I would like to introduce the reader to JA, who first visited me in 2008. There is nothing uncommon about JA’s condition; she suffers from a range of pre-menstrual symptoms with mood swings. Many women I am sure can relate to this and for homeopaths it is typical of the type of health concerns our female patients present with.
Those of us in practice know how beneficial remedies can be for such cases, but for all those patients whose issues are resolved, we also see a number where symptoms improve for a short while only. Consequently, as homeopaths, we can find ourselves caught in a spiral of repeated prescriptions, all well indicated, but failing to bring about a permanent resolution. When this happens, it may be necessary for us to break away from the conventional approach and look at the recent developments in homeopathy. In JA’s case this led me to investigate some of the new meditatively proved remedies.
JA is age 36yrs, married, mother of two girls (age 8 & 3 yrs). She is very feminine, with fair skin and hair, and looks younger than her years. She desires the company of others and dislikes being on her own. She is mild mannered, affectionate, caring and tries to please those around her.
She has suffered from depression since the shock of her maternal grandmother dying suddenly of a heart attack seven years previously. On the night of her death, JA had spent the day in hospital with her baby daughter who was recovering from a minor operation. JA had arranged to see her grandmother that evening to show her the baby’s new christening gown. At the last minute JA changed her plans and decided to stay overnight in hospital with her daughter. Since then she has become frightened to laugh or change any plans in her life, in case something bad will happen. She feels guilty for not spending more time with her grandmother and is haunted by the feeling that she wants to show grandmother the dress and can’t. She now overly worries about the health of her parents and children. She is fearful of getting cancer which is aggravated by the fact that she works part-time as a health worker at a breast cancer clinic. There is no history of cancer in the family. The only other episode of depression she has suffered was after the birth of both of her children. There is a familial link on the maternal side, as I am also treating JA’s mother for a depression and she has a recollection of her mother (JA’s Grandmother) also suffering similar symptoms.
JA is a very private person, does not share her feelings easily and rarely cries. She keeps busy “to push it away”. She is organised, very tidy around the house and vacuums every day. She enjoys exercise and runs regularly. Her sleep is poor as she wakes frequently. When stressed, she experiences the sensation of a lump in her lower throat that feels like a stuck piece of food. Medical tests have not revealed anything.
She suffers from a number of emotional symptoms before her period. She becomes particular about tidiness in the house and will get unreasonably angry if an object is out of place. She has very little patience with her husband and children, can be tearful, and recently started feeling tired which makes her more frustrated as she cannot do everything she wants. These feelings subside once menstruation starts, at which time she experiences a sense of release.
During menstruation she can suffer from abdominal cramps with a sensation as if everything is being “pulled down” (ameliorated by sitting or curling up into the fetal position). Occasionally, she will have a throbbing pulsation in her va-gina (ameliorated by sitting). Further symptoms include a metallic/bloody taste in the mouth. Since childbirth, menstrual bleeding has been heavier and clotted. Her periods are regular. She has never taken the oral contraceptive pill.
Carcinosin 1M split dose
This covers the miasmatic energy of the case, most particularly the suppression of her emotional problems that she has not discussed with anyone and her need for activity as a diversion. Carcinosin covers many of her fears (including that of cancer), hyperactivity, fastidiousness, emotional shock, grief and sleep disorders. She also has the affectionate, sympathetic and caring qualities associated with this remedy.
Igantia 200c weekly
An aetiological prescription due to her grandmother’s death. Ignatia is well known as a bereavement remedy covering deep seated grief and inner emotional turmoils. It also has the peculiar symptom of a feeling of a lump in the throat that cannot be swallowed.
Months 1 & 2 – JA remained on these remedies for 2 months. During which time her sleep improved, the lump in her throat and the metallic taste disappeared, she became less tearful and eventually her grief lifted until Ignatia was no longer needed.
