Clinical Cases

Materia Medica: A Superhero Works To Conquer His Fears

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Homeopath David Johnson finds a remedy for a client with a superhero complex, who conquers his fears.

J.S. 35 y.o. martial arts instructor (male), wearing a T-shirt with a superhero figure; first seen 4-7-10

I’m a nervous person—I have a lot of fear.I have a problem with nerves.I try to conquer my fears. I’m a nervous person altogether. At night I’ll get a feeling of wanting to wake up, and something’s pushing me down. I’m nervous about a lot of things. I’m nervous about how I’m going to react when I meet my ex-wife’s new boyfriend.

Nerves are huge for me. I stopped drinking alcohol 28 months ago. With martial arts sparring, I’m tense throughout my spine. It’s important for me to push myself, to conquer my fears. I’m nervous about everything. The nervousness leads to fears. I feel ‘I’m not good enough, I don’t measure up’. I’m still trying to press myself, push myself. It leads to a lot of tension for me.

Growing up, I was always sure I was going to be the next one hit. I had a feeling like I was going to save my mom. I have a huge Superman complex. I try to save the women I date.

I love comic books and superheroes.

Practitioner: What do you love about superheroes?

They do the right thing.

I have a fear of things I can’t punch or kick, such as ghosts in the dark. In the dark, I just don’t know what’s there. I have a fear of anything I can’t protect myself against. I’m scared of things I can’t control, such as car wrecks. I’m scared to death of snakes. And I’m scared of heights and small spaces. To some degree, everything scares me in my nervousness.

I have a lot of turmoil inside and throughout my chest…it feels like butterflies. There’s a lot of tension. It’s hard for me to trust in a Higher Power.

It’s a feeling of ‘something’s just not quite right. Things could change at any moment’. I want to push myself to fight mixed martial arts, but it feels like a path to the “dark side”. I’m uneasy with just about everything. I try to push past it.

I have a fear of getting hurt with the martial arts fighters. Like ‘at any given moment, things could change’. I’ll second-guess myself. I’m nervous about how I’m going to act, how I’m going to come off. I’ll feel ‘I need to be on guard’.

I have everything spaced out (I create space between the different events in my life). There’s a feeling of falling and I don’t know where to grab.

I had dreams of drowning as a kid—I’d just let myself drown. There was a frantic feeling, and then I’d just give up. As an adult, I had the feeling I’d die as an alcoholic like my dad—and that was all okay with me. Then I had my son . . . and I just couldn’t kill his dad. He’d think his dad didn’t love him. (weeping) The night before I started rehab I was ready to jump out a window.

I’m always trying to prove to myself I can better myself. But I’m also waiting for “the other shoe to drop”. I’ll say to myself ‘I’m going to make myself do this (challenge) and get through this’ (challenge). I have asthma—I’ll push myself as far as I can in my training.

I have a fear that women will cheat on me. I don’t want to let other people down. I have the feeling ‘I wasn’t good enough’.

I’m black and white—’this is right, this is wrong’. I don’t see things as shades of gray. I don’t have a gray area—I don’t see things like that. A few years ago I had the feeling I’d said something that betrayed martial arts and Asian culture. I felt so bad I went to my master and asked for forgiveness. (Practitioner note: he was referring to a time when he’d joked with a friend that he was training martial arts and how ‘he punched bags of rice all day’).

The strange thing is, sometimes I’ll look straight at the rules and break them. Still, I’m trying to choose the “right” (way to live).

Case Analysis:

Although this client’s main complaint is related to anxiety and fear, the analysis is organized in the following manner to clarify how the remedy was chosen:

1) This 35-year-old man came into the office wearing a superhero shirt. He states that superheroes ‘do the right thing’ by battling the forces of wrong. He sees things in ‘black and white’—there’s a ‘right’ and there’s a ‘wrong’, and after casually joking about martial arts with a friend, he deeply and sincerely asked for forgiveness from his instructor (who incidentally was not offended).

2) He describes a ‘huge superhero complex’ of his own, trying to ‘save’ his mother and the women he dates. He pushes himself in his martial arts training, challenging himself to do better. He feels a need to defend himself. He’s trying to conquer his fears.

3) He talks about not feeling good enough, that he doesn’t ‘measure up’. He’d especially feel this if a girlfriend were to cheat on him. He has a feeling of falling and not knowing where to grab (e.g. loss of control; loss of social position).

4) His main complaints center around ‘nervousness’ and fear. He has a fear that ‘at any moment, things could change’, and he fears those things against which he can’t fight or defend himself, or those things he can’t control. It’s difficult for him to trust in a Higher Power.

