In response to the current debate over the freedom of the press in Britain, I was reminded of the devastating effect the media can have by trampling over some very vulnerable people with hobnail boots. Resistant to criticism, the Media hide behind their freedom of the press umbrella and sometimes they do go far too far and destroy innocent lives in the process. However, British media’s right to freedom is extremely valuable and must be honoured at all times, but the British press itself must also be open to criticism. A very fine balancing act indeed.
This case was difficult.
It started easily enough and then blew up in my face!
1st consultation 4.11.93
Female aged 33, thin, tall and brunette. She has flu at the moment, with non specific symptoms of malaise, thirst and exhaustion <evening. However, she did not want to talk about this, but rather, she wanted to tell me about the past.
Her problems were “… years old…”, but she had made good headway on her own. She was an ex-heroin addict (8 years ago), and had received very good counselling at that time. However, she now finds that she is being pulled down by anxiety, self hatred, feelings of inadequacy due to sexual abuse during her childhood by her father. She is taking 2mgs of Valium a day and has been trying to reduce for eighteen months.
She feels lots of different things:
- Anxiety prevents reduction and leads to an exaggerated resentment, causing depression. She feels anxiety “… all over…”, centred in her throat and stomach. Her anxiety takes different forms, she can be hyper or very quiet and “… paralysed by it…”. She has tension headaches across her brows, extending to eyes and hairline. The pain is pressing and throbbing.
- cramps in her bones (knee and elbow joints and legs) with grinding and knotting. >reducing stress, baths, swimming (every day when possible – up to 40 lengths a time “… it keeps me sane…”), stretching, solitude < encounters with people, stress, going out.
- Very thirsty + cold, sour.
- “… I feel hot all the time…” Hot in bed at night. No sweat, dry skin and a tendency to dry redness on her face, she blushes if she is the focus of attention.
- PMT “… is a major problem…” normally, but she had her first child four weeks ago. Her periods used to be irregular, but have evened out over the last couple of years. Her PMT is like “… emotional jip…” she admitted to attempted self-mutilation with razors during PMT and would stand in front of the mirror and punch herself in the face until the blood ran.
- EXTREME TIREDNESS with mad energy bursts < PMT
“… I need to be alone, but I need to be with people who appreciate me… I’m a critical person, especially of myself… I have depths of resentment from unjust criticism of me, I’m uncertain of my own worth, I flare up into mammoth hatred. I used to drink a lot (lager/brandy), I don’t know – I’d get into rows when I was drunk, I’d get physically violent with resentful anger. “I started drinking when I stopped the heroin…’
FAMILY HISTORY – IRISH
MUM’S SIDE – breast cancer, TB, pleurisy, cyst bursting in lung, chest infections
DAD’S SIDE – leukaemia, alcoholic, estrangement, orphanages. Dad’s mum ran off with a tinker (she was Catholic!)
SIBLINGS – She had one brother who committed suicide aged 18. “He petrol bombed the local nick” and then “hanged himself in prison”. He left a note about his father’s sexual abuse.
“… I was 21. When he died, I attempted suicide by overdose – we were very close. Mum and dad were divorced by then, I was at University in Manchester (philosophy) but I didn’t finish due to my suicide attempt. Dad (16 years older than mum) was in an old people’s home, mum went off her head, so did I – there’s lots of denial in mum – she denied knowledge of abuse, but she did tell my counsellor “that was just a game, he used to stick his fingers up their bottoms… ” This case made the headlines in a (?local) newspaper and my client and her mother gave an interview to some (?tabloid) journalists, with the result that my client and her mother were torn to pieces by the press.
She was a healthy child, all the childhood illnesses, emotional and moody, weak physically and not confident. The abuse was denied until her brother wrote to her from prison “… I still have only flashes and emotions, I have hardly any memories of childhood… I had gelsemium a few days ago for my flu, it moved it along a bit, it made me stream a lot. I used to throw things at the wall, I was a good student…”
At secondary school “… I was the outsider… [with]… fleeting friendships… I had one friend, we were united in alienation, with hatred of the other kids, bullied and attacked by a gang of girls in the 4th year. We became estranged in the 6th year, I was a punk, but we’re still friends now… I was raped at 16 and at 18, smoking grass and sniffing glue… I never told anyone in case they (parents) kept me in – I was exotically dressed – I’d already retreated so far -further than human hands could reach – I expected to be raped. They were both strangers, but I felt that I knew them. The one at 18 – I thought he was going to kill me…”
Menarche at 13 was OK “… I liked it…”, periods started slowly, always irregular (< drugs > acupuncture), sometimes quite heavy, always slow and dark, flow for “… a few days only…”. She floods occasionally, has had clots over the years. She has had three abortions, an infection after one, and then her periods were long and heavy for a while. She has always had PMT. (She has a history of burrowing abscesses during injecting heroin – one travelled through from her right buttock to her right groin, and another travelled through to her left buttock. She has extensive scarring at the points of exit for all three abscesses – this I found out in March 1995).
