness. I gave her short courses, od 30c x 3 days, of Staphysagria, Sepia, Hyoscyamus, Nux Vomica, Pyrogen and Hydrogen throughout this time, and eventually I gave Streptococcus 200c od between ovulation and her period, and she had a good summer.
She had a short blow out in September 1996 (going back to her teaching job after the summer holiday) when her tyre blew out on the motorway, which bought on her period and a decision to move house when SAD did threaten, but this time, she knew it would happen and we had all the time lines mapped out.
The Streptococcus enabled her to break this pattern and ‘… release the state in my head…’ and she agreed to take a deeper prescription and prepared to confront her central dilemma.
Tarantula 30c one split dose on 9.9.1996: She did plummet a little but her osteopath was very pleased as her head normalised and stayed calm, but her womb was stuck fast. She suffered from painful ‘… cutting gas…’ from her bowels, her body odours increased and she had crying bouts.
Her nose began to run ‘… like a snot factory…’. She did enormous amounts of work for her degree. Tarantula 200c one split dose and an occasional Arnica 10m sailed her through the winter. Her osteopath reported an old concussion, probably from a horse fall as a child, and he also found further evidence of ‘… falls from horses…’ in her right hip and knee.
On 16.12.1996, I gave her Carcinosin 1m split dose: She finally reported the extent of her skin rash history, which she has always suppressed with 1% Hydrocortisone and Pseudo Cream < sunlight. The dry skin on her face returned, an irritating little sore place between her right little toe, which she has had for some years returned.
On 10.2.1997, I gave her Staphysagria 200c one dose: and she ‘… sorted out…’ her partner, who had been violent towards her, such that he just sat with his head down and agreed to do better. She felt so much better, she began to manage her own discharge from homeopathic treatment and her own discharge from NHS management ‘… my GP is very pleased with my wonderful recovery...’
In April 1997, with no remaining symptoms, she had remained well throughout the past winter and her confidence in her mental and emotional health was very clear. She still had some head congestion and an old green post nasal discharge, which was slightly excoriating, and the route of her lymphatic drainage down the front of her right breast and chest was a little tender.
Her right cheek, ear, nose and upper teeth flared up on the 2nd day of her last two periods, and she had had some blood spotting from her right nostril. Otherwise, she has no fluid build-up between ovulation and her period, no offensive odour, and she can feel her eyes clearing. Her osteopath has finally released her head and was now working to release her right cheek bone and the tightness in her right hip.
I gave her Mercury 30c od x 5 days as she was complaining about 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 1% Hydrocortisone and Pseudo Cream.
This case could only really be understood from the physical history of Streptococcus infection, which is quite characteristic with this particular remedy. In fact this case was completely missed because the bias to look for psychological causes is so very strong.
Since becoming an advocate of Streptococcus the remedy, I have seen this picture frequently in mental distress and also in sexual abuse cases. However, it is not surprising to see a poor emotional and abusive background alongside streptococcal infection, as they are often causally interlinked.
All the talking therapy in the World could never have helped a case like this.
I discharged this woman in the summer of 1997, and did not hear from her again until Spring 2022, when she phoned to asked for advice about her daughter. She has remained well and healthy and happy for many years, but her daughter is currently suffering from an obsessive hysteria due to a very difficult relationship break up, and she was concerned about an epigenetic transference from her previous suffering and the impact this may have had on her child at this time.
As I have been retired from homeopathic practice for some years, to become a homeopathic historian and writer, I referred her to a colleague and she was very happy with this arrangement. In the light of this renewing of this case in my mind’s eye and the current interest in streptococcus as a remedy, I thought it advantageous to republish it for our new age.