Months 3-6 were a continuation of Carcinosin 1M prescribed at each monthly visit. As a practitioner this was a difficult prescription for me as each month JA revealed further anxieties and phobias for which new remedies were clearly indicated. Despite this, JA continued to improve each month, becoming more confident and less dependent on her husband (she would previously telephone him regularly throughout the day to help her make simple household decisions). She became happier in her own company and more assertive with those around her. Consequently, I resolved to stay with this prescription until I felt the action of the remedy was complete.
Months 7-9 There had been very little change since the initial consultation in her pre-menstrual symptoms, so at this point, alongside the Carcinosin, I introduced Sepia. This is a wonderful remedy for all sorts of female problems that stem from hormonal changes either at puberty, childbirth or even menopause. In old homeopathic texts it is described as the “washer woman’s remedy” for complaints from hard work. In modern term’s this translates to “worn out Mums”, but to be effective we need to look at the complete symptom picture. Sepia is known for bearing down sensations in the genital region and can get very irritable and angry with those close to them, particularly their husband who often feels that everything he says and does is wrong. Therefore, this matched as an aetiological prescription and was well indicated in other areas. JA took Sepia 200c a few days before and during her menses as this was the only time she displayed a Sepia state. Over the following months this alleviated many symptoms, her periods became lighter with no clotting, there was less tenderness in her breasts, her moods were not so extreme and the sensation of everything being “pulled down” disappeared.
Month 10 onwards
After the miasmatic treatment, certain anxieties came to the fore. JA constantly worried about whether her friends liked her. If she hadn’t heard from them for a while, she would think that they had fallen out with her. Sometimes, she felt friends were talking about her or excluding her from activities. The first time she remembers having these feelings was when as a child, her girlfriends ostracized her for not sharing a can of coke. Since then she became aware of always having to be careful what she says to others in case she upsets them and is also frightened of doing things wrong in case people think she is silly. She was sensitive to criticism. When her daughter falls out with other children, it brings back her own anxieties as she remembers how it felt for her. She experienced anxiety as she walked her daughter to school, giving her a churned up feeling in her chest and butterflies in her tummy as she prepares to meet the other mother’s at the school gates. Other people’s moods would worry her. She also became anxious in small enclosed places such as lifts. This first started when in childhood a boy barricaded her in an air raid shelter. She recalled feeling terrified that she was stuck there and nobody would find her. She managed to punch and kick her way out. This was one of many disturbing memories that came to the fore, all of which she still found upsetting.
For this reason, her next prescription was Natrum muriaticum. According to Catherine Coulter, “to these individuals time is not the ‘Great Healer’. On the contrary, it serves only to crystallize the past”. They are easily hurt, with a fear of rejection, being defensive and cautious in their actions. Very private people, who take their responsibilities seriously, yet can also suffer from tremendous feelings of guilt. The remedy was given in LM potencies which are good for ongoing and deep seated conditions. The client is also able to take the remedy daily with less likelihood of aggravation.
JA’s relationship with those around her changed. She worried less about friend’s opinions and as this happened found that people who she once thought were avoiding her, started to seek her company. She stopped blaming herself for other people’s moods and was more able to brush the children’s arguments aside.
However, it appeared that the remedies were only having a palliative effect. During times of stress and around ovulation, old symptoms would reappear and she would feel particularly anxious again until she had taken the relevant remedy (usually Carc, Sepia or Nat mur). It was then that I re-examined the case. I looked at JA’s relationship with her mother (NW). They live nearby and see each other daily. NW also suffered from post natal depression and from a young age JA was able to judge her mother’s moods and adapt her behaviour accordingly. She kept the “peace in the house to make Mum happy”. JA described her mother as very ‘needy’.
After starting homeopathic treatment, JA became more independent of her mother, such as going shopping on her own and out for the day with friends. Consequently, the mother became more depressed and emotionally demanding of her daughter with the result that JA would become angry with her and then feel guilty afterwards.
