Clinical Cases

‘Mussel’ Bound – A Case Of Mytilus Edulis, the Blue Mussel

Written by Mary-Lynn Culbert

A patient with deep emotional issues responds to Blue Mussel as indicated by the sensation method.

Interviewed in the Student Clinic of NYSH; A case solved using the Sensation System. The case was taken by a 4th year student homeopath, supervised by Susan Sonz.


Maria first came to the New York School of Homeopathy’s Student Clinic class on September 8, 2008. She has been coming to the clinic for regular follow ups for over 3 years now. I first observed this case as a 4th Year student, and eventually took over management of the case. Maria and I still stay in regular contact.

Maria has an average build and an outwardly healthy appearance. She is a 31 year old African American. She wanted help with chronic shoulder pain, but it quickly became obvious that she was suffering from some very deep mental pathology (not the kind of case we normally accept into the Student Clinic). But, because she gave such a clear sensation case, Susan Sonz, Director of NYSH and the Student Clinic, felt we would be able to help her. In fact, Susan believes that this would have been an un-solveable case if we did not have the Sensation System of case taking available.

The initial interview included below is taken from the notes I made while observing the case taking. The client’s words were recorded almost verbatim. Several short forms or punctuations are used throughout the case. The legend below explains their usage.


M = The client

CAPITAL LETTERS= The homeopath’s questions

My comments are in [square parenthesis]

HG = Hand Gesture

SD = Spontaneous Denial

bold Indicate significant statements made by the client

CONF= confluence or repeated idea


Patient’s Chief Complaint:

M: I’ve been through a lot these past two years, so I thought homeopathy might be the right direction. I’m noticing where I’m aching and hurting more. Where I keep my stress has shifted. Things aren’t the way they used to be for me. Now my knees and feet hurt and the way I walk is different. My shoes are tearing and that’s really weird for me. I used to keep all my stress in my shoulder [indicates L. side] but now it’s in my lower back. That’s where all the aches come from. Feels tight and tense. Showers help. Rubbing helps but it doesn’t help as much as it used to. Stress and pressure. I try to relax but sometimes I can’t. But when I do it’s kinda flat [HG – both hands pressing down and away from her] and it feels great.


M: There’s a lot of weight on my shoulder. As if there were a person on something on my back. There’s no shooting pain or anything.

[Maria talks in a rapid and disjointed manner. It quickly becomes apparent that she is not thinking in a linear way. She jumps from one thought to another, almost as if free-associating. She can barely complete a sentence or thought before another one intrudes, sometimes related, sometimes a non sequitur.]

M: I can’t really control other people and what they do and how they react. All I can do is work on my things and what they get off of me. I have to take what they give me. I like to have things in place. But not in a way where it’s taking over my life or overbearing, [SD] but at one point I have to pull it back together. Maybe I step up to the challenge when I let things slide and then have to put it back together. Maybe I don’t like to be balanced! Maybe I like the challenge of putting the puzzle together. Maybe I find my balance in the dis-balance of everything. It feels like I have to do something about it. I’m not happy or sad or miserable – I’m content but welcome a change. Maybe I don’t welcome the change…I’m not happy or sad. I’m not miserable with my life. I could do more – I don’t feel like I’m settling. I want to say that I’m just there, but I feel that something is going to change but I don’t know what or where or how. Am I going to do it or is it just going to happen? It’s like flat- not flat but like a straight line. (CONF)

WHAT’S THE FEELING? I wish I could just pull it out and show you but I can’t. I can’t put it into words. When I do release and then I have that breath that just flattens you. That’s how I feel throughout the day and I’m happy with the people in my life and the choices I’ve made. Sometimes I feel too reckless and like I just picked up and went places. I’d stay stable for a bit then just leave. It’s like two sides of me fighting: the one that wants change and the one that wants to stay stable. That’s the side that’s winning right now. New York is more like my home than I thought it was. I like it here. I want to start something – start my life. I used to be able to fit everything in my car and just pack it up and go. But now I own things – furniture, a T.V. I’m here! That’s big! I have my own place. I’m starting my adult life I suppose. I want to buy a house. How do I make that happen? I want to live outside the city. I need the break – where I live and where I do things. I need the break…to recharge and regroup then I’m fine. Like recharging my battery.

RECHARGING THE BATTERY? My apartment that I have now is my first place on my own. It was hard for me to find a place, it was tricky – it just wasn’t fitting. I thought about it and thought about it and felt the right place was going to come and sure enough it did. It’s a basement apartment. I was excited! I painted my living room orange which is weird but I like it. I got to make it mine – a bed, a closet, whew! I plan on staying there for a while but I know I’ll leave soon but I don’t know where. [She keeps making these sorts of contradictory statements]

I want a house to be my next step. I like having a home I can open up to my friends – have gatherings. It’s like – sorry if I keep staring off [she keeps looking out the window and seems uncomfortable] – for me to open my home and show them it’s like me giving back somehow.

In my 20’s I just couldn’t settle down. I went back home to go to school. It felt like jumping into a glass. It didn’t fit anymore. I wanted to travel but didn’t have the money.

[She did manage to do some traveling]

I came home and it felt so surreal. Did I really do this? It was really hard to adjust back home. I just stayed home – it was too much and overwhelming. For a while I felt depressed. I felt like I had something that was mine and now everyone knows it, so if everyone has what was mine, what do I have now?

