Arsenicum Album: Furthering The Analysis

Riley Coules
December 11, 2017

Note: in this piece I am, generally speaking, referring to Arsenicums with very disturbed vital forces (i.e. heavily diseased bodies or minds, and quite often both).

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Arsenicum types are actually quite stable in good health, possessing a genuine confidence in their welfare and day-to-day endeavors*. The unaffected Arsenicums, typically in their younger years, will not possess anxiety, nor fear of any kind (besides, perhaps, ghosts and heights); in fact, they may have an overabundance of certainty, due to which they suffer from an invincibility complex. It is, in fact, health that equates to control, and lack of apparent limitation that drives Arsenicum persons to manipulate their bodies into submission. Once their health is tested, however, their false impression of security–false in the sense that it wavers with hardship–dwindles accordingly, from which they fret, take action, criticize, manipulate, and dominate. Qualities of the whole soul cannot be broken; thus, Arsenicums, like every other constitution, must learn to solidify their higher nature even when trauma threatens the foundations on which they have always operated. In a state of equilibrium, the ambition of Arsenicum knows no bounds. The power here, then, lies in the mind, and will manifest physically whenever Arsenicum allows it to.

Rationality becomes Arsenicum’s enemy as the disease process progresses, complementing nir adherence to the reality of reality.

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Ill-health threatens Arsenicum; as such, this constitution will not only function on the offensive in the face of moderate, noticeable distress via proper nutrition and supplementation (recall that one can be mildly disordered without realizing it), but the defensive. Until later stages of the disease process, in which Arsenicums deem it useless to even try, they will attempt to dominate every aspect of their environment in order to regain the sense of stability they once possessed. Unfortunately, Arsenicum’s “preventative measures” may include people, as they pose such a great threat to Arsenicum’s health (consider how few of them wash their hands!), and are liable to get themselves sick via their own “negligent” behaviors (Arsenicum’s driven, regimented nature often sets standards few others can achieve). Higher Arsenicums will stifle their fears in order to refrain from policing others; lower Arsenicums will be driven mad by the potential transmission of microbes from one person to the next, those that may worsen Arsenicum’s condition and in fact extend nir suffering–a fate that could be prevented if only Arsenicum made it so. Arsenicums expect perfection (and grapple with the ramifications of failure); thus, they will not stop at the kitchen counter or bathroom sink when attempting to abate their generalized sense of fear, that which governs all of the constitution’s decision-making processes; no, Arsenicums will clean their living room couches, their garage door handles, the sidewalks in front of their homes, and the car that transports them to the outside world, from the environment they allow to suffocate them. The house of Arsenicum in a deep state of illness is not a home; it is an avenue to self-destruction, wherein Arsenicums can clean all they want, research their condition all they want, feed into their fears all they want, and never come back down to the reality that would heal them if only they allowed that to be so.

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Because Arsenicum types greatly desire to feel in control of their environment, they will often seek the security of their home to shelter them from the potential dangers of the world. Coupled with my emotional detachment and consequent inability to connect with my friends, I shut myself off during my decline from experience in the place I felt safest. I never partied, I never stayed out, I always retreated into the haven I despised yet could not find any gumption within to leave. I knew something was wrong, but I could not fathom what had changed (how much had changed!), or how to get me–whoever I was– back; I gave into my immediate desires as a result, those that bestowed me with great “content” at the time but never really held any meaning in the grand scheme of things. I could be found doing my homework/cleaning/running/watching YouTube videos on veganism/life improvement/other topics I wanted to learn about roughly 90% of the time (actual living comprised 0% of my daily endeavors). With that, I could not relax. More than any other remedy type, Arsenicums are known for their restless fulfillment, perhaps to calm their restless minds; essentially, they will not shut off. This fastidiousness manifests list-taking, chore-doing maniacs who go, go, go until they can’t anymore (and neglect to stop and smell the roses in the meantime). Sheer anguish replaces their inability to relax when members of this constitution no longer possess the energy to clean, at which time they fret over the unwashed dishes in the kitchen, the messy laundry in desperate need of folding, and the inability of family members to clean up after themselves.

