2013 March

Gripping onto the edge of the cliff: a case of Limpet

by Geoff Johnson

I saw this lady over a 6-year period, giving her many remedies that never really did any good at all! She stuck with me because I had treated her daughter with good results and her Great Dane dogs very successfully. It was only in the last 18 months that I found her remedy.

Presenting complaint
Mental: Depression
Physical: muscular aches and pains, especially in the shoulders; exhaustion.

Patient: “I'm determined and will get to the bottom of things. I’ve only got myself. I've had to fight others quite a bit. I’ve worked for everything I've got. I won't take no for an answer. I want to achieve and I want to challenge the world and to solve problems. I try to do my best, to keep on top of things. It's like a battle. Sometimes my fuse snaps and I shout at the kids. I'm really uptight, I feel everyone's getting at me. I get so tense I feel I'm walking on needles or eggshells. I feel like I'm holding my breath underwater.

“I'm not happy. I hate talking about emotions, it makes me feel very vulnerable (hand gesture). I dream about friends who have upset me – they try to take over my life. “My pregnancy was hell. It was always a fight with the hospital. They wanted to induce me but I said no. (When she got into the birthing pool during labour, her contractions stopped and she had to get out.)

“I was scared and I felt shut off from the living world. I felt small and vulnerable and needed protection. I felt wobbly and unstable, like I was sea-sick. I always felt bullied, and isolated and cut off. The ground was shifting, like I was on the boat.

“I had a dream that my sister was gang raped and then they stole her daughter.

“I want to achieve but it's like I’ve fallen off the cliff. I have this dragging down feeling - it's like being put into a box and someone is slowly closing the lid. I could try to get out but I know it’s futile. My senses switch off - I give up interacting. All my senses go out and everything is condensed and mundane and boring.

“There are forces pulling against each other and there's nothing I can do. 

It should be a sunny day out there but my horizon is closer. Everything is squashed and closed in – like a cave.

“I can never sit down and unwind; there is so much pressure on me to do everything. I want someone to take the pressure off running the house, running the lives of three kids. It’s pressure but I must keep on going. It’s like being pulled and pressure is everywhere. I'm holding my breath, hoping I don't teeter over the edge. It’s as though an elastic band pulls me to the edge of the cliff and I fight back, I dig my heels in and get a grip.

I'm being dragged down, a dead weight like grey heavy stone. I'm treading water yet still going under. I pull myself away and become harder inside. I will survive by myself with no support from anyone. 

“I have to plan to get it right. I fight tooth and nail; I get so angry, I tell them they are all useless. I could easily go into shutdown and be lonely and avoid everyone. I get a pain in my guts like a knife and I can't breathe. Voices sound miles away and I feel shattered.

“I have fought my way out. I have determination. I will succeed. I will not fail. I cannot go to bed without finishing something. I won’t rest until I've got it right.” 

Dreams: “I keep getting water dreams – of rocks and stepping-stones. I had to get my kids over the sea, which was fierce. I was on the beach and there was a great big wave. I was trying to hold my kids’ above the water, but I couldn't. 

“I have to keep going and make the right decisions, even if it's lonely. 

It's like an eclipse of the sun, everything becomes dark; but it's not frightening, it’s soft and there is a pressure like being wrapped securely in a duvet. But inside me everything is screaming and no one is listening.

“The opposite is an empty beach and there I could switch off and it could all drain out.”

Unsuccessful prescription given.

Next consultation 18 months later. The patient has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. She is on allopathic drugs including methotrexate. These are making her feel unwell. It is possible to get to the Sensation by asking about drug side effects.

“I'm so stressed that I feel I'm about to burst and go over the edge. My stomach pains have returned, sharp stabbing pains. 

“I feel I'm in a dark tunnel. I don't want to interact. I'm isolated. If I go outside the house there is less pressure and I don't have that shut-in feeling. I have no confidence in myself. I feel I have to prove myself. 

“I have such pains in my joints, they wake me from deep sleep in the middle of the night. It's like someone is smacking me with a lump hammer (hand gesture). I have claw hands – the pain is bang bang bang! and I can hardly move them. The pain is a dull heavy thud with quite a fast rhythm. It's worse if I'm doing nothing. 

“The drugs are starting to make me feel sick; the thought of tablets makes me vomit. I want a way out – it's so scary. I'm on edge (hand gesture). I'm stuck, I can't do anything about it. I've stopped dead (hand gesture) and have nowhere to go. I'm trapped but I won't let it take over.

“I have been stopped in my tracks and slowed down and this is scary.

“Why do I feel so sick? I can't deal with it. I'm out of my depth (hand gesture). I'm on my own, no one is doing it for me. I need to drag a bit of my mind over, push these thoughts to one side. I'm out of control. It's like watching something happening to your kids that you can't control - you panic.

“It's like these drugs have control and there is a battle. I get every bit of my strength. I scrape everything together and try to push these feelings down.

I need to get a grip and push it down. It rises quickly and comes up to head high or over me. It's clear or see-through and it isn't black any more. It wants to take me over. I see the letter S on it. It's overwhelming - it's above head high. There’s a lot of pressure. I need to block it out so it goes down.”

What is the pressure like?

“I'm empty, I have no control. I feel drained, lost, taken over, lost and I'm never going to get control. Then I couldn't go forward, I would stagnate and become immobile and couldn't go anywhere. Then I would be gone – I would be hidden, squashed, buried. I’d be switched off like the lights going out.