TELL ME MORE? It was just exhausting. I remember so clearly the day I got back. I came home and I was drained. (CONF) Physically, mentally and emotionally, like I went through a triathalon. I didn’t talk to anybody and I just slept for three days. I couldn’t get enough rest. I couldn’t stay awake.

WHAT KIND OF CHILDHOOD DID YOU HAVE? My parents fought a lot. They were crazy. I love my dad, we’re really close. My mom is a little imbalanced – off her rocker. She got it into her head that my dad favored me over everyone and she made it her mission to make my life miserable – try to turn my sisters against me, nit pick constantly, on my case over everything. There was nothing I could do right. She would punish me for everything – being too loud, whatever. She’d come into my room while I was sleeping. Do things that were uncalled for, not right. I don’t hate her – I don’t hate her at all [SD] and I should and that baffles me. She gets under my skin.

My aunts, everybody was trying to protect me. You don’t realize that everyone sees what’s going on when you’re too little to see it. You wonder, can anything stop this lady? I bounce back from things pretty easily. I learned how to heal myself.

DID YOU FIGHT BACK? You can’t – she’ll go to all extremes. The things she’d hit me for would be astonishing. Good thing I have such a tough skin. When I was younger, 6-7, I used to have the worst migraines ever. Debilitating. Sensitive to light and couldn’t move. So bad – I even missed my communion because of it. The doctor said it was because I was super-stressed for such a young kid. I could see my mom laying off a little because of that.

[She is laughing while she tells these stories]

When I was born I was early and I was really sick. They put me in an incubator and my dad was really upset. Maybe that had something to do with my dad having a bond with me. My dad doesn’t stand up to her. He refuses to do anything about it. It makes me feels so resentful towards him and I hate being mad at him. It makes me so angry that he allows this woman to do this to his life – this dragging. It drives me crazy. It’s always about money – my family is the worst with money. It’s so draining! I was heavier when I lived further away from them and they couldn’t drain me. (CONF)

I’ve been thinking of people close to me dying recently. I don’t know how to deal with it and I’ve never had to, I don’t know what I’d do or how I’d react. I worry about my best friend Marilyn ’cause she’s sick. She’s my angel – the other side of me. She’s like me. She has all these things wrong with her – it’s not fair. I wish I could just give her parts of me and could fix her. It worries me more than anything. She’s the anchor to my life. (CONF).

I don’t know what I’d do if she left – more so than my parents [crying]. It wasn’t my family that has made me who I am, it was my friends and the relationships that I have that has molded me in my life. This girl is my life. We’ve been friends since we were 12.

WHY CAN’T YOU LIVE WITHOUT HER? When I think something’s crazy or doesn’t make sense she understands and gets it. She just knows me and knows who I am; she knows what I’m made of, she just knows me. When she dies I’ll feel lost.

ANY DREAMS? At our old house where you could get the hose at the side of the house and my dad’s spirit appeared even though he wasn’t dead. He was a ghost hovering there.

I used to have a lot of dreams about our old house. I felt like a vagabond spirit – didn’t have anywhere to call home and I used to have a lot of dreams about it. Slept in our aunt’s basement with my dad on a cot – no room of my own. Same thing in Queens in an apartment.

I hated having to live under somebody else’s way of living. Always have to really watch myself ’cause they’re doing me a favor by letting me stay. Have to be the best guest. When I’m with them I feel like it’s just these people that I live with. They always ask me to help them out, bail them out.

[She paid her sister’s wedding bill after dad said he would even though he didn’t have the money. She felt obliged to pay the bill herself. She cleaned out her whole account for this and this isn’t the first time it’s happened.]

HOW DOES THIS MAKE YOU FEEL? Annoying, heavy, burdened (CONF) with their wants.

BURDENED? I can’t say no to them. They make me do it or what happens if there comes a time I can’t do it and I’ll feel bad?

HEAVY? I wish I didn’t have it. I wish it wasn’t a stipulation in our relationship. I hate it. It makes you want to resent them. I know they really need the money but now my sister went to law school, she got married, had two kids. My dad doesn’t know how to stand up to my mother and he just spends anything. My little sister doesn’t take responsibility for anything so he pays for it then comes to me for money.

HOW DOES IT FEEL? Annoyed. I just want to shake him and say, ‘Stand up!’ But I know he won’t do it and the cycle will never end. It puts a lot of pressure on me. [she lets out a big exasperated sigh] (CONF)

Susan takes over from the student homeopath at this point and begins to ask the questions.

Note from Susan: In this article I have edited Maria’s words a bit so the reader could understand what she was saying. We did not include many of the disjointed comments that Maria spoke during her interview because it would have made this case unreadable. As the case is presented here, Maria sounds somewhat “normal”, and although the mental pathology was obvious to us and difficult to work with, this is only clear on the video.

TELL US ABOUT THE HEAVY PRESSSURE AND HOW IT FEELS. Like I’m weighed down. [HG – pressing both hands into the floor; same gesture she made in the beginning of the case] (CONF). Like hands are pressing me down, holding me down, not letting me go. Not like a ball and chain but like a cross between (sigh) I feel like I’m in water like a buoy. Halfway under and halfway up. Something’s holding me down and I just have to go with the tides. Not the pressure of being weighed down but the pressure of not being released and just having to go with the water.

