One day a few years ago I picked up the phone to hear a frantic woman on the other end of the line. It was a grandmother who had adopted and raised her baby granddaughter, now a 22 year old woman. She was very upset that this unmarried granddaughter/child of hers (we will call her Aleya for the purpose of anonymity) had given birth 5 months before and had now decided to give the child up for adoption. The decision had thrown the entire family into turmoil. I asked for more details from her perspective.
Grandma gave me this history: Aleya had been a happy, lively, loving child to rear until she hit puberty. At that point she had a decided personality change and became every mother’s nightmare. At 13 years old she was rebelling in every way she could. Her years of high school were extremely troubled and included running away, substance abuse, brushes with the law, and many interventions to get her help but which were all unsuccessful. She had been seen by every kind of doctor, counselor, and mental health professional they could find with no positive results. In her late teens she gave birth to a girl baby who another family member adopted in order to keep her in the family. This caused some serious friction in the family as a whole.
Now there was another girl child whom they had and loved for 5 months, and, of course, did not want to say goodbye to. The idea of this baby being put up for adoption was more than grandma could stand. She was desperate for help. Someone told her of homeopathy but there were no homeopaths in their area. Through some interesting channels she was referred to me, though I am four hours away.
I will often use the phone or electronic communication to take a case, but I didn’t think that would be the optimal way to handle this particular situation. So, I committed to taking a trip to see this young woman hoping she would agree to see me. Meanwhile I lined some other work up in that area so my trip didn’t fall flat if Aleya refused. Because of her history of being seen by so many counselors and medical and psychiatric professionals she was less than interested in seeing yet another person to try and change her mind about her behavior. Aleya had become guarded and resistant. We decided to try and break down that guard a little with a kind of surprise meet and greet. I was at her grandma’s house ‘visiting’ when she came by to drop the baby off so she could work her part-time job. It was a pleasant meeting, though I could feel her self-protective layer was definitely there. She was offering nothing but common courtesies. And she didn’t stay; the meeting lasted all of about three minutes.
Later in the day I revisited the grandma and by coincidence the phone rang with her out of the room and she asked if I would answer it. It was Aleya and she was surprised that I was on the phone with her. Seizing the opportunity, I asked her if she knew anything about homeopathy and if she would like me to describe exactly what I did. She said yes, that it was a new word for her. I gave her a very brief explanation of how homeopathy works and some of the things it is capable of treating. In it all, I chose my words carefully, never saying how much I knew of her or her problems but talking about the lesser of those things such as PMS, headaches, and the like. I asked her if it sounded interesting to her and to my relief she said yes, and admitted to the PMS. I told her I’d love to sit down and visit with her and we set a specific time and place before I handed the phone off to her grandmother.
I was pleased that she was on time for our session. Tall, large framed, with beautiful thick, naturally deep red hair, and perfect pale skin with a few attractive freckles, she was well groomed, dressed neatly and colorfully. She was pierced and tattooed. She was still very guarded, I was a stranger, some sort of counselor, and not to be entirely trusted. But I began by telling her a little about myself so I wasn’t a complete stranger to her, and in doing so found some common ground in a love for creative things, crafting, art and color. That really opened the door for me to delve into who she was, asking her to tell me, for example, if she had taken art in school, which allowed me to then ask what her school experience was like. From there the floodgates began to open. She told of being the odd child out from a young age, not really fitting into any mold. When she reached puberty (an unpleasant transition with much PMS) the desire to be a part of a peer group led her into the Goth world for acceptance. It was in the effort to gain approval of her peers that she began taking drugs, having sex, using alcohol, and smoking. By the time she was 15 she had run away from home more than once, become very promiscuous, had an abortion, had tried every drug she could get her hands on to get high, and was a regular alcohol user. By the time she was 18 she had been put in rehab twice and sent to counseling of all sorts. She told me counselors were very irritating to her as they never really listened and they spent most of their time either staring off or watching the clock waiting for her hour to be up. She felt angered and humiliated by it. And she never once felt cared for. She told me she many times had the urge to just get up and walk out. But she never did, instead she suppressed her anger and built more walls to protect her from being hurt repeatedly. And she became more defiant. She ran in every way she could every time she could. Emotionally she ran from her past and all the events that angered her. In speaking of the slights, the misunderstanding, the non-acceptance, she admitted that those all sent her scurrying to some substance or promiscuity for comfort. She had another abortion and then at 19 the baby girl adopted by another family member. The family conflict this caused was devastating, as the adoptive mother wanted her to have no contact with her child, leaving her feeling even more rejected, forsaken, unworthy, shamed, and distrusted than ever and fueling a constant desire to flee…from home, from family, from responsibility, from pain and hurt, from the disapproval of others…she wanted, needed, to run. Thus the need to give her child up for adoption.
At this point in our conversation Aleya began to cry, not a gut wrenching sobbing cry but a natural outworking of talking about the subject cry, large tears coursing down her softly flushed cheeks. I thought it would be a good time to try a remedy if she was willing…. and she was. Based on all of what had been said so far, the theme to me seemed to be her overriding need to run, and so I chose Sepia.
The Doctrine of Signatures: Sepia is an interesting remedy in how well defined the Doctrine of Signatures plays through it. The cuttlefish has three methods of movement, fins, tentacles, and jet propulsion. In any crisis the cuttlefish sends out a curtain (wall) of ink to hide its movement, disguise its fear, and then it takes off like a shot to avoid its enemies. It also performs elegant dances, not just as mating rituals, but just for the movement. The cuttlefish is a master of camouflage, having skin that is capable of turning more different colors, faster than a chameleon, and also of changing texture as it moves through the landscape of the ocean hunting for live prey. Because it is an animal remedy it has an inherent survival instinct, a sexuality, a desire to be attractive, and many pronounced emotions.
I gave her a dose of 30c. The weeping stopped immediately and I took the opportunity to ask her a little about her general health. Aleya was remarkably healthy for all she had put her body through. PMS was her only real physical complaint. Her menses were regular, she deemed normal, even so quickly after having given birth. But lots of cramps and mood swings, a desire to be left alone, always made better with some vigorous movement. Out of curiosity I asked her if she enjoyed dancing and for the first time she showed some enthusiasm, stating she loved dancing, often turning up the music loud and dancing alone. I asked her to describe the physical feeling present with the PMS and she described heaviness in her abdomen. She had an occasional PMS headache, nothing particularly remarkable and two aspirin usually took care of it. And there was PMS depression. There were no old injuries. She slept well. No recurrent dreams. She had a big appetite, no allergies, typical PMS cravings. There were mild trauma and abandonment feelings, though she still had a relationship with her biological mother.