“It is a strong physical thing. In front of me is thick glass, I can't get through. It seeps around you and covers you like a tidal wave. It is all encompassing; there’s nothing you can do, so you give in because you've lost the battle. It has no emotion. I want to smash it. On the outside I am not bothered but inside I feel it growing in strength. But it won't win.”

The opposite?

“Being in control and everything is running smoothly, all the chores are done. I’m very strong and nothing can break through. I can relax. 

“My mother is so irritable with me. Whatever I do is never good enough, I feel worthless. I might as well have been an orphan. I retreat inside myself but she’d chip away at me, chip away at my foundations, have another dig. So I pull the barrier down, like a garage door and things bounce off. Then I'm in my own world which is secure and warm and I feel calm.  “Everything is on an even keel and the pressure has gone. Nothing can get through. I must cut off all contact.”


“People are all lined up on the other side of a wall. It is an old dry stone wall and I have to push against it.

“I'm in my classroom at school I'm floating up to the ceiling – I have lost gravity and I'm weightless but all my friends are down there.”

Food: If she eats eggs she gets headaches and vomiting. She dislikes milk.

Aversion: “I would rather starve than eat squid or snails or oysters.”

Prescription: Limpet (Patella vulgaris) 200C

Follow ups
Six weeks: all is going well, remedy was repeated.

Five months later: “My hands are good, the pain has virtually gone. I'm still tired. My daughter has been ill. The strange thing is I feel calm, I'm not panicking. 

“Then my dog died and I was devastated. I just stayed at home and shut the door. I boxed it up, like a heavy door coming down the left-hand side and I tucked myself away. Everything outside was too scary. I feel safe at home. I don't need to interact. It's like a partial shutdown. The outside world was like living in a fog; inside is warm and secure. 

“Eye contact is like an invasion – like someone is trying to break through, this feels painful and sharp. The only way to deal with it is to put up a front like a shield and close the doors. Then I take nothing in.

“After the remedy, I felt I'd been given a protective strength from shoulder to shoulder. I feel much stronger and have strengthened protection. 

“I have only lost my temper once, I feel stronger encountering people. The security has always been there, I bring it up as needed and then it slowly ebbs back.”

Describe the box
“It's beach coloured – it is square and deep like a cube. There is a slight lip on the lid.”

Prescription: Limpet 1M

Eight months later: “I'm really good. I have had no medication (conventional) for a year. I am strong and happy. I get slight pains in my wrists about once a fortnight that don't last long and don't require painkillers. I'm not tired any more, except a couple of days a month.”


Animal Kingdom Themes

It’s a battle to survive. I will survive with no support from anyone. 

I've had to fight others quite a bit. I fight tooth and nail.

I feel everyone’s getting at me. I always felt bullied.

Sea Themes

I felt wobbly and unstable, it was like I was sea-sick.

My ground was shifting like I was on the boat.

I keep getting water dreams of rocks and stepping-stones, and I had to get my kids over the sea, which was fierce. I was on the beach and there was a great big wave - I was trying to hold my kids’ above the water.

It rises quickly and comes over me. It's see-through. It's overwhelming. There is a lot of pressure. 

It pulls me to the edge of the cliff and I fight back and I dig my heels in and I get a grip.

I'm being dragged down. I'm treading water and yet still going under. I pull myself away and become harder inside.

Mollusc Themes

I felt small and vulnerable and needed protection.

I felt shut off from the living world.

I retreat inside myself. She’d chip away at my foundations. So I pull the barrier down. Then I'm in my own world which is secure and I feel calm.

The shell is hard, house, cage, shelter, wall myself off, inside in my own space, closed, confined, claustrophobic, self-centered, disconnected.

The body and mantle – soft, jelly, transparent. Feels exposed, unprotected wants to go inside, close door, keep the world out. They withdraw, retract, go into their shell.

From Survival: the Mollusc by Rajan Sankaran


They have an operculum over the entrance to the shell like a door they can shut.

Withdraw into shellWithholdingGoing inside, closing the door, out of reach

The pains/predators – smash, bore, crush, shatter, hammer, pounded, break in, penetrate, being sucked out, corroded.

They can penetrate or bore through the shell of other molluscs and suck out the soft tissue. As they rasp they secrete enzymes to break down the shell – corrode, dissolve, drill, pry open, suck out, pounded.

The body is propelled forward on the foot. They have siphons to bring in water and nutrients and eliminate waste– flow / stagnant.

The Limpet clings to a rock or to the cliff face. In this case the tenacity is strong and they describe the sensation of battling for survival as the waves crash on the rocks; the pains are pounding. To rest is to let it drain away.

Photos: Jürgen Weiland

Keywords: battle, survival, tenacity, cling on, cliff, waves, crashing, crushed, boxed in, shut down, invasion, going under, drains, ebbs, immobile, out of control, mollusk
Remedies: Limpet


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Posts: 6
beautiful case
Reply #4 on : Wed September 24, 2014, 18:28:49
Thank you for sharing this case!

Posts: 6
Nice case:
Reply #3 on : Tue March 12, 2013, 13:38:16
Thanks for nice case and perfect analysis and descriptions...!!

Posts: 6
Reply #2 on : Fri March 01, 2013, 09:29:49
Great case Geoff. I really like the way you have broken down the case analysis in stages - very clearly shows how you have come to the remedy and makes it a great case to learn from.

Posts: 6
Limpet case
Reply #1 on : Thu February 28, 2013, 19:31:13
Nice one Goeff!