2013 March

My heart is broken: a case of Oyster

by Katja and David Behrens

The patient is a young adult with learning difficulties. She did well on Calc carb from 2009 to 2011, losing three stones of weight and becoming more confident and less nervous. She is a Calc carb type of person, overweight, flabby, stubborn but social and kind. She wants to do things her own way and she takes her time doing them. Even though she responded well to this remedy there were a lot of problems happening at this time, which just did not seem to resolve and made her very unhappy.

When I took her case again in May 2012 I got a chance to speak with her mother beforehand, where the following information was shared:

Mother’s pregnancy:

“In the pregnancy there was lack of communication with my husband. Our relationship was already breaking apart. I felt distant, I didn’t really connect.”

About the patient as a child:

As a child, D was friendly, sunny and open. She was well behaved and easy with people.

Development was late.

When school started I went in with her, but she didn’t need me. When we went to the doctor’s she was a bit nervous but she had no fear of injections. Her head and hair got wet with perspiration.

She is always very affectionate with children. Sometimes, she wanted to dominate in situations with others. She tended to absorb what was around her.

She likes watching movies and she watched some scenes over and over again, for example Aslan dying in the movie Narnia.

The patient:

The patient talks about the difficulties she has with the Shared Life Carer she lives with now:

“She shouts at me and this makes me sad.” She talks about needing help with getting her things in order and she feels pushed by the carer.

“I don’t like washing up; if I put my hands in water my hands go wrinkly and dry. I don’t like people telling me what to do. I could lose my temper with them. I feel I could lose it then I feel anxious about it. I would get angry and shout at them, then they would get upset.

“I just stay away and be in my room, I have my own space. On my own I am happy, it’s more private, I don’t want to be disturbed.”

What’s the worst thing for you?

“Anyone to knock on my door. I don’t want to see anybody. I like it to be calm and gentle and happy.”


“I’m afraid of the dark. I have a light on at night. Fear when the room is dark (HG - cupped hands facing each other). This is me (HG - shows one cupped hand palm facing upwards) and this is the dark (HG - shows other cupped hand). When it’s really dark, I can’t sleep, dark is over me like that (she makes HG to show: one cupped hand now covers the other one).

If dark is over me, I feel scared, lonely, I can’t sleep. When dark comes through I feel tight in my body (HG - two cupped hands facing each other). My body goes really tight. I am awake. I have to get up, moving around in bed helps a bit. My ankle is tight and when I move my foot, cramp moves the foot forward, bending it forward.”

Dream: “I was in a future home, where there are lots of TVs. It was like lots of different rooms. I got more space (HG) - a big bedroom, a nice little bedroom. I like to curl up in the space and watch TV. Curling up I am relaxed (HG), I fall asleep. If I lie flat on my back I go stiff. My back goes tight, my feet. I’m calmer when I’m curled up.”

What’s the Feeling when somebody is shouting?

“Anxious. Tight. My body feels closed and tight. If there are a lot of people, people who come and see me, like the meeting with social workers, I go anxious. My fear is about leaving this house and moving on to new home. I’m worried about moving out. I keep moving from place to place. When I was with M I never settled.(strong HG pushing downward with her palms). I need to be settled (HG), settled in a home around people who are trustworthy. They could be there for me if I need help.

“When I can trust somebody, there’s no shouting, it’s nice and calm.

“When I feel hurt inside (HG - cupped hands next to each other palm upward), inside in my body, my heart is broken (HG - cupped hands go apart from each other). Look, this is my heart (HG - the palms opening) and this is my heart being broken. Broken heart. (HG) I could cry my eyes out. When I am broken inside, my body feels anxious. I feel like crying, there is a face inside my heart. The face looks down and is sad. I cry. My body feels tight.”

Prescription: Oyster 200C

Sensation Analysis

The patient had led me directly to the source with her hand gestures. As she did the same hand gesture repeatedly on describing many unrelated situations it hinted to the source.

All the qualities of the Calc carb had been there but there was something else, which was not covered. A single dose of the remedy from Oyster flesh was given (this remedy is available from Ainsworths pharmacy in London).

The mother described her in a way that was not typical for a protection seeking Calc carb, as someone who is more social, does not need help, and could be dominating to others. The mother’s state during pregnancy was disconnected and closed, a basic feeling of the oyster.

The patient’s need for help is a common symptom which came from her learning disability not necessarily from her nature and experience inside.

Follow up August 2012

“I am very happy in my new placement. I am always quick in the morning, I get up at 7.30, shower, and get ready. I work two days a week. The stiffness has improved. It’s better than it was, especially when I am lying on my back. I still like curling up. I still like being on my own in the evening. I’m not so scared of the dark at the moment, I have a little light, a nightlight. I am more independent and get on the bus. I’m more comfortable with friends, they support me. I have more friends now because I get in contact with them. There are more people around me. I feel settled. I’m not as nervous as before. There’s loads of space. My body feels happy, it’s the right house for me. My heart is okay now, it got mended (HG shows the two cupped hands going together, palms facing).”

Dreams: “I was at school and the buildings were collapsing. I was really scared. There were so many stairs, I was really afraid they would collapse. I was going to see a tutor, to say can you help me. I was scared. They called the police. I was shocked to see her, I was going like that (HG - palms together). She was protection for me. I was shaking, but she gave me protection. She was holding me. I like cuddling her. She was like that (HG - open arms) and like that (HG - palms to each other). All the others got out, but some couldn’t, they were trapped, the windows were locked up. Fear was it would kill us, I was really shaking. I couldn’t get out. I was trapped.”

How does your heart feel now?

“My heart feels better, happy again.”


More eye contact, less contraction in body, more relaxed, less embarrassment.


The beauty of working with young people with Autism or learning difficulties is that they are living much more on the sensation or source level, because often the intellect is not dominant in their lives. Logic and understanding is often not very well developed which gave the chance to see the source acted out through her body and hand gestures.

Because I was led directly to the source with the hand gestures I felt confident to give Oyster even though there was not much direct animal language.


Wanting to be home, private, closed doors, let me alone

Closing in to me, walls and stairs collapse and come closer

Opening and closing action with hands and body


Breaking, broken heart, broken trust

(The scene of Aslan dying in Narnia which she obsessively watched – has a stone table breaking into two pieces)

Aversion to people knocking on her door (the oyster gets attacked by breaking the shell, hammering, boring)

Tightness of body and extremities (the oyster tightens its muscles to close the shell for protection)

Strong issue of being settled. As Rajan Sankaran says in his book Survival - the Mollusc: “The primary survival effort of the juvenile free swimming oyster is to find a suitable place to anchor, fasten, secure or attach itself to. The primary defence mechanism of the oyster is to close tightly at the place in to which it is fixed and cemented. The oyster is the most immobile of all the bivalves.”

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Huitre de Marennes-Oléron; David.Monniaux

Keywords: anchor, settled, secure, support, immobile, hammering, closed doors, broken heart, hurt inside, cemented, attached
Remedies: Oyster


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