December 2014

I'm afraid of staying alone: a case of Butomus umbellatus

by Richard Wagner

The forty-two- year-old patient begins her story: “I don’t know what to do. I cannot say what it is. I’m worried that I’m going mad. If I went to a psychiatrist, he would give me antidepressants. Indeed, you are the only one I can talk to”.

I ask her to give me some details.

Patient (P): “I can’t enjoy anything, I’m tired of everything.  I do everything by myself; I don’t have my own family. I look after my parents, they are actually my children. My parents make me feel like ‘you have a commitment to us.’ They take it for granted that I am the one in the family who solve the problems. I have no real relationship with them. I’m so lonely. I need more time for myself. I help everyone around and expect their help in return, but I am so naïve and I always get disappointed. People act only when they need something.”

Richard Wagner (RW): Why is that?  

P: “I got disappointed by my family. I was the middle child, I had the feeling I was nobody. I don’t know who I am. I was overlooked, an incapable poor girl with no one around me. My mother was busy, it was important to do the duties and then everyone went their own way. They always have other priorities than me. I had the feeling that my parents were not around when I needed them, since then I’ve been insecure. I miss the feeling of being respected. Once, I wanted to help everyone: I thought that if I was nice everybody would be nice to me. I was brought up to help everybody. I need to get some feedback. I am like a little child who reacts to praise. I respected my father but I admired my grandfather. I have no self-confidence, I need support, reassurance. I am incompetent, I cannot cope. 

“Actually I think, the problem appeared after my birth. I was in an incubator. Even now, I have a feeling like I’m back in the incubator.”

RW: What is the feeling?                                         

P: “It is to be in my own box, closed, cut off from the world and at the same time, I need to fight for my life.”

RW: What is it you trust least in yourself, what is the main problem?   

P: “The main problem is my relationship with men, partnership relations, an inability to maintain a relationship even though I crave it. I don’t want to be alone but I don’t trust people, they contact me only when they need something. They are not altruistic. I cannot rely on others.”

RW: Tell me more. 

P: “My problems mainly concern relationships. I don’t have female gifts, I don’t know men. I crave for my own family and a child, but it is irresponsible to bring up a child without a father. The issue is to allow someone to get closer; I’m scared, I prefer building up an armor. I am afraid that when they really get to know me they will not be interested in me anymore. I always make mistakes in relationship. I feel inferior as a woman because I have no child. I am afraid of staying alone.

“I don’t know why I am unable to build up a normal relationship. I wonder what the other one thinks, what have I done wrong? Did I fail in something? I might attract the wrong kind of people. I may be too dynamic, it’s a male feature. Do I have more masculine hormones?”

RW: How do you treat others?

P: “I think I am an excellent actress. When asked how I am, I immediately say I’m fine. Outwardly, I am an amazing partner, but at the same time, inside, I cry with despair that I have to dissimulate. But if I would cry on someone’s shoulder, he would leave. When they tell me: ‘You’re a strong woman, you’ll cope,’ I feel angry because I don’t think so. I am very moody, up and then down.

“Sometimes, I act impulsively, feeling like a cow (she laughs). A cow is peaceful, keeps on trusting people. If she is kicked, she just bellows and keeps walking. I am ruled by intuition, I do what occurs to me first then, I find out whether it was right or wrong.“

RW: What films do you like?

P: “French films, romantic. Themes of interpersonal relationships. I observe the reactions of the characters in different situations. I like those who don’t lose face; it is my own problem. If I say my opinion, I am the one who is bad, the one whose opinion is different.”

RW: If you had three wishes?

P: “1. To have a husband and a child. 2. To increase my self-confidence. 3. I don’t know.”

Other symptoms
Depression aggravated by solitude
Carbonic constitution
Warm-blooded, prefers cold, but in the evening her feet are cold, they only warm up in bed.
She sweats  a lot, mainly on the back and armpits.

No headaches, only from gall-bladder problems; then, she has a pain in her forehead and in temples, better from rest and tranquillity. Increased hairiness on her face since puberty, on her Hirsutism on face, lip, and chin since puberty.

Gastrointestinal tract
Dislikes fish, sea food
Onion and green pepper make her flatulent and cause burning behind the sternum
She likes eating but her eyes are bigger then her stomach; she crams herself full and then feels sick. Gall-bladder sensitive to fat dishes
Dislikes the smell of food
Eating makes her feel tired, damped down
She has a tendency to diarrhoea

She sleeps on her belly, as she snores when lying on her back.

