Clinical Cases

A Spongia Tosta Case

Written by Suzana Da Costa

Homeopath Suzanne DaCosta shares a Spongia Tosta case analyzed through sensation and kingdoms.

 “I don’t want to lose all my hard work”

 Suzana Da Costa

This case demonstrates how repertorization can be useful to provide a good initial response but that selecting a simillimum on the themes and sensations based on an understanding of the deeper dimensions of the individual brings the case much further.

A 23-year-old female first consulted for disordered eating, anxiety, insomnia and strong reactions to conflict and anger in March 2021.

She would like to regain a balanced relationship with food and her body and she talks about how this affects her.  She has obsessive thoughts when preparing projects for school where she studies photography, and is especially concerned with overplanning and strict rules around food.

She often can’t sleep from overthinking and overplanning her meals and is often unable to return to sleep after waking between 3 and 4am.  She also speaks of her desire to not be so reactive, “I cry at the least unsteadiness”, “I’m good at starting conflicts, and I escalate them quickly, say mean things and resort to yelling right away.”

Although her first memory of body dysmorphia dates back to her childhood, she has felt very little freedom in this regard since contracting Salmonella while on vacation in 2016 when she also experienced the fright of a potential rape and murder.

Themes of (sleepless from too much thoughts, activities, music, writing, sentimental, creative) as well as some rubrics bring me to China Officianalis in the Rubiaciae. I suggest China 200k as well as a flower essence blend to be taken 4 times daily and to follow up with me in 3 weeks.

MIND, ANOREXIA NERVOSA (34)

MIND, DWELLS ON; past; disagreeable events (136)

MIND, ANGER, irascibility; vex others, inclined to (3)

SLEEP, INSOMNIA, sleeplessness after 3am (39)

(MurphyIII – Fevers; typhoid, fever, salmonella;anxiety(8) (salmonella as etiology in this case – never well since)

After a single dose of China 200k, she has some improvement in her sleep as well as some freedom around food when she eats something new at a surprise lunch.  Although she feels less stress and some freedom around the planning process, she’s still not free from that because she’s still accounting for what she ate after the fact.

  • “If I’m doing some reading for school, my mind doesn’t drift onto food and meal planning.”
  • “In the case of the surprise lunch, it was a moment of panic but then I was able to welcome the change and I ate something new.”
  • “I can unhook now…but then.. ‘ok, no’…what just happened…I have to remember what I ate and account for it.”

We’re happy to see improvement, but still see room for growth, so we decide to wait and repeat if necessary.  

The following month (April 2021), she sent me an email letting me know that she’s taken a 2nd dose after having some trouble falling asleep again and books a follow up with me. In May 2021, we continue to follow the theme of planning and spontaneity, and the case starts to get filled in a little more, and we get a sense of everything that comes with planning and spontaneity.

(Planning) Control, anchor, steady, routine: better ability to express myself, flow

(Spontaneity) derails me, throws me off, stunted, shock, frozen, seized up, no words, shock, blank.

Now we can understand why planning and routines are so important to her.  As long as there is a plan and a routine, she has the sensation of feeling anchored and can flow throughout her day.  The word flow brings me to the sea creatures, and specifically to the sponges because of the sensation of ‘stunted’.

At MICH, we follow a logical step by step process to go from case chart to remedy that uses our MICH “Meta-map” to direct our focus depending on source words, issues and themes of kingdoms and sub-kingdoms.  Confirmation takes place through the MICH Materia Medica references that bring diverse themes together into an understanding that can hold the complexity of a human being.

Patient’s words organized by themes

Sensations: Heavy, Numbness, Floating

  • “Hate the feeling of being FULL and over eating. HEAVY, BLOATED, LIKE A WEIGHT PULLING ME DOWN.”
  • “Right arm; completely numb, arm is just floppy. Not really part of me, it takes me a moment to realize that this arm is mine.  NUMBNESS, legs numb when I wake up.”
  • “I like feeling like I’m going to FLOAT away..LIGHT, LACK OF SENSATION, FLOATING.”

 Camouflage

The need to hide (submerge, camouflage) or protect oneself (shell) restricts and suffocates conflicting with the movement and freedom of the sea creatures.

