May 20, 2017
Guaranteed your first meeting with a homeopath will be unlike any other medical appointment you’ve had; in fact, you’ll probably wonder if you accidentally sought the advice of a counselor (to whom you speak profusely, from whom you hear little). Homeopathy honors the alliance between the mind and body, and unlike allopathic medicine, recognizes that manifestations of disorder evince in multiple, if not all, facets of the being: it aims to cure through healing the inside-out, the upside-down, and all around. This practice negates the bandages of the pharmaceutical industry in favor of the permanent restoration of the body, mind, and spirit. As such, you will not be given Xanax for your panic attacks, nor Klonopin for your seizures; you will not administer topical cream to your acne, nor endure radiation to destroy cancerous cells. Instead, your homeopath will prescribe to you what’s known as a “remedy”: a dilution of a substance that in its whole state may have the potential to cause great harm (or none at all, depending on the dose), but when potentized, then succussed, retains the image of a vaccine, thus acting entirely different in the body than it would prior to potentization. This process abides by the principle “like cures like”; i.e., the symptoms any substance causes in its pure form will treat those symptoms, both minor and large, scarce and frequent, in the ill when in remedy form–and not because a patient, say, suffers from arsenic poisoning (think Arsenicum Album). Rather, the way your body and mind respond to disorder is unique to your “essence”, who you are at the very moment, and if you require Arsenicum, resembles the effects of an arsenic overdose. The same concept applies to those in need of Nux Vomica (strychnine tree), or Sulphur (element turned homeopathic remedy). Sometimes who you are “at the very moment” is who you always are, disordered or not, with some variation (the lower self is necessarily exacerbated in illness); to that state of being, we would attribute the term constitution, wherein the symptoms you currently experience, and especially your mental state, run deep. In homeopathy, we stimulate the body and mind to mend themselves by going “with the grain”: we do not stuff up runny noses, but compel them to drain until the disorder no longer remains. After a trial period of healing–the duration of which depends on a variety of factors–medicines are never needed again (insofar as the patient rebutts all subsequent traumas), unlike the suppressive crutches of allopathy.
Some people will weave in and out of multiple constitutions throughout their entire lives, with one remedy type fully expressed at one point and another remedy type mainly embodied at another point*; others will benefit from one remedy at nearly all times, save acute ailments (Bailey xxii). Of course, an overt illness, or alternative presence of The Altered Personality, will precede the need for any remedy–homeopathy only heals the disordered. Acute and subacute uses of remedies pertain less to the whole of the person, and certainly less to the mind, than constitutional remedies; for example, someone with food poisoning may have diarrhea and vomiting like an Arsenicum constitution in a deep state of disorder, who could suffer from any diagnosed digestive complaint, but the former may not be nearly as irritable, fearful, and perfectionistic as the latter, yet they both will require the same remedy. In any event, no one person is just an Arsenicum. Everyone is comprised of a propensity to embody multiple constitutions, however unexpressed or balanced, due to genealogical and environmental factors, certain experiences and sources of growth. A good example of the latter is a tendency of young Pulsatillas, who are numerous, to grow out of the constitution as the intellect dominates the emotions (Bailey 279). Adult Pulsatilla are determinately rare, but former Pulsatillas with surely retain some of the remedy type’s characteristics, such as a kindly disposition or a tendency toward nostalgia.
Note that any true constitution (like myself, a Phosphorus) still belongs to that constitution, “medically speaking”, when healed; ne is just a better version of nemself, uninhibited by disorder and the cumbersome mentalities that accompany it. How good we are when harmonized further depends on our tendency to rise above our lower qualities, even as they are subdued when balanced, but still beg us to choose the higher.
If you seek the expertise of a homeopath to ameliorate a chronic ailment, you are likely to strip away layers of degradation before you reach a cure. These layers may remain within the realm of one remedy type or require different remedies to treat. A variety of factors play into the need for more than one remedy in chronic conditions: the number/types of traumas, as well as how disordered the individual is, are major factors. The Western tendency to bandage leads to a concept known as suppression, wherein pseudo-medicines and escapist emotional tendencies drive illness deeper, perhaps even generating more layers (pharmaceuticals are often “traumatic” in and of themselves (Owen 399)). The symptoms of any disease denote the vital force’s attempt to heal itself; prevent it from doing just that and the disorder not only remains, but worsens in magnitude over time, for the body and mind must seek healing elsewhere. So is the case with acne: when treated with topical cream, this outward manifestation of toxicity may lead to digestive issues, or further those that instigated it. Thus, the job of the homeopath is to work through years and years of suppression, including relevant emotional trauma or seemingly-minor physical maladies, in order to uncover the origin of present illness. Once treatment heals this root cause, a true cure can be effected.