JA noticed that her mother was becoming increasingly similar to the grandmother, even using similar phrases such as “I don’t want to burden you”, when JA offered her help.
Also, at this time, as JA’s daughter became older, the likeness between the three females was becoming apparent. They are all very giving and sympathetic to others, sensitive to hurt, enjoyed company, suffered from mood swings, were very private, putting on a cheerful face for the world despite feelings to the contrary and held on to the memory of old grievances and emotional pain. JA had also noticed she was repeating the patterns of her childhood with her daughter. For instance, when the child was acting in a demanding way, she found herself in exasperation saying “Not now, I can’t cope” as her mother would say to her.
It became clear to me that to progress with this case these issues needed to be addressed. I felt a different approach was required and consequently investigated remedies not directly for symptoms but also esoterically. This led me to Moonstone. As a remedy it is a relatively new addition to our materia medica, being first proved meditatively in 1994, but as a crystal has long been associated with the moon, the rhythms of the ocean and the female cycle. Homeopathically, it is a big remedy for all female issues. Working on the endocrine system, it can help to balance the hormones, so is very useful for times of change in a woman’s life, from puberty to childbirth to menopause and is indicated for any ailments around these times. Unsurprisingly, on an emotional level, it can help to ease mood swings, but also the intensity of the patient’s emotions are so great that they may manifest in the solar plexus causing many digestive disorders (often diagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Like Psorinum they feel a sense of doom surrounds them, fearing that something bad is likely to happen. These fears keep them locked close to those they most care about. Mothers can become over protective of their children, denying them the independence they need to grow into responsible adults.
As homeopaths we have many good remedies that can be used to cover these symptoms, but the leading indication for this case came from Madeline Evans, Meditative Provings, in which she states that Moonstone “ gives one access to family karma on the female side and if it is the choice of the individual, can release the stuck ancestors five generations back”.
JA was prescribed Moonstone 1M split dose (pm/am), this was repeated on follow-up appointments for 6 months. Initially, JA’s dreams increased, they seemed real and although the subject was different each night, the theme was always that in which she had to confront her anxieties or fears. She would either resolve them in her dream or be left contemplating them during the day. For instance, she dreamt her mother had a brain tumour, but the Doctor told JA he was unable to see her for a month. JA informed her mother of this, who then became upset as “she couldn’t cope with it” and felt JA shouldn’t have said anything. JA was angry with her mother and thought she was being selfish and that she couldn’t do anything right for her. In reality, JA commented that she felt her mother criticized her all the time.
As the months progressed the aspects of the dreams changed to that of everyday events and she became confused as to what was true or not, but eventually these too subsided. She began to feel resentful towards her friends in that she was always the one to give up things to please others and she didn’t think other people put themselves out as much for her. She decided not to phone anyone for a while and felt she had to learn to say “no” to people.
She went through a very low period when she didn’t want to get up in the mornings and “face the day” and she struggled to complete her duties. Any outstanding jobs would put her in a bad mood with the family and she would become irritable and snappy.
Eventually, all her pent up emotions came to the surface one day, when she broke a bowl in the kitchen and to the surprise of her family, collapsed sobbing uncontrollably.
As soon as she started experiencing this tumult of emotions her pre-menstrual symptoms subsided. Moonstone had lifted the lid on her suppressions in a way that Carcinosin was unable to do so, but with this remedy she was able to learn and grow from her experiences. She realised that she had a need for perfection and the pressure this placed on her. She understood that she took on too much and she stopped working extra shifts at the clinic. She now cares less what others think of her, has become more content with her husband and children and doesn’t always blame herself when things go wrong. Most importantly she has learnt to release her negative emotions, giving voice to her anger, sadness or disappointments as they occur, no longer leaving them to fester.
I continue to treat JA and despite life’s general stresses and dilemma’s, her symptoms have not returned. It is thanks to Moonstone, this little known remedy, that enabled a successful conclusion.