A 42 years old, mother of three comes seeking help with irregular menses and excessive bleeding. “I take only herbs. I have never tried homeopathy. Curious to see if it will work”, she tells me in the waiting area as soon as I go there to receive her.
“You use only herbs?”I ask in a sociable tone. “Don’t trust white-coats. I throw out the reminders for mammograms. Don’t want to be vulnerable and dependent on their system” she says emphatically.
Even before the case-taking has started, I have noticed these themes: Curiosity, lack of trust, vulnerability. I observe that she is short and overweight, has thick fingers and a great deal of abdominal fat. She walks into the consulting room in a clumsy manner, and before she sits down, I catch her eyes wandering around the room. She explains, “Just making sure you are qualified to help me. Do homeopathic medicines cause addiction or side effects? I know they can cause aggravation, I read on the Internet.”
“Remedies are not known to cause any dependence. Please tell me, what is your problem?”
“My menses always came in like clockwork, every 28th day. Three years ago, I had just discovered that my current boyfriend was secretly planning on dumping me. I grew suspicious and asked. We broke up. I have never been without a boyfriend. Soon, I found a new guy. We were out having dinner and suddenly, I felt the beginnings of a warm vaginal discharge. This turned into extended bleeding with large and dark clots, lasting for over two weeks. Then it stopped just as suddenly as it began. There was a one week gap and then the discharge started again. This is going on – two weeks bleeding, one week off- for the past three years. Herbs did nothing. My new boyfriend lost patience and we broke up, but that is the least of my problems.”
Themes: Sexuality, suddenness of complaints;while she describes her complaints and breakups, she does not show any emotions at all. Sensitivity to secrecy and suspicion.
“How does this bleeding affect you?”
“I become lethargic, slower than usual. I don’t want to get out of my house. Want to just pull myself together, be in the bed, pull comforter over my head, and become invisible to the world. But I can’t. I have to work. People ask me, what is wrong? I get angry and want to snap their heads off for intruding in my personal matter. Why can’t they just leave me alone?”
Themes: Hiding, anger, work is important, wants to be alone and invisible, me vs you.
“Describe your feeling of being in the house.”
“I am snug, warm and safe. I sit tight, don’t move, don’t loose energy. No boy gets me. I don’t answer phones, just stay put till bleeding stops.”
It is tough, strong, my safe place, my house, I cannot be without it. If I have nothing else in the world, at least I have my house. It protects me
“Any other time in the past, have you felt like not leaving the house?” I want to learn if hiding in the house is a constant theme of her life events.
“I was molested when I was eight years old. I refused to go to school. Mom dragged me out. In the school, I hid below the desk. I did not want to be seen. If I am in my house or under the desk no one can see me. If people see me, it is dangerous. They want something, they take it. I cannot defend myself. I am in my house, I am safe, protected, unapproachable. A near thwormburies itself in a hole, it does not get squished. It comes out and gets squished. I do not want to gets quished. If I am not in my house, I can be molested, squished, torn apart, eaten up.”
Themes: Hiding in the house is a recurrent theme. House is her safe place. She gives an imagery of an earthworm that gets squished when it comes out of the earth. But there is no energy attached to this imagery. She has not used any words that point toward worms. Sexual molestation in early childhood.
“So, if you leave your house, you do not feel protected?”
“Yes. My house is my fort. I pull myself in, bunch into a snug ball. Lights are off. Drapes are drawn. No one can see me. I am in (she makes a whole-body gesture of hunching over, pulling in her limbs and tucking her head), no one can break in, it is my castle. In fact, on my property, I chose a house site deep in the woods. The drive way is gravely and full of ruts – on purpose – makes it hard for people to just drive up to my house and find me. The trails, paths and the driveway are totally unmarked. Intruders get lost before they find the house and me init.” Now she is laughing loudly, “Think about it, hiding in my house and dodging intruders. Very clever idea!”
Theme: House is her fort, pulling limbs in and bunching into a ball (makes an energetic whole-body gesture) and has a clever plan for deceiving intruders by hiding.
“My kids asked for a piece of land to build a hunting lodge. I refused. My parents threw me out when I was 13. After bad things happened to me when I was eight, parents blamed me and beat me as often as they could. I had to struggle to find food and stay alive. I have been staying with nasty relatives and working at odd jobs since I was thrown out. I put myself through college. Parents didn’t care for or support me, why should I care for my kids? They can fend for themselves” she says, again, without any emotions, “I have saved money all my life so I could buy land and build my house.”
