Why do we like our therapeutic professions? I know the many psychological reasons there are to start a therapeutic career. But most of them don’t last because we needed to give it, more than the patient needed to receive it. We work on our own trauma’s and problems, which aspect(s) keeps us going and what drives us to stay in this profession where we have to run to keep up with all the latest developments, remedies and systems. I can give you much more reasons to leave it, than to remain practicing. But let me tell you what keeps me going. What gives me enough of a thrill to keep coming back for more, is that I can make a difference. And the bigger the difference the better. This also implies that the further the patient is off his life’s track, the better for me.
Another benefit of these extreme cases is that the more excessive the complaint, the more beautifully it illustrates a single remedy from our materia medica. So I would like to share with you three crippled cases (from one of our most crippling remedies, Baryta, that made me feel very good about my job.
A man (55), tall, good posture, serious expression, well dressed (some patients really dress up to see the doctor) comes to my practice for hemorrhoids. So I start asking about the hemorrhoids. They are both internal and external but mostly internal. They protrude during stools which are very hard. They are large, grape like, very painful and often hemorrhaging. He has had two operations already and has tried every medicine, ointment and therapy he could find. I hardly have to ask anything. He is droning out his symptoms as a too often given speech. Then after about 20 minutes of emotionlessly discussing his rectum he seems to have mentioned everything. He looks at me completely helpless, lets his head hang down and starts to cry.
“Forget about the hemorrhoids. My stuttering has ruined my life.”
I’m completely taken by surprise. There is stuttering? He’s been talking almost non-stop for 20 minutes and I haven’t heard any such thing. I’m utterly perplexed and although my first impulse is to contradict him, (that would have ruined the whole interview) I regain myself and ask him to tell me more about the stutter.
“Well of course it’s a bit less now. But as a child I would have a horrible stutter, it runs in the family. And like all children with a stutter I was teased a lot. They would bully me, laugh at me. It was awful. I’m a very optimistic and positive person but it has completely destroyed my self confidence. In class I would pray that I wouldn’t get picked to read anything out loud. I kept myself as quiet and in the background as possible. After elementary school they advised me to go to a gymnasium (in Holland the highest, pre-university, schooling) and after that I wanted to study English at the university. But I knew there would be presentations and class readings. The thought alone terrified me. So I told my parents I wanted to be a carpenter. The second world war was only a few years ago and it seemed that as a craftsman there would always be a job. So my parents didn’t ask too many questions. At first the fear of public speaking was so great that I didn’t care about being a carpenter. Anything better than having to talk in public. After I got my diploma I got a job at a big company. They had about a 100 carpenters there but I was always working on my own. I avoided everybody. I ate my lunch not in the company cafeteria but at my bench. The first years were easy but then inside the friction started. So when I was about 28 I went to a doctor and asked him for speech lessons. He laughed and asked for whom? I didn’t go back to him. A few years later I went to a speech therapist. I had breathing exercises and speech lessons. Then they stopped treatment because they said this was as good as it was going to get. But I don’t want 90%, I wanted 100%. 90% is of no use because life is still a constant search for words I can pronounce. I can’t even say I’m a carpenter or pronounce my name. I had to change my name! When I’m at a party people are discussing books I’ve read, politics, economy, things I know things about but I can’t open my mouth! I’m the nodding idiot always afraid of making a mistake. And it’s not that I don’t like being a carpenter but it’s not completely fulfilling. There is more to me than this. But I’ve become a wallflower.”
“I’ve had a talk with my boss and I can go on early retirement next year. I won’t get full pension but for me it’s enough. I want to go back to school and study English. I feel much more confident and I don’t care so much about the stammering anymore. 90% is good enough for me and I feel I can leave my insecurity about it behind me. I feel so much more free now that I’m no longer held back by my fears and insecurities. I’m no longer crippled by it. I have no idea what I’m going to do with my English diploma but I don’t care. It’s just for me. Part of me has been standing still and now I want to exercise that part. At work I’ve started conversations with co-workers. They always thought I felt too good for them because I was so much on my own. I talked about my stuttering with them and they were very nice about it. So much has changed. I no longer feel observed all the time. I’m happy. Oh and by the way: my stools are normal now and the hemorrhoids are gone too.”
