A Case Of Profound Depression

Words: Dr Frank GRUBER

This is a case of a 28-year-old woman complaining of no motivation [3]. She can’t really seem to change her life, even though she wants to, because she can’t get started. Most of that revolves around a difficulty focusing [3]. She doesn’t really know what she wants. She has difficulty on a day-to-day basis in keeping focused and getting things done.

She has a profound depression [3], which dates from her teenage years. It occurs every couple of months. At these times, she has intense weeping [3] and can be suicidal [3]. But, even during the rest of the month there is a feeling of hopelessness [3], that nothing will ever work out and that something terrible is going to happen in her life [3]. It makes her quite fearful for her day-to-day survival with a lot of the fears being based around money and the lack of it. Each day she is anxious about her health and about whether she will survive due to the crises which constantly occur and drain her financially. She never seems to be able to get ahead since something happens each time she gets ahead to wipe her out financially.

“I’m a pessimist. You have to expect the worst. Something will come and take it away from me. I’m vigilant. I go to bed with my clothes on. I’m afraid something will happen to me. I’m sad. There is nothing to live for; nothing to look forward to.”

She has extremely low self-confidence [3]. Even though she is quite attractive, she sees herself as unattractive, and unable to compete with other women. “I feel like I let my family down. I just couldn’t be the way they wanted me to be. I need a lot of recognition. I want people to like me, but I don’t make the effort to initiate it.” She is critical of herself [3], of how she walks, talks and looks.

She finds that she is bossy [3], like her mom. She is irritable and ‘bitchy’ [3] and can get into arguments with her husband that can lead to out-and-out physical battles, with verbal aggression and even lead to striking and hitting [3]. She’s aggravated she can’t fix things on her own. She can be vindictive and spiteful [3]. She can also be extremely weepy over nothing.

“If someone says something to me, I’ll cry. I feel ready to explode.”

The Passive Canvas 

She didn’t get along well with her husband who was passive and let her do all the work and planning. She wouldn’t leave him because she has an intense fear of being alone [3].

“I’ve been hurt a lot and I just can’t think about being alone and on my own.” She eventually did leave, had a series of quick relationships, and then got into a relationship with a man who is physically abusive to her.

“It is important for me to feel needed. I took care of my mom who died of cirrhosis. I’m afraid I am so nit-picky that my husband will leave me, or I’ll push him too far and he’ll leave. I like to look different, so I’m the centre of attention. I’m fussy and mothering, but carefully push people away.”

“People say I’m too confident, that I’m stuck-up and snotty. I stand back with crossed arms and look around the room and watch people. I’m nosy. I see who’s looking at me.”

“Basically, I just don’t trust people [3]. My parents were alcoholic and I couldn’t trust my dad who would abuse me when drunk. I am extremely jealous [3]; not of ‘them’ looking at other women, but more of being left out, of people talking about me. What are they saying about me?”

What Is What As It Is 

Physically, she has palpitations [3]. They can occur any time. It makes her ‘very afraid’ that she has some horrible disease. They are worse when she lies down to go to sleep. At one point, she was on Inderal, an allopathic medication, for them. “They give me a sharp pain like someone sticking a knife in my chest and they take my breath away. I have them daily and they last for about five minutes. I can’t control them. I’m wondering if I’ll die from them.”

“I have a low sex drive [2]. I’m a disappointment to my husband. He might leave.”

“I used to get hives [2] from age 9-14. They’d come on the back of my neck, back and chest. I’d scratch them a lot, since they were so itchy. They made me feel so ugly. They were humiliating. They made me less self-confident. I couldn’t control them, or make them go away.”

“I have severe arthritis of the knees and back [2]. The knees swell above the kneecaps. It is a sharp pain when going upstairs. There is a stiffness of the knees. I have spinal bifida [a birth defect where there is incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord] and scoliosis [a sideways curvature of the spine]. I can get spasms of the back [3] and sciatica, which is a prickling pain down both legs. I get an ache and a pressure in my back, like an elephant standing on it. There is also some twitching of the muscles of the back. The arthritis bothers me every day. My muscles feel tight [3]. There is also tightness of chest [2]. I get another type of pain in my knees, which makes them feel like they are going to explode [3].”