Theme: Lack of parental nurturing, Competition for resources–land.
“How do you experience feeling unsafe?”
My boss is a vulture. I am diligent and hardworking. He exploits me. Throws a huge pile of work on me and he knows I will not refuse. Every time he does that, it feels like I fell hard on a rock. I go crunch. I fall apart and feel totally at his mercy. I hate this feeling because it is the same feeling when I am away from my house, I am exposed, unsafe, an easy target for people like my boss. He knows, my life depends on my job. I cannot quit.”
Theme: Feels like a victim, a prey rather than a predator. Job, income and house are very important for her safety.
“If you had the freedom to quit this job, what would you like to do?”
“I will stay in my house. World is a dangerous place. People are mean. They know your weakness and exploit you. You can’t always take revenge and hit back. Sometimes, the best you can do is dig a deep hole in the ground and hide, let the layers of dirt and rock protect you.”
Theme: This is an expression of a prey animal that experiences threat from the world / predators, and it’s only form of protection is hiding in its house. Reptilian issue – dark view of humanity.
Since being in the house equals safety and she has a negative view of the outside world and people, I ask, “Describe how you feel when you are outside of your house?”
“I am fat and ugly, very slow and clumsy. I feel vulnerable. Anyone could grab and abuse me. It feels like I am naked, I have no cover, no shelter. It is miserable, I don’t want to feel this way. I would rather hide in my house and stay put till it is safe enough to come out. Well, I do go to work, I shop….but all the while I feel unsafe and exposed. It takes a lot of energy to be out and about. With this heavy bleeding,I do not have energy to spare.”
Theme: She connects her main presenting complaint to her ongoing theme of feeling safe in the house and unsafe outside.
“How do you experience lack of energy?”
“I see everyone else bouncing off the wall and wonder what steroid they are on. I envy them. For the past three years, my energy is low. I have been lethargic, slow. I just want to bunch up into a tight ball and slip into my house (repeats her whole body gesture). Do not even show my head to the outside world. People do mean things to others.”
Theme: She is back again on the theme of feeling safe in her house and the world is a dangerous place. Issue of envy is emerging.
“Do you have any fears?”
God forbid something happens to my house, where will I go? One boyfriend goes, I get a new one without any commitments and vows. But my house is my refuge. With my health concerns, I feel exposed when I am outside and that level of vulnerability frightens me. I am independent, not afraid of losing people. But I would like my horrible boss to go away. He knows I need work to keep my house. He exploits me because he knows my weak point. That makes me afraid.”
Theme: High sexuality, fear of damage to her house. Victim language.
“Are you chilly or hot usually?”
“Don’t be fooled by my fat. I am always chilly. I would like to stay in a warm, dry place so I do not spend so much energy just keeping myself warm. About fears, it is not a fear but pure hatred. I hate potato chips, for that matter, anything that is crunchy. The sound of food crunching in my mouth freaks me out, gives me goosebumps.”
“Any other complaints?”
Summary and the salient features of the case:
Animal themes (1)
Curiosity, me vs you, competition for resources (land), vulnerability, hiding, anger, envy, victim and aggressor.
Reptilian themes (1)
Lack of trust, high sexuality, independent and alone, early sexual experience, deceiving intruders, dark view of humanity, world is a dangerous place, lack of parental care (not received and not giving). Suddenness of complaint. Danger comes up suddenly. People are mean and exploit her weakness. Suspicion.
Row 4 language (2)
Safety and security from house, job, income, hard-working, main concern is self- protection.
Prey animal language (3, 4)
With the main theme of self-protection, the focus is not on the attack and the attacker, but on the capacity to defend oneself from the attack. To achieve this, they work hard, are conscientious and task oriented. They focus on safety, security and building a strong house. Fear that suddenly bad things can happen.
Patient feels unsafe, vulnerable, unprotected, exposed, exploited by boss who knows her weakness and her defense mechanism is pulling herself in and hiding in her house (whole body gesture with high energy). Since row four themes are strong in this case, she is pointing to prey animal of row four that depends on hiding in its house for self-protection.
The Joshis have placed several animals in row four – arthropods, spiders, fish, reptiles, many different mammals, egg-laying mammals as well as marsupials (3, 4). The issues presented by this patient point to reptiles and the reptiles in row four (Joshi’s periodic table chart) are testudines’, namely, turtles, tortoises and terrapins.