MORE? The lower part of me is just whooooosh [lets out a big breath]. But my shoulders are down and I feel just flat (CONF). Like water and waves make your insides feel – back and forth, back and forth. Like it gets right into the center of your back and your shoulders.

CLOSE YOUR EYES AND DESCRIBE IT ONE MORE TIME – I don’t have any more words.

JUST FEEL IT AND TELL WHAT COMES TO YOU. [she tries but can’t keep her eyes closed, but it doesn’t seem to matter as she’s now in the experience] I feel it even here [HG – hand reaching back to between her shoulder blades]. It feels like I’ve been- all this was bottled up and then I put it up and it’s whoooosh and I’m back. Like it is with my family. (CONF) It builds up and builds up all this tension and then I let it out. I feel like it’s a pattern with everything. I blow up, flip out then I’m normal. It’s building up inside of me like a festering poison.

BUILDING UP? The expectations I have of things and people – so much they blind you to the way things really are. It all blew up into my face two years ago and I saw people for what they were and how they really were and it was life changing. It’s only this year that I was pulled together. I’m learning myself again. I’m in such a strange place – but a good strange place.

GO BACK TO THE BEING IN THE WATER AND TELL ME MORE ABOUT THAT. I don’t know if I’m supposed to be going up or down. The upper half is the bad part, the down is the good part. I feel more centered on the lower half. There’s nothing holding me down – I’m just there halfway in, halfway out. I’m safe more on the in part than the out. I can’t think what the out part of me feels like. I feel like I’ll feel more complete when I’m completely submerged. I’ll feel peaceful, calm, serene. I like the way the water is running through me and makes me feels inside. It’s calming. It’s the part that’s above water where it’s not calming. It feels like nothing – just there, no anger, not even observing, just breathing. I’m not feeling as calm up there as I am down here. [Indicates a separation between her upper and lower body] I want it all to be the same, all together.

[Maria keeps taking deep breaths, in and out, throughout the interview but particularly here when she is speaking about being half in and half out of the water]

I haven’t been feeling so burdened lately. I feel like I need to get me to where I need to be. I’m meant for bigger and better things and when I get there all my burdens will be released.

TALK ABOUT BEING HEAVY AND IN AND OUT OF WATER. There’s no heaviness in being submerged.

GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING AND DESCRIBE YOUR CC: Not achy right now. I haven’t been as bad since July. Where I’m in the water right now is more like up to here [HG – hand to her mid-chest]. It’s up to here now. [This was spontaneous and not asked about]. I feel like I have another burden – I don’t know what it is. It’s not so physical. Its like a storm that’s going to break out of somewhere.

WHAT DOES THAT FEEL LIKE? Like a center [HG – hands shaping a sphere in front of her] Such a weird kind of weight. Right here in the center back here more of a closing in kind of. [She touches her back again between the shoulders]. Not throbbing. It feels anchored, very anchored. Like an anchored weight. (CONF). It’s like there and it just feels like here – it’s not stressful or hurtful but it’s there. I see it. I feel it in the center back of my chest right there. It used to be up here [gestures between her shoulders] It feels like it’s the core of me. [Her legs are bouncing up and down rapidly]

CLOSE YOUR EYES, USE THE HAND GESTURE AND TELL ME WHAT IT IS. [She closes her eyes momentarily then opens them – she can’t keep her eyes closed] You would think it feels like a release (CONF) like letting go of a breath, but it holds on to the middle of my back – it’s just there and it doesn’t let go. It’s solid, like right in the middle, it just stays there. [gestures that spot again]. It doesn’t feel like a bad burden – it’s like a memo; something I’m not addressing; not seeing. Until I acknowledge what it is, it will stay there. The not knowing – it’s just there reminding me that I don’t know. It’s just waiting there – waiting there for me to see it. I need to break it or something. [she stabs out with her hand] It feels like someone has a hand on you – [she slaps her hand onto her own shoulder] you know it’s there; it isn’t getting in your way. I know how to move a hand and get it off but I don’t know how to move this – it’s not giving me any clues on how to do it.

HOW DO YOU ENVISION THIS THING? [She catches sight of the anatomy poster on the back wall of the room and points to it] It’s like a muscle, you know? Like the thing that’s not letting me do the things in my life. Me, without that thing, without that shell, I can survive. This is where me and why I do the things I do come from, this is what drives it – this is it! I peeled the onion and I’m getting to the core, the middle. [she is very excited] My rock! Not a rock – it doesn’t feel like a rock. A muscle wrapped around and supporting, that’s how it feels; the support, the center. That’s my center. My center of support; my support center.

TRY TO DRAW IT. [She begins to sketch – first she crudely draws a spine and then puts an oval on it in that shoulder blade area. Then apart from the spine she draws an oval with a horizontal line going through it] Like how the muscles have striations- but not round – more like oval-ish. [She is talking about muscle fibers, but her drawing looks like a mussel e.g. a bivalve!] It doesn’t completely connect. It doesn’t connect – its like a barnacle kind of thing that latches on. Not a barnacle – wait, yes it is! It is a barnacle and its like the barnacle needs me and I need the barnacle. I will call him ‘barnacle’. That’s it!!