He also fears heights and narrow places. Despite his general obedience to rules and right and wrong, at other times he’ll know what the rules are and ‘deliberately break them’.

5) Finally, he describes a time when he was drinking himself to death (just as his father did) and ‘that was okay’. Then he had a son and he ‘couldn’t kill his son’s dad’, because his son ‘would think his dad didn’t love him’ (again, the client’s own father died of alcoholism).

In summary, the main characteristics of the history are:

1) Rules, structure, order, black vs. white, right vs. wrong: these are well-known characteristics of the potassium remedies.

2) Challenge oneself and defending against adversity—trying to conquer fears, pushing oneself: this is seen in ferrum—intentionally testing one’s limits and capacities.

3) Conditional self-worth, value: this is seen in the carbon remedies.

4) Anxiety and fear that something bad will happen: along with fears of high and narrow, this is seen in the nitrogen remedies. Nitrogen has a desire to escape from confined spaces—and at times the client deliberately breaks the rules to which he otherwise so closely adheres.

5) Death and dying: this theme is part of the carbon-nitrogen compound, otherwise known as cyanide. Mention cyanide to most people, and their first association is slow death by poisoning.

Prescription: Kali ferrocyanatum (K Fe CN) LM2

LM 3 was started after 3 months, and the LM 4 was started 3 months later. (The client remained in close periodic contact during this time.)

Formal follow-up appointment @ 8 months 12-6-10

I’m waking up, getting things done, not feeling the need to calm my anxiety with alcohol or pot (marijuana). I’ve never had that feeling before.

In rehab, I realized how very scared I was. Now, it’s more like ‘easy come, easy go’. When someone comes into the school with intense energy, I don’t want to listen to it. If a woman friend wants to sit all night on a bar stool, I don’t have anything in common with her.

There’s no more feeling of ‘when’s the next shoe going to drop?’ I don’t have a sense of impending crisis.

I have a more genuine sense of self-worth. It’s realistic—I know I don’t know it all, and that I’ll make mistakes. I stop when I hear myself starting to tell others what they need to do. I’m learning to keep opinions to myself that in the past I’d try to force on someone.

With the yin-yang symbol, in the past I’d just see the black and white. Now I can see things from the middle; I can see both sides. In the past, I’d see the two sides, but I’d purposely choose one side so I could argue against the other.

I feel a sense of optimism—people ask ‘How are things going?’ I say ‘Great!’ Even though the transmission in my car is out and I’m stranded with no car, it’s still okay!

There’s a feeling that I don’t need to be ‘in the mix’—in the middle of something, some crisis. I’m training guys to fight, but I don’t want to see them hit. I’m not interested in being backstage at the fights. I’m part of the team, but I’m not interested in the whole atmosphere surrounding competitive fighting. I’m not a prestige fighter. I’m okay with fighting, but I’d do it for myself, the challenge, rather than proving anything to anyone else.

Sometimes I wonder ‘who is this guy?’ ‘He doesn’t get excited about anything’. I’m just not feeling an impending sense of ‘something bad could happen’. It’s all okay.

Conclusion: The proving of Kali ferrocyanatum included feelings of ‘sadness with disposition to tears, caused by an impression that he was soon to die and leave his friends’. There was also a ‘disposition to take a sad view of the beauties of autumn’, and ‘apprehension of approaching sickness and death’. Looking closely at these symptoms, it’s apparent that there’s a feeling of impending death (autumn leads to declining value and death of plants in winter.)

Kali ferrocyanatum has contributed to this person’s recovery after severe alcoholism, in conjunction with his personal efforts to pursue more life-giving pursuits. The homeopathic remedy has helped to alleviate many of the anxieties which in part fueled the drinking. The history and corresponding healing demonstrates how precisely homeopathic remedies can be matched to various states of dis-ease, and how potent the life force can respond in kind.

About the author

David A. Johnson

David Johnson, CCH, RSHom(NA) is a homeopath residing in the southern Wisconsin area of the US. He is the author of “Radiance, Resonance and Healing: The Homeopathic Periodic Table” (Emryss Publishing) which is based on his 20 years of experience of matching the theoretical schema of Series and Stages with the words of clients. His email is [email protected]


  • Brilliant!! Thank you for sharing, David. This represents the highest quality and standard of work, and is inspiring!

    Doug Brown, CCH, RSHom(NA)
    Portland, OR

  • Thanks for the nice feedback, Doug. Thus far I’ve seen the cyanatum remedies as bearing many similarities with nitricums, accompanied by related themes of toxins, toxicity or dying. They also appear to have issues of conditional self-worth or value (e.g., “generating” or “producing” self-worth or value).

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