Homeopathy Papers

Repertory Round-Up, Part-5 (Overwhelmed and Exhausted!)

How to pick rubrics out of a case

Why Are We Here?

Maria:  I am not good at picking rubrics out in a case. 

Me:  Oh. 

MariaI would find very useful an article about rubrics, how to find them.




So!  That brings us up to the present!  Maria was referring to last month’s quiz, “What Remedy Is Marie Barone?”  She didn’t know what the rubric was for someone who “had a lot of nerve!”–It was “audacity”–and she couldn’t find the rubric for “controlling”–it’s “domineering (or dictatorial) disposition; control others, wants to”.  (I’m using Murphy’s Repertory, 3rd ed.) 

So she thinks I need to do another article on finding rubrics in the Repertory.  I’ll see what I can do, Maria!


OK, where should we start…???  Maybe we should do a case!  I took this case a year ago.  First, I have to come up with a fictitious name for the client.  Hmm……what about… Magnolia?  How’s that for a classy name?  She’s 46 years old, 5′ 4″, weighs 140 pounds, so, maybe a little over-weight.  So, without any further ado, here’s Magnolia explaining her complaint and we will try to pick the rubrics out along the way, you can try to guess what the rubrics are too and then compare them with what I come up with and we’ll see if we get the same thing.

Overwhelmed and Exhausted!

The case is in red, and my comments are in black.

Elaine, did you see the report I sent you from my naturopath?  About my bloodwork?  It looks like my adrenals are shot, too much cortisol, thyroid disrupted… This has been going on since my 3rd child was born, so, for about 10 years.

OK, we’ve got a possible etiology here:  Ailments from childbirth.  Where do we find that?  In Murphy’s Repertory, we’ve got “Mind: childbirth, ailments from”.  And, Murphy has a “Pregnancy” chapter; so, in that chapter we have “Pregnancy: childbirth, after, childbirth, complaints” (stated simply, “complaints after childbirth”).  I would combine those two rubrics.  There are 75 remedies under “Complaints After Childbirth”, which means we have to keep reading and look for more symptoms, EVEN THOUGH … I hasten to add … our main remedy for “Ailments from Childbirth” is????  Anybody….?  Sepia!  But do we know it’s Sepia yet?  No!

My other complaint is depression.

Are we going to look up “Depression” in the Repertory?  No!  Too many remedies!  It’s not going to help us!

Depression started during my senior year in college: I lost my best friend (she moved to another state).

“Mind: Grief, ailments from”.  Could it be Nat-mur?  Too soon to know!  But you know, Sepia and Nat-mur are complementary remedies.  She could be Sepia with Nat-mur underneath!  In other words, 2 layers so far.  The most recent layer always comes first though, right?  “Healing takes place in reverse order”, remember?  Hering’s Law?  So her first remedy has to cover “Ailments from Childbirth”.

I was drinking a lot in college too.

In Murphy’s Repertory:  “Food: alcohol, desires”.

I think the adrenal fatigue was caused from the stress of having a baby and two other children and at the same time, my husband was becoming an alcoholic.  Although I loved being a mother, I felt totally overwhelmed and abandoned by my husband.

Good heavens!  Three kids and a husband who might as well not be there?  You can imagine that this woman is exhausted!  What are we thinking of here?  “Ailments from too much responsibility”?  Let’s see if we can find it.  Here it is:  “Mind: responsibility, ailments, from too much”.  And we also have, “Mind: abandoned, husband, by”.

I think the initial cause of the depression may have been my friend moving away but I was also having trouble getting good grades.  Lately, any amount of stress aggravates the adrenal fatigue.  I can only deal with one thing at a time.

I actually can’t find “adrenal exhaustion” in the Repertory anywhere.  If anybody knows where it is, let me know!

Negative thoughts about my family can send me into a depression.  But the depression could be causing the negative thoughts, so, who knows.  Gray days are difficult for me.  I’m better for sunshine.  Sometimes, I just start crying.

She’s depressed in cloudy weather.  The rubric is:  “Mind: depression, cloudy weather”.  Also, we want to look up “Mind: crying” and we want to find a subrubric that’s something like, “spontaneous” or “without reason”, or “cries easily”… Let’s see what we can find.  OK, I found “Mind: crying, causeless”.

It is very difficult for me to wake up and get up in the morning.  I am most productive between 10-4, then I crash.  I drag myself after that.

“Evening agg.”  In Murphy’s 3rd ed., it’s in the “Time” chapter.

I love sunshine.  Storms are exciting to me.