Appetite is fairly good. + yoghurt, shellfish, fruit (can go off this), nectarines, fish, soups (thick home-made), bacon sandwiches, black chocolate (occasionally) – milk, soggy sponge puddings, sweet stodgy food, sweets, milk chocolate, biscuits, pickles, vinegar. “… I was always weird about food – beginnings of bulimia -then I got into nutrition in a big way, deliberately to redirect my weirdness…”
Bowels – always regular, except when pregnant (constipated).
Urine – H/O cystitis (now gone) < alcohol “… I may be a bit frequent… ”
“… Previously, I’d slept around a lot, but when I met my current partner (seven years ago) – I just knew him – I’ve not really had any clairvoyant stuff – but he’d been abused by his mum. I’d never been out with anyone for more than three months… ” He is kind and understanding, although he can be “… strong…” with her. She feels guilty that he is so nice to her, but she needs this and is very dependent on it. “… I need to be constantly in the company of empathetic people…” Strangers and neighbours make her feel quite threatened. She needs contact, consolation and good conversation. She can be reassured, but this is only until “… I’ve gone away and thought about it and then it all comes back up again”
“… I’d been off methadone for a year then, and moved house and all my old connections were severed… ” She had a Hospital withdrawal with largactil, sedated twenty hours in every twenty four for two weeks “… I’d discharged myself due to my intolerance of authority and such… Things have been on the up since then, we’ve had growth, painful, experiences that have been very positive. It’s a good, close relationship – I’m very reliant on this relationship – he’s the only person in my life who hasn’t let me down…”
The pregnancy was planned “… but I hated it!…” The birth was painful and frightening, with slow dilation, sobbing and screaming with the epidural, but she had “… no tearing or anything…”. She is breast feeding well and well bonded with her daughter.
Sleep “… I love sleep, but it’s pretty elusive – an escape from the world…”
Dreams – “… Mad dreams, all the time…” She keeps a dream diary and does regular work on this. She has recurring dreams of cripples, bloodshed, violation and death. “… It changed when I was pregnant to wild animals, magic fortresses, when I had to kiss the black wolf… [with dreams of cripples around]… a crippled girl in a wheelchair, about three years old, with deformed legs that are too little and could snap- but lately she is standing up and walking…”
She talked easily and confidently, sitting forward, friendly, slightly nervous as to my reaction. I hardly asked any questions throughout the entire session. When I did, she talked over me, increasing the volume of her voice to keep the conversation in her court, so I tended to lapse into silence. She knew what she wanted to say and she said it!
She was a exotically dressed, large (too large) kohled eyes, a fixed face which was quite remarkable for its lack of expression, even when she smiled – a mask. Her skin looked stretched and yellow, she was very thin – slender and willowy, dressed to effect with slightly transparent clothes despite the weather, or clingy fabrics which showed her body. Her hair is dyed. The whole effect is dramatic and exotic.
However, she has a keen mind and misses nothing! Her vocabulary is extensive, her language and expression is well educated and she sounds like a literary poet, weaving words to equally dramatic effect. Also, she is quite ill, with fevered flushing and red cheeks and glassy, shiny eyes. She looks phosphorus, sitting well forward on her chair and holding her face as near me as she can and being very expressive with her hands and arms, making sweeping graceful gestures.
In contrast, she has a beautiful month old baby girl who looks totally wholesome, well fed, well looked after and very different (pink and healthy). She had a well kitted out baby bag with every necessity and she was very attentive to the child, very appropriate maternal behaviour.
November 1993 to August 1994
My main fear was that she would abuse every substance I gave her. During the course of treatment, she has taken Valium, Temazepam, Co-Codamol, Methadone, Prosac, Lofeperamine, Sertraline, DF118, ecstasy, tobacco, brandy, and beer.
I had to get over my fear and anxiety about losing control of prescribing and the amount of substances she was taking, so I began to give her triads of remedies to remain within (I’m always looking for my three legged stool). On the whole, this worked well, although she did try other remedies occasionally, and she paid for it!
She was already knee deep in remedies, having procured several books on homoeopathy and a materia medica, and quite a stock of remedies. She had all the Californian and Bach remedies and knows far more about them than I do!
She self-prescribed these for herself throughout. She is also a great self-taught astrologer and explained throughout about her Pluto transit as it occurred. She had done lots of previous work with sub personalities and knows all about Jung’s work. She is religious with her chakra work and her diet is impeccable.
At many times, she was out of control of the many substances, but equally there were many times when she was, if not in the driver’s seat, she was at least in the cab! Her own keen mind and gut determination and ability to look deeply and truly into what had happened carried her through times of no hope and great pain, terror and awful physical illness, to a steady improvement back to health and life.