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Arsenicums not only purify to prevent (but what are they purifying? Certainly not the mind, although the morality-driven Arsenicum, prior to healing, will expect excellence to an exhaustive degree); they prepare to prevent. Ironically, considering how concerned Arsenicum types are with order, they will collect a variety of valuables–rather, invaluables–in an attempt to appease their fear of being left defenseless in the future, a fear that, like many of the concerns associated with the constitution, is totally unwarranted, and not to mention thoroughly unattainable, for Arsenicum seeks a total control that cannot be had (note that poverty may give rise to an Arsenicum layer, given that other propensities within the personality fit the bill). Arsenicums may become hoarders as a result, however untraditional: one may distinguish between the quintessential hoarder and the Arsenicum hoarder in that the latter will somehow organize their collection–categorically, in neat rows, perhaps alphabetically, or otherwise by order of perceived importance. Arsenicum is extremely sensitive to disorder and confusion; as such, they cannot bear piles of laundry, unopened mail, knick-knacks strewn about or unfiled papers. The external amplifies the internal, which for Arsenicum types is especially frenzied in illness, like that caused by the arsenic their remedy is made from. Hence Arsenicum’s conviction that everything must not only be in its place, but spotless, and even visible to some degree; if Arsenicum’s hyperactive mind knows some article of clothing, tool, or packaged (organic) food item exists, Arsenicum will fret over the thought of forgetting so, lest ne need that item during some disastrous event of the future, like the plague or apocalypse, only to overlook its usefulness (while I’m facetiously exaggerating the degree to which this constitution foresees, it is not unusual for a very sick Arsenicum to imagine the absolute worst). Last year I filled my trunk up with canned food, toilet paper, paper towel, shoes, etc.–and for what? Hard as disordered Arsenicums may try, they never seem to actually fulfill the perfection they seek, for it is chaos within that impresses their panic-ridden, bottomless, sometimes self-reprimanding suspicions onto the outside world (what we see in others is a reflection of ourselves!!). Only once Arsenicums are subdued, restored, and brought back to life again will they no longer be driven to such extremes, and may find that they like a little bit of clutter to remind them of how far they’ve come.

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Arsenicum types, being fearful, fastidious, exacting, critical, analytical (note the constitution’s high degree of traditionally-favored intelligence; Arsenicum children will excel in school) controllers themselves, are very sensitive to other people trying to control them, and will become irritated with anyone that attempts to do so. Arsenicum is very aware of other people’s motives, carefully dissecting the bullshit from the authentic, the valuable from the invaluable, and the necessary from the unnecessary; with a keen ability to unearth the heart of any matter, often with a psychoanalytical flare (think Freud), Arsenicum cannot be manipulated. Phosphorus rejects authority as well–whether warranted or unwarranted–but does so more out of a need for freedom and a refusal to be confined rather than nir ego, which Arsenicum functions, in this respect, primarily out of. Furthermore, Arsenicums will discipline themselves on their own, as exemplified by the restriction they impose on their self-contained lifestyles. Unfortunately, lower Arsenicums may subtly coerce others in spite of their deep regard for autonomy (giving this constitution a reputation for manipulation), an inclination that must be subjugated if they are to negate the anxieties that drive them toward selfishly fulfilling their needs (Arsenicums may not recognize such moral hypocrisy amidst their quest for control; as a rule, this constitution tends to practice what they preach based on principle). Higher Arsenicums will state their intents plainly and simply, even when extreme irritability–a symptom characteristic of a deeply-maladied Arsenicum–drives them. Overcoming their fear of the unknown, and the potential instability the future entails, will allow their more-altruistic tendencies to prevail.