OMG!  OMG!  This is it!!!!  Bingo!!!!  Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  Ding!!!!  This is what we hope to find in a case– A Keynote of a Remedy!!!  If we do, all we have to ask ourselves is, “Does this remedy fit the rest of the case?  Does it cry for no reason?  Is it exhausted?  Over-worked?  Is it worse since childbirth?”  Yes, yes, yes, yes!!!  And of course, the rubric is “Mind: weather, thunderstorms, loves”.  And what is the remedy?  Sepia!  And what have we been suspecting all along?  Sepia!!!!!  (Yes, Carcinosin loves thunderstorms too, but Carcinosin doesn’t fit “ailments from childbirth” or “causeless crying”.)

I don’t like to be cold.  I’m chilly.

“Generals: cold, body”.  Is Sepia cold?  Yes!

I like having meaningful conversations with a close friend.

“Mind: intellectual”.

I’m happy when people show genuine concern for me.

“Mind: sympathy, desire for”.

What do I wish never happened?  The boyfriend when I was 16.  The partying and fleeting “relationships” in college.

Where is this in the Repertory?  “Mind: sexuality, excesses, ailments from”.

I love live music–orchestras, bands.  I have been called “intense” and “controlling”.

Now, I know you’re going to say, “Elaine, Sepia’s in bold for ‘music agg.'”  OK, but, notice she says she loves LIVE music, not music, LIVE music–as in going to concerts!  I wouldn’t confuse that with love of music.  I would call it “love of excitement!!!!”  It’s the same issue as the “love of thunderstorms”–it’s the excitement!  And the rubric is, “Mind: excitement, amel.”

For “intense”, I picked “Mind: overbearing” and for “controlling”, we all remember that from last month’s quiz: “Mind: domineering (and in some repertories, “dictatorial”), control, wants to control others”.

What happens to me over and over again?  The feeling of being overwhelmed and exhausted.

Is this not Sepia?  Overwhelmed and exhausted?  This is Sepia in a nutshell!  The rubric is: “Mind: stress, overwhelmed by”.

How neat am I?  My husband’s and kids’ things are all over the house–drives me crazy.

Just more confirmation of how overwhelmed she is.  Can’t keep up with the house, too exhausted.

I have great difficulty expressing any love to my husband and older children. 

This is the other famous Sepia keynote, is it not?  Aversion to husband and her children?  “Mind: aversions, husband, to her, children, and”.  Only 3 remedies.  Sepia’s the only one in bold!

In the early years, I could still express love, but after so many years of hurt and depression, I feel unable to be vulnerable.  And although I love my children, I especially have trouble telling “Little Magnolia” that I love her.  All I see are her weaknesses and difficulties.  A part of me feels like I would break down into uncontrollable tears if I really opened up.  I remember a time in marriage counseling when the discussion was so painful, I was crying so hard that the priest actually left the room! 

“Mind: crying, hysterical”.  Now, you’ve probably noticed, there’s a lot of “crying” in Sepia (and I believe it’s under “Mind: crying, telling of her sickness, when”–meaning that she cries in the interview, and family counseling is like an “interview”).  Why all this crying?  It has to do with one of Sepia’s themes–that of “laxness”.  Lax organs and tissues.  The eyes droop, the mouth frowns, the uterus sags, other organs sag, the bladder sags; “prolapsus”, it’s called.  How does this transfer to the Mental/Emotional Plane?  She can’t “brace up” against an emotion!  It just all comes out!  It’s like her famous symptom, “feels as if all her organs would fall out if she didn’t cross her legs” (“Generals: falling, out sensation”).  This is why “excitement amel.” (concerts amel., thunderstorms amel.)  She’s better for anything that invigorates!

Sepia’s a “2” under “screaming/shouting”, meaning that she can really “go off” on you; so, whatever’s there, whatever emotion is there, there’s no stopping it!

Now we come to the section in my questionnaire about Food, and if it’s Sepia, I’m fully expecting to find that she has a desire for chocolate, and a desire for sour things like pickles and lemons and vinegar and you might even see a desire for ice as well.  Why?  Because these are all things–except for chocolate– that “brace you up”, give you tone.  Let’s see what she says.

I drink apple cider vinegar or lemon/tumeric drinks.  And I’d feel deprived if I didn’t have chocolate.  I drink water at room temperature but other drinks have ice.

Ha!  What’d I tell ya!  In Murphy’s Repertory, “Food: sour, desires” and “chocolate, desires”.

Libido is almost non-existent.  My husband and I have not had sex for about a year.

Well!  This case is just one Sepia keynote after another!  “Mind: aversion, sex”.

How do I react to sympathy?  I usually cry first.  Then I appreciate the concern.

“Mind: consolation, agg.”

Is there anything noteworthy about my face?  Red bumps on my cheeks.  I frown a lot in concentration.

“Mind: frown, disposed to”.  I couldn’t find a rubric for the red bumps.  Hives?  I don’t know.

