This 41 year old female was first seen in March 2008 with complaints of knee pain after compulsive exercise:
Patient: I’m at my wit’s end. I have a knee injury; it’s telling me ‘Hey, slow down!’ I have an obsession with exercise; I’m rigid about exercising every day. It’s the same as brushing my teeth. I exercise two to three hours a day. I’ll get up at 4 to 4:30 in the morning.
I think ‘where do I go from here?’ “What’s next?’ I can’t stop the exerciseâ€”it’s taken over my life.
My knee started hurting, and then I strained it further with snowboarding.
I grew up with three brothers. They always picked on me. I was never good enough. My mom wasn’t there for me. They really hurt me. This all started when I was about four to seven years old.
The rigid exercise program has been making things worse. ‘Why am I punishing myself?’ I almost feel twitchy now. It’s like I’ve been out for a really long run and the muscles are still moving. Or it feels like I’ve been out in the cold and things are starting to warm up. I’m trying to tell my body to relax.
There are twitches everywhere. It’s as if there are electrical currents re-connecting. There’s a weird sensation going down my legs, on the outside. The twitches are little pops of something going on.
My body’s still resisting letting that energy flow through. It feels exhaustingâ€”the resistance part of it.
It’s as if my limbs are waking up. Something that was pinched off for so long has life again. There’s a pulsating in my arms, like blood flowing. My hands are waking up, as if I want to get up and shake them. There’s a mild tingling in the tops of my hands and feet.
I can feel a vibration going through me. The pulsating is resistance. I think ‘I don’t want too much current to run through at one time’.
It’s a process of re-connecting, a process of opening up again. It’s punching through, flowing through new avenues. It’s both nerves and blood flowing. As long as I let it keep going it will keep waking up.
Before this the nerves were almost unfeeling. I’ve been living in my head, observing my body, looking at myself.
When you’re hurt, you feel a crushing sensation around your heart. It’s around your whole chest, like your whole chest has been stomped on, collapsed. The air’s taken out of you. The feeling is hurt, empty, nothingness. It feels pinched.
If your heart wanted to cry, it would. There’s a weeping inside. There’s a sensation of a knot at the heart. It’s a crushing hurt. The pains are suffocating. The pain comes from gasping.
I’m pinching myself off from the hurt. There’s a heartache, an actual feeling as if your heart is aching.
It’s one quick blow, then comes the gasping. I’ve numbed myself to the pain. I’ve been living from my head instead of my heart.
It’s like one hard blowâ€”a deep, deep, deep blow to the spirit. That’s where the pain comes fromâ€”it’s like being hit by a blunt force.
My spirit tells me to stop going into my head, to come back into my body. ‘There’s no reason to pinch yourself off from emotion’.
Assessment: After initially describing her compulsive exercising, the client began to relate how the exercise perpetuated a feeling of disconnection between her thoughts and emotional life. She was experiencing a conflict between resistance to and the “waking up” of her nerves. She “lived in her head” as a means of being numb to and pinched off from her emotional pain, after experiencing a crushing blunt force blow to her spirit in childhood.
Plan: Hypericum 1M single dose.
Follow-up two months later:
“I feel fantastic. I had total congestion for a week following the remedy. I’m back to exercising, but now I do it for fun. I’m able to distinguish between ‘am I pushing myself or punishing myself?”
I’m starting to gain balance, as much as any person can have that. I’m allowing new things into my life, things that I want. I’m feeling more and more comfortable with myself.
Not everything’s all wonderful, but it’s okay, it’s a good thing. I need to know the valleys as well as the peaks. To experience ecstasy I have to know pain.
There’s no more crushed feeling around my heart. I’m more open to taking risks, to loving. I feel so open to allowing connections. I’m more forgiving of my parents. I’ve opened myself up to my mother.
I do feel fantastic. I pay attention to my emotions. I allow them, instead of repressing them, and know they’ll pass through. The suffering came when I tried to repress them.
I’m in an exciting time; it’s very fun. I’ve opened up my heart, letting things flow. I’m in an entirely different place. I’ve lived my whole life pinched off from emotion. It’s life, and feeling alive is wonderful. I’m not afraid to experience pain anymore.
Assessment/Plan: The client has not needed any further doses of the remedy since the follow-up. Her history demonstrates how the indications for Hypericum perforatum–a well-known acute remedy for crushing blows to nerves–may also apply to the broader constitutional state.
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David A. Johnson CCH, RSHom (NA) is a certified classical homeopath and professional member of the North American Society of Homeopaths. He completed his homeopathic training at the International Foundation for Homeopathy and the Northwestern Academy of Homeopathy. He taught clinical medicine at the University of Wisconsin and Augsburg College Physician Assistant Programs, and is an instructor at the Northwestern Academy of Homeopathy in Minneapolis.