June 2016

I have to hold on: a case of Germanium

by Dinesh Chauhan

The patient is a woman aged forty-four years; she came to me in 2012 with IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) and  some other physical complaints.

Passive case witnessing process

Dinesh Chauhan (DC): We need to understand you and your illness, so tell me whatever you think will help me to understand you.
Patient (P): “The first problem is a bony growth on my head (HG: pointing to vertex) and my shoulder. This one is there for twelve years (vertex) and this one for few months (shoulder). Another problem is that whenever I take dairy products like ghee, sweets, milk, etc,. for about three or four days in a row, I have a stomach ache starting from my lower abdomen and going to the vagina.
“I have hot, sweaty palms and cracks on two fingers. I have some spider veins on my leg near the knee and a pain in my left knee. I have dandruff and loss of hair, as well as red warts.
 “For several months now, I realize I have a breathing problem; if I wake up at midnight, I realize that I am not breathing. I try to breathe deeply and take in oxygen, I yawn a lot, then it subsides and I go to sleep.  
“I have been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome.
“I had a healthy childhood with my parents and sister. I met my husband when I was in 12th grade. We know each other for twenty-five years. He is very perfectionist. I must do whatever he says. When he is angry, he is very violent. He wants me to do everything he wants. Every time I don’t do exactly as he says, even in small things, he punishes me. For example, he asked me to tie up the two ponies and I couldn’t. It made him upset and he forced me to cut my hair.”

DC: Tell me more about you, your stress, your feelings?
P: “When you are living in a joint family, there is so much stress. They don’t praise you or even have a good word for you. I don’t want everyone to praise me, but they could say thank you or something like that. I have had a very hard time financially. My husband will not ask even a single penny from anyone even though his father is very well off. He will not even tell his parents that he needs money, he just tries to manage. I used to help the in-laws, not for the money – I’m not money minded. Still, you need money to run your life.”

DC: Tell me what in your life is really bothering you, from your heart, things you might not have told anyone else.
P: “My husband is not well. He used to ask me to wear a certain sari, but I had a different sari in mind for that day so I said “I will wear it tomorrow.”He would then cut up all my saris. He does not do that anymore, he is not cutting or breaking things like he used to do four or five years ago but he says that he is the only person who could live with me, no one else could. Mentally, I know I am very strong; if he tells me something or destroys my things, it doesn’t bother me because I am not materialistic.  
“My father in law is very money-minded, the opposite of my husband. He always scrounges for every penny. Because we don’t have a driver, he always drives. He told that he will hire a driver.

“My brother in law is alright. He used to be friendly with me and everyone else before his marriage, but afterwards he changed. I don’t get along with his wife, she insults me, which was hard for me. I had a hard time financially. “

Guided passive case witnessing process

DC: What do you dream?
P: “I often dream that I am on a high place, a pillar or rooftop. I am trying to climb down and I am getting tense, thinking I might not be able to climb down, but finally I do. When I am in a high place, I have vertigo. In my dream, I see a ladder and I have to climb down. Halfway down, though, I see that the rungs of the ladder are not there, only the rails, and I am hanging onto the rails to come down. I often get this same dream.
“Another dream is that I have a lovely small home, my own home, with no one else. I am afraid that my husband and children will feel I’m selfish, but sometimes I see myself in this nice home. I hope you won’t laugh.”

DC: Do you remember any other dreams?
P:  “Every month, I dream that I am scared of heights.”

Active case witnessing process

DC: Just describe this dream again or whatever is involved with this dream.
P: “I am climbing or standing on a high place and I want to climb down, but the rest of the ladder is missing. I have to pull myself down to safety; I never fall, but it is scary.”

DC: Is there anything else is there in this dream?
P: “No. Everyone was there with me, but while I was climbing down I was alone. Sometimes I am alone while climbing up and down.”