I repeated the remedy once after a couple of months. This was all about 12 years ago so before writing this article I contacted him to see how he was doing. And he’s still doing very well.
Male, 33 years old but looks like 23. Had his girlfriend make the appointment on account of him getting more and more into a full blown anxiety disorder. “Fear is gradually taking over my life. I’m afraid of people. Before I never liked going to parties or any other social event. But now I can’t even pick up the phone. The little friends I had are now all gone because of that. As soon as the phone rings my heart skips a beat: who is it, what do I say? The unknown. I don’t want to say something the other won’t like. I want to be liked. Sometimes I even get an anxiety attack: I start to perspire, hyperventilate and I get very anxious.
Until the age of fourteen I was raised very protected. My parents had no friends outside of work and no contacts out of the family. The only social contact would be the hairdresser or the dentist. It used to be an enormous task to do anything outside the house. Now I just go to work and back. For the remaining time I stay in. I’ve made a ritual with a lot of notes and preparations about what to say if I really have to make a phone call. I’m also a big control freak from a fear of failure. I want everything to be perfect. I’m checking everything over and over again. I’m very good with my hands but it takes forever to get something finished. Everything should look as if it’s been done by a professional. But even then I’m afraid someone will still find a stupid flaw somewhere. I would love to do things for myself all day: build things or make art. But that’s almost impossible because everything influences me and then I lose track of what I want. So I commit myself to few things because they overtake me. It’s very difficult to remain true to myself, I want to please everybody.
My girlfriend and I have been together for some time and she really helps me. She forces me to go out with her. She will help me by starting up conversations and keeping them going. With her I feel very safe. Before I met her I had another long term relationship. It wasn’t a good relationship but I have trouble being on my own. Not that I get anxious when I am alone it’s more that I have trouble taking care of myself. It’s a bit childish actually but I just neglect to do things: wash, cook, eat on time, buy groceries. But on other occasions I can function very well within a group. For instance at work. I work at a company that builds kitchens. My job is at the bottom of the company ladder. But within the crew I work in, everybody listens to me. Not because I have leading capacities. Not at all. But because I know what I’m doing and I’m always a step ahead. So people follow me. If the boss told me to be the leader I don’t think I could handle it. If it comes natural I can do it. Otherwise there is too much pressure, too much responsibility. I don’t want everybody looking at me like I am the authority, I couldn’t handle that.”
“A lot of things have changed this last month. My girlfriend and I broke up after nearly 10 years. The relationship hadn’t been going well for sometime but as long as there was a relationship it was okay by me. Now I wanted more: I wanted a relationship, not a mother so we each went our separate way and although I’ve had separation anxiety during both relationships I just broke up. No anxiety. I was even happy about it, liberated. We will remain friends but nothing more. It felt somewhat unnatural for me to feel like this. So free, unburdened by fears. I feel much more confident now. I feel I want change. I want to meet people, travel, maybe change jobs. I’ve noticed that my entire house is surrounded with memories of my two ex girlfriends. I want new surroundings. I started sort of inviting myself over at colleagues. I don’t want relationships in which I am the one without any social life, without friends. That’s when I will lean too much on the other. I want friends of my own. So before I go into a new relationship I want to work on that.”
Over the next year I repeated the remedy twice. After that the metamorphosis was complete. He had a new job, he had started bartending in a nearby bar as a hobby to develop his social skills. He developed a passion for dancing and what really surprised me was that he changed his appearance. Before he was this awkwardly shy boy with neglected appearance. Now, with a new love for personal appearance he was suddenly good looking enough that he could have been a male model. He kept the softness in his character but otherwise he had really grown beyond recognition.
While in the other two cases I was spot on with my first prescription. With this case I had some misses. Physically she did quite well on Sulphur but other than that it did nothing for her. When she first called the practice I thought it was a joke from a colleague because she wanted to make an appointment for a fungal infection on her toenails and she was living in Germany, at least 200 kilometers from the practice! The wonders I do with toenails must have been wide spread. But who am I to say no, so after two weeks she came to the practice.