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It should come as no surprise that Arsenicums excel at scolding, being the critical, unrelenting analyzers that they are; they will inform the misguided of their wrongdoings in a very matter-of-fact way (“this needs to be done in order to improve your life, so why don’t you just do it?”) if they deem it necessary, which they often will. Arsenicums do, after all, know best, and the good ones genuinely aim to enlighten (aware Arsenicums also know people tend to stop listening after a while). This constitutional type cannot help but pick up on flaws, within themselves and others, for which Arsenicums often suffer from a lack of self-love in a state of disorder. Even if they appear perfect–as they quite often do, under control and capable of excelling at nearly every facet of life–Arsenicums will always feel less-than, not necessarily in comparison to others, but in comparison to their own unattainable standards. The aforementioned statement is key. Arsenicums aspire to be competent above all else, without weakness; they cannot stand to allow others into their intimate world of flaws, even those (which I may have mentioned) necessarily exist. They may feel exposed at times, having impressed their concept of themselves onto those around them. I would argue that the source of all insecurity for Arsenicums lie, in fact, in the heightening of their perceived inadequacies, for it is this vulnerability that leaves them open to outside (or self-induced) attack. In this way, Arsenicum is somewhat suspicious, always on the defensive, always reading between the lines, even when no in-between exists. I often questioned my family members, my friends, and homeopath in earlier stages of the healing process; I imagined condescension when it wasn’t really there, thinking “the source” ran far deeper than it actually did. 

Remember that Arsenicum is generally confident in a state of good health and, as with most constitutions, will not be concerned with others’ opinions of them when well.

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Arsenicums may analyze with an unceasingly-negative connotation, utilizing their penetrating intellect to thoroughly and subliminally pick people apart (either in their heads or, if pushed enough, in a heated confrontation; Arsenicums may be cool, calm, and collected with friends and family members until they snap and their repressed emotions flow) without the receiving party’s knowledge or recognition. Arsenicums aren’t typically psychologically abusive–remember that any constitution can be, regardless–because they are so detached, and would prefer the mere removal of an irritant from their environment rather than face their own negativity, but they certainly have it within them to cast a contemptuous light on what Phosphorus glorifies. Even Arsenicums will not realize how much their probing mind hinders their own progression as it digs deep, too deep, deeper than necessary, unless they so obviously self-destruct. I wonder if those on the receiving end of Arsenicum’s assessments know just how much ne badgers zirself? I remember such critiques in my teenage years, and I remember them well (yes, angst is “normal” during pubescence–at least in this country, and in this era, with so many soul-suffocating pop cultural influences severing the connection to the self–but we can lessen the battle with homeopathy, and the harmony it brings to one’s life…). I used to be so negligent to my own want of love, specifically for the unconditional appreciation I was never taught to cultivate. My parents did their job beautifully, but they could only buffer society’s scorn so much. I now realize, having made my way through the remedy Arsenicum (and having learned so much in the process) how sad it is most people not only fail to know themselves, but fail to know what it’s like to truly love themselves. 

 

Arsenicums aren’t always mean, even in their excessive critique; when I was seriously sick, and to a lesser degree in high school, I never wanted to hurt anyone’s feelings (also being in a deep Phosphorus state), yet I easily analyzed their behaviors with a pure, impassive interest. My penetrating mind is in part a reflection of my Sulphur constitution, as both Sulphur and Arsenicum may “dig too deep” in a state of disorder, perhaps without intent; however, while Sulphur tends toward philosophizing, Arsenicum is earthier, and a little more “here”–sometimes too here. That is, they let practical matters cloud their evolution. Arsenicum types are themselves fulfillers in the purest sense, being highly attuned to pragmatics. Ambition runs through their veins, grounding the sense of security on which they build their entire lives. Members of this constitution often possess an “all-or-nothing”, obsessive attitude regarding personal endeavors; if they cannot do something perfectly, they will not do it at all. If they think they can eventually do it perfectly, they will implore themselves to methodologically make their dreams a reality. Arsenicums rely heavily on the power of their powerful minds, believing what they do well they do best–with one catch: they will achieve anything they allow themselves to, all the while vying for nothing they dub impossible. Because Arsenicums adhere so vehemently to the reality of reality, they feed into it, including their emotions. Part of negating the Arsenicum lower self includes directing their energy toward the reality they wish to exist, and could exist, if only they granted themselves the wherewithal to do so. 