It’s long, it’s not round. It encompasses my body where it is, but only to a certain point. It probably doesn’t take up that much room but it does – it’s like it’s giving me my life force and giving me my energy; making me self-sustained and strong – it fuels my resilience and fuels my battery. (CONF) How do I give back to it what it’s been giving to me all these years? It’s screaming, ‘Yes, it’s about time!’

Thank you- thank you for helping me understand this finally!

[at this point Susan turned the case back over to the student homeopath to get some more medical history]

ANY OTHER CURRENT PATHOLOGIES? Sinuses have been acting up a lot. Throat gets dry. Lots of sinus pressure across bridge of nose. No more migraines but headaches sometimes. Compress on eyes helps. Had two bad ones this past year. I don’t hydrate myself well enough. I know I should, but I just don’t want to.

Periods are short but I’m starting to get cramps and PMS – I can eat a 12 course meal and be hungry again in an hour before my period. I lose my appetite during my period. The past couple of weeks I couldn’t keep food down. I’d feel like I wanted to throw up and then sometimes I would and I’d feel relief. Throughout my whole life I would get shocks of random pain through my head – like hitting a nerve. [Mainly behind her eyes – also had low toned buzzing/ringing noises in her ear like from a tuning fork, as if she’s losing the ability to hear certain pitches]

[The case was finished at this point, apart from a few general questions about fears, modalities, hobbies, etc. that didn’t bring forth any significant responses.]

[It may not be clear from reading her words, but Maria’s manner of speaking through the entire interview was very rapid with run-on sentences in a stream-of-consciousness kind way. Everyone in the room was feeling bewildered, dazed and confused trying to follow and understand what she was saying.

She’d been speaking in such a disjointed way for so long that, when she finally began to speak from her source about being a mussel in the water, it actually sounded sensible to us, even though she was talking nonsense! But it was nonsense with an energy, intensity and a coherence to it that hadn’t been there up until that point.]

Repeating Words/Phrases &Themes



pressing down








half in, half out

safer, calmer more in than the out

completely submerged = peaceful, calm, serene

two sides of me fighting

back and forth

settle, settle down

exhausting, drained, draining

recharged, recharging my battery





pulling in, pulling together

Case Summary

The source started to be revealed in the case when she began to speak of the sensation of being like a buoy in the water, then of something holding on to her back “like an anchored weight“. She describes it as “solid, it doesn’t feel like a bad burden, like a muscle with striations, my rock, wrapped around and supporting me, oval – not round, it doesn’t completely connect – like a barnacle thing that latches on”…

She also talked a lot about pulling in and pulling together. She said she feels split in two and that her lower half feels calmer because it’s submerged. She will feel better when she can come together and be “fully submerged”. She feels safer when she is in the water (like her lower half) rather than out of the water (like her upper half).

She said, “Me, without that thing, without that shell, I can survive.”

Maria gave a very clear description of her source. She described [and then drew it] something that can be half in and half out the water, is enclosed by some sort of support system, has something that adheres to its back like a barnacle, is oval with striations but doesn’t completely connect, can be flat and moving in a straight line; has water flowing around and through its body – back and forth, back and forth. She also talked about loving the orange color she had painted her living room.


Kingdom: Animal

Sub-Kingdom: Mollusc

Family: Bivalve

Rx – Mytilus Edulis (Myt-e), a.k.a. Blue Mussel, Marine Mussel, Common Mussel. The remedy is made from the entire mussel (not to be confused with Myt-e-p; Mytilus edulis pearl)

Potency: Initially given a single dose of 200c, went to 1M, now taking one dose of 10m monthly

Natural History of Mytilus edulis (source: Survival – The Mollusc, Rajan Sankaran & Sudhir Baldota)

The most well-known of the edible mussels, Mytilus edulis is a marine mussel living in the intertidal or sub-tidal regions of the North Atlantic coast of North America and Europe. Usually found attached to rocky surfaces washed by waves and on the hulls of ships. They may also be found buried in sand or mud. They live in colonies, forming clusters or “beds”. The shell of the mussel is dark colored, ridged with fine, concentric growth lines and oval in shape, while the body of the creature is a light orange color. The ligament at the hinge is found on the outside of the shell.

Maria described her source in the following way: “…the muscles have striations but they are not round – more like oval-ish. It doesn’t completely connect. It doesn’t connect.” And it’s interesting that she painted her living room orange but didn’t know why.

Marine muscles fix themselves to a substrate by secreting byssus threads. As larvae they drift for some time before settling on a hard surface. Unlike oysters that stay in one place for life, mussels may disconnect themselves and migrate to a more suitable location several times during their life cycle.

When exposed to the air, mussels close their shells up tightly, opening only when under water. They are predated upon by snails and whelks, starfish and seabirds, and are battered and pounded by waves and debris at low tide.

Beds of Mytilus edulis are surrounded by growing heaps of silt from indigestible particles of food that have been coated in mucous and excreted through their siphon. These mounds of silt can become noticeably high.


Maria took her first dose of Mytilus edulis 200c on November 30, 2008 (one pellet before bed and one more the following morning). In a phone conversation with her student homeopath the following week, she was asked if she still felt the heavy weight on her shoulders. She replies that she hasn’t had it all the time, but whenever she inhales deeply the sensation returns. She said:

M: I had it for so long and got used to it. I think it protects me in some way.”

