THE REMEDY: IGNATIA AMARA
Please note: the “Complaints/Background” sections of both Phase One: Arsenicum Album and Phase Two: Ignatia Amara feature symptoms I experienced at the beginning of treatment. The symptoms I list below can be attributed mainly to those remedy types. I jumped back and forth between remedies for various reasons I delineate on here.
Phase Three: Phosphorus and Phase Four: Sulphur include only those symptoms specific to each respective remedy. At this point in treatment, I only took one remedy at a time, resulting in the unraveling of each “layer”. Traditional homeopathic prescribing will function in this way: heal fully with one remedy, and then move onto the next when a new constitutional picture becomes apparent.
CONTRADICTORY SENSATIONS. Extremely itchy everywhere: itchy hands, itchy torso, itchy back. Burning, itchy, red rash on hands, with cuts to release pent-up toxicity; similar to nettle rash. Headache like knife on side of head. Extremely flatulent. Constant chill, especially after meals. Cannot get warm. Thirsty (no longer for little sips at a time, as with Arsenicum). Belching, more than before. Diminished bloat. Light-headed during/after eating. Vertigo while eating; while turning head, room seems as if moving too. Feels as if falling simultaneously. Still unsettled around heights, albeit less than before (Arsenicum, Phosphorus). Constricted feeling in throat, with ball sensation in back of esophagus better with swallowing. Ball sensation noticeable when contemplating past strife– rather, when past strife “hits me in the face”. Difficulty breathing, especially at night; feels as if being suffocated. Desire to breathe deeply. Heavy feeling in stomach, as if tight band around lower abdomen. Heavy feeling of fullness after first bite, even when ravenously hungry. Cannot feel epigastric region of stomach. Normal appetite in morning, ravenous appetite midday, dyspepsia after last meal. Dyspepsia lasts until next morning, sometimes fifteen hours at a time depending how how early last meal was eaten. Unsettled feeling in lower abdomen with dyspepsia; carries anxiety here. Cravings for salty foods, as well as variety, perhaps to replace the dysphoria of now; typical diet does not satisfy. Burning sensation on right side of liver (storehouse of pent-up emotions) and just above gallbladder (Arsenicum). Pain becomes searing over time. Spleen mirrors this pain. Searing, tender pains in abdomen, as if burning on the inside with certain points cutting like a knife. Still constipated: pent-up toxicity. Feeling of ball in rectum “stuffing up” green-gray, loose stools. Heart palpitations less common; startled sensation upon falling asleep remains. Heart flutters, however (feels as if heart randomly “jumps” and goes off-beat). Lips and eyelids twitch, limbs jerk, muscles spasm incessantly in legs, thighs, buttocks (Phosphorus). Muscle weakness, as if thighs would give way. Absent menstruation. Extremely anxious starting mid-afternoon into night concomitant with anxiety of Arsenicum. Apprehensive, unsettled, hysterical thought processes. Still suicidal. Sometimes reacts to emotional situations with laughter, although there is no humor. Can’t focus. Can’t think of the right words when writing; mind always returns to anxiety. Wastes time trying to focus on anything but overwhelming, unrelenting anxiety. Distracts. Desires company, but cannot communicate; suffocation worsens with speech, with acknowledgement of emotions. Tries to keep it together around others. Time passes slowly. Doesn’t feel as critical, as irritable, but remains overly-sensitive. Takes things personally. Can’t handle high-stress at work and desires to escape. Yearn to be alone simultaneous with need for company that does not ask for too much of her. There is not much to give. Restless (Arsenicum, Sulphur, Phosphorus); moving about alleviates somewhat, but energy levels are still low (Ignatia normally cannot be motivated, but anxiety of Arsenicum had yet to be fully remedied). Better with motion, with short trips in car, both emotionally and physically. Escapism through distractive mechanisms. Suffocation when sitting still, when forced to cope with problems; cannot deal. Refusal to acknowledge stifled feelings, for she fears becoming overwhelmed (Arsenicum, Phosphorus); suffocated by pent-up toxicity. Beats herself up for her moral indiscrepancies, for which she possesses a vague feeling that she’s done something wrong. Mentally and physically weak. Longs to escape. Feels as if life trivial. Can’t see beauty; drowns in emptiness (due to what? Cannot remember until later on in treatment). Fears spending rest of life in current state. Fears coping. Acne has worsened: dark, hard bumps under chin, along jawline, on sides of cheeks, around ears. Little red bumps around mouth, chin, and lower jaw, releasing pent-up toxicity. Large, cystic bumps around ears as well… (Homeopath inquires about Manny; I respond that she had been in my dreams, as well as my dog who had passed the week prior. Up until then–at the end of my appointment–I did not tell her my dog had just died). Illness due to loss, due to suppressed emotion. Escapes emotional pains. Dreams* of dead loved ones. Cannot escape the subconscious.