“I have severe headaches [3] in back of my neck and head. The head feels like it is in a vice grip. I have to go, lie down and rest in a dark room with no noises.” These are worse with motion of her head. They occur primarily around menses, or periods [3]. The headaches are of two types. The first is a constricting type mentioned above. The second is a feeling like the head is going to explode [3].

She has severe menstrual cramps [3]. They are debilitating. She has to go lie down [3]. They occur on the second day of the bleeding. There are lots of clots with dark red blood, associated with nausea.

“My sleep is poor. My mind is racing. Did I do this right? Is my husband cheating on me?”

She is chilly, has low energy of three to four on a scale of one to ten, and craves cheese and milk, which upset her stomach. She has aversion and aggravation from eggs.

Homeopathic Remedies 

The homeopathic remedies given were: Arsenicum album, Lachesi muta, Ignatia amara, Platinum metallicum, Hyoscyamus niger, and Anacardium orientale.

Most relief was with Lachesis. The emotional states were ameliorated by 50-60 per cent with some symptoms even going away, but the physical complaints got worse. Then she began to develop a series of bronchitis-like symptoms with sneezing, fevers, cough, and muscle aches all the time. She felt completely fatigued and burned out. The joint pains got so severe that she was crying from the pain. I was constantly giving her prescriptions for the allopathic Tylenol [3].

Let’s look at the analysis of the case.

The segments broke down like this:

  1. Difficulty focusing
  2. Hopeless/fear something bad will happen
  3. Fear of being alone
  4. Holding on/constrictive pains
  5. Jealous and suspicious
  6. Abusive, violent/explosive pains.

I chose the following rubrics [symptoms], which I combined to give the fullest homeopathic repertorisation possible. A homeopathic repertory is the index of disease symptoms that lists homeopathic remedies associated with specific symptoms; using it is called repertorisation. Each of the combined rubrics represents the segment [based on Dr Paul Herscu’s pioneering work] listed above:

  1. Mind, concentration difficult; mind concentration difficult, studying
  2. Mind, fear something will happen; mind, ailments from anticipation; mind, despair of recovery
  3. Mind, fear, alone; mind, forsaken feeling; mind, delusions of being alone in the world; mind delusions, she is always alone in the world
  4. Head, constriction, band or hoop; Back, spasmodic drawing, cervical region; Female genitalia, sex, menses, painful; Head, constriction; mind, company desire for
  5. Mind, suspicious; mind, jealousy
  6. Mind, abusive; mind, censorious; mind, striking; mind, violent; head, pain, bursting.

When I repertorised these segments, 22 remedies came up in all six segments. 11 small remedies, or nosodes, came up in five segments. When you are looking for smaller remedies, which are likely to be under-represented in the repertory, you should look at the small remedies and nosodes, which come up in all but one of the segments. This gives them more of a chance to show up in your repertorisation.

So, in September 1998 I gave her Cenchris Contortrix 200C, based on the above repertorisation and everything got better. All the emotional problems went away. The headaches and menstrual cramps stopped. The arthritis went away. The palpitations had gone away with the Lachesis. The muscle aches all went away. I repeated the Cenchris 200C once in June 1999. She was asymptomatic after that except for mild occasional headaches and occasional mild menstrual cramps, but nothing like the debilitating headaches and menstrual cramps of the past.

Let’s talk about Cenchris for a moment. Cenchris is prepared from the venom of the Copperhead snake.

