Kyle is a pharmaceutical rep who wanted to “get normal again”. He said “I’m out of whack, too nervous, too much fear. I need to become strong mentally and physically. I feel vibration from a nervous standpoint, when I wake up, and I feel like I’m vibrating now. For many years I have not felt mentally clear, and my reading comprehension has gotten very bad. I comprehend as I’m reading, but a few minutes later can’t remember or understand it. It’s getting worse. I can change emotions on the drop of a dime.”
Kyle was four blocks from the World Trade Center when the buildings fell on September 11, 2001. He said he zoned out and “went into Army Medic mode” with the crisis that day, and just kept putting one foot in front of the other, somehow making it through. He was on edge for a long time after that, never knowing whether another attack was coming, from the sky, from anthrax in the mail, or from something he couldn’t imagine. Two months later, Kyle was in a tunnel in New York City in heavy, slow traffic, when another airliner crashed. He said he felt trapped when he heard the crash and the sirens of the emergency responders. He didn’t know what was going on. He had his first panic attack there in the tunnel.
He said his vision went to tunnel vision, and everything went dark except for a small point where he could see. He didn’t know what he was doing. He had gotten out of his car and was shaking, when he was nearly hit by an oncoming bus. A kind stranger from the car behind him pulled him to safety and told him he was having a panic attack. He gave Kyle cold water and told him to put it on his head and turn on his car’s air conditioning.
The cold application and the cold air on his face helped him at the time to get his breath back, and gave him enough composure to get to his parking garage. He sat on the steps of the parking garage for hours, unable to go into his building. He couldn’t work. His breath was shallow and difficult. He was trembling, shaking all over. He continued to have panic attacks periodically, and lived in a state of fear and anxiety about many things. He said “it took a lot out of me”. I asked him if the trembling he felt when he gave his case was similar to the trembling he felt at his first panic attack. He said it was – sort of like a little tap: “I’m here…I’m here.”
He was afraid to fly after 9/11. He felt trapped on a plane – the same feeling he had in the tunnel. When a panic attack was coming on, he would get tunnel vision like he experienced during his first attack.
My analysis was that Kyle was still trembling from the terror attacks and his experience in the tunnel. He had been shaking for 13 years.
Analysis using MTEK
At Allen College, we approach cases with MTEK: Miasm, Totality, Essence, Keynotes. Fifty percent of the case work is to find the miasmatic picture in the case, and find the surface miasm. We also ask for symptoms from head-to-toe. Kyle’s anxiety about everything was evident in this part of the case. He gave me symptoms that were extreme, and symptoms that worried him that occurred for only brief moments every week or so. He had detailed complaints for every category on my intake form. It was difficult to decide where to step into the stream.
Although there was a lot of life history of sadness, abuse and trauma before the events of September 11, 2001, Allen College students are trained always to look for an etiology. This case had a strong one, a starting date for his extreme anxiety which was crippling him, and in my opinion, he couldn’t move forward until the panic and anxiety were resolved.
I wanted to lift the bad effects of the terror attack from his shoulders. I needed a medicine that could handle extreme anxiety, fear, and trembling, and had the important modality, >cold applications.
Miasmatic breakdown of symptoms
Putting a client’s important symptoms into a table, sorted by miasm, helps me visualize a case by giving me sort of a bar chart to look at. Kyle’s case turned out to be heavily Psoric, with Syc coming in second, but quite a lot of Syph and Tub as well. I needed a medicine that covered all of the miasms, but it must cover Psora and Sycosis very well.