DC: Everyone is there with you, but when you are climbing down you are alone. Do you see anything else in this dream?
P: “Sometimes, I am climbing up with my mother, but climbing down I am alone.” (Eyes gazing upwards)

DC: Which part of this dream is most striking for you?
P: “When I am coming down.” (HG: hand shows coming down)

DC: Which part is common in all your dreams?
P:  “This height thing. I am standing.”

DC: So, height is common and climbing down is common?
P: “Yes, climbing down is common.”

DC: Leave the dream and just describe this feeling of climbing down.
P: “I was scared. I thought ‘I have to pass this phase, I have to climb down successfully.’ If I don’t hold the rail of the ladder, I may fall. When I got up, my hand was like this (HG: fist clenched). As if I am holding the rail of the staircase, when I see the staircase is not there. There was a very steep slope, so I am holding on tight so that I won’t fall. Then, I came down and reached flat ground.”

DC: When you got up your hand was like this?
P: “Yes. Like this.” (HG: fist clenched)

DC: Describe that climbing down and holding the rail, and the fear of heights.
P:  “I was scared, I could not go down and I could not go up anymore. I was standing on a high place like the top of a building and I had to go down, to reach flat ground.”

DC: When you came down you calmed down. What is the feeling when there is no staircase?
P: “I kept thinking I could fall and hurt myself or die. But I had to get down, so I held on very tight. Once, I saw a tall broken boundary wall, with steps on one side.”

DC: You are doing very well, just be with it. Feel that dream in front of you, where you are climbing down and you need to hold on...
P: “There is no support, nothing to hold onto. I am just climbing, holding onto that broken wall. I have to be strong enough so that I can get down successfully, otherwise I will fall.”

DC:  So, you have to hold on to that rail very hard.
P: “Sometimes, I have a rail to hold onto and sometimes I don’t. On the staircase, there is a rail, but not on the boundary wall.”

Active-active case witnessing process

DC: When you are in a situation like that in general, not related to this dream, how does it feel to you?  P: “It’s scary, it’s tense. I have to go down and it’s hard, there is no support.”  

DC: Where else in your life do you get this kind of feeling?
P: “When my husband is very angry with me, he is very unpredictable; he can become violent. Then, everyone is scared of him. He drinks. He does not hit anyone or tell me to shave my head bald. Anyway, in a situation like that, I somehow have to manage but I get those same scared feelings.”  

DC: Describes a situation where the same feeling as in the dream comes up.
P: “He is pointing his finger at me, telling me to go to Calcutta and stay with my mother. He would stay in another house there; his father has a house in Calcutta. He said I should make all the arrangements, do the cooking. I should come once a day but stay with my mother for a month. I asked him: ‘What about the kids?’ Our daughter is in tenth grade and our youngest one is in fourth grade, they need me to help them with their studies. I have to look after them too. I can make arrangements like that, but I don’t know what to do. I am in the middle, I can’t go this way and I can’t go that way. I have to stay with my kids and please my husband, too.”

DC: Do you have other experiences where you feel the same thing?
P:  “I have this dream when my husband says I have to manage both. I have to look after my kids and my husband, and I also have to look after my classes because my husband is not doing well for the last seven or eight months. If I don’t run the class, I don’t have the school fees for my kids, I have to maintain my daily routine. If I go to Calcutta, I won’t be able to manage financially. I don’t want anyone to that we are not financially healthy, I don’t want pity. If you are mixing with people of this level (HG) and you are at this level (HG) it is tough to manage.”

DC: What do you mean by ‘financially healthy’?
P: “I know my bank balance. I know his status, too; his father is well off, but I don’t count on that. No matter what, I have to maintain my situation.”

DC: So it’s almost like the same thing. Whatever you have, you have to maintain.
P: “Hold on to it.”

DC:  What will happen if you don’t hold on or maintain it?
P: “Everything will go ruin.”

DC: Everything will be…?  Just imagine, what is your first thought?
P: “I will not be able to run my family. My daughter will not go to school. Everyone will call me bichari (poor lady), I can’t stand that.”