Description of Remedy:
“In most people the intellect filters and attenuates emotion until it no longer threatens the smooth continuity of the sense of self. In Ignatia, however, the emotions are felt so intensely that they overwhelm the intellect, and so the person becomes, in effect, emotion” (Bailey 81). Perceptive, original, and inventive. Free-thinkers with keen intellects. Identity well-developed, with demand for respect. When healthy: refined, affectionate, spontaneous, with a drive to experience life deeply and passionately. Intuitive, sensitive, shy individuals who find it difficult to express their emotions. Builds many walls of self-protection. Idealization of partners; ailments brought on by cessation of relationships. Moral perfectionists; when compromised, prone to self-destructive thought processes. When ill: total exhaustion. Off-balance, emotionally and physically. From crying to laughter in a matter of moments. Hysterical, jumbled thought processes. Suicidal. Numbing depression, often due to loss of any kind: people, stature, a former lifestyle, the self. Non-communicative. Time passes slowly. Does not want to cry in front of others but in a way would like their pain to be known. Worse with consolation, in the presence of strong smells and emotions. Quarrelsome when irritable, but not violent or cruel. Illness brought on by suppression of extreme forms of loss, grief, shock, betrayal. Vital force depleted almost entirely by emotion alone.
“The pain experienced for the Ignatia patient is largely emotional and spiritual” (McCabe, “Let Like Cure Like” 153). Tics and spasms of the muscles, jerking of the limbs. Twitching of facial muscles, particularly the mouth and eyes. Headache like nail in side of head. Hiccups and vomiting due to constriction in throat. Sore throat will ball-like sensation in the back of it, which is better with eating. Constipation with rounded sensation in rectum. External chill (Arsenicum chills internally). Disordered hunger. Loss of appetite. Dyspepsia with inability to feel upper region. Stabbing pains in rectum and abdomen. Insomnia accompanies fears of not sleeping. The brain will not shut off, even with the cessation of thoughts. Dreams continue a long time, troubling Ignatia. Heart flutters. Absent menstruation. Cravings for a variety of foods, different from the normal diet; depression worsens after eating.
PHYSICALITY: Thick, dark, curly hair, which grows in abundance. Dark complexion. Strong-nosed. Some are very slim, with delicate bones; others are prone to weight gain with flabby stomachs. Regardless, the face is often beautifully-structured with high cheekbones, straight, aquiline noses, and strong jaws. The lips are quite characteristic: very full and “delicately contoured like a bow, indicating both emotional intensity and refinement” (Bailey 90).
Ignatia is that feminist type that doesn’t shave and has a lot of hair to show for it.
EXAMPLES: Philip M. Bailey, M.D. and homeopath, offers a few examples in Homeopathic Psychology: Personality Profiles of the Major Constitutional Remedies: Eleanor Bron and Barbra Streisand.
I have my own archetypes: Maximiliane Hansen & Chloe Morello from Youtube
I am rather Ignatia, but perhaps more Phosphorus, Arsenicum, and Sulphur. Don’t let what I just wrote confuse you! Most people will weave in and out of multiple constitutions throughout their lives, with one, or a few, dominating the rest… the composition of remedy types within the persona is fluid. So while I am a Phosphorus, Arsenicum, and Sulphur in ill-health, I also depict these constitutions–or they depict me–in good health; their lower qualities (as they evince in my personality) are just necessarily subdued.
To clarify: even when healed, I am sensitive to others’ emotions and highly intutive (Phosphorus); I have a critical eye–geared less toward people–and a concern for details (Arsenicum); I am also rebellious, nonconformist, probing, and highly analytical (Sulphur), making me me. I am, of course, speaking only of my higher qualities 😉 , which, once again, necessarily overshadow those that are otherwise amplified in a state of disorder…
The other remedy types we take on, those that don’t really define us as a whole person, as a total constitution, but nonetheless mirror the effects of some specific trauma we’ve suffered from, demonstrate our propensity to enter states either close to or entirely different from our original personas given some intense or unusual event. Still, the propensity to embody these constitutions generally exists, perhaps due to specific character traits involved with our innermost constitutions.
Ignatia is a prominent remedy for loss. Thus, anyone with a predisposition toward the Ignatia constitution will embody it after they lose a loved one, a former lifestyle, or even the self (assuming they don’t deal!). Ignatia can accompany other remedy types when the loss of oneself figures strongly.
*Dreams are highly indicative of the subconscious and thus unaddressed manifestations of a compromised vital force.
- Bailey, Philip M. Homeopathic Psychology: Personality Profiles of the Major Constitutional Remedies. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 1995. Print.
- Lockie, Andrew. Encyclopedia of Homeopathy. London: D. Kindersley Pub., 2006. Print.
- Lockie, Andrew. Homeopathy: The Principles and Practice of Treatment. Dorling Kingdersly, 1995. Print.
- McCabe, Vinton. Let Like Cure Like. St Martins Press, 1997. Print.
- McCabe, Vinton. Practical Homeopathy. St Martins Press, 2000. Print.