|Amiable +++/+||Extrovert +++/+||Hurried++||Impatient||Irritable (SycPsor)|
|Company likes ++||Angry++||Jealous||Sociable +++, now +||Des sour (PsorSyph)|
|Mild++||Neat/Clean++||Methodical||Desires beef||Stool offensive 50% of time (PsorSyphTub)|
|Sentimental||Positive/Optimist, was ++, now –||Sweat on neck wears out shirts||Green stool w/blood on tissue||Comprehension difficult (SyphTub)|
|Sluggish||Restless||Disturbed sleep||Nails glossy, blanch and blush||Changeable emotions Tub/Psor|
|Sympathetic ++||Talkative||Unrefreshing sleep||Sleep – wake groggy, worn out||Fears Psor/Syc|
|Des sweet||Des Warm food||>>cold (cold air, cold water, open car window in cold weather, ice on head)||Exhausted after sleep||Mouth foetid odor Psor/Syph/Tub|
|Des Chicken||Nails slight vertical ridges||Disturbed sleep||Crave things that make him sick|
|Sweat on forehead||Facial discoloration||Sticky discharge from eyes||Vertigo >being quiet|
|Grind teeth||Cloudy urine, 1st urine of the day||Nose congestion opens in cold air||Vertigo at different times of day (changeable)|
|Skin dry||Memory impaired||Lots of amalgam fillings (quite a few cavities, root canals)||Postnasal drip
<<spring, <fall, <allergies
|Anxiety||Nose blocked sensation||h/a >cold, cold applications||h/a <heat, hot car, heater, heat in summer|
|Fear||Coryza greenish||h/a from heat in summer||Sleep unrefreshed w/great exhaustion|
|Vertigo||Nose sx <humidity||h/a burning, as if brain in flames|
|>lying down||Sleep, wake, then return to sleep||When wakes at night with anxious thoughts, thinks of being on clean sheet of ice alone, feel coolness, ice skating, hitting hockey puck|
|Exhaustion||Very practical, cares for security, money, responsible person|
|Tired all the time||Exaggeration: many of his sx are really slight, but they seem big to him. Ex: “Blood pressure higher than ever” – 130/82.|
|Itchy eyes||Memory weak|
|Burning eyes||Rapid breathing|
|Heavy feeling in head (starts in morning, goes throughout day, to evening)|
|Head heaviness >sleeping|
|Sleepless due to thoughts/ideas|
Never Been Well Since
The strong etiology in the case was NBWS events surrounding 9/11. I thought the trembling and vibration he felt was a red thread running through the case – the result of fear from being close to the Twin Towers when they fell, and being in the tunnel and unable to escape when the next plane crashed two months later.
Totality of case
– Trembling and vibrating
– Anxiety in many situations, when rushed, when driving at night, about finances and security for family
– Anxiety about health out of proportion, gave lots of tiny details about almost every category
– Fears something bad will happen
– >>Cold, cold air, cold water, ice, thinking about ice
Essence of case
I thought the strain of living in New York City during the weeks after the terror stressed him tremendously, and he broke when he was trapped in the tunnel as the plane crashed two months later. Interestingly, the thing that helped him in the tunnel – cold applications and cold air – continued to help him in the years following his first panic attack.
Kyle said several times, “I’m afraid something bad will happen”. When I asked for clarification, the thing he was afraid of was that he would break down physically in some way, such as black out, have a seizure, or have a stroke.
I evaluated a list of medicines, among them Carc, Cann-i, Merc, Lyc, Calc, Acon, Nux-v, Arg-nit, and Nit-ac. Although some of these medicines have very strong similarities to Kyle’s case, a story told to my class by Dr. Subrata Banerjea, about a mine cave-in, gave me the understanding to choose my medicine.
A miner was trapped underground in a mine collapse, in the dark, for more than two days, wondering if he would be rescued and live, or die in that dark mine. After his rescue, he developed neurological symptoms. Dr. Banerjea pointed to Allen’s Keynotes, in the Argentum nitricum chapter, “acute or chronic diseases from unusual or long-continued mental exertion”, and said that in Arg-nit, the weak links are in the nervous system and in the mental sphere. He gave the miner Arg-nit with great results.
Kyle’s case seemed very similar to the miner’s case, with the long-continued mental strain felt by all New Yorkers, wondering whether every loud sound was another attack. Then, Kyle was trapped in a confined, dark place, when there was another plane crash. He started shaking and never stopped, and was then crippled by fear and anxiety.