DC: So, you must be cautious in spending money.
P: “Yes. I am not stingy at all. Whatever is needed, I give. It is not that I don’t give my daughters what they want. You have to buy them something that their friend has, otherwise their friend will tease them; I don’t want that. My husband has lost so much money in his business - the man who was looking after my husband’s business took all the money, that’s why he stopped the business. His only thing is music. He was getting shows, but now he can’t sit to compose music, so he is rejecting everything.”  

Active-active case witnessing process towards awareness

DC: Tell me how you feel after you have spoken like this.
P: “Good, much lighter. But on the other hand, I feel that someone knows everything about me, which I have never done...”

DC: Does this interview help you to understand yourself in some way? How does it feel to explore the dream that you used to get every month and understand its meaning? And to see that it is the same thing with your husband and everywhere in your life?
P: “I can relate that dream with my situation, though previously, I never thought about it. I am going through this situation and that dream comes: I am on a height, at midway. I can’t go up and I can’t go down. But I want to hold on at this peaceful, tranquil level. Now, I realise that is related to my situation. Whatever I am going through in my daily life, that dream is coming.”  

DC: When you hold on you must be getting very exhausted. Tell me about that.
P: “I’m exhausted. I just hold my breath, I stress out. My focus is ‘I have to do this anyhow or I will be in a mess.’”

Understanding the case

During the Passive case witnessing process, we see the sensitivity of the patient towards financial issues and money, after which we started with the Guided passive process, exploring the patient’s peculiar and recurring dreams. As we explored her dreams, we understood that the whole feeling in the dream connects to the feeling of holding onto the situation, the feeling of being in the position where she has to hold on to the rail or some other situation in life, otherwise everything will be ruined. This is clearly reflected in the dream and also in her life situation, the feeling of insecurity and financial issues.

Hence, the centre of the case is:
I am losing my duty, task, position, finance and almost everything.
I can’t go back, but I can’t give up either.
I have to manage everything alone.
With my every effort, I have to manage and cover it up, but when I could not prevent it, I  become exhausted.

This brings us to the Mineral kingdom, row 4 and column 14.

Prescription: Germanium 200

Centre of Germanium: I have to maintain, hold on to whatever I have with a superhuman effort until finally I become exhausted.

Desire sweet
Milk aggravates
Fear of heights
Fear of falling
Reproach, criticism, punishment, appreciation
Needs lot of appreciation and recognition
Maintaining order
Casting aside/ accusation
Reacts closely to husbands/ friends demands
Sensitive to opinion of others
Dreams of broken glass, house breaking

Follow ups

After one month, she says the lack of energy is much better and the hair fall has reduced. She feels mentally better and things at home are better. Here, she was prescribed no remedy.

A month later, she complains of headaches, cracks on her fingers, brown spots on her cheeks, pain in her joints, and numbness in hands and legs.

Prescription: Germanium 200

In her further follow ups, her allergy to milk products reduced, and after three months of treatment, she said that she could eat everything. She was also emotionally improved and the dreams have not recurred in that form.
She dreams that she holds the rail of the ladder and she can climb down it with ease. The feeling of exhaustion is no longer present.

After almost a year of treatment, all her physical complaints have significantly reduced: the joint complaints have reduced, she feels she has taken enough oxygen, and the stomach pain after dairy products is gone. She also feels calmer. The dream has recurred but the feeling of being in the middle of a tense situation, trying to hold on, is much less, and she feels more relaxed. She has taken her husband to a psychiatrist, so he is also not troubling her like before.

In her most recent follow up, her dreams have changed: she sees that the broken wall is slowly healing up. She can climb down and she has no fear of falling.

After the treatment, she started to express herself through paintings and drawings, her old hobby. She was encouraged to continue this.

Overall, she feels she has become stronger. In the past, she could not answer back, she could not express herself. Now, she is becoming more confident and her feeling of insecurity has decreased.  

Photos: Shutterstock
Wooden broken ladder; Olan
Angry man; Phovoir

Categories: Cases
Keywords: maintaining, holding on, fear of falling, of heights, exhaustion


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