Man, aged 33, first Visit 7 January 2011
Presenting complaint: Burn Out syndrome
“I suddenly feel lost, I have no more motivation, nothing. I’m not being myself, I used to laugh a lot and go out a lot. I have plans, I come to do it and I feel like I don’t want to be around anybody or do anything. I feel like I am missing out on things.
“I think it probably started almost 3 years ago, when I hurt my back. I felt like I lost a lot of things, I wasn’t able to play anymore like I used to. I ruptured a couple of lower discs, the sciatic nerve was crushed. I started going to a chiropractor, I went for x-rays, and to see a specialist, who told me that I was going to heal up. It can have major impact, pain once in a while, when I go and move around a lot, when I walk around all day, lower back, buttock, left leg, spasms in my calf.
“About 10 years ago, I was lifting something too heavy, trying to be a hero. Nothing happened for a couple of years, but 3 winters ago, it hit really hard: I was down for almost 6 months. I didn’t feel like I could do as much; I lost my physical strength and it took a lot to just go for a walk.
“I almost never feel any motivation. I am more of a day dreamer. I want to do this and that, and then my plate gets too full and I don’t do any of it, daily things, even chores. Last week, for example, it took me 4 days to go to the bank and pay a bill.
What are you doing?
“I am just sitting there and thinking about life, what I could be doing, what I wanted to do, lying there thinking about it instead of doing something about it. I am missing something or something needs to happen, but I don’t know what.
“I love fishing and camping. While at work, I often wanted to go out there and fish for a while. I am thinking about social life a lot.
“Right now, I feel like a hermit. Usually, I am always up and going, visiting other people, but now there is none of that.”
“Growing up, I always had dogs and pets. My parents were pretty good, they would take us out to the park and do things like that. My Mom was good but my father was a very angry, violent man. The kind of guy you could sit at the table and he would all of a sudden slap you for no reason or throw chairs. My brother and I would get beaten up sometimes, half of the time for no reason, we were walking on eggshells a lot.”
Feelings about father?
“It came up a few times: I loaded up the 22 and I was going to go upstairs and shoot him, everything was ready to go and I just had to walk up the stairs, but I never had the courage. I was thinking about what would happen, we would end up in a foster home; I was looking at the bigger picture.
“When I was younger, it was a pretty desperate situation. I was a quiet kid, keeping to myself a lot, had some friends but kept to myself for the most part.
“We stuck pretty close together as kids. My sister and I were really close; she was my little shadow, she didn’t get it as bad as we did. Sometimes, I took it for my little sister.”
“She was in the same boat when we were younger; she ended up leaving him for a bit. I don’t really know the whole history though I talked to her about it when I was about 15 or 16. She couldn’t afford to leave while raising 3 kids. She got abused as well; she probably got it the worst, that’s for sure.”
“He never really stood up against father; he turned a blind eye, he was going to get it too.”
“Just to put him out of the picture. If I ran away, he would still be there. If I ran away, the family would still get it. Everybody was too scared to leave. It went on until I was about 15 or 16, that’s when I suddenly turned around, started standing up for myself. He would still be threatening, but he became a grouchy old man.”
“All right, I guess. When I was younger, my parents never had any money, I never had nice clothes etc. I got picked on a little bit, but nothing too bad. Had some good friends, got in trouble once in a while. Kids are kids, part of growing up. If it bugs you, you do something about it. It hasn’t affected my life or anything.”
“I smoked a lot of pot, I still smoke pot pretty much every day; it is more in the evening, chilling out, just a little buzz here and there.
“Originally, one of my goals was to work for about one year and go back to college and take my heavy duty mechanic degree. Then, I just never went back. I met a lot of good people at work and felt that was the place where I needed to be for now. For a few years, work was a good thing. I never really travelled much when I was younger, so it was the best thing for me to happen, getting paid for travelling and seeing places. For the last few years, I had some social and down time, before that I was gone for almost 8-10 months a year. I was more trapped in money. Work is in my blood, I enjoyed work and the people I worked with. For a long time, it was: ‘This is my life and that’s what I want to do.’ In 2007, I actually realized that there’s a lot more to it.”
“The last couple of years, I’m right back into fishing again, if I could get paid for that...
Catch and release for 90%, everywhere: rivers, lakes, to as far up as Slave Lake. Sometimes, I go ice fishing by myself, feels like it’s my time, quiet time, nobody is bugging me. I leave my cell phone in the truck.
“I am looking for balance in life, between work and life; from August till December, I only had 4 days off.
“I don’t have goals, just look at them. I just want to be happy and have fun all the time, a healthy life. I would like to be able to spend more time with other people, friends, family, gatherings, etc.
I am always out of breath, smoking too much. I don’t drink enough fluid during the day. I have to literally force myself. Work stress, my whole life revolves around work.”
What do you do when you get stressed out?
“I’ll go for a little drive and kick the shit out of my tires. Maybe, I’ll talk to somebody at work, get it off my chest. 80 % of the time, I go for a drive and cool off. I can’t sit there and take a deep breath around the people I work with.”
‘Leading position’ stress?
“It was stressful at the beginning, I piled too much on my plate. I have a hard time saying no to people, that is a bad thing. I look out for everybody else, helping others before I do my own work.”
