Clinical Cases

“Alone on the Raft”- A Case of Agoraphobia

Written by Deborah Walters

Homeopath Deborah Walters presents a longstanding case of agoraphobia.

AgoraphobiaMale 55 years old

Main Complaints:

  • Fearful of travel, agoraphobia
  • Dizziness
  • Cannot do what he wants in life


I=interviewer   O=observation


A man age 55 consulted me about his fearful nature and inability to do what he dreams of in life. Due to agoraphobia he can’t travel anymore. He also experiences vertigo and clenching of his jaws. He feels like he’s losing control and this terrifies him.

Notable in his intake forms: <closed spaces, <before sleep, >massage, moving, stretching, exertion. “Orphaned kids make me weep. I want to help the poor.”

He takes Klonopin .25 for anxiety.

Homeopathic remedies: Ambra, Carc, and dozens of other remedies had been tried by other homeopaths, without effect over the last nine years.

“After 2001 I became fearful of flying and after 2009 I couldn’t even drive a state away. I wouldn’t even travel. I love to connect with people and go places but I became agoraphobic and wouldn’t leave my house except to work.”

“Two years ago I started feeling dizzy. Sometimes I have the sense of losing my balance. Tremendous tightness in the back, everything is tight. Constantly needing to crack my neck. Now I grind my teeth, clench my teeth and I don’t want to. I don’t know how to move on. I love to learn and I’m constantly reading and studying the healing arts, religion, politics. There’s no end to it.”

“Should I quit corporate America? Should I be a homeopath? I’ve studied for 20 years. At what point do I take action, as opposed to the current taking me where it wants to go, like I’m a raft. I go this way, go that way, my work is not a path I’ve mapped out.


I: Tell me more about the raft.

I’m not directing it. My previous contract ended and I’m stuck again in another contract. I feel like I’m 30 when I talk, sense of youngness in me, not having arrived. The raft is going in the direction of the bank and I go up for a walk. I want to get on solid ground and have a map, the path.

It has to be warm the cold completely debilitates me. I can’t function, neck becomes worse. Depressive mood, darker, I need the sun. Humidity is bad, my face breaks out like I’m 16. Windy and cold is terrible. When it’s cold out I get shivers down my spine and shudder or in the bed I’ll be cold. (O: shudders shoulders) Starts in the head and goes down the spine, I hold on tight to not shiver. Like a wet cold towel you put on and can’t shake it off.


I: What’s the feeling on the raft?

Being helpless, feeling like a child left alone, don’t know where this is going; will the current get faster, will it stop? Not knowing what’s in front of me.. being alone.. I didn’t like being alone even when I didn’t have the travel fear. I don’t want my wife to leave me, so she doesn’t travel. I’m alone I don’t have a map, no way of directing the raft, fear of chaos. Like in my childhood, mom and dad threatened to leave all the time.

As a kid I was afraid of Dracula, I would sleep with sheets all the way up and if it moved I would wake up. That notion of when you’re most vulnerable, something would attack. I feared ghosts, being under control not being able to control your life…they take over you. Feared being alone and in danger…. even now, in NYC, attacked, mugged. I feel exhausted in the morning.

I:What are your dreams?

Dreams of trying to come home and you’re not arriving… can’t get to that street. Not arriving to my destination, frustrating, not feeling lost, just not being home, solid place to arrive that’s familiar.

I never had a voice, not being heard, parents moved us, didn’t want to. I wanted to be a helicopter pilot, studied computers instead. The part of me is yielding, afraid of making waves, pleasing others. I want to take an adult calculated risk renting an office and being a homeopath (O: shudders – same shuddering as cold outside description) Instead I’m working for corporate America. That weight on my shoulder trying to shake off that cold.


I: What would be the worst thing about taking that risk?

Feeling rejected, not respected, laughed at, ridiculed, not valued, or being important.


I: Being important?

To be famous, to be seen, acknowledged. I want to know how amazing it is to change one person’s life. Wanting to be mother Theresa, help the poor.

2005 woke up with a call 5am. My sister’s husband taking mom to the hospital… she had a heart attack, can you come. I felt so guilty, I couldn’t fly. Not being able to steer my own raft or write my own destiny.


In spite of being 55 he appears in his 30’s, speaks in a small higher voice. He has a very strong looking body presenting mildly childlike and gentle mannered.