On December 13, 2008, Maria travelled to the east coast on vacation and sprained her ankle. She took Arnica, which helped. Upon her return to New York, she contacted her student homeopath who asked again about the sensation of weight on her shoulders. She replied:

M: It’s not like a weight now, but like a tightness that prevents me from breathing freely and also wouldn’t allow me to have contact with my barnacles that are my batteries and I can’t get any energy. That makes me feel very angry. My lower back hurts a lot more and my gait changed so much that my shoes are ripping off. Can I repeat the remedy?”

She complains of extreme fatigue and reveals that she is a smoker. She says:

M: When I go out and drink with friends I smoke one after another and I couldn’t relax the way I could while smoking before. The other day I was at the restaurant with my friends and they ordered mussels. Do you think I should still eat them? It’s like cannibalism! [this kind of response is a good reason not to reveal the remedy to clients, but at NYSH we always tell the Rx and the clients orders it].

Maria was advised to repeat the dose of Mytilus edulis in the same manner as before. She did so on January 5th, 2009. She felt better for about two days, then began to feel “uneasy, tired and unsettled…I feel poisoned from inside and I need to cleanse.” Subsequent phone conversation over the next couple of weeks indicated no further improvement. In fact, her student homeopath reported that her mental confusion seemed to be worsening. She was scheduled for an in-person follow up at our next Student Clinic.

1st FOLLOW UP, JAN. 25/09

Maria arrives for her follow up rather flustered and obviously distressed. She responded well to the remedy for about two days, then felt the effects start to fade.

WEIGHT ON SHOULDERS STILL? Yeah, just back here [indicates her upper back] but now it’s affecting my lower back. I feel stressed in such a weird way – can’t put my finger on it. It’s ‘under the skin’ kind of stress that’s really weird.

WHAT’S THE FEELING? It’s like an organized mess inside. Outside is all organized and inside is all over the place. I kind of know where everything is but I don’t. It’s kind of like water – a pond where, if you just leave it, it gets all polluted underneath – cloudy and murky. I’m feeling a little clouded inside.

Susan begins to question her now.

CLOUDED? It’s like smog – a smoke machine. Kinda dense, then it thins out. But more green, not white. A yellowish green.

WHAT’S IT LIKE IN THAT GREEN CLOUDY PLACE? It’s weird. You can see but you can’t see. Just keep going. I don’t feel compelled to stop, hoping and knowing it will thin out and you can see better. I’ve just got to be patient and keep going.

YOU TOLD YOUR HOMEOPATH YOU WERE FEELING POISONED? I felt really polluted. Like being so bad to my body – doing things that aren’t good for you. I saw myself doing it and didn’t stop. I was trying my old vices but they didn’t fit anymore. I kept trying and trying but I just felt gross! Just blah! Polluted. It weighs me down. Slower. More of a sinking, weighing down, not just staying afloat.

POLLUTED FEELS? It feels like the cloud. That’s how I feel – more smoke coming in. I was going through a spell where I was smoking cigarettes – goes hand in hand. Feeling polluted, smoke going in my lungs. But I stopped. How come all of a sudden I just stopped and don’t care for it as much? I think I’m tired of being stuck. I have to stop all these things that are clouding my vision and keep pressing forward.

[Mussels are very sensitive to pollution and are one of the first organisms in their ecosystem to be adversely affected by it. They are like the canary in the coal mine.]

TALK ABOUT STUCK. All in one area – the back of my shoulder. Something just holding me [HG – reaching back with one hand to her shoulder blade] I want to start disintegrating and moving forward but it’s just holding me. It’s as if fog was trying to escape a not so strong vacuum. I want to keep going but it just keeps sucking me back – like being sucked through a funnel. Like whooooooosh [HG – outstretched arm with a clenched fist pulling back towards her torso]

(Susan comments to us afterwards that this gesture, which was repeated several times, put her in mind of the siphoning action of a bivalve.)

IS THAT YOU? That’s me being sucked into whatever ways have been blocking me.

THEN AFTER WHAT HAPPENS? I haven’t got completely sucked yet so I’m still out there but I feel it pulling me back. I feel like there’s a fight with me trying to keep back to right and keep moving.

WHAT WOULD THE OPPOSITE BE? Letting myself go and float through the rest of the clouds.

TELL ME/SHOW ME SO THAT I UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS THAT YOU FEEL. Like smoke over here and there’s this thing over here just whoooooosh pulling me back and I try to crawl out of it – not crawl but float out [full of gestures and energy] I go through little pockets of vacuums.

I don’t care for it or like it but I go through it. I hate it ’cause I can get stuck in the cycle. Fool yourself thinking that you’re out but you get sucked back in. You don’t know how to completely cut the tie but it comes out of nowhere that makes you realize and you look back and go alright, now I can move to the next spot. Wheeew! I just hope I don’t get stuck [laughs nervously].

Susan advises Maria to take a single pellet of 1M at the end of her next period which should be in early February, and to stay in close touch with her student homeopath. She also advises her to stop smoking (both tobacco and pot, which she told us she’d been using), and to come for a second follow up with us in April. We are concerned that her mind still seems so jumbled.


Maria took a single dose of 1M on February 16, 2009. She did not keep in touch with her student homeopath, failed to return repeated phone calls and emails. When she would respond, she seemed moody and unhappy, and complained that she felt the remedy wasn’t working. However, when she walked in the room, she seemed to have lost weight and looked happy and in good health – quite the opposite picture of what she’d been giving over the phone and via email.