Time To Repertorize

Here we are with our repertorization.  Sepia is way out in front!!!!  But, you see where Nat-mur is, it’s virtually tied with Pulsatilla for 2nd place; that could be her next remedy.  There’s a lot of grief in this case.




I told her to take Sepia 6C three times a day, in water, with 5 succussions before each dose.  Here’s what she said:

“I’ve taken 3 doses of Sepia 6C.  I got a small sense of ‘I can do this!’ when looking over my ‘to do’ list today.”

Why Sepia 6C?

So, let me just explain my dosing and potency decision.  Most people would have given Sepia 200.  But look how fast 6C, taken this way, got results!  Oh sure, she had to eventually raise the potency, that’s no big deal, but here’s the thing:  People LIKE to take “medicine” every day!  It makes them feel like they’re doing something!  There’s something very unreal about taking a 200C one time and then doing nothing for a month!  You never really know where you are in the case–has the remedy started working yet?  How will I know when it starts to work?  Is it aggravating?  Has something, maybe, canceled it out?  Mint?  Coffee?  (I found out by accident once that people were using Vicks Vap-O-Rub on parts of their body for various reasons, which is an absolute no-no when you’re on a remedy!)  But if you’re taking a 6 or a 9C every day, and your remedy gets antidoted, well, you’re going to take it again anyway!

The other thing this method is good for is the ability to deal with acutes and injuries as they come along!  If a person is on a daily remedy, and catches a cold, you don’t have to choose between the acute and the constitution!  You just simply stop the daily remedy and take the case of the acute complaint.  Get that out of the way, and then go back to the chronic remedy when the patient is well–everybody wins!

Also, I want to comment on how the case was submitted by Magnolia.  What you saw above were answers to my questionnaire.  It’s not by accident that she tells me, “I love the excitement of thunderstorms!”  It’s  because I have a question about weather!  “How do you react to weather?”  Remember, we’re here to find a homeopathic remedy, not to be entertained!  We know what information we have to get: sensation, location, modalities, concomitants, food desires and aversions, etiology, reaction to weather, time of day, sleep position, and so on.  We have to make sure we get this information, not leave it to chance!

I got my questionnaire from the back of Dr. Luc’s book, Hahnemann Revisited, a book that everyone should have!  And over the years I’ve added some extra questions that I’ve picked up from other homeopaths, such as, “What happens to you over and over again?”  (“Overwhelmed and exhausted!”) and “What role do you play in relationships?”  Dr. Luc even has a questionnaire for Pets and a questionnaire for Children.

So, one more thing about Sepia–they’re bored!  They can be very bored and unmotivated.  It’s because of “stasis”, that’s another Sepia theme.  The circulation is very sluggish.  They love to exercise because it gets the circulation moving and so they feel better.  Same with dancing, the movement improves their circulation.

So, there you have it, Sepia!

Bye, see ya next time!


Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.

Elaine takes online cases! Write to her at [email protected]

Visit her website: www.ElaineLewis.hpathy.com

About the author

Elaine Lewis

Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.
Elaine is a passionate homeopath, helping people offline as well as online. Contact her at [email protected]
Elaine is a graduate of Robin Murphy's Hahnemann Academy of North America and author of many articles on homeopathy including her monthly feature in the Hpathy ezine, "The Quiz". Visit her website at:
https://elainelewis.hpathy.com/ and TheSilhouettes.org


  • For a very simple reason Linda, they don’t sell LM’s in the health food store! You have to order them and they’re rather expensive! Magnolia probably paid $6.00 for Sepia 6C. If she had ordered LM1, it might have cost nearly $20.00! Then there’s the fussy dosing instructions that go with the LM’s. I prescribe LM’s when it appears that the C potencies are either aggravating or have to be repeated constantly. When I’m getting frustrated with the C’s, that’s when I start saying, “I think we better try LM1.”

  • DR

  • Elaine, yet another wonderful explanation about Sepia. I really loved your perception of Sepia themes- that of “laxness”. What a wonderful analogy !!! ( She can’t “brace up” against an emotion! It just all comes out!) . The mind is what dictates the personality. I used to wonder why do Sepia’s organs sag – which is her typical feature, but after reading your article Sepia has been imprinted in my brain.
    Also your article ( ” Revisiting: What Remedy Is Marge Simpson?” for an in-depth discussion of Sepia: https://hpathy.com/case-quizes/revisiting-what-remedy-is-marge-simpson/“) is a crown in your quiz’es for an indepth analysis for Sepia, Carcinosin, Staphysagria.
    Thanks falls short, but that’s all I can say now.

  • Loved it ! Such a great article. You have a way of shedding new light on old familiar things and really connecting the dots and prioritizing. Thank you for taking the time to share all of this great info.

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