2013 November

My whole body is alive, there's a constant buzzing: a case of Schistocerca americana

by Jonathan Hardy

Woman, aged 32. Well groomed, smart appearance.

Patient (P): “I’ve come about two things: I get this rash, it’s on my arms, hands, on the soles of my feet and on my back. My GP says it’s dermatitis and gave me steroid cream, but it’s still itching. It might be linked to stress. I could live with it but the itching is unbearable.

“The other thing is bouts of severe insomnia. I alleviate it by taking Zopiclone but that is quite addictive and it’s not something I want to be doing.

“When I am in the grip of one of these itching episodes it’s diabolical. I can just barely function. I get anxiety, palpitations, going hot and cold, feeling on edge, not in a good mental state. I feel cold and shivery a lot of the time. The rash is blotchy red, tiny little blisters. It looks like little bits of blood under my skin which come up to the surface and scatter. It feels like my skin is crawling. The skin is crawling, it feels like little creatures, little ants, crawling all over my body.

“It sets my teeth on edge (gesture - arms crossed over her abdomen). It feels as if, if it carried on and I couldn’t contain it, I would lose my mind.”

Jonathan Hardy (JH): Say a bit more about losing your mind.

P: “Extreme fear, feeling out of control, not feeling grounded. Feeling desperate, unhinged, unsafe, not in a functioning state. You can no longer function, you’re not in control. I’ve had snippets of this feeling of extreme fear on and off over the last few years.

“My financial situation has changed dramatically. It’s been an ongoing transition. It’s a big change for me. There’s a fear that I won’t be able to support myself emotionally or financially.

“My autonomic nervous system feels on and alive. No matter what I do, I cannot switch it off - if I meditate for an hour it just about...

“Everything is buzzing, alive, like I’ve got some kind of electric shock going through me - a low voltage buzz. I can almost hear the buzzing. My whole body is alive. There’s a constant low buzzing, if it made a noise it would be like zzzzzzzzzz, something sending shockwaves through my chest cavity.

                                                                                 locust swarm

Insomnia – that’s what I’m left with. I cannot switch it off.”

JH: Please describe your nature and personality.

P: “I’m empathic, I can tune in and understand people’s pain. (hand gesture of a pincer with finger and thumb). I’m introvert, capable of going on retreat for a few days, but I generally like company and people. I’m headstrong: if I want to do something, I will focus on it and I won’t stop. I’m fiery, not as in angry, but fiery in that if something fires me up, I focus on it and I don’t stop. I like to get it right, I’m very driven and work too hard. I have a heavy case load and I’m constantly thinking and creating the next thing I want to do. My mind is not at rest. I’m ambitious, I want to make my mark.

“I like to learn new things. (hand gesture pincer). I constantly feel I need to be learning and moving on (body gesture moving forward). I want to learn more, so I can be better than the other solicitors in my area, so that I’ve got an edge (hand gesture pincer). I’ve always been driven like that. I work in a very competitive field. I need to make sure that I’m on top of my game - but not in the sense of edging anyone else out. For me. it’s about being very thorough, so I have the best tools to do the best possible job, so I get a name for myself. That doesn’t come from resting on your laurels, it comes from staying abreast of what is happening in my field. It is a world that is changing a lot (hand gesture). I’m passionate about what I do. I find it completely fascinating.

I do far more than I see my colleagues doing (scratching - itching). I have to move on. It’s changing, I have to get better at what I do.”

JH: Do you have any dreams?

P: “I’m in a house. As you go through the door, your whole body starts to be taken over. It’s a place where there are very dark spirits and they’re coming at me. I used to have this dream as a child - being dragged away by monsters that had prickles on them – or my body being taken over by a force that is much stronger than me, being dragged back into the wall, an alien, a monster with huge great big thorns over their body.

“The other thing is that I have is an acute sense of smell.”

JH: Please tell me about your childhood.

P: “I’m one of three children. It was a stable environment but very repressive. We lived in, not a state of fear, but it was not a relaxed environment. There were a lot of food and eating disorders in my family. My youngest sister was severely anorexic, her weight dropped to 4 stone. My mother had an eating disorder, she ate virtually nothing. There was no food and we were hungry. My mother hated cooking, she never provided enough food for us. If you said you were hungry she’d be vile to you. There was always hunger.

“I’ve had extreme fear on and off over the years.”

JH: Describe the fear.

P: (pincer hand gesture) “It’s a tense feeling of anxiety or a worry that something bad will happen. It’s linked to aloneness and abandonment, the sense of feeling finding yourself so alone that there is no one there, there are no friends, no family. It’s very sterile. It’s a dead place, bleak. There is absolutely no one there. It’s very extreme.”

