Case intake: August 2016
Client description: A 52 year old male, RC, presents with complaint of nightmares since 12 years of age. RC is of medium height and a solid and highly muscular build. He wears his shoulder-length jet black hair in a neat ponytail secured with a red silk bandana. A string of Rudraksha beads peak through his black silk shirt that is unbuttoned till mid-sternum. I peek into the reception room and find him dozing. The moment he senses my presence, he springs to action with lightning speed, grabs my hand in a brusque and powerful handshake, and tries to fix me in place with a direct stare, “You are the homeopath I have heard so much about. You must fix my problem.”
Before I can say anything, in a few quick strides, he goes ahead of me in to the consulting room, sprawls on a chair of his choice, rearranges a few of the kid’s toys on the table and says, “Doc, get to the core of my problem. You have a reputation. Don’t fail me. Don’t waste my time.”
Observations: Client is attractive, very fast, direct, emphatic and commanding /dictatorial. He has high expectations. Gives off an air of ‘Don’t mess with me.’
I find his behavior irritating. I make a conscious effort to set aside my irritation and remind myself to be an unprejudiced observer (Aphorism 6). In sickness, the sum total of all expressions point to a remedy state. My only job at this moment is to remain calm, identify the remedy state and find the remedy that the client is asking for with his every word, gesture and expression.
We begin the session.
Me: What is bothering you?
RC: Bloody nightmares. Began around 12 years of age, maybe earlier. Never got along with my half-brothers. They said I had a quick and lethal temper. I said, they were freaking useless blobs of flesh crowding the earth. I could devour them for a snack and nobody would miss them. We had many bloody battles. Dad always sided with my half-brothers and asked me to control my temper. Mom could not speak for me. Parents fought round the clock but when I made a show of my temper, everyone had to back off. I told them in graphic details what I would do to them if they messed with me. My nightmares had scenes from my life during the day, the arguments, fights, beatings, chasing, running, hiding, killing. Most of them were about hard chase. I would streak across the terrain like lightning and would escape most of the time, but every so often, the enemy would get hold of me, bang my head on rocks till my brain went flying in pieces, splattering blood all around, and my body going limp and lifeless…. I would wake up screaming and yelling on top of my lungs, thrashing about violently, kicking, eyes glazed, and hurling whatever objects I could get hold of. My nightmares have caused me a few divorces. Luckily, as I am getting older, my wives are getting younger!! I am 52. My fourth wife is 29. Our life together is exciting and interesting!! (HE WINKS AT ME IN A SLY AND SEDUCTIVE MANNER).
Theme: Me vs you issues from a young age. Temper, violence, aggression, parental neglect. Nightmares reflect the happenings of the day. Gives hints about the sexual side of life / marriage even without being asked (high sexuality).
Me: How often do you see these nightmares? How do they affect you?
RC: I see them 3 – 4 times every week. The day after the nightmare, I feel so unrefreshed, I cannot rouse myself from bed in the morning till 11 AM. I feel physically weak, totally drained, useless, aghast that I should see such violent nightmares and behave so violently in my sleep. I feel completely incapable of being with people or holding a conversation. Total anti-social. People sense this. They leave me alone. They see that I am very angry.
Theme: Worse upon waking. Me: Very angry?
RC: People are idiots – ordinary, useless, lazy and scattered. They waste their time scampering about doing meaningless chores that fill their days. I have a purpose in life. If someone gets in my way, I strike with precision and deadly force. For some reason, I am the Gym King in my city!
Themes: Very low opinion of others, high opinion of himself. Condescending. Purposeful. Strikes with precision and deadly force. As he calls himself “Gym King” his facial expression indicates immense pride and he smiles with smug satisfaction. This term, Gym King, is meaningful to his narrative.
Me: Gym King?
RC: I worked for a few years as a paramedic after completing pre-med course at the college. Saw a fair share of domestic violence – mostly to do with alcohol, drugs, guns and adultery. Bloody people. Weak men, weak women and weak kids get chopped up. 911 gets called. Many times I have arrived at a blood-splattered living room and seen both the victim (if alive) and the perpetrator shaking with fear. I have wanted to pull the trigger on the perpetrator and finish him off. I have not acted on this impulse though and the buggers have wasted tax-payer’s dollars on life imprisonment and extended courtroom drama to establish a case for mental illness and get off the hook. I like quick justice, chop chop chop, fix the problem, move on. Wimpiness of victims gets to me. They are little sloths, docile, helpless, slow – they, just surrender and get killed. They don’t fight back, don’t stand their ground. Me, I could just strangle the perpetrator. I see these scenes in my nightmares….on and on… many times I get the bad guys, many times I get
caught and my head gets smashed, but I do not go down without putting up a great fight. I scare the the hell out of anybody just by moving very fast.
Themes: Intense exposure to violence and graphic description of what he would like to do to people – shoot, strangle. Suppressed desire for avenging the wrongdoers. Very quick and fast action.
Me: Tell me a bit more about the Gym King.
RC: I stopped being a paramedic and started a gym so I could train weak people, give them some courage, some muscles, some backbone so they can fight back instead of taking it lying down. Now I own a chain of gyms in my city. My training is intense and ruthless. Rules are strict. No cell phones in the gym, no texting. I have smashed many cellphones with my bare fist.
Observation: He slams his fist on the table with great aggression and force. There is intense energy in this gesture.
Me: What bothers you about these cell phones?
RC: It is not about the stupid cell phones, it is about focus. When I am focused, all my senses come to one point. It is me and my target. When I see my target, and I am focused, I reach out fast, grab it, I am done. It has no way to escape my grip and I will not let it go till it surrenders. When I get distracted, my energy is scattered, I can get subjugated. Gym is about focus, discipline, goals, endurance, performance at top speed, accuracy and form. You can’t be distracted when you clear 150 pounds of iron above your head. You mess with that you never get anywhere. Cell phones, with their ding-dong bells, do not allow people to focus. When you lose focus, accidents happen, you get subjugated. When you are focused, you are sharp, nothing can bring you down.
Observation: While talking about focus, he had particularly high energy, intensity, and he reached out with his hands and made a grabbing gesture. I wanted to check out the value of ‘subjugated’ as it appeared to be exactly opposite of what he was trying to express with his description of focus.
Me: Subjugated?? Upon hearing this word, RC made a whole-body gesture, tucked his head to his chest, slumped his shoulders, his erect back went limp…but very, very quickly he composed himself.
RC: You see, when you are on the very top, you can be toppled easily. To stay on top, you have to perform on top so that you do not get subjugated and killed. The very top is not the place for goofing around. You must remain alert, focused and go after your goal with top speed or else you can be toppled, subjugated.
Observation: He quickly recovers from expression of subjugation and reaches out very fast with his hand and makes a grabbing gesture.
RC: I do not like to be subjugated. That is what I teach in my gym. My students learn to stand tall and assert themselves. My faithful students call me Gym King.Theme: Issues of power, focus, anger, and speed are clear and so are his sense of accomplishment.
Me: Faithful students? I ask this question to ascertain his place in the hierarchy of his world.