As I remark in The Emotions Before and After Detoxification: Homeopathy: we struggle so vigorously to cope with trauma because our species has yet to access, on a widespread level, our intrinsic capacity to heal ourselves. If we fall ill due to suppressed emotion, which manifests out of loss, shock, prolonged suffering, the like, what are we really capable of when we cope, when we know ourselves? We are here to learn, and part of that learning requires awareness, a readiness to transform instead of fear, or even conform (the standardization of humanity has unfortunately veiled our knowledge of our authentic selves). But alas, we are too concerned with tangible matters, as they are so much easier to grasp than the visions of the third eye…
*One constitution will tend to be most apparent, the most expressed, at any given point in one’s life (apparent to the homeopath, and the individual that self-reflects); for example, I am a mixture of Phosphorus, Sulphur, Arsenicum Album, and Ignatia constitutions primarily. In high school I believe Arsenicum Album embodied me the most–I was incredibly critical of myself, my evaluations always taking on a negative tone… I was also a total brat to my mother. Healing with Arsenicum has just blown my mind; sure, I mended my relationship with her before the majority of this (my decline) went down, but the remedy has allowed me to feel even less perturbed by the outside world than I did in high school, when rather healthy. Again, I worked on myself so much while sick, but lifting the burden of the altered personality has solidified my efforts. When I finished healing with Arsenicum, Ignatia, and a little bit of Sulphur, my Phosphorus constitution was fully expressed–I was so sensitive, so sympathetic, and so in need of love. Because I was rather deep into each remedy type’s pathological state, I literally became a new person every time I healed with one remedy. Of course the other constitutions that comprised my personality “poked through” the outermost, or most apparent constitution I embodied at any given time, but one still tended to dominate. The degree to which this outermost constitution dominates will vary from person to person, maybe even resulting in a somewhat “confused” case.
In order to get the most out of an appointment with your homeopath, you must be willing to be open and honest about your past, your present, as well as the character traits and motives that define, or in fact govern these events (although any good homeopath will know when you’re lying, intentionally deceiving nem or yourself…). Part of conveying accurate information will revolve around your memory, requiring you dig deep into the depths of your mind; your homeopath can’t do this for you. Allow your thoughts to flow, from your heart and out of your mouth (is that the correct order?). As you delve further and further into the restorative journey, you will find deciphering the origins of your behaviors–i.e. what emotions, thought processes, and circumstances that drive them–far easier to discern. What you find very difficult to talk about now will soon gush, as you relish in the warmth, the catharsis, the wholeness of freedom! Freedom from past sufferings, freedom awareness brings, freedom to talk about past and present encumbrances without ego, shame, or an urge to conceal. The subconscious will be veiled no longer.
I’ve listed a few guiding factors below so that you may reap the greatest benefit out of your homeopathic treatment.
UNDERSTAND WHAT’S NORMAL & WHAT’S ABNORMAL
Disorder exacerbates the lower self, highlighting negative qualities and morphing positive traits into unbearable renditions of what formerly proved beneficial. A driven individual may become a workaholic, suffocating the part of nir soul that yearns for sociability. A predisposition to defy may transform into misguided obstinacy, or even full-blown rage, incited at the slightest provocation. No propensity that is so one-sided complements the soul, yet it must stem from some quality that when properly channeled aids in the fruition of higher mentalities. The key here, then, is to achieve balance–between what serves us and what doesn’t, what we have yet to work on versus what we’re beginning to achieve. Thankfully, homeopathy can show us the way, as it restores our bodies and minds back to their natural states, as they always were and always should be, perhaps with triumph, and solidification (remember the solidification of the higher self) differentiating our young, uninhibited selves, from our older, equally free selves.