JH: Say more about this dead place.

P: “It’s absolute survival.  Fear if there is nobody. There’s a fear that I’m alone, and there is nobody. The feeling is desolate. It feels like I’m in a dark desert that goes on for miles, infinite, desolate. I was aware of the relentlessness of it, it’s never going to end. The reason I survived was I was so gregarious and that made me feel better when we saw cousins and friends.”

Case analysis

Animal kingdom themes
Make my mark
Competitive
On top of my game
Having an edge
“Not to edge anyone else out”
A competitive field, “I do far more than any of my colleagues”
Making a name for myself
She has clear themes of the Animal consciousness of competitiveness.

Insect themes
Change
Ongoing transition
Fear of poverty
Driven
Learning more
locustDon’t stop
Doing far more
Constantly improving
Getting better at what I do
Fascinating
Clothing: stylish, quirky
Cool, structured speech
Itching
Crawling sensation “like ants on me”
Aliens
Hand gesture: pincer-like with finger and thumb is a characteristic insect hand gesture.
The main theme in Insect cases is one of having to change, improve and keep working.

Desert themes
Desolate
Bleak
Sterile
Desert

Specific remedy rubrics and themes
Aversion to being alone
“There is nobody
Desires company
Gregarious
Hungry, hunger, not enough food
Desperate, unsafe
Crazy, psychotic, unhinged
Fear of losing control
Buzzing, electric sensation

Remedy: Schistocerca americana

Themes from the two provings of this remedy

- Schistocerca Americana – Desert Locust proving by Todd Rowe

Desert locusts develop bigger brains when they are swarming. The insects' phase of life - solitary or gregarious (swarming) - has a dramatic effect on their brains, according to research by scientists at Cambridge University. Brains of swarming locusts are 30% larger and far more developed in regions associated with learning and processing complex information. In solitary locusts, parts of the brain dealing with vision and smell are proportionately larger.

Core sensation: transformation between two states
1. Solitary state which has a feeling of timelessness.
2. Frenzy state which is very social.
Panic and mania
Feelings of destructiveness
Sensation of “the end of the world”.
Sensitivity to noise
High pitched buzzing in the ears, sensation of body vibrating. Humming sensation.

- Schistocerca Gregaria – Plague Locust Proving by Peter Fraser and Misha Norland

1. Group dynamics: conformity, belonging, isolation.
Either feeling part of the group or completely alone: no intermediate state.
Wanting to be part of the group and feeling involved.
Feel rejection very deeply – feel they are horrible people and unacceptable to the group.
Suspicion that others in the group are talking about them.
2. Fear of losing control.
3. Physical contact: strong need for physical contact and communication, which can lead to irritability and tension.
The plague locust has tremendous destructive power. Swarms of billions can destroy vast areas of crops and vegetation. It is also the insect most widely eaten by humans. It exists for long periods in a solitary form when food is scarce, but when food is plentiful more survive and repeated physical contact between individual results in the hormonally-mediated change into the gregarious form which reproduces rapidly, leading to enormous swarms.
It is associated with deserts, and with famine and hunger – important themes in this case.

The patient had a feeling of being in a desert that was endless, timeless and infinite. This created a terrifying feeling of being absolutely alone. In childhood, she was “gregarious” and the thing that was “her saviour” was all her “friends and cousins”. This is exactly the dynamic of this remedy: a solitary feeling that engenders fear and loneliness, alternating with a gregarious state.

More information on these excellent provings can be found on the Provings website www.provings.info.

Prescription: Schistocerca gregaria 200, one dose

Follow up 3 weeks later

P: “The itching has gone. I’m very impressed. It’s such a relief. I have definitely felt an improvement in mood, less anxiety. Sleep is better, a couple of nights I haven’t taken any sleeping tablets.”

JH: How is that buzzing sensation?

P: “Much less, hugely better”.

Ongoing follow-up: she has continued treatment for two years so far. She has improved enormously. Her skin symptoms have gone. Sleep and energy levels are much better. Anxiety and depression are far less. I changed to Schistocera Americana after 18 months. My impression is that she has responded equally well to both forms of the Locust remedy.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons; Desert Locust swarm in desert scenery; Adam Matan; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence

Photo: Blue-red locust; Jürgen Weiland

Categories: Cases
Keywords: buzzing, alive, itching, skin crawling, desperate, out of control, extreme, famine, desert, desolation, gregarious, ambition, competitive, change, insomnia, insect, ants, alien, locust
Remedies: Schistocerca gregaria

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