The miasmatic picture of Arg-nit covered the case well: Psor +++, Syc+++, Syph+++, Tub+++. I gave Kyle two potencies, because of the etiology, Arg-nit 200C in water, shake and sip from that bottle for 7 days, take 14 days off, then Arg-nit 1M in water, shake and sip for 7 days (7/14/7). Follow up at six-week intervals.
Kyle said with each sip of the medicine he felt improvement. He noticed his usual tenseness was decreasing, and he was able to handle situations like calling about his cable service without blowing up. He said he had to get assertive on the phone, but he felt in control, just had to do this task. His chiropractor told him he has a voice in his head that says “I think I can’t I think I can’t”, like the story, except that the title to his story would be, “The Little Engine That Couldn’t”. That voice began to change. He said the Arg-nit “put a little juice” in him, like, “You can do this”. He began to feel stronger, and decided to seek a higher-level position in his company. This would require interviewing, and with that, increased anxiety. He felt some self-doubt, but he was beginning to fight that in his mind, and change it to “I think I CAN”. He said he would not have been able to fight the negativity before the Arg-nit.
Rx: Wait and Watch with Wisdom (WWW). Boost Arg-nit 1M (“Boost” = Saclac), 7/14/7. Avena sativa MT SOS, for help with acute anxiety such as preparing for an interview, 12 drops in ½ cup lukewarm water, 3x a day.
Since his first follow-up, he applied for a promotion in his company. Last time he said he wanted to eradicate that “I think I can’t” voice in his head that tells him he shouldn’t change jobs. This time he said he thought this job will be a good change for him, but would not be satisfying long-term, because he really would like to work with a start-up company doing research on new drugs. He said he still didn’t have the confidence to “jump into the ocean”, because he had never been able to take risks in the past, but is starting to think he can. Before, he wouldn’t have even considered it.
His job interview was a three-hour drive away. He was nervous about driving and interviewing on the same day so planned to go the day before, and stay in a hotel so he could collect himself before the interview in the morning. He had some reservations about trying for this job because there would be training involved which would probably include flying. He felt himself getting anxious when thinking about that possibility. He would also need to study more if he got the new job, learn many new drugs. His comprehension and retention were improving, but still low.
In general, he said he felt like he was going forward, but had a weight that he was still carrying with him. He said, “I’m road marching with my rucksack on my back, just hard work to get through life”. He also made a reference to the old movie “The Wizard of Oz”. He said, “I’m on the Yellow Brick Road, I’ve passed the Scarecrow, but still haven’t passed the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion.”
Rx: WWW. Boost Arg nit 1M, 7/14/7, follow-up in 6 weeks.
Brahmi MT to help with comprehension and retention when studying , 12 drops in half mug of lukewarm water, twice daily, until next follow-up in six weeks.
Avena sativa MT SOS if experiencing acute anxiety, but do not take Brahmi on the same day.
Kyle said the last six weeks had been “quite a ride”. He had to take an MMR vaccine as a requirement of his employment, and this caused him great emotional distress, because he has a daughter who was made autistic from vaccination. Being forced to take the vaccine caused him a lot of flashbacks. He was more edgy, with more anxiety and tightness in his throat, making it hard to swallow during this time. He cleared his throat a lot during his follow-up.
Kyle had just started taking his sachets from the second follow-up when he learned he had to take the MMR. He called me about this development and asked if homeopathy had something to protect him from the MMR vaccine. He was very afraid. We took a detour from his plan of treatment, and used MMR in two potencies to counteract the vaccine, then after two weeks, resumed his Arg-nit. He used Avena sativa MT during this time to help him with the anxiety.
He was changing jobs through all of this, and was studying all day for several weeks in preparation for a comprehensive exam, which would be taken in New York City. This follow-up was shortly after the anniversary of 9/11. His wife told me he had made it through the anniversary better than any time since the attacks, even with all the stress.