  • “I need to follow the general suit…MELT INTO THE MASSES and NOT STAND OUT.”
  • “I’m CONSTANTLY NOTING EVERYTHING THEY WERE EATING to understand what a normal diet looks like. Comparing, justifying.”
  • “Even when friends ask me to do something I have to be ready..WHAT IF THEY NOTICE I LOOK DIFFERENT?”

Hyperactive, busy, productive / Detachment

  • “It was a challenge, a way to keep busy, to fill my time.”
  • “Anxiety, loss of control: 3 hours of Savasana”

Womb, dangerous world

  • “Kids; I don’t want them. The world doesn’t seem very welcoming, but I have childbirth and pregnancy dreams; I wake up and I think I’m pregnant.  Like I know how it feels.”
  • “Stretching of the body, becoming bigger, hard, like a rock. An extension.  Integrated”

Rape

  • “Small and frail man, not knowing if he was alone. Is he going to break the window?  Worst case scenario is rape and murder. Guy was talking to us; please let me in.”

Instability

Sponges lack true tissues, have no body symmetry, and are sessile.  The mesohyl, a gelatinous matrix within a sponge, acts as a type of endoskeleton, helping to maintain the tubular shape but there is no structure as such to provide stability and firmness.  In sponges, pinacocytes form the pinacoderm, an inner & outer body covering. But this is not a true epithelium because cells primitively lack intercellular junctions, which means they can pull apart, and thus are unstable and can change at any moment.

 In the sponges there is not any structure to provide stability and firmness. Only pinacocytes give firm shape and structure to the whole sponge body. Pinacocytes are single-layered plate-like cells, so sponges have no multilayered skin as other evolved animals do. Pinacocytes are not tightly bonded with each other, so they can move and are able to make changes in their external appearance. In short, sponges have shape and structure but these are unstable and are changed at any time. [1]

  • “BALANCE is important. I want to ANCHOR myself in routine but not worry about it.”
  • “I cry at the least UNSTEADINESS”
  • “As a kid, food was always an INSECURITY…eating disorders in my family”
  • “UNCERTAINTY, panic that has to be externalized with overplanning.”
  • “PANIC has to be EXTERNALIZED.”

 Growth (should not be hampered) (< starting over)

  • “I PLAN the order to do things..so that I DON’T RETRACE MY STEPS…it only took 3 seconds, but it represents something, I don’t want to go back; I’VE LOST PROGRESS.”
  • “If I ate what I ate then, I would be that person again. I WOULD LOSE ALL THAT HARD WORK.”
  • “I’ll set a goal, and if I go beyond that goal, I’ll set a new one with a lower number.”
  • “Afraid of miscommunicating, as if it DIDN’T REACH ITS FULL POTENTIAL.”
  • “STUNTING. Directly in my way.”

 

 In the book by Dr. Ghanshyam Kalathia, Invertebrates in Homeopathy, [2] we find the following themes on the Porifera from a sensation perspective:

 Dependency, Immaturity

They do not wish to make big changes and wish to hold onto that which is familiar. Because of their immaturity, they need others and so are very dependent. Their total dependency seeks the support from others who are stronger than them. Sometimes patients express this issue as incapability and there is no form and no structure, leading to the impression of a mineral remedy. In minerals this incapacity is a lack of something, while in sponges it is an incapacity for self-defense. The deeper experience is weakness, vulnerability, smallness, defenselessness, etc. [3]

  • “WEAK, malleable, not in control of my own decisions”
  • “It STUNTED our relationship for sure….how can someone have an idea about me like that and not tell me…”
  • “Wasting time. NOBODY TO BLAME if I misuse it.”
  • “Always leaving 1 bite of food: I want them to see me as SELF SUFFICIENT, INDEPENDANT, not DEPENDANT and WEAK. Not CONQUERED by it.”
  • “I try so hard to harvest the feeling of self love and not be crazy but I have NO EXAMPLES to follow.”
  • “I want more self confidence and a better ability to DEFEND MYSELF without resorting to irrational anger and anxiety.”