Looking at the case now, a deeply explosive atmosphere pervades throughout. Of all the many substances and remedies she took during this period, the one she remembers is plutonium.
I started the case with Nat Mur, Phosphorus And Carcinosin, which resulted in lots of physical, fevered, discharging flu’s and chests which responded classically to the remedies given. This led to her very quickly expressing part of her central delusion in a very paranoid manner which resolved with kali brom, stramonium, opium, arnica and rad brom. She also went to her GP and asked for antidepressants. She also took ecstasy and methadone.
She had images of black creatures and magic towers, which deeply reflects her basic inner romantic nature and her classical education in literature. She quickly overcame these, mastering visualisations with aplomb.
She then entered a calmer mental state, where her PMT `disappeared’ . Her baby walked for the first time in front of the Health Visitor at a developmental check, and she was showered with professional praise.
The next day she was sexually attacked in the park 24.8.94. Her first question to me, was “… is this the return of an old symptom?…” Within two days, she had a return of her old symptom of cystitis (the GP said PID), but also the onset of a viral illness which lasted till November, no matter what remedies we tried.
She entered a Belladonna state: dilated pupils and frightened staring expression, violent fevers with drenching sweats, shivering, hot head, cold body, `travelling’ sinus headaches and deep abdominal pain.
She’d had PID for one year, four years previously, although the hospital did consider glandular fever and hepatitis as well. She has antibodies for hep A. She developed shooting pains in her joints, bruising and cramp and post nasal catarrh “… fluorescent green…”
Fear and panic began to mount “… like a war going on inside me…[she feels like a]… sulking child, trying to keep the surface calm but simmering under the surface with out of proportion explosions… ” She is covered with nettle rash all over her limbs (HO as a child). “… I hate everyone with a kind of dull, disinterested hatred… They took my whole childhood away from me, it was stolen, along with my self-worth and my confidence – stolen! Then I cry!… I feel inadequate and fall back on the smug assumption of being cultured… Convent girl, Bohemian type knowledge... I feel my performance is a sham, I’m trying to make myself seem interesting and vivid, this is what is the sham. I have to do what is safe, I’ve spent enough time doing chemicals, but I must cross this bridge safely, I don’t want to end up in the cauldron. I went into the spare room and imagined I was alone in an enchanted tower surrounded by safe protective golden light. I have to put magic circles around me, it’s not enough protection, so I put magic fir trees around that, it’s not enough, so I put a light bubble over the whole lot – a psychic fortress – is this enough? I feel everyone is a demon, people are demanding, I will hide in a doorway rather than speak to a neighbour as I feel people drain me. I want to be on my own.. ”
She has terrifying nightmares of being threatened, losing people she loves, public humiliation “… I’ve always felt that I needed this level of psychic protection, so I used to do drugs to cut it off, then I invented a mythical me, like I was trying to be an archetype and not a person, like I was Morgan Le Faye, I wanted to enchant people and to weave spells. I did this as a little girl, people have always been threatening, I’ve always felt violated by innocent encounters with everyday people. Now I’ve hit bottom and now I’m real and my God! I need protection. I’m only me! Your remedies have made me climb down enough to ask for help!”
At this point, she opened a dialogue between two sub personalities – Morgan Le Faye “… dad picked me up and smacked me and I flew into Morgan… I saw how she came about…. she’d saved my inner child…but she didn’t know what to do with her so she stuck her in a secret place and she starved. Morgan was lording it about as a sexual harridan and Nimue… she is necessary to heal and to become an adult… Nimue is talking Morgan through it…”
From 26.8.94 to 25.11.94, she continued in this acute state. She lost weight and began swimming (40-60 lengths) pouring out dialogue between her sub personalities and having violent rows with her husband as rage and “… delusions of war… ” and “… fear of the World…” exploded when she collapsed in the street swearing, crying and praying “… my soul thirsts for God… ”, and on 9.11.94 she developed a tooth abscess (L) (new symptom). The mental and physical state then eased.
Belladonna had been the main remedy throughout, but it would often fail to act: mercury, arsenicum, phosphorus, lycopodium, aconite and opium always got the belladonna working again, but belladonna continued to fail throughout. I put her on arnica 6cmene and bellis perennis 6c nocte permanently, as I was worried about a liver abscess, and after discussion with Robert Davidson, I included syphillinum 12x od too.
After the tooth abscess, she developed a chest infection after experimenting with staphysagria, which responded to sepia, but mentally, rage exploded into another argument with her husband. She was tormented by awful dreams of mutilation and was taking methadone, also occasional ecstasy.
The GP had tried Prosac 18.5.94 (which she reacted to dramatically) and tried to settle her on Lofeperamine 12.6.94, but transferred her to Sertraline 25.11.94. Her fever had returned, but her abdominal pain was gone, but she now had terrible headaches.
