When Anna first came to me, she wanted help with her IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), which had troubled her for six years. She would get severe cramps in her abdomen, with bloating, loud gurgling, and diarrhea, that was accompanied by sharp pain during bowel movements. These symptoms were triggered by eating red meat, bread, apples, onions, and rich or spicy food.
When I dug a little deeper into her story, she said that the IBS had started shortly after a very difficult and painful periodwith her neighbour, who had taken enormous advantage of her generosity, and then blamed her for an outcome he didn’t like, which was in no way her responsibility. She was prone to guilt anyway, so found this very difficult to handle. This tendency to give, and to allow others to take too much, was a pattern. She had a history of allowing herself to be used and bullied by boyfriends, including the current one, who was also clingy, controlling, jealous and aggressive. She also had a bullying boss, with whom she had to be careful what she said. Her inability to stand up to others when they crossed her boundaries, was driven by fear of hurting them. When I tried to work out where in her history this lack of boundaries had started, I could find no evidence in her childhood. She had had good boundaries then, but somehow in early adult life had lost them in love relationships.
She was a perfectionist by nature, and talked about needing to control the chaos. She confessed to being “a bag of nerves”. She was afraid of the dark, of dirt, of being in the house on her own and was terrified of death “to the point of ridiculousness”. She would become overwhelmed with panic at the thought of her or her Mum dying. By her own admission, she had not cried for years, and was used to swallowing her anger for fear of being hit by her boyfriend. All in all, she had been suppressing herself and her needs for years. Not surprisingly, she felt “a bit depressed”, frustrated and bitter about everything.
Days 1 – 3: Arnica / Natrum Sulph / Sycamore / Thymus Gland 200c – 1M – 10M
Days 8 – 28: Carcinosin LM 3 – 3 bangs, 3 drops, once daily
China Officianalis 6c daily
I started her off on the combined head injury remedy to clear any obstacle to cure caused by the three car crashes – the only possible etiology in the case I could see. The combination contained the usual Arnica and Natrum Sulph for head injury and shock; the Sycamore I included, because the impact to the front of her face, which fractured her nose, could well have affected her sphenoid, and thereby her pituitary gland, and her whole hormonal feedback mechanism; and Thymus Gland I included because it lies just below the collarbone, which she fractured, and so would also have sustained an impact.
With the most obvious obstacle to cure addressed, I then prescribed Carcinosin LM 3 for the emotional root of the IBS – the tendency to suppress her needs, go into sacrifice, and have difficulty standing up for herself, as well as ailments from domination, suppressed anger, and cancer in the family history. This for me was the heart of the case, from which all else stemmed. I also gave her China Officianalis 6c to target the IBS at the physical level, by supporting the liver. Of the many digestive remedies, this one best fit her specific IBS symptoms. Lastly, I put her on the FODMAP diet, (which removes all fermenting foods) to allow her digestive system a rest from the physical triggers, while she waited for her system to start the process of healing in response to the remedies.
A month later, she was finding it easier to get up in the mornings, and her IBS was markedly better, as she had only 2 episodes all month (as a result of drinking wine), instead of daily ones, and no diarrhoea. However, at this stage, it was unclear to me whether this was due to the diet or the remedies, or both.
She was feeling “very positive” and “stronger about breaking up” with her boyfriend, who had been much nicer to her – perhaps because she had been much more self-contained. With regards to her neighbour, she had an occasion where he tried to take advantage of her, and she rather uncharacteristically didn’t let him. She also found that she had not had such an overwhelming fear of death since starting the remedies.
Carcinosin LM 4 – 5 bangs, 5 drops, once daily + China Officianalis 6c daily
As she had again talked about wanting to leave her boyfriend and was feeling stronger in this regard, I recommended she read The Dance of Anger, by Harriet Goldhor-Lerner, which I felt would complement the Carcinosin by giving her the necessary understanding and tools to improve her boundaries with him.
“I feel wonderful – like a weight has been lifted and I can breathe!” she said, after explaining how she had asked her boyfriend to move out: Something she had wanted to do for at least 5 years. Of course, now that she was alone in the flat, she had her fear of being alone and of the dark to contend with. But these had turned out to be less of a problem than they might have been previously. This month she also had only one episode of bloating, again due to eating the wrong food. Interestingly, she also had what looked like a potential return of old symptoms from the injuries sustained in the car crashes, in the form of a frontal headache and chest pain.
Carcinosin LM 5 – 5 bangs, 5 drops, once daily + China Officianalis 6c daily
This month, despite dropping the FODMAP diet and eating trigger foods over Christmas, she had had no IBS episodes. At last, confirmation that her body was healing, and the improvement was not just down to the diet. On the emotional front, she had resisted her ex’s attempt to re-involve her with him. Also, she was very angry at his attempts to manipulate her in the process, and not at all guilty, which would have been her usual response to saying ‘no’ to anyone who came to her for help.
Carcinosin LM 6 – 5 bangs, 5 drops, once daily + China Officianalis 6c Monday, Wednesday, Friday
This month, she had finally won the battle at severing all ties with her boyfriend, who had taken ages to remove all his belongings from her flat, and had been finding endless excuses to maintain contact and draw her back in with requests for help. The result was that she had finally gone into a grief state: She was crying at the slightest thing, sighing, and was waking in the morning feeling depressed. She had also been having horrible nightmares, and she revealed for the first time, that she had a tendency to bruise very easily. Her IBS, though was fine – no episodes – unless she drank alcohol.
Phosphorous LM 3 – 5 bangs, 5 drops, once daily + Ignatia 200c – as needed for grief.
I decided we had finished with the Carcinosin layer and a Phosphorous layer had been revealed, together with an acute state needing Ignatia.
The feelings of grief had passed and she had decided to redecorate her flat. In the process, she had pulled a muscle, so she signed herself off from work for a week, and found herself forced to ask for, and accept, offers of help. This is something she would never have done before. “I learned I really need to look after myself” she said, and that “my priorities were wrong in trying to please everybody”. She had become much more decisive, and was enjoying the freedom of being single. Also her fears of being alone in the flat were a lot better and “So what if I die?!” she said. As for the IBS, that had been really good “I can now say ‘I don’t have IBS’”