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Ultimately, regardless of Arsenicum’s natural talent to do, members of this constitution must learn to refrain from evaluating everyday matters (even as healing releases nir compulsion to split trivial hairs); the greatest consequence of analysis, while equally as beneficial to society as intuition, is that the organism who suffers from its misguided placement–and certainly, exacerbation–will always struggle to merely be. Criticism supersedes non-judgment, and retention thwarts any hope of catharsis. The latter of both premises breed compassion and self-awareness, two undeniable assets in the righteous quest toward whole-fulfillment.

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*Taking a peek at the various concepts I present throughout this website will reveal that nearly everyone could be, should be, would be stable in “good health” if it weren’t for the rampant existence of the altered personality in today’s drug-obsessed, processed-food-obsessed, toxicity-obsessed society (laden with suppressed emotion, I might add). As we’ve grown further and further from the natural, the authentic, the truthful, we’ve plummeted deeper and deeper into a hole of deficiency, manifesting the very problems we must now solve. Rates of depression, anxiety, cancer, diabetes, and more have all skyrocketed–a quick search on DuckDuckGo will affirm the epidemic–for which we must ask: what are we doing wrong? The meat and dairy we consume in excessive amounts, corrupted by hormones, antibiotic-saturated feed, and torture surely play a role (animals encumbered by suffering produce meat that induces suffering (more than it already does)). The chemicals in our food items, air, fabrics, receipts, clothes, etc. do too. Escapism, along with the drugs we constantly use to thwart our vital forces’ curative response, impacts us the most, for both methods suppress and never actually heal. And worse yet, because everyone thinks they are in “good health”, they don’t realize they could be better, that they could heal, until some incident exacerbates their preexisting anger/irritability/insecurity problem, or at the very least makes its presence undeniable, after which they wonder: “what’s [naturally] wrong with me?” The answer: not as much as they think. 

In short, I would bet everyone is stable in good health (which at this point is starting to sound like an analytic proposition); while a spectrum distinguishes the naturally “very cool” from the natural “doers” (who may be less go-with-the-flow at all times; think Phosphorus vs. Arsenicum), everyone is calm naturally. None are anxious. Some get shit done more than others, but everyone has a drive to do what truly serves them, as opposed to the restless fulfillment of Arsenicum or the utter lack of motivation associated with Sulphur types.

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And still, there’s more (and more to come)…

When Arsenicum begins to look at life from a lens of necessity, no fun can be had if nothing can be gained long-term. Because Arsenicum types are very conscientious, they will not buy the coke that is an extra two dollars with their meal. In fact, Arsenicum will not want a coke at all, because ne restricts in order to feel in control, a premise that may manifest eating-disordered behavior. Arsenicums are likely to become emaciated due to their lack of appetite, whether real or self-imposed. However, healthy Arsenicums will not typically fall into disordered patterns of eating; a bit of a “what came first- the chicken or the egg?” scenario, Arsenicums will only seek control once their life is out of control–i.e. once the vital force has already begun to disharmonize. They are far too concerned with fulfilling their health goals to destroy it, which they will talk about any opportunity they get.

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Arsenicum types are prone to hypoglycemia, in which a feeling of “impending doom” drives them to eat. Their irritability will escalate with each passing moment, as will their impatience; they will believe they need to eat or something bad is sure to happen (imagine how hard their adrenals are working! Arsenicums will worry as their adrenals are stressed further). Food could not leave my stomach last year without anxiety overwhelming me; I woke up in the middle of the night to eat for two and a half years. In matters of the bowels (which in the acute often coincides with complaints of nausea): Arsenicum will not like being constipated and will do anything to control it, including a frequent usage of purgatives. I told my homeopath I hated the “toxicity” of constipation; she was smart enough to figure out I meant I enjoyed things working the way I wanted them to.

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See physical manifestations Arsenicum in an ill state of health here. Read more on Arsenicum here

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Resources:

  1. Bailey, Philip M. Homeopathic Psychology: Personality Profiles of the Major Constitutional Remedies. North Atlantic Books, 1995. Print.
  2. Coulter, Catherine R. Portraits of Homoeopathic Medicines: Psychophysical Analyses of Selected Constitutional Types. North Atlantic Books, 1986.
  3. McCabe, Vinton. Let Like Cure Like. St Martins Press, 1997. Print.