Grief Hampers Breathing (Psychosomatic Disease - 1999)
When certain patients walk in, you could feel their agony and pain in the air. I had that same feeling when this 35-year-old lady came to meet me along with her husband. The wife of a school teacher, she was suffering from Chronic Bronchial Asthma for three years, and showed poor response to allopathic treatment.
She looked weak and melancholic. During case taking, they narrated the history of her present illness, mostly the details of her asthma attacks. I probed for the reasons behind her mental agony. On hearing my queries, she hesitantly looked at her husband. I explained to him that Homoeopathy is a holistic system, and for effective treatment we need a detailed case history constituting the physical, emotional, intellectual and environmental details of the patient.
Both of them were very cooperative and I was able to make a rough sketch of her portrait as a patient. Later, her husband waited outside the consultation room to give his wife the freedom to speak openly. It was painful for him to see her suffer. She told me that her husband was working in a far off school and she was staying with her in-laws. His family consisted of his parents and five sisters. Her husband came home only on weekends. By questioning her tactfully, I came to know about the intense mental and physical agony she was undergoing in his house during his absence.
Every single day started at 5 am for her and extended well past 10 pm. She got little rest, was forced to do all household chores
alone including drawing water from the well for all the family members, cooking food, washing utensils and clothes. It pained her as she was even unable to devote time to attend her only child. Her asthma worsened at night, affecting her sleep, but she had no respite from the burdens of household chores the following day.
She was not getting sufficient food as well. She lost weight and was lean and sick looking. She was reluctant to share her plight with her husband when he came during weekends. She was apprehensive and not sure whether he would continue to appreciate her if she criticized his family. She was frustrated and supremely tired of tackling her physical and emotional problems on her own.
Ignatia was the only medicine which came to my mind since it is highly praised in our Materia medica for eradicating bad effects of long continued mental exertion. I prescribed one dose of Ignatia 200. I shared with her husband the unpleasant realities of life, the traumatic situation his wife was in and explained the psychosomatic origin of her illness. I also advised him to move, along with his wife, to a place near his school and take care of each other. He understood the gravity of the situation and before long, they shifted to a rented accommodation near his school. Her improvement was rapid, she gained weight and her asthma got resolved completely. I gave her Ignatia from 200 to 10M potencies and finally its chronic, Natrum mur 10M. There was no recurrence of illness after that.
The couple came to me actually for treatment of severe Bronchial Asthma. Ignatia doesn't come under commonly used medicines for Bronchial Asthma. From the body language of the patient, I could sense some emotional turmoil and was able to properly elicit her basic problem during case taking. I understood that the case in front of me was a psychosomatic one. Dr. Hahnemann had described about somatic illnesses resulting from uninterrupted grief in “The Chronic diseases” and §225 of “Organon of medicine.”
In his book, “The Chronic diseases”, Dr. Hahnemann says, “By far, the most frequent excitement of the slumbering psora into chronic disease and the most frequent aggravation of chronic ailments already existing, are caused by uninterrupted grief and vexation.” Excessive hardships, labouring in swamps, great bodily injuries, excessive heat or cold, hunger or poverty are not by any means as powerful as uninterrupted grief and vexation in causing the fearful malady of latent psora evolving into outbreaks of serious chronic diseases. . Dr. Hahnemann quotes the example of an innocent man who can pass ten years in bodily torments in the Bastille or on the galleys rather than pass some months in all bodily comfort in an unhappy marriage or with a remorseful conscience.
During my professional life, I could give complete relief to numerous patients by basing my prescription on such an etiology. For some, the deterioration in health may be due to the adverse circumstances in life, while for others, it may be caused by the
oversensitivity of their mind, or a low Emotional Quotient. Such psychosomatic patients require, in addition to proper medicine, counselling and a change in life situations. Otherwise their adverse circumstances will act as a maintaining cause, hindering cure.
In the above case, the lady improved rapidly because of Ignatia in high potency and the change of atmosphere, which provided her the ideal climate to rejuvenate her debilitated self. She could get the long required rest and peace of mind. She was fortunate in getting timely treatment and family support. In “The Chronic diseases,” Dr. Hahnemann warns us that if the untoward circumstances are not changed for the better, it may make the disease incurable.
Starting homoeopathic treatment was a turning point in their lives. Observing the tremendous change in their lives and improvement in my patient's health was blissful and encouraging, giving me moments of professional satisfaction.
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“Homoeopathy is concerned only with disease per se, that is, in its primary, functional, dynamic aspect, not in its ultimate and so-called pathological results.” - H.A.Roberts
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