XA, a 39 yr old woman, was very ill. She was on a long spiritual trip to India and had probably eaten food that was not hygienically prepared at some point. The start of symptoms was a whole 3 months earlier (Feb ’05). From then on she developed severe abdominal problems of daily pain, diarrhea, flatulence inability to eat and weight loss. She now was having about 12 – 14 watery stools a day that were very offensive, yellow and profuse and hot. Along with this was flatulence, bloating, nausea and a complete loss of appetite. Everything she ate seems to spark off the diarrhea attack with a lot of gurgling felt in her chest and abdomen. With this she was very, very thirsty for luke warm water but despite drinking water all the time she continued to feel dehydrated and her mouth remained dry. Diarrhea was worse from fried food, better while lying down and laying her hands gently on her abdomen relieved her very much. She felt fatigued and also restless with thoughts continuously running through her head. She was thermally very hot as she always is. She had tried Aloes, Sulphur and Acid Phos in rotation, and quite a few other remedies earlier – nothing seemed to help.
She had stayed in a hostel, while studying homeopathy in one of the Indian cities, while also attending an ashram for Spiritual guidance with a Guruji. But the study had been exhausting though stimulating and she was looking forward to the next part of her trip to Rishikesh. She longed to get back to the mountains there which was always very uplifting; of being one with nature and with the ‘energy’, surrounded by spiritual people chanting and singing spiritual songs.
I realised we were working with a chronic abdominal problem (probably Giardiasis and/or Amoebiasis) that was still in its acute expression. Since she was traveling, it was not possible to get a complete chronic history from her. We decided the best thing to do at that point was to treat the acute episodes with a good acute remedy. Repertorizing the above symptoms:
Watery X yellow X offensive diarrhea: acon., Agaricus, aloe, alum-sil., Ant-c., ant-t., Apis, Apocynum, aran., Arg-n., arn., Arsenicum, ars-i., Asafoetida, asar., asc-t., bamb-a., Baptisia, bar-m., bor., bov., brom., Bryonia, Calcarea, Carb-v., Carbn-s., Chamomilla, chin., cocc., Colchicum, coloc., cop., Crot. horridus, croto-t., dig., dios., Dulcamara, fl-ac., Gambogia, Gratiola, hep., hyos., iod., ip., Iris, Kali-ar., kali-c., Kali-p., kali-s., Lachesis, lept., Lycopodium, lycps., med., Mercurius, Merc-c., nat-c., Natrum mur., nat-p., Nat-s., nit-ac., Nux-m., Nux-v., Olnd., petr., Ph-ac., Phosphorus, plb., Podophyllum, Pulsatilla, rheum, Rhus-t., ric., sanic., Secale, sep., sul-ac., sul-i., Sulphur, tab., ter., Thuja, Tuberculinum, Veratrum
STOOL; HOT (K638, G545) (RECTUM; Pain; burning; diarrhea; during)
STOMACH; THIRST; unquenchable, constant (K530, G451) (burning, vehement) (extreme)
Dryness of tongue X thirst with: Aconite, aloe, apoc., arg-n., arn., Arsenicum, bar-c., Belladonna, Bryonia, Camph., canth., carb-an., carbn-s., Causticum, cench., Chamomilla, chel., China, chin-s., coc-c., Cocc., graph., kali-bi., kali-br., kali-i., kreos., Lachesis, laur., lyc., mag-m., merc-c., mez., nat-c., Natrum mur., nit-ac., Nux-m., op., petr., phos., phyt., Rhus-t., sec., stram., Sulphur, tab., verat.
GENERALITIES; FOOD and drinks; fats and rich food; agg. (K1363, SII-240, SII-241, G1124) (heavy food – oil – pork – rich)
RECTUM; DIARRHEA; food; rich, after (K613, G524)
ABDOMEN; RUB, desire to (Pain; general; rubbing amel.)
GENERALITIES; LYING; amel.; back, on (K1372, SII-356, G1131)
The choices that came up were Phos, Bryonia and Puls. I had to be precise as she had taken so many remedies over the last couple of months and nothing had helped even a little. I asked her to tell me exactly what her mental state was. She missed the ‘pure’ love she experienced through her Gurugi. This man had found his path and was so obviously at peace with himself that it seemed to amplify her own loneliness /lack of spirituality. He had found his path/way and he was a manifestation of true divine love. Even the attraction of the Rishikesh, could not make up for this. She missed the sincere love she experienced. This was her present emotional state.
The obvious choice for her now was Phosphorous (April ’05). She needed just a few doses of 200C and she felt an immediate relief that she never experienced before. She was able to continue the rest of the travel (over the next 3 weeks or so) with hardly any episodes of diarrhea but needed to be very careful about her diet. The minute she ate something that did not agree with her, she started the diarrhea again.