Any distressing impact on the body has the potential to alter the mind, and vice versa, perhaps without you even knowing it (consider, once again, The Altered Personality). But do not fret: you don’t necessarily need to “understand what’s normal and what’s abnormal” in order to guide your homeopath in the right direction; no matter how far gone you are, the way your vital force expresses disorder is unique to you, as well as the multiple constitutions you surely belong to. Grasping the progression of your altered mentality/physicality, then, is less pertinent to the instigation of the healing process than it is an avenue to detoxification you can manifest. As you begin to realize who you could be (and who you will be as you delve further and further into treatment), you bestow yourself with the awareness required to heal your lower self, to subjugate your ego, as they evince in any aspect of your life, at any time in your life. Conveying the information this awareness entails will not only prove to be an enriching experience for you and your homeopath to engage in, but a method by which the latter appraises your progress.
Whilst healing with homeopathic remedies, you may find yourself surprisingly happier, lighter, passionate, compassionate, tranquil, driven, willing to give love, willing to receive love, reliable, even-tempered, any combination of these traits, and more. I adopted a lot of negative (and even perceptibly positive, at least before I hit rock bottom) characteristics while sick, such as a “doer” disposition (Arsenicum) and a lack of emotional boundaries (thus leading me to be intensely sympathetic (Phosphorus)), yet neither truly fulfilled me. Only once I began to come back down to reality, so to speak, did I realize who I truly was, who I truly am, as my memory which had been muddled for so long began to clarify, like the clearing of the (toxic) smog that prevents one from absorbing the truths, the sense of grounding, only nature can provide.
HOW DOES YOUR “DISORDER” MAKE YOU FEEL?
.If you are, or begin to become, aware of your personality changes, make them known. Think back to how you used to feel before you fell ill, or simply before you felt “off”–five years ago, ten years ago, before that traumatic incident… Compare your former self to the present tense. Are you who you want to be? Do you feel like you are always fighting something, especially negativity, or any of the aforementioned compulsions? Do you feel like you haven’t coped with an emotionally-trying circumstance in your life, and if so, do you have a tendency to “escape” rather than deal? How do you escape? When you think about traumatic life events, do you push your thoughts aside, seek the effects of drugs, turn to food, or do you resolve to overcome your afflictions? Try as you might to do so, it’s not your fault if you can’t–disorder has a way of enslaving us, of confusing us, despite our efforts to clear away the aforementioned “smog”.
Do you suffer from depression? What thoughts or circumstances bring you further down? Why do they make you feel that way? Do you have any go-to coping mechanisms?Do you have anxiety? Do you know the origin of your anxiety (some traumatic episode)? Is any anxiety that afflicts you exacerbated by duties you have yet to fulfill, social events, work events, etc.? Do you feel like those duties weigh you down, even if they aren’t that great? Perhaps it seems as if the weight of the world is on your shoulders, as you absorb the sufferings of all around you, whether you want to or not? Is your anxiety physically-minded, in the form of heart palpitations, sweats, tachycardia, etc., or do you just get riled up easily, perhaps evidenced by racing thoughts? What makes you tick? Are you sensitive to sound, light, smells (loud music, bright lamps, the smell of meat, cooked food, eggs, etc.)? Do you cringe when someone speaks of violence (Phosphorus, Calcarea, amongst others), of wasting paper, of defying the law or running a muck of predetermined structures in the process (Kali Carbonicum)? Do you fear heights, ghosts, intruders, or pins (Silicea)? Do you feel as though your negativity attracts unwanted circumstances or the paranormal (you should choose when you tap into that energy; it should not tap into you)? Are you afraid of long-term illness, of current illness, of the degradation or suffering of death and disease? Why do you fear malady (fear of the body, fear of perpetual suffering, fear of death (why?), fear of the very idea of disorder)? Are you a worrywart (about what?), exceedingly calm, highly irritable, or somewhere in between? Are you manical when ill, inconsolable, suicidal, in desperate need of company or isolation? Do you converse with others or merely enjoy having someone nearby to which you are not forced to speak?
Are you affectionate, withdrawn, critical, hateful, or cruel? What makes you that way? Do you love yourself, beat yourself up for any moral wrongs or perceived inadequacies? What “inadequacies” do you suppose you have? Do they center on how you treat others, your performance at work, your physical appearance, or does a perfectionist tendency drive you to evaluate your actions–or those of people around you–in terms of the unattainable standards you set for yourself? Do you have an all-or-nothing attitude when it comes to your achievements, or are you OK with failure, with mediocrity? Or do you merely recognize your worth does not lie in your ability to attain success in a norm-minded, inauthentic setting?