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN? I’ve generally been better than before. I feel-even keeled. Maybe I’m balancing out, I don’t know. It’s weird ’cause I don’t really know how to address it. I feel like I should be going up or down but I’m just there [HG – hands making a flat plain]. Maybe it’s a period of rest. I don’t feel like I’m stuck here – I’m just here. Present. [she giggles]

DO YOU HAVE THAT FEELING OF HEAVYNESS OR WEIGHT STILL? No. I was feeling really tired after the 1M for awhile. It affected me really weird. Before the remedy I was very up and positive and feeling really, really good. Then I didn’t feel that way afterwards; kinda grumpy, harder to wake up. I was thinking that the 200c brought up all this stuff and the 1M is bringing deeper rooted stuff. I waiting for it to kick in like the 200c – all the happy stuff. But maybe the happiness is my evenness? I felt tired from the inside out. My inner bones. I took off one day and plopped on my couch – I just melted into it; it hugs me. I just rested and it felt sooooo good. I was so tired; just worn out.

STILL POISONOUS? No. Pretty good.

DREAMS? I had that water dream again for the second time. It’s like I’m in this apartment – like a condo – you walk in and there’s windows and you see the beach, the ocean and the tide going in and out. And I’m noticing the water’s getting really turbulent and starting to rise – like the surf before a storm. It started going and went up and crashed against the window. Afraid it was going to break the window – I see a wave coming and I say to everybody “grab on to something” and I grab onto this pole, this column and the water came and came into the building. I feel it going through me. I think the next one is really going to be bad. I see these pre-teens and they’re right near the window and the water comes and I braced myself against the wall and the water plowed through but I was O.K. I wasn’t frightened by it but I thought it was crazy.

ARE YOU WORKING? Yeah but it’s been slow but I’m over my job right now; but I’m happy I even have a job. I’m just there. But that’s how I feel with everything right now – I’m just there. I’m not doing anything. Just there, stopped at a halt. I feel weird about being so even, because I don’t feel like I’m changing. Maybe I need to stay here and rest for a little?

YOU HAVE A BIT OF A JOURNEY TO GO YET – YOU HAVE TO BE PATIENT. CAN YOU REMEMBER BEFORE THE REMEDY IN OCT/NOV – HOW DO YOU COMPARE? Much improvement – a better sense of everything and understanding of things. Before that feeling of weight on my chest; couldn’t figure out what it was – knew it was there but no idea which direction to go. Needed a tour guide. When I began to understand how I work and why I do the things I do it was better.


She apologizes about not being in touch with her student homeopath, and promises to keep in touch regularly. We all realized how important it is to see the patient in person. Over the phone, Maria sounded like she was not doing well at all and might be on the wrong remedy. In person it became clear she was much improved. Her language is becoming clearer and she’s able to finish one thought before moving on to the next in a more logical progression.

Susan advises no repeat at this time. We schedule her for a follow-up in June.

But over the next month Maria is once again difficult to contact and is complaining she feels lethargic, depressed and unsettled. Her friend, who referred her to the clinic, tells us that she continues to smoke cigarettes and pot and indulges in bouts of binge drinking. She is afraid that Maria has a serious substance abuse problem. She reports to her homeopath:

M: I need to break the cycle but I don’t know how…I feel like I’m killing myself. I don’t know why I’m not stopping smoking cigarettes and pot. I’ve never destroyed myself in this manner as much as I have been. I’m so bored and stuck and that’s when I smoke…sometimes I swear to god I’m losing my f-ing mind and my sense of self. Why do I kill myself? Why do I destroy myself? I’m so lazy and tired and I don’t want to do anything. I despise the orange wall color every time I see it.

Given Maria’s apparent lack of improvement and worsening symptoms, Susan decides to try the other remedy that we had considered and suggests she try Mytilus edulis pearl, one dose of 1M. Maria takes it on April 26, 2010.

Over the next few weeks she reports no change in her state. She complains of feeling flat and detached and her homeopath confirms that she sounds that way too. She lost her job several months ago and ended a relationship with someone she’d been seeing for the past 6 months. Maria says:

M: I can’t even choose a color for my living room. It’s been six months. I feel like I’m so blocked in some way. Like I’m blocking something; like I’m doing something wrong. I’m miserable. I find myself lying to people over stupid stuff. I feel like I’ve poisoned my soul with all these lies I’m telling. I’m a f-ing shell. I miss me. I’m not me. I want to get back to me. I don’t care about anything anymore.

It’s clear that Maria’s pathology is primarily on the mental plane and is very deep. It’s also clear that she is speaking from her source and that language hasn’t changed from her original interview, except to become even clearer. Susan decides to return to the original remedy, Mytilus edulis, but in a higher potency. Maria takes a single dose of Mytilus edulis, 10M on May 17, 2010.

3RD FOLLOW UP – JUNE 5, 2010

DESCRIBE THIS DETACHED FEELING? A shell. An idea of what it is. I miss myself. I don’t feel like myself. It’s horrible. Like my heart’s not connected to anything I say – detached from my head. Like I’m tapped out.

Maria tells us she stopped smoking pot in April, and stopped drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes in May. In spite of what she’s saying, she has made major changes in her life.