Her cystitis was intransigent throughout and two courses of antibiotics 3.9.94 and 21.12.94 only abated it temporarily. The remedies helped, but failed to hold. I was left with the decision of going on with the same old remedies or trying something different.
Plutonium 10m, one or two – made on the machine 25.11.95.
From 25.11.94 till 4.12.94 she settled into a mildly fluey state, she broke contact with her dealer and refused methadone twice. She slept without sleeping pills, she had a “… turning of emotional energy for the better…” On 3.12.94, she had a mild flare up of the `belladonna’ state with a stomach focus > mercury/phosphorus, the fever continued and found a head focus > Nat mur. On 9.12.94, she took ecstasy. She also took some methadone.
The viral nature of the illness was very much mirrored in other patients in my practice at this time, all showing this week off, three weeks on pattern. It was quite a bug! She then developed cystitis and haematuria and resorted to antibiotics. Arnica, Sepia, streptococcus failed to hold.
She’d given up on belladonna! Then old cigarette burn scars on her arm from twelve years ago broke open. Her baby got cystitis too and she took10mls of methadone. However, her mental state cleared and she returned to her sub personalities “… Morgan and Nimue are assimilated… but Morgan still needs to be calmed down…”
She then developed acute gastric flu after a row with her husband and the whole fever state flared up again 10.1.95. She was on 5-10 mls of methadone a day and the state then moved into ripping and tearing pains in her joints (HO from childhood from being given coffee).
The Co-codamol weren’t working and she became constipated and < methadone. Her fever subsided, she “… refused an E last night…” and had palpitations and shaking > coffea. Then the Housing Benefit was withdrawn, plunging them into poverty 23.1.95.
On 25.1.95, she developed fever and sore throat. On 26.1.95 there was a violent fight with her husband. Also, her mother fell off a ladder and injured herself badly. When I saw her she was a mess. Bruised face and cut lip (L), black eye (L). “… Morgan was cool headed…she just got me and the baby out...”
The post traumatic headache crescendoed from 31.1.95 to10.2.95. Her methadone went up initially, then she stopped it dead! DF118’s from the GP weren’t holding. I prescribed her old standbys, opium and arnica. She was in shock.
She told me about the original sexual abuse from her father when she was three. When her brother was born. She’d been ill for a year afterwards with UTI, colds and flus “… the headache seems familiar…” She was delighted that “… Morgan had allowed herself to be afraid….I let myself be rescued….never in the past would I have allowed anyone to come that close... ”\
On 7.2.95 she remembered the head injury from her second rape. This frightened her so very much because her rapist had actually killed his two previous victims, she, as his third, was the only survivor. They’d caught him after that and he’d hung himself in prison.
Her mum had confirmed the head injury aged 3, but said she’d ran out into the hall, slipped on the rug and hit the wall. “… I felt something deep from the plutonium…it resulted in the explosion between me and my husband, blowing out all of the crap. I’ve lived in a hall of mirrors since I was 18…”
On 9.2.95 she told me about the first rape “… I didn’t tell anyone `cause I thought it was my fault...” Her head pain was “… excruciating…”, pills, remedies, substances – did nothing. I referred her to her GP for a head exam, who said OK.
She then went to an osteopath who told her it was a whiplash, with blocked bones in her head and face and released it all. Her mental state then eased although she was shocked and ashamed about “… the abnormality of my past… [her energy was]… going mad…I used to damp all this down with drugs…I’m exhausted by my own energy…”
On 13.12.95 she read through all her writings and faced up to the pain of the rapes. She confessed all to her mum “… I feel dramatically changed… that plutonium is from the bowels of the Earth… ”. She’d had images of grinding rock plates “… magma plates…” when she took the remedy.
On 18.2.95, she collapsed in tears and will go and see the GP for methadone withdrawal. She is scared of having to go back to the DDU. More old fag burns have broken out. She has had images of addiction being “… a horrible slimy black demon laughing in my face and mocking. I was praying…I had to embrace it to defeat it. It must be treated with love…it’s the abused child who needs to be reclaimed. You can fight and fight forever but as the demon has your face you can never win…”
On 23.2.95 the full horror of her addict past hit her. She saw the GP on 24.2.95 and began withdrawal “… Morgan doesn’t fight anymore, after talking to Nimue she has changed tactics – a quieter strength…”. On 25.2.95 she told me about “Primrose” and “Fire Child” – her sacred personalities. Fire Child was inner child, and Primrose is her potential, yet to be achieved.
Today, this woman is still withdrawing from methadone, but she is different. She undoubtedly has a long way to go, but she has learnt that she can work it through. She is down to 7mls of methadone and currently taking platina “… and I’m getting nastier by the minute…it’s great”.
She has just found out that her grandmother is dying.
© Sue Young 1993-1995