Testudine themes (1) House is a castle, a safe place where she can hide from danger. Shows a highly energetic whole body gesture “pulling myself together, tucking my head, bunching into a ball and hiding in my house till danger passes.” Fear of something happening to her house. Strong hatred of crunching sound.
Logic and analysis:
During case taking, I have given the patient complete freedom to speak about what matters to her the most. I have refrained from pursuing my agenda, i.e., asking her questions that will lead me to uncover sensation and source of any remedy. In fact, I am not thinking about remedy at all but trusting in the process that when a patient is given a safe space to go in to her life narrative, she will reveal the energy pattern and the remedy to the practitioner. There is no need to aggressively pursue a remedy and direct the patient. Just by being present completely and mindfully, the case is allowed to open up and the remedy is revealed (5)
Recurrent emergence of key themes can be observed simply by listening to life narrative. These themes are important to the patient. From understanding these themes, it is possible to find out what row of periodic table she belongs. The Joshis have used Jan Scholten’s work (6) on the periodic table of elements to explain the level of development in the human beings. They have further expanded the concept of periodic table to place animals in various rows. This placement is based on the animal’s prey/predator instincts and the central theme of their lifestyle in nature (3).
Since this patient has shown the theme of hiding in her safe house for security, has indicated that she works very hard at her job to keep her house and when she is out of it, she feels vulnerable, insecure and fearful, she has been placed in row four of the periodic table (3). Since she has expressed reptilian themes, she is calling for a remedy from reptiles.
For this process I use information from Rajan’s work (2) to rule out various reptiles and differentiate between those that depend on their house for safety and survival. Turtles and tortoises emerge as top choices and I study the difference between these two animals. Based on this information, I determine my prescription, Testudo hermanni, 30c, a few pills dissolved in three teaspoons of water and a teaspoon of the mix taken on three days.
Follow up 1: Two months after the remedy.
Blood clots have become much smaller and very infrequent. Flow is much lighter. Duration of flow has been reduced from two weeks to less than a week. Earlier, flow used to return after a gap of one week. This gap has increased to three weeks. She is feeling overall much, much better.
Follow up 2: Four months after the remedy.
Patient reports feeling better. No change in the description of flow. Given sac lac.
Follow up 3: Six months after the remedy.
She sees an occasional small clot and is suspecting if the symptoms are returning, but says, she is not bothered by it. Very energetic. Not complaining about her boss.
Reappearance of clot and the patient’s suspicion about the symptoms returning indicate to me that a repeat of the remedy will be good. Prescription: Testudo hermanni, 30c one dose.
Follow up 4: Twelve months after the remedy.
She says, “I had forgotten to mention about my fibromyalgia that I had diagnosed using the internet. I always had aches and pains….enough to make me apply for a sick-day leave and stay home. I thought it was due to my obesity. I have not changed my diet, I have not done any fancy exercises, but I am feeling much less achy. I feel so good on some days that I wonder if I ever had fibromyalgia. I wonder if the remedy you gave had anything to do with making fibromyalgia go away besides making my menses normal.” With her health concerns resolved, she reports feeling cheerful and is more confident about going out of her house.
At this point, I wish her well, ask her to contact me as needed and thank her earnestly for using homeopathy for her wellness.
Personally, I do feel that we homeopaths are very fortunate to have so many great teachers who share with us the wealth of their knowledge and experience. I fondly recall my teacher, Misha Norland who encouraged me to learn from all sources and use any technique and system that works for my patients, which is exactly what I have done here – combined the teachings of various master homeopaths. This case shows that we can be relaxed, peaceful and stress-free during case taking. Our peaceful energy affects our patients. They feel relaxed during case taking and share their narrative more readily. They also tend to connect better with us and become more receptive to the healing potential of the remedy.
- Survival, the reptiles, volume 1, Rajan Sankaran with Meghna Shah, Homeopathic medical publishers, Mumbai, India, 2010.
- Homeopathy patterns in the periodic table, Bhawisha Joshi, published by Sachindra Joshi HUF, Mumbai, India, 2008.
- Quick book of minerals and animals, Bhawisha and Sachindra Joshi, published by Sachindra Joshi HUF, Mumbai, India, 2013.
- Seminar notes from 2010 till 2017, Bhawisha and Sachindra Joshi seminars, USA.
- The scientifically intuitive case-witnessing process, a journey of three steps. Dinesh Chauhan, Philosia publications, 2011.
- Homeopathy and the elements, Jan Scholten, StitchinAlonnissos publishers, 1996.