Now I have all this clarity. It feels good to be clean. These vices that used to be entertainment became a crutch. It was easy to quit because they didn’t do what they used to do for me. Nothing fits anymore. My problems feel like they’re all tied with trying to pain my wall. I can’t decide what color to paint it. My house is not my home. I’m floating amongst the sea of old Maria – floating but there’s nothing here – I’m up here just floating alone. I want the tide to come up so we can just float together.

My biggest fear is that this detachment will stay. It’s trickling down and coating everything. I miss caring and feeling things. The only emotion I feel is sad and hurt.

ANY DREAMS? I dreamt I was in a classroom and I have a spider hanging from my hair. The teachers tells us we have to go up to the board one by one and explain who we are by choosing the characteristics that describe us best, from ones that are written on the board. I get called up but then I’m told it wasn’t my turn yet.

We note that Maria became more and more coherent and understandable as the interview progressed, not less and less as was the case in her previous interviews. Susan advises no repeat of the remedy at this time – wait and see, but Susan is now managing this case as she is concerned it may be too complicated for a student homeopath to manage effectively, especially over the summer break. Maria calls Susan once a week over the summer..

4TH FOLLOW UP – JULY 20, 2010

Last dose: Mytelus Edules, 10M, May 17, one pellet.

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN? I’m going through something – feel like if I can pull through this then everything else will fall into place. It’s getting there. I recognize that before I was feeling lost, not knowing anything and very uncomfortable. Now I feel undefined – this blank canvas in front of me and that’s me and I don’t know how to put something on there; don’t know how to do it yet but it’s loaded with potential; it’s there. [Remember her dream about choosing characteristics off the black board] I don’t really feel like dealing with anything else; don’t want to meet anyone until I know who I am – they’ll see this back and forth mixed up person; so I’ll stick to myself.

Maria is making sense! She’s staying on topic and seems generally calmer and more “normal”.

DREAMS? Having a lot over the weekend – a flood of them – then they died down. But one I remember the most – I’m always in some kind of hotel resort kind of thing with a pool and a bunch of people. Meeting people in the pool. I get up to go to the bar, but instead of walking on the walkway I wanted to go through the pool, but I didn’t want to go in the deep end. I decided to go through the pool and was holding on to the ladder but both me and the ladder were going down. I was swimming thinking, ‘So this is what the deep end is like’. The ladder and I go along together and make it to the other side. Some kid comes along and tries to go down the ladder, I warn him, ‘Don’t go down there’.

Another dream – I’m at a resort but on the beach sitting on high sand dunes. It’s overcast and the water is getting crazy and big. I’m with a group of people looking at the waves and thinking I’d kill myself if I went body surfing there right now. Every time the waves come in they come higher and higher. I see a huge wave coming; we start backing away but it’s a play/ fearful thing. Now I’m on the balcony overlooking the beach watching the water again. We are playing a game in teams of two. I was it and I had a bomb. I was a robot with a bomb planted in me: (in a robotic voice) ‘You must dismantle me or I will explode’. Waiting for my partner to come and dismantle the bomb or I will have to jump off the balcony. Hoping he will come save me; start walking like a robot, counting down, towards the balcony. He comes in the last two seconds and dismantles the bomb.

Had a turtle dream – I was in the basement of a house. I walk down the stairs and there’s an older lady with two kids sweeping up. I ask if they need help and I grab a broom and start sweeping – like an unfinished basement with a part where there a wooden beams. I duck under them and sweep it out. As I come back out there’s this turtle coming towards me; looked very vivid and colorful; like the grateful dead turtles with all the colors. Whole shell was green with some turquoise, aqua blue and a green head. Like rippling, vivid water colors. I skittered away but it kept coming after me – it backed me towards a corner and started crawling up my leg. But as it did so its body seemed to be disintegrating and washing away; as if there was a watercolor dissolving. It crawled up to my shoulder. I wasn’t afraid so much as I just didn’t want it on me. I could see the blue on the front of its shell and its head.

Last night I dreamt that there was a fight over oranges; a picture of a bunch of oranges. This girl – I was so angry at her and I beat her up. She got up and acknowledged that I had won and I left. I got my oranges. She comes back with a gun – I tell her it doesn’t have to be this way and she should just relax. I woke up. I wake up that way a lot hoping this isn’t real.

Susan advises that she should take a monthly dose of one pellet of Mytilus edules 10M (after checking with either Susan or myself first), at the beginning of each month.

ACUTE, AUGUST 31, 2010

Maria took a dose of Mytelus edules 10M potency for a bad cold. She reported that it helped immediately and the cold resolved within 24 hours without complication.


She reports a lot of dreams about pools and water.

M: I look out the window at an ever changing landscape – mountains, an avalanche that turns into a wave. I open the screen door and, like a high tide, the waves crash against the door and wet the floor. Blades of grass come floating by and form a finger pointing at me. This becomes a praying mantis thing. It’s smiling and talking to me. I said, ‘Oh, you’re a fairy!’ It asked me for relationship advice. I said, ‘Just be yourself and they’ll all recognize the magnificence of you.’

She had other dreams of swimming in a pool blocked with leaves, and of jumping into a pool fully clothed. She sinks to the bottom but can breathe, and it feels really comforting.

She is still off pot but has been drinking on weekends again (although not as much as before).

Maria forgets to take the remedy again in October. Susan and I had her repeat the remedy the first week of November.