The cycle of Cenchris:

  1. Suspicious/jealous; they are extremely suspicious and jealous
  2. Arguing/irritability/nastiness [If person explodes quickly it is more likely Cenchrisrather than Lachesis who tries to control themselves]. Intense irritability, from jealousy and suspiciousness. This, of course, tends to drive the loved one away
  3. Dullness; all the arguing and nastiness leads to a weak, dull, confused state, with a poor memory
  4. Fear of death, of night, of exposure; something bad is going to happen. From the dullness and weakness, they feel that something bad is going to happen. It makes them feel like they are going to die. In Lachesis,it happens as they are falling asleep. For Cenchris, there is just a feeling that something is going to happen to them. Fear of death at night
  5. Alone, forsaken; they feel alone and abandoned in the world. They have driven their loved one away. Their worst fear has happened. Something bad has occurred
  6. Desires company; don’t want to lose company. They are alone and think they are going to die. They want someone there to protect them. They will do anything to hold on to their selected loved ones. They go after them and are nice to them to win them back. But, soon enough the loved one messes up in some way and they start again with jealousy and suspiciousness.

Cenchris is a remedy in between Lachesis and Hyosyamus. It is as though Cenchris is stuck in a constant premenstrual [PMS] state and has a lack of logic. The suspiciousness makes them angry. The mate did the wrong thing, they drove him away and then they are alone. In a woman, who has fear of being alone and treats her husband badly, consider Cenchris.

How To Handle Difficult Cases   

So, let’s look at what happened here. I was stuck with a case that I had prescribed multiple remedies for. Instead of groaning each time she came in, I tried to stay open to the case and see where it was leading me and what I could learn from it. If you stay open to the case and realise the ‘vital force’ is trying to teach you, you will learn the lessons. Often, as the patient is in front of me I ask myself: what is the patient trying to tell me that I am not getting; what is the patient showing me by their actions that I haven’t seen; what is the feeling that I’m getting from this patient that I haven’t felt yet; how is the patient saying things that might give me a clue to what I need to understand? Often this will open up other senses that I’ve somehow closed off for the moment… this will lead to new understanding of the case.

What I gradually became aware of is that the mental and emotional symptoms were responding to the remedies that I was using, but not the physicals. So, I tried to pay more attention to the physicals, combining them with the mental/emotional symptoms that I already had. When new symptoms arise, or other symptoms become more prominent in a case, it is the ‘vital force’ trying to get you to paying attention to the new symptoms and adding them to the symptoms you already have, to come to a new remedy.

Then you have to use your common sense as well. Lachesis, a snake remedy, seemed to give the most improvement. Maybe, another snake remedy would be called for. I have my homeopathic Materia Medica — a collection of ‘homeopathic drug pictures,’ organised alphabetically — listed in different ways on my computer. Lectures that I’ve had on various remedies have been categorised in multiple ways. One listing that I have is for snake remedies, with the cycle for each one on a one-page sheet. This way I have rapid access to a brief summary of the heart of each snake remedy.

So, besides coming up in the repertorisation, Cenchris was a snake remedy which I saw from my snake remedy ‘cheat sheet.’ It covered fear of being alone, jealousy and suspiciousness, leading to abusive treatment… and, to the person being alone. From all perspectives it seemed like the right remedy. So, by forcing myself to reason things out, by staying focused on the case and on what needed to be cured instead of on my feelings about not being able to find the remedy; by realising that if I simply focus on the case and what the ‘vital force’ is telling me, and by looking at all the various visits and symptoms as part of the case sequentially revealed, I was able to realise my belief is true. If I stick with it, I will come to the remedy.

Difficult patients are our stimuli to let go of our need to stick patients into our previous experience. If we discover first who the patient is and what the cycle of their pathology is, we will continue to learn about homeopathy and about remedies we have little experience with… by allowing our patients to become our teachers. For me, this is both fun and rewarding.

Dr Frank Gruber, MD, practised homeopathic medicine, in Norfolk, Virginia, US. He was a graduate of St Charles Preparatory School, The Ohio State University and The Ohio State University College of Medicine, with specialties in emergency and alternative medicine. Dr Gruber [1944-2000] authored, or co-authored, several books and numerous articles, lectures and educational seminars. In addition to his private practice, Dr Gruber was an adjunct faculty member and former Medical Director of Eastern Virginia Medical School. He attended the National Center of Homeopathy [NCH] Summer School in 1990 and later studied, with Dr Paul Herscu, at the New England School of Homeopathy [NESH]. This article is ©NESH and published — as a tribute/homage to Dr Gruber — with grateful thanks.

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