There were many themes presented in the case and many ways to approach the analysis, so I focused on what I was absolutely sure of and where I saw the physical symptom of shuddering match his emotional state – inability to “direct the raft” in his work:

  1. Shuddering and spasms when chilled or in cold weather
  2. Fear of dying when laying down
  3. Fear of vertigo, sense of falling and losing control
  4. Efforts unsuccessful towards his career reflected in his dreams


We find the fear of performance in Gelsemium and chilled shuddering, sense of falling. However, with his strong fear of being alone and in danger as a kid (being attacked by ghost / Dracula at most vulnerable time) and something besides him was controlling the raft I wanted to look for a remedy in the animal kingdom. I also noted his parents were in their 80’s flying across the country to see him and his family because of his debility, and his wife never traveled anywhere because he would not stay alone. I saw everyone sort of bending to his will, and in contrast he is yielding to his fears.

Mind: dreams; efforts, unsuccessful

Mind: fear; death of; lying down

Mind; lying; agg; bed in

Mind: sympathetic compassionate

Throat: choking, constricting; nervous

Chill; cold agg

Generalities; convulsions, spasms; shuddering, shivering with

Vertigo; falling from a height as if


REMEDY: Moschus 1M 1 dose

I chose Moschus because of its excitable nature, it’s main action on the nerves and sensory, spasmodic nervous effects. It has a lot of imaginary sufferings, fear of suffocation or anxious palpitations when lying down or before bed. It’s known for sensitivity to air and shuddering upon entering it. His fretful nature matched that of Moschus, and whenever I pushed in further to elucidate his symptoms nothing was exact and he complained more urgently, talking about other things. Strong feeling of falling reflected in this remedy with fear of fainting as he reported. I couldn’t catch any solid reason for being so frightful in his life during the interview, which caught my attention. “Started as if frightened” was the picture I had in my mind as he talked about his fears, waking up from fearful dreams or the anxiety he felt lying down to sleep.




4 WEEKS: I had very strong vertigo after taking the remedy, I got so scared, but that’s calmed down and my anxiety is still around, but less. Just in the last 2 days the vertigo is there but the fear isn’t there, like I’m going to lose my balance-I don’t have that anymore. An old fear returned in the middle of the night I haven’t felt for a long time. Plan: Take Mosch 1M 1 dose.

2 MONTHS: Everyone tells me how good I’ve responded to my anxiety. My dentist friend and my younger brother wrote me a nice email how proud of me that I’ve been strong. I found out my wife has breast cancer and I’m really frightened, feeling of losing someone near to me, being alone, trapped depressed. As other people reassure me, I think I wish I could be an adult like that. I still have anxiety falling asleep. I sleep on the couch where it’s warm, light, and noisy. I go under the blanket and hide. Plan: Daily support for stressful time, take Mosch LM2 7 drops daily.

3 MONTHS : A lot of the times I’m ok. I’m surprised at how well I’m doing. I see a future. I’m hearing a stronger voice inside me now. I let my wife go on a vacation for a weekend. She flew to Florida. That was huge. I was alone. We made a lot of arrangements to have our friends stay with me, but in the end I didn’t need them and I felt strong. We even made plans to make a trip this summer. I figured if I was fearful we could just not buy the air travel in the end. I started planning for the next 6 months to a year, instead of waiting. Really tired of doing this work that’s not meaningful to me, for the last 20 years. I have to do something that deals with kids, helping them. My vertigo is gone, and still have some tightness in the neck. I’m getting new reading glasses and that will help because I strain my neck trying to read. I’ve been balancing my incessant learning with doing nothing. I feel like the remedy touched me deeply. It was a great feeling to let my wife have fun and go have freedom. This is huge! I’m almost afraid to be so hopeful.

He is no longer taking Klonopin.


Plan: Continue LM, follow up after 6 weeks.

About the author

Deborah Walters

Deborah Walters moved into the Minneapolis area bringing her 15 years of clinical experience and training in Naturopathy and Homeopathy. She specializes in mental illness, children and youth’s well being and treats numerous other conditions. Her hallmark is getting to the core of the issue without losing sight of the whole picture. She is the author of the book, The Supreme Remedy, on how the mind, body and soul work together to create harmony. As an educator, she presents at international conferences and private events. She regularly treats those in poverty. You can find out more or contact her through her website: www.

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