Maria forgot to take her monthly dose at the beginning of December. Then she suffered a severe injury to her left eye while playing softball. She had a minor concussion and required stitches. She responded well to Arnica and her eye was still swollen but was healing well.

HOW ARE YOU DOING? Good in a lot of places, but slightly off. Something is just not right. It’s like you’ve got your boat and the anchor is not deep enough so I’m drifting aimlessly. I’m missing an anchor that goes deeper and holds better. I can’t get relaxed with my new self. The weight of carrying my body around builds up in my back.

I’ve had this recurring dream in the past month – I go into this house. I hate going in there. I feel drunk or drugged and I can’t keep my balance. I keep falling on the floor. I feel so disappointed.

Maria also forgets to take the remedy at the beginning of January. She feels the difference, having missed two consecutive doses. She repeats near the end of the month and feels an immediate improvement in her energy levels and overall sense of well-being.


M: I dreamt I was in a bath tub and invited my lover in, but another person tagged along and got in too. My date was more upset, but I felt good about it. Then suddenly I’m on a beach in a bikini, which I never wear in real life, and I’m proud I’m in it. I’m standing strong in this bikini. This wave comes along and I body surf it. It feels very cool to ride the wave.

I’ve been burrowing/cocooning – like I’m molting into a new person. I’m not interested in being around other people. I feel burdened by their stories. I’m not very open and welcoming.

WHAT DOES BURROWING AND COCOONING FEEL LIKE? Like a preservation of energy. My receptors are closed and I’m not letting anything in that doesn’t have to do with me. It became clear after re-dosing last time [in November] that, for now, this is what I want to do. I just don’t feel ready.

I urge Sophia to repeat her remedy and she finally does so on January 25, 2011.


It’s obvious by now when Maria has missed a monthly repeat dose and when she has taken it, or when she needs to repeat. She explains that she has been postponing her advised repeats because she thinks she feels good and decides she doesn’t need the remedy. I urge Sophia to stick with her regular, monthly dosing schedule. She re-doses on February 24, 2011.

6th FOLLOW UP MARCH 6, 2011

M: My dreams have been weird. Weird in the sense that they are not as vivid as they used to be. I have a hard time remembering them. I dreampt I ran into someone and, instead of walking, I am floating, I am floating, and then I put my feet down and then she catches up; a street with cobble stones – big boulders that have water coming over them, water trickles over it. Looked like an Italian town with water coming over and boulders acting like a barrier, with the water trying to get through it, I found a way to scale the wall on the side, I get up and when I turn the corner I jump into a restaurant, see people coming in; I walk out and walk along the road, see the ocean, see a parade with a big puppet; it’s like a brown bunny and it is hopping towards me, and as the bunny passed me, I realize I am an idiot and I am in a dream.

HOW DID FLOATING FEEL? I felt like I was testing myself, see how far I can go, kind of when you go snowboarding and then you pick up speed. More excited than anything.

SLEEP? Good. I went through a phase where I didn’t want to be bothered with people, needed to keep my energy in my little bubble. I called it my little cocoon, I told people I was cocooning. I didn’t feel like making contact, wanted to resolve certain things but then I didn’t want to resolve it. In times of transitions sometimes you need other people. I felt like I didn’t want it – no outside influences. I feel ok with people now. I have calmed down a lot

I feel so adult! I am shedding all these things. My 20s was a wild ride. I was looking at old pictures, and I didn’t know who I was then. Now I am more rooted, more whole, not easily affected by other people and things. I am in a period of being patient. I have to wait for the things that I am manifesting. It is like a leap of faith. I know I am the only one getting in my own way.


M: My dreams have been clouded. I’ve been grieving over the loss of my car but I think I cleared that up. It feels as if a cloud has cleared out of my chest.

Her periods have been fine, with no bloating or cramping and she is now working again part-time. She’s also working to resolve some long-standing personal finance issues.

She says that she has taken up a combination of yoga and tango dancing!

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT THIS ACTIVITY? You get to center and connect with another person. You can see all the people connecting and working with each other. Being that close and intimate with a total stranger can be off-putting at first, but you get used to it.
Maria has been taking her remedy at the beginning of each month. She is working more and socializing more. She is totally coherent in conversation now. It’s clear that going to the higher potency was the right choice for her. The interesting thing about the Sensation System is that when the patient clearly speaks from the source, the remedy is quite obvious and we can have real confidence in prescribing. Susan explained that Maria’s state had been so deep and the remedy was so clear that we should have started out with a 10m (live and learn!). Instead, when she seemed to change but not get significantly better, we got insecure about the remedy selection and changed the remedy slightly. This was a mistake that we have all learned from. Fortunately, no harm was done and Maria has experienced considerable personal growth and healing since the 10m.

We expect her to continue to do well on this remedy. Cases like this with deep mental pathology require time and patience on the part of the homeopaths and the patient as well. We are all grateful that Maria had the ability to stick with homeopathy until the healing set in. Maria will remain a clinic patient for years to come.

About the author

Mary-Lynn Culbert

Mary-Lynn Culbert is a native of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, but calls NYC her home, having relocated there in August of 2001. She completed the four year program at the New York School of Homeopathy in 2009, and now has a private practice in Classical Homeopathy in the Inwood neighborhood of uptown Manhattan. She also serves as the Administrator for NYSH.

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