Chronic History and Constitutional Remedy:
There was a break of a month and a half because she was unable to keep in touch. She took the Phos 30C if necessary and then she had with a bad viral infection, fever, etc for which she was given herbal treatment at the nature cure centre. She took more than a week to recover from this. When she contacted me again she said:
“I had an emotional meltdown (angry and critical) recently (early June) and got very upset with the people at the nature cure centre. After being here so long, I have not felt any great overall improvement with their treatment. I’ve been having diarrhea 10-12 times a day, watery stools. They have been reducing in number slowly but the stools were still watery. Still sensitive to different foods. Its only in the last couple of days that they have become semisolid. I’m down to 51 kgs (a loss of 8 kgs) and I have to be careful with my diet.”
Somehow she managed to give me a complete history partly by email and partly on the phone. She first gave me a very detailed and critical description of her physical appearance (mostly negative), which I thought may be a characteristic symptom. She had a history of frequent ear infections, chest infections during her childhood and teenage years with a few episodes of pneumonia and asthma as well. She was left with a chronic type of sinusitis at present.
Her mother died of bowel cancer while in her mid thirties, and her father suffered from Polio. One brother was born deaf, a sister has scoliosis. There is a history of tuberculosis, heart problems, manic depression and cancer in her immediate family members. All this cautioned me about strong tubercular and syphilitic diathesis which had to be reflected in the constitutional remedy choice.
The details of her general complaints were: Hot +++, all complaints aggravated by heat. Also she had excessive perspiration, in the groin area, palms and soles. She drank large quantities of water lukewarm (!) and had a big appetite, but had to eat very frequently otherwise she would feel very faint from hunger. She has no sexual desire at all over the last 8 years, and is unmarried at present.
She described herself as a loner, very sensitive and judgmental with suicidal tendencies. She loved music, listening to mantras being sung always made her feel so much better spiritually. She loved to travel because it helped her get out of mundane life. She hated the routine of work and being stuck to a job, but she could do nothing about it as she had to earn for her living. She also disliked studying and working very hard.
Her relationship with her family is good but not close, because she says she is a closed person and does not share herself. Her friends say they don’t really know her. She has always had a fear of being robbed or raped. Her most painful memories were of relationships breaking up. It would take her a long time to get over a broken relationship. For the last 10 years she has not been in any relationship.
She feels an inability to forgive deep hurts of her past, which she would like to change. She also feels very strongly about injustice and abuse of power in society and it is these situations that can bring on the depression. She tends to get very critical of people and their faults just as she is very critical of herself and says this may be a projection because she does not love herself. So she does not like talking with others and much prefers keeping to herself.
Emotionally, she has a lot of suppressed anger and grief. She does not like consolation. The anger is more prominent than the grief right now. She is very angry about having diarrhea so many months and no one has been able to cure it. She has tried everything – all types of therapy in India.
She has never been able to grieve as tears were not accepted in her childhood home. When her mother died when she was 6 years old, she was not allowed to be part of this. She was not even told that her mother was ill, an uncle broke the news of her death. This was told to her near a river and she remembers her first reaction was a desire to jump into the river from shock and grief and abandonment. She was taken to live with relatives and she does not remember asking for more information again. Once her father married again, she had a pretty happy childhood as her step mother was a loving person. On reflection, from her return to her family home at seven, to early thirties she was mostly very happy, full of life, always in relationships, popular, full of energy and sociable. It came so easily to her. Now its the opposite.
Circumstances had forced her to move to the city in a neighbouring country, but it resulted in her continuing in a lifestyle of drugs (grass, cannabis, speed, cocaine, Ecstacy and LSD), alcohol, entertainment and a few relationships while she supported herself financially in some boring job. She said that she loved the club and dance scene though. After about 10 years of this lifestyle, she began to get depressed and it came to a ‘natural’ end. She then had no passion for anything and did not value her life any more. She began to feel a total lack of joy within her heart and no interest in life anymore, which continues to this day. This has resulted in a Spiritual search for peace and meaning in life that brought her to India. She finds the mountains of Rishikesh and the spiritual environment there brings her close to this feeling of peace, and is uplifting.
A few characteristics stood out for me clearly. One was the lack of joy within her heart, the absolute lack of interest in life. Secondly, the wild lifestyle (parties, drugs, alcohol) that she had for over 10 years which she had found entertaining. Combined with this was the sensitivity to injustice, and a deep, longstanding grief and anger that was suppressed. Below are the rubrics I chose for analysis.
FEMALE; PERSPIRATION (groin)(K743, G631)
GENERALITIES; HUNGER agg. (K1367, SII-311, SII-312, G1128) (Fasting)
FEMALE; SEXUAL; desire; wanting (SIII-609)
MIND; FEAR; robbers, of (K47, SI-520, G37) (knaves)
MIND; CONSOLATION; agg. (K16, SI-181)
MIND; INJUSTICE, cannot support (SI-633)
MIND; TRAVEL; desire to (K89, SI-1030, G71)
MIND; INDIFFERENCE, apathy; joy, to (SI-617)
MIND; LOATHING; life, of (K62, SI-710, G50)
(MIND; SUICIDAL disposition; thoughts (K85, SI-980, G68)
MIND; AILMENTS from; anger, vexation; suppressed, from (K2, SI-15, G2)
MIND; WILDNESS (K95, SI-1092, G76)
MIND; TALK, talking, talks; others agg., of (K86, SI-991, G69)
Discussion and Response to the Remedy:
The obvious remedies in this analysis were Natrum Mur, Sulphur, Ignatia and Aurum. But none of them fitted the whole picture. She told me that she always felt better when she took Sulphur – “it is good for my system and seems to suit me“. But it never brought about any lasting relief over the last 3-4 years. This information allowed me to consider the possibility of Natrum Sulph or Aurum Sulph. I realized that Natrum Sulph was more prominently Psora-Sycotic Miasm, while Aurum Sulph would be more Psora-Syphilitic, given the combination of elements. From her past history and family history of diseases suffered, the analysis was a Psora-Syphilitic expression rather than Psora-Sycotic.