 No borders, changing mood quickly

The patient is extremely sensitive and even the slightest change in environment (house, family, support system, etc.) is enough to produce disaster. They take on others’ emotions readily, as if everything is coming in and there is no border, (there is no defense). Because of this kind of extreme sensitivity the patient might be confused with a plant, such as a member of the Ranunculaceae. When we examine the case carefully, however, we can observe that case has multiple facets rather than a focus on one sensation and its exact and spontaneous opposite which would indicate a plant remedy.  [4]

  • “Their comments interfere with my ability to SELF DEFINE”
  • “Seeing myself as a PHYSICAL BODY is a strange sensation”
  • “Obsessed with things inside me, I SHOULD NEVER FEEL THE PRESENCE OF WHAT I EAT. It’s an INTRUSION. I want to get it out. It’s crazy, not logical.”
  • “Fear that I’ll start speaking and not be able to express myself. Someone will hit on me and I won’t be able to tell them off.”
  • “I want more self confidence and a better ability to defend myself without resorting to IRRATIONAL ANGER and ANXIETY.”
  • “Mean words, I RESORT TO YELLING right away”

Restriction

  • “See what happens when you don’t eat for a week.”
  • “Mental space where I can create FREELY. Where my imagination can just run without CONSTRAINT of how people perceive me.”
  • “Easier time being creative and finding expression in settings of CONSTRAINTS.”

Existing or not existing depending on the outside circumstances

  • “I CAN’T BE HERE, FULLY PRESENT, because I know in a week I’ll be there.”
  • “I express myself differently depending on who is there.”
  • “Someone studying next to me brings focus, concentration, presence. Instrumental music brings that too; there’s an anchor, steady force that’s present.”
  • “SELF SUFFICIENCY – to just say what comes up naturally and not think so much of who’s around.”

Feeling ugly, disgusted

  • “The taste that stayed with me and the general feeling of self disgust. I can never eat this again.  Really strange place of thinking of that taste and that sensation.  It’s not worth it, it’s confusing.”
  • “It disturbs me more when I feel the sensation of the food in my body; I’m disgusted with myself.”
  • “Attention was brought to what I was eating: “Oh my God, is that all stomach?”, and then later after the salmonella, “At least you’re losing weight”.
  • “If I could just do photosynthesis like a plant, I would. At a certain point, eating is just GROSS.”

Structure & Support

Without support they feel extremely anxious and apprehensive at any sort of danger. They have a fear of exposure of their inner weakness. They do not know what causes discontent; they become frantic because they can’t give an adult description of themselves. They are highly sensitive to pain and suffering and in many cases it turns out as hypochondriacal anxiety. [5]

  • “If it’s just me and a big block of time..I can’t deal with it. NO GUIDELINES, NO STRUCTURE.”
  • “People would think I’m a MESS if I act like that.”
  • “Being WEAK, MALLEABLE, NOT IN CONTROL OF MY OWN DECISIONS..I was afraid they wouldn’t want to hang out with me anymore.
  • “She told me: ‘When you were here you were so messy that you were such a nightmare to live with and I don’t think someone can live with you.’ My messiness is going to not make someone love me? It STUNTED our relationship for sure.
  • “Cultural divide. Growing up in 2 countries. Felt ashamed of being Mexican for a long time, laughed at, then felt like a foreigner in my country of birth.
  • “ALONE – scary, how to fill the empty time.. I concentrate better on my school work if someone next to me is concentrating too.”

DD with the Ranunculaceae

Although the Ranunculaceae would have held the emotional instability and reactivity, it would not have addressed what was organizing those reactions, which is the thread of uncertainty, instability and need for support and structure.  By addressing this, the expectation is we can reduce the need for the obsession for planning and that the energy invested in the identification with restriction and control can be restored to the organism.

With the understanding that what ‘needs to be cured’ is the exaggerated requirement for structure and support, the sponges are confirmed and Spongia Tosta is selected for it’s requirement for social support (seen through her experience of cultural divide and self-expression in service to fitting in with the group).