“I liked it, we were a team - I like challenges, that’s for sure.”
“Some nights are okay, but probably most of the nights, I toss and turn a lot of times; I wake up, get up for a bit, go back to bed, don’t get a good night sleep really. I wake up in the morning and don’t feel refreshed. I feel stuck in work.”
“I never really recall having a dream on my own. I dream about work a lot, what is going to happen the next day or whatever.”
At the end of the consultation, he says: “Where is my life?”
Patient’s colour choice: 21 C
The rubric, ‘Mind, kill desire to - parent her, in a child’ only has one remedy: Derris pinnata.
I thought this was important in this case, along with other themes which have a lot of Iron series aspects. Looking at the Leguminosae family, however, I found many similarities there. I thought that a plant remedy was indicated, as the injury a few years ago was significant in leading to the condition.
Themes of the Fabiaceae family reflected in this case
Dreams of work (Baptisia)
Poverty, fear of poverty
Duty, working too hard
Butterfly-like: desire for freedom, desire to escape a difficult existence
The theme of poverty is prevalent; the fear of not having enough to fill one’s needs, at both the physical and the emotional levels (DD Psorinum). Life is experienced as hard and dry, with no frills and no pleasure. It is all hard work and no play. Patients needing Fabaceae can feel powerless in their situation of poverty and lack. They tend to overexert themselves, becoming dry, humourless, disappointed, and critical (a “holy bean”) in the process.
Jan Scholten notes that the remedies from the plant family of the Fabaceae (Leguminosae) are important remedies in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The fatigue is both physical and mental. Physically, it can go as far as real paralysis (multiple sclerosis, polio) or to the opposite of paralysis, epilepsy. Mentally, it is seen as a dullness and confusion, an inability to concentrate or to think at all. In short, the overall picture is one of hardship and suffering, doom and gloom.
The corollary to this is seen in the desire for pleasure, the desire to enjoy life without the burden of difficulties.
Fabaceae remedies can be necessary when the whole of one’s lifetime has felt like hardship, or they can be helpful during certain periods, when it is all work and no play.
According to Jan Scholten, Derris pinnata is in stage 15, the tubercular miasm, with themes of loss, suddenly feeling lost, a desire to travel, breathing difficulties, and loss of vital energy.
Prescription: Derris pinnata 6 CH daily
Follow-up after one week:
(Patient reports that now, he has no pain either on getting up or during the day.)
“I have a bit more pick up and go. I’m not just thinking of doing things. I have been working on my floor for the last few days. I feel like I have more energy and I am not as tired at night. It’s funny: I have slept less and I have more energy. I sleep right through the night. I still don’t really get any dreams. When I do, it seems they only last 2 minutes. I keep seeing, for instance the ocean and really bright sun; just peaceful. I sleep much better; it’s not even hard to get up. The last two days, I have been getting up around 6 a.m.”
Follow-up after 2 months
“I am sleeping through the night. In the morning, I feel tired for a minute or two, but then get up and my energy is pretty good. I got myself a dog too; it keeps me going for walks, it gives pretty good energy. Energy levels and motivation are way better than they were before, I don’t sit there and ponder over things anymore. I usually get everything done I need to in a day, pretty good.”
“It seems really good. I don’t really seem to have pains or anything; I don’t have any pain in the morning getting up anymore, and I it’s just like ‘wow!’ The sciatic pain is good too; it reacted a little bit when I first started going for long walks and hikes with the dog. I was surprised when I went to C. last weekend: I went to an indoor playground for hours, and I wasn’t sore at all, I was surprised. It is like I have a new life coming back together. It just feels like I am able to do much more again, life is coming back together. It feels like there is a little bit more fun again. I felt like a kid again; one day I was planting a tree and it was kind of fun, bringing back memories.”
Shortness of breath?
“Not as much now, ever since I started walking, it’s not catching me as often; it was more just being out of shape.”
Follow up after 4 ½ months
“I am doing really well; it is a huge difference. I sleep much less but I feel rested and ready to go early in the morning. I have way more energy and accomplish what I need to in a day. My breathing is great; now, I can run up hills with my dog. I am still smoking but my eating habits are much better (he has lost weight). It is very positive; everything that came out of this treatment is very positive! When I feel myself going down a bit, I realize what’s going on and I don’t fall into a depression. I take another dose (12 CH) and I feel positive again the next morning.”
Follow-up (e-mail) after 15 months
“Still kicking ‘n’ screaming over here. I still have some pills from the first time you sent them; I’m taking them when needed. My energy is up and down due to some people coming in and out of my life. This winter, I had a new roommate; he had stolen from me when I was out of town and I went through a downer for a while but as soon as I took the remedy my energy came back ‘n’ my mind became clear. My back is not acting up as much; due to that I can do more labour work now and it keeps me moving. My sleeps are better. I go to bed around 11pm, get up around 7am pretty much every morning, with a good night rest.
Katharina Riedener practices in Osoyoos, B.C. (Canada)
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Pongama pinnata; L.Shyamal
Keywords: chronic fatigue, unmotivated, desire to kill, fear of poverty, Leguminosae
Remedies: Derris pinnata