Brahmi MT was helping him with comprehension and retention of the bulk of new information he had to learn. He knew he had to fly to New York to finish his training, and take a comprehensive exam at that time. The fear of flying was beginning to rear its head. He didn’t know if he could actually fly and be in a healthy state of mind for the nine-day training session. Fortunately, his brother was coming to visit and was flying back to New York the day before Kyle was scheduled to fly, so he changed his reservations to fly with his brother. Even though he had to fly home alone, he said he would be coming to his place of safety, so he was hoping that would help him on the return trip.
He was going to be in New York City near the anniversary of the November plane crash. This concerned me because there would probably be retrospectives on the television and people discussing the events of that day. Kyle did a lot of cursing and swearing with a lot of profanity about his work situation and life in general during this follow-up. Leaving his old job behind had brought out the worst in his old boss, he felt his co-workers were envious of his new position, and he was feeling bittersweet about leaving old colleagues and stepping out alone. He also chewed out customer service people at his cable company and the airline because of account problems there. I thought it was time to give him a re-dose of Arg-nit 1M. But when I asked him for his graph in general, he said it was rising – he was still improving. He said it wasn’t going up at a 45-degree angle, maybe only 10 degrees, but it was rising.
I was very concerned that he would be in an emotionally potent location, under mental and emotional strain while in New York. He was very prone to nervousness and anxiety, and always timed taking his medicine very carefully so he wouldn’t be feeling an aggravation while doing his training and exams. He often felt an aggravation with his dosing, even when on Saclac. Thus, I couldn’t give him a sachet to take “just in case”. I thought giving him a SOS sachet might be worse than crossing my fingers. This was a very difficult choice for me to make. However, my Allen College training came to my rescue here. When the graph is rising, we give Saclac.
Rx: Boost Arg-nit 1M, 7/14/7
Brahmi MT, for help with studying/comprehension/retention of new material for work, 12 drops twice daily, take until follow-up in 6 weeks. If anxiety is a bigger problem than comprehension and retention, change to:
Avena MT, SOS for anxiety, especially when preparing to fly, and when going into his important exam.
Kyle called me several times from New York during his training and testing for his new job. He flew up with his brother, which helped him, but his anxiety still gave him trouble during the nine-day training and testing. He was nervous, with pounding heart, when in a group of people and asked to introduce himself. He took the final test and was “a nervous wreck” even though he knew the material. He passed the tests.
In general, he was happy with his new job, and the change from sales to marketing. His new work group was supportive, and the job had great potential for him. He said he is a person who wants to be liked, but now he needed to be a person who is doing the right thing, and needed to speak well and influence others with his actions.
All of this change was affecting him physically. His neck was tight, tongue and palate were dry, and he worked his throat constantly as if he was trying to clear it or swallow. He got an aggravation from his second sachet (which was Saclac), so I told him to take it to the third bottle which should calm him down. He reported the next day that he was doing much better on the third bottle.
He surprised me by telling me he and his family had flown to New York City for a holiday, and had a great time. However, thoughts of terrorism invaded his happy time, and other parts of his case were showing strain.
Kyle said he needed to be able to stand up to competing forces in his work, and be strong and confident, but “right now I feel like I’m being blown around”. He said he felt his overall graph was going down. Finally, it was time to re-dose. Two tiny pellets of Arg-nit, given in May, 2014, had brought all this wonderful change and helped him until November, 2014.
Rx: Arg-nit 1M, 2 sachets, 7/14/7
Continue Brahmi MT 12 drops twice daily for comprehension and retention of new material
Avena sativa MT, SOS, for acute anxiety, if needed.
Into the future
Kyle has continued to improve in the ensuing two years. He now has a job which puts him on an airplane at least twice a week, and which is very challenging. He has had a few detours because of required flu vaccines and a car wreck, but told me that homeopathy gave him his life back. I am grateful for the chance to see, up close, the wonderful results homeopathy can bring.