Are you down-to-earth, materialistic, image-focused, or minimalistic? What can you do away with, and what do you feel like you need to function (what are your crutches)? Do you have an intense need for security, for control, for life experience, or companionship? Do you take life by the horns or prefer routine? Does illness debilitate you, make you restless, or exhaust you from exerting yourself due to your restlessness? Do you admit you don’t feel well, put on a happy face, or crave consolidation from others in your misery? Do you think you’ll recover, that medicine cannot fix you because you’re too far gone, or that it cannot mend you because you don’t believe in holistic healing?
and so many more…
The goal of your homeopath is to connect your present mental, emotional, and physical state to a specific remedy. Oftentimes when a few remedies seem to match a certain case, a homeopath will choose the one that best fits the personality of the patient rather than the physical symptoms presented because the mind is that relevant in determining one’s constitution and thus the course of the disease process. (Because we are all comprised of multiple constitutions, various remedies will seem to fit the bill in varying degrees; however, one remedy type will always dominate, deemed the most “visible” layer that must be eradicated before any other underlying layers can be dealt with.)
Your homeopath will attempt to ascertain the underlying motives of all “superficial” claims you make. For example, Silica’s love of the home may be attributed to the remedy’s overarching theme of vulnerability. The Silicea patient fears the outside world and nir perceived disposition to succumb to its dangers.
*Note that people in a heavy state of disorder are almost always easier to decipher than those in a mild state; the more exacerbated the lower self, the more unique (albeit lowly) traits are expressed. People who are relatively well-rounded, as well as physically, mentally, and emotionally balanced, tend to resemble one another, to some extent, via a pleasant, calm, and collected disposition. It is only once they fall very ill that their idiosyncrasies come out, their personality morphed, such as an obsessive tendency to wash their hands or an oddball fear of the heart.
WHAT ARE THE PHYSICAL RAMIFICATIONS OF YOUR DISORDER?
.Do you crave sweets, fats, salt, chalk, ice, eggs, or other indigestible things? Do you desire cold water, hot food, coffee, or alcohol? Are you indulgent, self-controlled, restrictive, or averse to eating? Has your appetite been compromised, are you ravenous, or do you lose your desire to eat at the sight of food (maybe wanting it hitherto)? Do you belch often after eating? Would you characterize your burps as sour, acidic, or tasteless? Are you flatulent, and if so, where does your gas originate? Does it roll out out of you, or are you forced to knead your stomach in order to find relief? Do you have difficulty breathing, as if you are asthmatic? How would you characterize your breathlessness (desire for deep breaths, frequent breaths, a feeling of a constriction in the airway, etc.)? Do you have any rashes, and if so, where are they located and how can you describe them? Are they scaly, red, patchy, or open, resembling a wound? Do you have a history or a current problem with acne? What form does your acne take (is it cystic, spotty, clustered, hard, red, white-headed, etc.)? Do you take the cold easily or do you consider yourself warm-blooded? Do you perspire often, or feel constantly chilled no matter how many layers of clothing you put on? Are you lethargic, endlessly fatigued, or do you feel better with motion? Do you suffer from insomnia or an inability to stay awake? Is your insomnia due to racing thoughts, fears (of what?), or a restless body? Do you wake frequently throughout the night or at any specific time? Do you get frequent headaches? What part of the head do they affect, and how deeply do you feel the pain? How would you describe the pain? Do any scents appall or pacify you? What are your dreams like if you have them? Are they vivid, pleasant, or ridden with terror? What do your nightmares contain (what do you fear?)? Are your dreams symbolic (Phosphorus) or pretty straightforward (Ignatia)? Do you have any recurrent dreams (your subconscious is trying to tell you something!!)?
and so many more…
WHAT KEY WORDS CAN YOU USE TO DESCRIBE THE MANIFESTATIONS OF YOUR DISORDER?
The synchronicity of symptoms both in mind and body baffled me when I first began exploring homeopathy. The vital force often expresses disturbances in both fronts in a similar fashion (and if it doesn’t, that also indicates the need for a certain remedy…); key terms often describe these complaints no matter where they are expressed. For example, a rash on the hands may burn and itch much like the sensation felt on the roof of the mouth after eating, or the rectum when constipated. A stabbing headache on the right side of the forehead may resemble the stabbing impression of the pain felt in the liver just above the common bile duct. Many of Phosphorus’ physical symptoms are fleeting, reflecting the way in which members of this constitution are pulled every which way emotionally due to the diffusion of their senses. One minute a stimulating conversation with a friend has them reeling; next, a story detailing one of the many social injustices of the world oppresses them. Here are a few common descriptions used to depict sensation, which may stand alone or combine to form their own unique profile:
- stabbing, as if from a knife
- jabbing, as if from a knife with a rounded tip
- radiating (outward or inward, and in what direction?)