She’s a thin, good looking woman (I guessed her to be 37 but she’s almost 50), avoids eye contact (mostly eyes downcast) and sometimes smiles nervously. She’s clearly not used to talking about herself and every bit of information has to be dragged out of her.
Her GP had prescribed an anti-mycotic remedy which she has been using for 7 weeks with no effect so far. It’s only on the first three toes of both feet. First the toes get white spots, then they become yellow and then they fall off.
Based on this it is difficult to prescribe anything (also she’s come from so far so I want to do it right) so I ask her “why did you travel so far to see a homeopath?”
She was born in the Netherlands and as a child had lived near the practice for a couple of years. She still doesn’t feel at home in Germany and this has a safe feeling about it. When she was 17 they moved to Germany. She felt really out of place there. Of course she had had German lessons at school but still she didn’t feel at home. While living in the Netherlands she had an older sister with whom she could get along but she didn’t move to Germany with them. So it was just her and her parents. Her mother also had problems with their new home country and started to neglect her daughter and sought her calm in drinking. This spun so far out of control that she would often find her mother passed out after school and more and more her mother would start to blame her for what was wrong in her life. Herself she had always been insecure and with very few friends and after their move this became much worse. She felt stupid in school because of the language (especially in girls peer-communication it is very important in puberty) and she couldn’t take anybody home on account of her mother’s drinking problem. Meanwhile she was terrified by the thought of perhaps finding her mother dead one day. As a result she fled into books and became a very fanatic reader.
In her senior year she met a man from Canada who was working abroad for a year. It wasn’t really love at first sight but it was a ticket out of there. And although he was 15 years older than her, her mother adored him and together they moved to Canada where she had three children with him. But the marriage was never working. He would be gone on business for months and when he was at home he ignored her and the children.
It took her 15 years before she eventually got her courage and went for divorce. Because her husband had to work in Germany again for a couple of years she decided it best for the children to move back there as well.
Hoping her parents would help her create a new life for herself she moved back in with them but wasn’t received with open arms. Her mother didn’t take her side in the divorce. She couldn’t understand why she would divorce this nearly perfect man and told her she had made her very unhappy and that she shamed her family. And not a day went by that she didn’t rub her nose in it. She felt a complete failure in her mother’s eyes. ‘I never did anything right, then I married the perfect man and now I’ve ruined that too.’ Somewhere in this year the fungal inflammation started (which is why I gave sulphur).
Another symptom she has since puberty is an almost daily recurring nightmare where she would dream about losing loved ones. They just disappear and she cannot find them anywhere. It’s very vivid and the sense of loss is tremendous, a void with an enormous sadness.
When I gave her Sulphur her nails improved about 80%. All other symptoms were unchanged. I tried a higher dosage but the effect stayed the same. So I left Sulphur and tried Nnatrium Muriaticum which did even less. It appeared to me that these remedies were too superficial in her condition. She needed something more deep acting, but what? I went through my notes again and gave her the Baryta 200.
The result was better than I hoped. Still living with her parents she would sneak in and out of the house afraid of being confronted by her mother again. So she withdrew in her room and took the remedy at a quiet moment as prescribed. After an hour she suddenly felt she was strong enough to confront her mother so she went to her. They had a huge argument: “We shouted, we screamed, we blamed each other, we pushed, we cried. And then it was over. For the first time in my life I had an argument with my mother. And we are best friends now. She never saw it from my side as I was always so passive. Now things have completely changed. I can even imagine myself living in Germany now. I wouldn’t even mind living in the same town as my parents.”
“It’s incredible how many things have changed over the last month. For the last couple of months I’ve had a pen pal and now I decided I wanted to meet him and we really hit it off. I can really see something happening there. I started talking to people on the bus. I’ve stepped into my life, and I’m no longer at the sideline. I’ve enrolled at a university because I do not want to remain insecure about not having a diploma. And inside I feel this tremendous strength, a euphoric energy that wants to live, face things and emerge.”
“From the day I took the remedy the dreams haven’t occurred. No more nightmares!”
During the consult her growth really shows: she makes eye contact, looks much more matured
And the nails?