Materia Medica confirmation of Spongia Tosta

Sponges get cut off and regrow from there, the experience of having to do that over and over again. Spongia is nervous, anxious and confused with a tendency to be easily frightened and startled. It is prone to waking from sleep frightened and has a disposition to weep. With many alternating symptoms, its mood is changeable. It does not appear to have a true state of interaction: too open to truly relate and too closed to wish to relate. [6]

 “Spongia wants to be master of his own project, but easily feels cut down by a superior force – forcing him to start over again. A difficult destiny where he is literally ripped up every time he tries to be autonomous (in order to stay attached/grounded – “Feels his feet heavy when fearful or contradicted.”)[7]

 The Spongia “Personality”

“Their strategy in life is to find someone else that can cope with their approach to life and guarantees them what they need. It is devastating for them to lose their support. Without support they feel extremely anxious and apprehensive at any sort of danger. They have a fear of exposure of their inner weakness. They do not know what causes discontent; they become frantic because they can’t give an adult description of themselves.”[8]

Remedy Differentiation (provings by Paul Theriault)

Badiaga I cannot incarnate because the world is a terrible place, full of danger and insecurity. I lack the security I need to incarnate.

Euplectella aspergillum I do not wish to incarnate because I cannot deal with the mental effort required in life.

Spongia Tosta I lack the social support I need to exist.

 Reliable Reverse Repertory – Spongia

  • Mind, ANGER, irascibility
  • Mind, ANOREXIA NERVOSA
  • Mind, ANXIETY;night
  • Mind, ANXIETY;condition, about her
  • Mind, AWAKES;anxious
  • Mind, AWKWARDNESS
  • Mind, CONCENTRATION;difficult
  • Mind, LOOKED AT;cannot bear to be
  • Mind, OVERACTIVE
  • Mind, QUARRELSOME
  • Mind, WEEPING, tearful mood;anger;after
  • Sleep, AWAKING;early, too;awake;midnight;cannot fall asleep again on account of restlessness
  • Sleep, SLEEPLESSNESS

Follow up

November 2021 – She is doing very well. Her focus on reading and studies has  improved, overplanning has its place.  She still prefers preparing her own food but doesn’t feel so limited in eating out, she can try new things regularly now.

Spent the whole summer with her Mother, got a new job while there and was able to let go of not being able to control a plan despite all the many changes and adjustments that were required of her in a short time.  There was one moment of conflict that was quickly

December 2021 – She writes to me while in Mexico with family because she’s noticing the return of feeling restricted around food.  She’s once again observing others in their relationship to food and can’t help but restrict and control herself too.

Given the improvement that she had over the summer and fall, along with what came up in this follow up, we repeat Spongia 200k.

March 2022 – When I reach out to ask her how she’s doing, she writes to let me know that she’s doing well, and busy with school and projects as well as a visit home in the next few weeks.  She had an easier time adjusting to her return home from Mexico.  She has found a balance between work and school that works for her.  Describes her relationship to food, school and people as natural and intuitive.  She is able to listen to her body and it is not too difficult to feel in control and well.  Has stopped all sleep aids (Valerian) since her return and sleep is good.

 

[1] Italicized summary extracted from MICH Materia Medica files

[2] Dr. Ghanshyam Kalathia. Invertebrates in Homeopathy. Gujarat: 2019 pages 31-39

[3] IBID

[4] IBID

[5] Dr. Ghanshyam Kalathia. Invertebrates in Homeopathy. Gujarat: 2019 pages 31-39

[6] Frans Vermeulen. Prisma. Haarlem 2002: p1250.

[7] Dr. Guy Loutan. Répertoire de Thèmes et de Matière Médicale Dynamique. Editions Loutan 2011: p291

[8] Dr. Ghanshyam Kalathia. Invertebrates in Homeopathy. Gujarat: 2019 page 42

About the author

Suzana Da Costa

Suzana Da Costa is a homeopath, naturopath, holistic practitioner and astrologer in private practice. She works to restore health and wellness through the facilitation of consciousness and a well selected simillimum to match the deepest dimensions of the individual’s inner world. She enjoys her role as admissions counselor, mentor and facilitator on the faculty of the Montreal Institute of Classical Homeopathy. She can be reached through www.michmontreal.com or www.heartstarhealing.com

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