- stinging, as if from a bee
- full feeling
- as if falling
- as if stuck together
- as if lifted
- as if being nailed down
- as if wired
- as if banded
- sensation of plug, ball, worms under skin, movement on skin, nerve jumping, etc.
and so many more…
WHAT MODALITIES INTENSIFY OR ALLEVIATE YOUR SYMPTOMS?
What factors makes you feel better and what factors worsen your condition? Look for consistency when mapping out your symptoms; if it happened once, don’t count it unless it seems significant. In which case, let your homeopath determine its relevance.
- in the morning/evening/afternoon/late night/from 12am-2am/at 3, 4, 5am/from 4pm-8pm
- from lying down/sitting up
- from standing
- from walking
- from sleeping/worse after sleeping
- from pressure to the affected area/by not touching it
- in fresh air/in closed space
- when wrapped up/exposed
- by the touch of loved ones/in avoiding others
- from alcohol/tea/coffee/food/fat/sweets/starches/salty foods/processed foods/fruits/melons/hot foods/cold foods/no food/any food
- with heat/cold
- in damp weather/dry weather
- with deep breathing
- when overheated/chilled
- from violent emotions/emotional stress
- in darkness/in light
- before/during/after thunderstorms, in the sun, in the rain
- after sexual intercourse
- with jarring movement/slow movement
- from night terrors/pleasant dreams
- with noise/in a quiet room
- from being indoors/outdoors
- after exercise/inactivity
- from lying on painful side/avoiding painful side
- from being driven in a car/swaying back and forth
- when menstruating: before or after
- from hearing about certain circumstances (violence, finances, health of you/family/friends)
- from biting/chewing the affected area
- from strong smells/sounds/tastes
- from discharges
- from being in a smoky room
- from bathing/avoiding water
- while alone/with company
- with others in the room but not speaking to them
- when avoiding conversation/talking about problems
- when working/relaxing
- when listening to music
and so many more…
DON’T LEAVE ANYTHING OUT, EVEN IF YOU THINK IT DOESN’T MATTER
This one’s a biggie. You have no idea what may trigger a correlation to a specific remedy in your homeopath’s mind. For example, the first time I met with my homeopath I told her my phone was always on silent because the sound of its vibration irritated me. From this, she took I was sensitive to sensory impressions, and furthermore, was seriously agitated by them- i.e., Arsenicum.
Oh, and don’t lie to your homeopath… but a good one will know that you are.
Homeopaths will generally get a feel for your most apparent constitution (the remedy with which you will initiate treatment) within the first couple minutes of meeting you. Your body language, your “aura”, what you first choose to talk about, how loud you are, how you dress, if you look irritated or not, if you act friendly or not, your facial features and bone structure, what you do or don’t say, whether or not you ask about the homeopath’s welfare, etc. all contribute to your overall essence, your constitution, who you really are–or may not be, if you are ill enough (the lower self is heavily exacerbated then; you are not your lower traits!). Indeed, people are far more complex than one “remedy type”, but alas, most Phosphorus persons will greet their homeopaths with a smile, unless so ill they cannot muster the energy, or lifeforce, to do so. The rest of the consultation will confirm or deny the doctor’s initial suspicions: what you are willing to offer about yourself, how you offer it (some people willingly talk about the facets of their lower self they have rationalized as acceptable in some way, either because they’ve truly dealt with those lesser qualities, or even changed, or because they have twisted them in such a way that they are no longer ashamed of them, suppressing how they really feel), or what you otherwise tiptoe around will all indicate your remedy type. Further probing by your homeopath will be aimed at extracting reality from the stifled, what needs to be healed in light of what you have ignored.
- Bailey, Philip M. Homeopathic Psychology: Personality Profiles of the Major Constitutional Remedies. North Atlantic Books, 1995. Print.
- McCabe, Vinton. Let Like Cure Like. St Martins Press, 1997. Print.
- McCabe, Vinton. Practical Homeopathy. St Martins Press, 2000. Print.
- Owen, David K., Bob Leckridge, and Peter Fisher. Principles and Practice of Homeopathy: The Therapeutic and Healing Process. London: Singing Dragon, 2015. Print.