Maria is a 61 year old caregiver of the elderly who has the lithe physique of a 20 year old athlete. Mike Mittenberg was the student homeopath. She started crying almost as soon as she sat down to talk:
“If you ask me to do something for my family, I run to do it. But not for myself. I raised my kids on my own. I do a good job. They went to Stanford and Harvard. I am constantly doing for my grandkids. I don’t say no. Why do I always help others but not myself?”
She has trouble getting things done and it makes her feel “terrible”:
“Worthless. I’m just worthless.”
And that puts her in her vulnerable spot:
“I don’t want to get old. I’m scared that one day I might not be able to work. The pain would get worse and I might have to call my kids to come and take care of me.”
Being old conjures for her the image of people who “sit and stare, being told to take a bath, told to take her tea. They move around so slowly. From day to day I don’t think they know what they’re doing. They’re just alive. They did not care for themselves.”
Maria feels that senescence is a state that people bring on themselves:
“If only they stood tall, stretched, did some exercise, they won’t be so stiff, walking slow. I always want to stand and jump and do exercise. If only they could stretch a bit they could go so much further.”
She loved to stretch. “When I was a marathon runner it was a great feeling. But it led to a lot of pain…”
Her biggest fear is that she would get physical with her grandson. It brings her to tears.
“The one thing I never do is hit him. I get angry at him. That’s why I keep going back…to see if I can do better at not roughing him up. As an older person, I should be able to talk to him in a gentle way, not raise my voice. If he says something that’s going to make me feel bad, I should just talk with him, not fight with him.”
When somebody’s rude, how does that affect you?
“It doesn’t make me feel good. Not respected….I feel very small.”
“My stepmother…my stepmother was cruel. I especially make it a point in my life not to be rude to anyone. When someone’s rude to you, it makes me feel not respected. It doesn’t feel good for me at all. I feel very small. Not respected, makes me feel like nobody. Not respected. I pull back – it hurts. [She sits back and literally pulls back.]
Someone called me flaky and selfish…I don’t talk to her anymore. I won’t let my face shine in your house anymore.”
When you are put down, you don’t forgive?
“I always forgive them. I ALWAYS forgive, but I don’t need to be in anyone’s life. Except for my grandson and my daughter. That’s it. That’s not where I’m going to go, like this little bird running over to her house, but she’s never coming to my house. In the end, I don’t need to let my face shine in her house. I’m working on making myself better.”
By this time she has folded her napkin into a perfect little triangle.
We explore her sleep problem. She is waking up several times a night, at intervals between 30 minutes and 2 hours, in order to urinate. The problem started in her late forties, and is now a daily occurrence. She explains her unusual situation:
“I don’t get tired. Funny thing is I can go all day and not get tired. I don’t understand. People usually say they’re so tired. I ask them, because I don’t get that feeling. For instance, I knew I had to come here. I slept at twelve, then woke up, then lay there, and at about 5 a.m. I was up. If someone said, ‘Let’s go dancing!’ I’m ready!”
What really bothers her is that her sleeplessness gives her dark under-eye circles:
“I’m very aware of how I look. Maybe because I am very vain.”
When we ask if there is anything more to it, she exclaims,
“But I should be sleeping though! I do a lot in the daytime. I should fall asleep! I should have a dream! It bothers me that I am not deserving of this. All I do is work, work, work and sleep 3, 4, or 5 hours.
But I should get tired like other people. Because I’m 61 years old! I’m always moving. I need to rest so that my cells and my organs can be well. If I’m not tired, then I don’t warrant any sleep. I’m not tired. I hope someone would call and ask, ‘Would you want to go dancing?’”
As she explains that she sometimes wakes up from pain from an old accident, she recalls the pleasure of running:
“From 36 – 40s, I was a runner. Fr ee! [She smiles for first time.] I never got depressed after I started running. It was great! I threw depression out of the window. I was really happy that I conquered that in the early stage of my life. As a single parent raising two kids, I discovered that and started running and running and running. I tell everyone, “If you want to get through a depression, start running.” Running a marathon…It was great! I feel good – I don’t get depressed anymore. I get emotional about a man…but that’s about it. Emotional, sad, but not depressed. My knee and my back started to hurt. I had to take care of my grandson, so I had to stop.”
Even though she is living in the suburbs, she prefers not to drive.
“I thought I needed a car, and I bought a new car. So my Prius is in the driveway and I try to walk and go in the train everywhere. The feeling of sitting and hustling for parking – I didn’t like it, not walking and running anywhere.”
She told us about raising her children as a single mother:
“It wasn’t good with my husband. He was ten years older, and it was just a big gap for me. He had already travelled the world, while I was just coming. I don’t think the combination was fine. He was very abusive. For me, I met someone I had three kids with and that was it. I realized that it was not for me to just keep having kids. He was physically abusive. I had a cruel stepmother, an abusive husband. I was raising my kids here. He left. He didn’t send me money. I just worked hard and took care of them. I was not educated.”
She also suffered in love:
“I broke up earlier this year. I feel very strong and very good about that. I didn’t know I could come to this place when I could tell someone not to text me or call me for your sweet lovemaking. Every text, every call was about lovemaking. There were days when I would get on a train to see him, and there was this kid in me who would say, ‘No…oooo! Don’t go!’ He only wanted sex and he found that person it was good with. He was very abusive. He knows how to use words and to manipulate.
