On September 11, I woke abruptly to the telephone. It was my eldest son in Los Angeles, telling me to turn on the TV. I watched in disbelief. My heart pounded as I picked up the phone to call another son, who was attending the Juilliard School in New York City. I reached a recorded message only.
Within minutes, my phone rang again. It was my homeopathic office reporting that all four phone lines for our “Homeo-Help Line” were jammed with frightened and crying people, saying they were having anxiety attacks and asking what remedies to take. Although our office is in Pittsburgh, we have clients from across the U.S., many of whom have suffered from depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and other nervous disorders in the past. Watching the scenario unfold on TV was stirring up many fears and old disorders. I jumped into the car and raced to the office to help answer the phones.
Helping each other
On the way, my son in New York City (NYC) did call my cell phone. Trying to disguise his own fears, he assured me that he was fine, and, thankfully, alive. But many of his classmates were shaken up, some crying, some sitting in corners silently. I promised to drive to NYC the next week to help as much as possible. “Mom, I have my emergency kit in my hand,” he said bravely. “I didn’t know what to do, so I gave everyone a couple of pellets of Aconite.” He chose Aconite, he said, because he remembered the frightened “Aconite face” I used to make to describe the remedy when teaching a local study group.
Sometimes an emergency situation forces you to focus on helping others, and you don’t have time to worry about your own situation. I told him to take some Arnica for shock. He kept repeating that he was fine (a classic Arnica symptom)â€”I knew he wasn’t! I’m grateful that he survived and was able to help himself and others with his homeopathic emergency kit. You can bet, in the future, he won’t leave home without one!
One woman who called our homeopathic office that day had a history of fibromyalgia. She had been treated with Gelsemium followed by Rhus tox several months earlier and had been doing quite well. Now she reported: “I feel weak, dizzy, and cold like I have the flu … but I have to walk around.” During a crisis situation when time is of the essence, I rely on keynote symptoms, as well as any updated information offered. I asked her what would happen if she just took a few deep breaths and tried to relax. “My heart feels like it would stop,” she said. Bingo! Gelsemium has all of those symptoms. I told her to repeat the Gelsemium as needed for the next few days. It had helped her before, and I felt confident it would help again. She was back to her recovered state in a very short period of time.
A devastating loss
A man, aged 35, came to the office in November 2001 (actually, his wife dragged him). He was unable to sleep without the radio on since September 11. His wife said he spent his entire paycheck on a handheld TV so he could keep up with the news. He had lost his job because he could not concentrate on his work. This devastated himâ€”it’s all he talked about in the interview. Some of his complaints showed obsessive compulsive behavior, like locking the doors and then checking them over and over, and getting angry and impatient when things were left out of place. He started over eating and then complaining of stomach pains; he began drinking alcohol every evening before bed followed by a pot of coffee in the morning to wake up.
I started my search by considering the remedies listed in Murphy’s Repertory under, “Mind, ailments from bad news.” I then repertorized them with the symptoms: obsessive compulsive behavior, desire for alcohol and coffee, insomnia, worries about finances, anger, and over-eating. Nux vomica* fit all these symptoms well so I suggested Nux vomica 30C for several days, followed by a daily LM dose for about a month. He missed his scheduled follow-up appointment, but his wife reordered the Nux vomica (in an LM02) which he took until it ran out (about a month).
When I saw him after this, he’d found a new job, the obsessive behavior was gone, he was drinking green tea instead of coffee, and he listened to the news only on his way to work. He was sleeping peacefully and his wife claimed to have her “old man” back. At a follow-up visit three months later, he was still doing well. His doctor had originally recommended he take an antidepressant drug; instead he decided to go after the cause of the problem … using homeopathy!
A personal experience
I have a history of asthma. When I went to NYC to help with the kids at my son’s school, I must have inhaled too much of the cement dust and debris, and ended up in the Emergency Room. Using homeopathy and herbs, I was able to wean myself off the asthma medications quickly and improve my lung capacity.
While I was in the hospital for X-rays and treatment, however, I met many others in the same situationâ€”the ER was overflowing with people complaining of upper respiratory infections and breathlessness. I gave them my e-mail address and told them about homeopathy. Some of them have recently called my office, complaining that they are now on three or more asthma medications, and dealing with the side effects that come with them. It may take a little longer to help these people, but with homeopathy, I believe there is hope.
* “Nux vomica types … overdo everything: they work too hard, stay out too late, take no exercise, eat too much rich food, drink too much alcohol, become too wound up to sleep and then consume vast quantities of coffee in order to get going the next day. Then they find it difficult to concentrate and lose interest in their work. They become a bag of nerves. … They are extremely impatient … critical, fussy, exacting, tidy.”– The Complete Homeopathy Handbook, by Miranda Castro, FSHom, RSHom(NA), CCH