When talking with her, I understood that the central and most limiting factor for her was the joylessness she felt in her heart, with no value for her life and the constant suicidal feeling associated with it. The suppressed grief and anger was just a small part of her disturbance. It is the most prominent symptoms of mental state decide the predominant miasmatic expression. I see Joylessness with a suicidal tendency as syphilitic expressions. If suppressed grief and anger was more limiting it would point to a Sycotic expression. The 3 rubrics in red were the deciding rubrics for me. So Aurum Sulph was a better choice over Natrum Sulph from the Miasmatic perspective as well.
She told me that she had been given Nat Mur many times in the past which had never helped. In fact she would either prove it or aggravate on it emotionally. She had also been given Thuja which did very little.
After the first dose of Aurum Sulph 200, here is her followup:
“I guess what is astonishing about all of this is after taking the aurum sulph, I began to put on weight very quickly about 6 kilos in 5 weeks, all digestation problems were remarkably improved and physical energy had improved dramatically. Three weeks after taking it I did a 22km trek up to Gomuk with no adverse effects. Also As we had to stay in Gomuk at few days due to landslides, I had to eat what I would say was not very hygienically prepared food again with no adverse effects.”
So far she has had about 4 doses of the 200C. She says that no other remedy so far has agreed with her so well, and though she may have a long way to go emotionally and spiritually, she certainly feels she’s on her way to deep recovery. She has felt following the remedy, short episodes of deep joy – when she went for a swim in the sea – which was deeply exhilarating, something she has not felt in years.
4 months on Aurum Sulph 200, this is her follow-up in the first week of August:
“With regards to physical symptoms, no diarrhea, semi solid to solid stools every day. Minimum gas and bloating. I’m eating a normal diet and no problem with it. Do feel plugged up following meals sometimes or if i eat extra which can be uncomfortable. Grinding of teeth at night (old symptom). Do use gum guard but spit it out during night. Lots of hair loss, falling out in bunches (old symptom). Blocked nose sometimes, sneezing and watery eyes , possibly due to damp in flat , although flat was treated for damp. Blocked nose worse for lying down and when i wake up in morning (Old Symptom).
Was having difficulty sleeping at night, checking all rooms in flat when i hear a noise, having frightful dreams that robbers are going to break in .One night i was sure I heard the robber shout my name through the letter box. it seemed so real. This has started to improve the last few nights. Feel like i am too sensitive for all of this. When i ‘m out i worry about how I’m going to get home, if I’m safe etc. Don’t feel like this in India.
On visitng my home country I observed how my half sisters are so close to dad and stepmother. They are very affectionate with each other, sharing hugs and kisses and telling them their problems. I envy this and when I see it, I feel I don’t know real love or never had real love. I’m sure my mother loved me , but I just don’t remember it. I certainly don’t share the closeness they have and am not close to anyone in my life.
My aunt told my father that she had found a letter written by my mother. The letter had enclosed some money, so my aunt could buy me and sis sweets. It’s one of the rare occasions I hear anything about my mother, especially in relation to me. This brought tears to my eyes but I didn’t respond. Even though I would really like to have the letter but am afraid of opening the can of worms and causing pain to me, dad etc.
I find my father’s company very hard to tolerate. I can only be in his presence for 30 minutes at a time. I find him overbearing and his physical presence disgusts me. Some of his mannerisms also disgust me like touching my food as he puts it on my plate, I could scream at him. Sometimes I look at him and, I just feel repulsed. I know when Dad passes away I will be deeply affected by it. I know he will do anything for me.
Sometimes I fell really sad for no reason and tears will come to my eyes but it passes.
Came back home and took 200 Aurum Sulph that night, 25th July. Again feel as if i am just watching myself exist. I feel like I am existing and not living. You asked me if I have the ability to feel joy (subsequent to the remedy). YEs on very rare occasions and for a very short time. I would say I am depressed, no joy, however one big change is right now I could not imagine killing myself. The desire to commit suicide is gone, but the desire to die is still lingering. Thoughts of suicide have been with me on and off but always in the background for many years (8-9).
Maybe I should have said i feel a lack of joy as opposed to being depressed or is it the same thing , I’m not sure. Also, what gets me down is the fact that I ‘m back to routine. Soon, I will be getting a train to work every am, same thing day in day out. Yawn. I’m adverse to work when I’m not there but will work hard whilst there.“