He would say mean things. Just like the father of my children. Maybe I’m just too sensitive. When they say mean things, I feel that all the time I’ve spent with the person…they don’t value me at all, not the friendship, the relationship we have.
It feels inside…I just have this pain inside when I’m being put down.”
The anticipation of coming for the homeopathic consultation drove her into a frenzy of self-doubt. She had to find a substitute to take her place at work and she was afraid of what people would think of her. She felt “unworthy and worthless.” She cries again.
“I try many times…keep trying to get my massage license. I feel I’m not educated. I would have liked to be. I can’t seem to stay the course to do that. At fifteen years old, I decided, if I have a daughter, she’s not going to wash dishes, or do laundry. When I did have a daughter, she never had to do that.
I fought a lot in school to defend myself. I lied a lot. I hated school. I couldn’t learn anything in school. My childhood was around a lot of work, sadness, sucking my fingers, being afraid of being put down, hiding a lot.
I had beautiful shoes for Sunday that I would put at the gates at night, so I could wear them the next day, switching them out with the black everyday shoes. At 15, I was taken out of school to learn shorthand and typing. Work, washing family clothes. Never really had a childhood. Now I’m childlike. I giggle a lot at work.”
She had a dream of seeing the face of God in a vast space filled with light and feeling guilty about “living in sin.”
More than anything, she would love to live with a group of women. “It would be very nice for me, wake up, have tea. Here, it’s not the same. Me alone, saying I’m going to do this today. I’m just going around and around and around. I need a group to motive me.”
The outstanding themes in this case are:
- Low self esteem
- Abundant physical energy
- Love of running.
Abuse is the theme song of her life. She was the mistreated stepdaughter of a cruel stepmother, and later married a physically abusive man who left her to fend for herself and their two young children in a foreign country. She then took up with a man who did not offer her a partnership beyond sex. She felt “abused,” “put down,” “not valued,” “worthless,” “not deserving” and “small.”
The experience of abuse, whether keenly felt or actual, coupled with extremely low self-esteem and a feeling of not being nurtured, points to lac remedies, especially those of domesticated animals.
In order to differentiate between the lac remedies, we look at how a person compensates for the low self-esteem and what really energizes them.
Maria, in spite of her feelings of worthlessness, had an aristocratic streak. We see it right at the beginning, when she tells us that she sent her two children to Ivy League schools. She had a difficult childhood, and was determined to raise her own daughter as a princess who never had to do any chores. When her friend insulted her, she resolved “not to let my face shine in her house again.” She may be down, but she has kept her pride intact.
She shared a peculiarly poignant recollection of secretly laying out her best shoes by the gate to change into as a teenager. Looking her best means a lot to her, a point she reiterates when she reveals that her insomnia worries her because they create under-eye circles.
Perhaps the most unusual thing about Maria – something we don’t see in other insomniac patients – is her boundless energy. She is already to party whether or not she has had any sleep –at 61!
We always look for a spontaneous burst of energy in the case-taking process. And with Maria, it came when she talked about running, how free she felt when she ran, and how it cured her depression. Even now, she is still constantly on her feet, eschewing her Prius for public transportation. She also has an interesting expression for not being able to achieve her goals: “I’m just going around and around and around.” It is suggestive of the horse enclosed in its pen, a magnificent animal capable of thrilling speed and stamina that can go nowhere.
The animal that fits all these characteristics is the horse – Lac Equinum.
In Nancy Herrick’s proving of Lac Equinum, there were not many prominent symptoms, yet there was a prover who felt surprisingly energetic after getting only four hours’ sleep. The mind and the extremities were most affected. The provers had difficulty concentrating, and woke with anxiety in the morning. There is a fear of Alzheimer’s which Maria had hinted at. The provers also had a lot of musculo-skeletal pain – in the shoulder (as did Maria), in the hips, in the knees, and in the feet. Many provers reported trouble sleeping, especially after midnight, and between 3-5 a.m.
Potency selection: 200C, to be taken every fortnightly (Rajan Sankaran is of the opinion that the 200C potency is appropriate for patients who are on the emotional level.)
Maria took her first dose of the Lac Equinum 200C as a split dose on February 22/23, 2012.
She felt better immediately. In fact, she feels that “it is like a little magic mushroom – everyday something new comes out.” She is no longer stressed out because “I am not short-changing myself.”
When she spoke to her ex-husband and felt abused, she found immediate relief in the remedy.
Within a month, she assessed herself in a realistic but optimistic way:
“I’m accepting that I can make changes in my life. When I’m not emotional I know I can make changes in my life.
I can actually change the way I see others.”
She started to emerge from her fear and anger. She stepped outside her comfort zone and spoke to people that she had been afraid of. When she was put in an uncomfortable position at work, she told the client that she didn’t need to discuss it and told them to stop what they were doing, respectfully. She “could speak up and not be angry.” She began to feel stronger for being able to stand up for herself.
While she still woke up at night to go to the bathroom, she was able to return to sleep and wake up feeling rested.
She accepted a job in a place in the country that felt more congenial to her than the city ever did, and has been working there for over 3 years. These days, she meditates every day, and feels very comfortable in her own skin.