From the beginning, irregular menses, sometimes even missing completely.
Premenstrual tension: change in mood. Pains disappear immediately after the menses starts.
Blood is dark, without clots
Decreased function of thyroid, substitution therapy
Microadenoma of hypophysis, hormonally active, increased prolactin
Hypertension, increased cholesterol
Poor quality of hair and nails
Irregular menses
Sprained her right ankle twice

Observation during the consultation:
She evokes the image of a baroque angel
During the consultation, I feel a tension: she does not know what to expect or say, she is silent. When I start asking, she immediately starts speaking, too. When I stop speaking, so does she, falling silent. She spouts whatever is on her mind, without considering the consequences.
She spontaneously laughs at what she is saying.

Analysis according to Jan Scholten’s Plant theory

Hydrogen series: to be in an incubator, inside her own box, closed, cut off from the world, at the same time the need to fight for her life.

Carbon series: “Who am I? Naive, they cannot see my value, they don’t praise me, I’m a child., I admired my grandfather. Insecure, shy, low self-confidence, do I do it right? I won’t manage by myself.” Carbonic type.

Silicon series: partnership relations, attractive as a woman, motherhood, to find a man, female abilities

Phase 1: alone, cut off from the world, never started a real relationship

Subphase 6: “They  only want to use me, they will condemn me.”

Alismatales (633.10):  problems to start a relationship: “I am too clumsy, I don’t know how to tackle it.“

Prescription: Butomus umbellatus 200C, two doses on two consecutive days

Follow up after one month: the patient reports remarkable relief. After taking the remedy, she had flu-like symptoms for several days. Her eyes became red and burning, she had photophobia. After approximately two weeks, her moods changed completely: she is not sad anymore and has much more stamina. She also noticed that the quality of her nails has significantly improved and her hair loss stopped. She is very happy that she took this remedy; without it, she would have ended up taking antidepressants. She want to go on with the treatment.

I have recommended that she repeat the drug once a month or when necessary. A follow up is planned in 3 -5 months. Meanwhile to repeat MRI of the brain, the level of prolactin in blood together with thyroid hormones.


Rajan Sankaran writes about the themes of the Liliiflorae (Liliidae) 633.00: "To be left out, unattractive, excluded, neglected; “they don’t care about me.”

Jan Scholten, Wonderful Plants, Butomaceae (633.16.00): “They feel naïve, unattractive. They are outsiders because they have a feeling they are disgusting, not interesting for the opposite sex. They live with the delusion they will be rapidly refused if they try making  contact with the opposite sex. They are too shy, have low self-confidence and therefore they spend much time by themselves. The problem is to start a relationship. They have a fixed idea that they will be abused, that men want only sex. In the clinical picture, they are frequent diarrhoeas.

In this patient’s case, apart from the themes of Carbon series, we can observe the theme of feeling cut off from the world, like in an incubator. These themes could be related to the Hydrogen series. In Jan Scholten’s Plant theory this combination indicates the Nymphaeidae (621.00), the water plants, water lilies. In these plants’ clinical cases, we cannot see the themes of relationships, communication, and connecting. It is interesting, however, that Butomus umbellatus lives at the edge of ponds and water tanks, frequently in the vicinity of other water plants and water lilies. It also has the themes of these plants, as if these plants understand each other. Water plants are related to phase 1.

Differential diagnosis
Hydrogen series
Condition like before birth, in the womb, in an incubator
I’m experiencing reality only passively, I’m cut off, closed in a shell, out of body

Water plants and phase 1
Nice above the water surface, muddy under the water surface
Especially 621.00: Nymphaeidae
Childlike vulnerability and incapability to take action, experiencing only passively what is happening

655.00 Malvidae
Main problem is more about maintaining the relationship at any cost.   “I’m no one without a partner; I will be loyal, subordinate.  If only the family bonds don’t break, I will never leave.” Theme of being special, creativity but not motherhood issues.

653.10 Geraniales
Black sheep of the family, “the family doesn’t accept my talents,” craving for a happy family, fear that after revealing her talent, she will be excluded, and therefore she adapts.

Strontium carbonicum
The image of a bull in a china shop, shyness at the demonstration of her talent, overwhelmed, cold feet, sprained ankle.

Lithium carbonicum
Naivety, impetuosity, being left out, question of the own value, goiter, hypothyroidism, hypertension.

Shutterstock; Sad looking woman; Wallybird
Wikimedia Commons; Butomus umbellatus; Pethan; CC BY-SA 3.0


Categories: Cases
Keywords: depression, committed to parents, incapable, uncertain in relationships
Remedies: Butomus umbellatus


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