Like most people, I have experienced many ups and downs in my life. Sometimes the downs have happened in response to external events: accidents, illness, the death of someone close. And sometimes, seemingly out of nowhere, a dark mood has descended, like a black cloud, hanging around for weeks or even months.
One morning quite recently, I was at home, cleaning the kitchen, when, from nowhere, I seemed to ‘tip’ into a black hole: despair, hopelessness. Next thing I was sitting on the living room floor, tears running down my cheeks, mentally reviewing the futility of myself, my life – of everything. This state was familiar from my younger years, when depression was a frequent companion, but never before had I experienced it with this intensity and such an abrupt onset.
One chink of light; a single word drifted into my consciousness: “Aurum”. This is the name of a homeopathic medicine I had been prescribed some years before. Now a practising homeopath myself, I recognised that this medicine would very likely be suitable for me at this time. Still, I had to overcome considerable inertia to drag myself to the medicine cupboard, take out my bottle of aurum, and deliver 5 drops under the tongue. Pause. Observe. The clouds began lift. I felt okay. Two more doses of 5 drops at intervals through the day, and the black feeling passed.
This was a very dramatic resolution, confirming what had first attracted me to homeopathic medicine; the mental and emotional state of the patient is often of primary importance in forming a homeopathic prescription. Homeopathic medicine can be of great value in relieving the symptoms of depression and other debilitating mental conditions as well as a wide range of physical complaints.
One of the interesting, and at times challenging, aspects of homeopathy is that there is not one medicine for each medically defined condition. Instead the homeopath prescribes on the unique symptoms of each patient, matching them to the symptom profile of a relevant homeopathic medicine. When I took aurum for my depression it was because I recognised that my state matched the symptom picture of this remedy. People who need aurum tend to have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility which can tip into depression when they fail to fulfill the high expectations they place on themselves.
Another remedy that can alleviate the symptoms of people suffering from depression is callednatrum muriaticum. I had a patient who would,at times, become very sad and lose confidence in herself. She was unable and unwilling to talk with anybody about how she was feeling. She believed her husband would laugh at her or get angry if she tried to express her concerns. People needing natrum muriaticum often feel let down by those they depend on, and then withdraw into themselves to stave off further disappointments. This woman took three doses of the medicine, and felt good for two weeks. We then changed the prescription to one dose a week. For many months afterwards she maintained an positive state of mind.
A third example is a woman who was having some difficult family issues. It was a time when she needed to be very alert and responsive to what was happening, and yet she found herself ‘frozen’. She was filled with guilt; somehow this was all her fault, she was convinced that something bad that she had done had brought about this unpleasant situation. And because of how she was feeling she had no resolve to deal with the real situation around her. Her dilemma matched the remedy picture for homeopathic cyclamen. And after a few doses of cyclamen this woman found she could put aside the feeling of guilt and handle the real challenges in her life.
These are only three examples of my own observations of how homeopathic medicines have helped to free individuals from the paralysing grip of what we call depression. There are dozens, even hundreds of other homeopathic medicines that could apply to other individuals. The job of the homeopath is to identify the medicine that best fits each case. This is done through interview-style consultations. A first consultation will last for around one and a half hours. Subsequent visits usually last between forty-five minutes and one hour.
Frequently, once the ‘constitutional’ remedy is identified, it may serve the patient for years, only being repeated when there is some return of the original symptoms. Sometimes a first prescription may only be the first layer of a case, and after the initial burst of well-being wears off, it is time to come back, see what has changed and find the medicine that now best fits the patient’s symptoms. When a condition is long-standing it is often not easy to effect lasting change and it is wise to expect treatment for at least six months, roughly four to six consultations, before assessing the effectiveness.
Homeopathic medicines are low risk in nature. In over two hundred years not one homeopathic medicine has been withdrawn from circulation. The medicines are made from naturally occurring substances, which are prepared in minute doses. They do not interfere with other prescription medicines, and often those on medication are able to reduce the dosage over time, though this should be only done under the guidance of the prescribing doctor.
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Use medicines only as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare practitioner. This advice does not replace professional care. These suggestions are for the treatment of minor aliments only and are not suitable for the treatment of chronic, serious or on-going illness.