A woman in her mid-fifties comes for consultation due to chronic fatigue, which she has been battling for many years. She visits a variety of alternative health practitioners, consults psychics to gain insight into her many problems, and has a library of self-help books. It is difficult to distinguish that which is truly her own experience and that which comes from books, since, as she puts it, she is so disconnected from herself. She carries a large stack of notes from her previous homeopath; the following is collated from both my notes and his, as the themes and even the precise wording are echoed over the years.
“I am so tired that I can hardly get up in the mornings. I wake at night and can’t get back to sleep, then I’m tired all day. I have no power, no drive, no sexual energy, no joy. I’m tired of life, I don’t think I’ve ever really wanted to be here. I’ve lived my whole life “out of it” but now it’s not safe this way either. I have a lot of mental activity, processing my own activities. I’m so sensitive, intuitive; I pick up on everyone’s emotions and can’t separate what is my own. I’m a giver; I don’t know how not to give so much and how to keep something for myself.
There is so much abuse and trauma in my life. I think I’ve been tampered with by my father when I was young. My sisters don’t like me and don’t accept me in the family; we have huge fights over Mom’s inheritance, even though I was the only one looking after her. Life is horrible, hard, lonely, and cold. The way that people are treated is horrible; I hate the injustice of it all. I fight but my voice is not heard. How can the world be so bad to me, when I’ve done so much for the world? I feel powerless in my life. I have written a thesis on “Shame”; I feel I’ve been shamed out of existence. I’m such a failure. I want to be strong, confident, achieving, and happy but I can only put up the appearance and hope that nobody sees through my mask. I’m critical and judgemental, and I hate myself for being that way. My life is hard going, a constant struggle.
My mind is exhausted and it doesn’t work. I’m muddled, as though in slow motion. I’m scattered, split, out of control, chaotic, as though I’m losing my mind. I’m afraid of ending up in a mental institution. “Chaos” is the story of my life. I’m afraid of cracking, separating into parts, and falling apart. I’m disjointed, detached, disengaged, all over the place. Too much thinking has turned into an inability to think at all. My mind freezes, it goes into a complete blank when I have to say anything in front of a group. When I’m stressed I feel detached from my surroundings, as though I’m leaving my body. If I give instructions, I’m as clear as mud. The organisational part of my mind doesn’t work; I panic and make stupid decisions. I can’t think how to manage my finances or even how to put a recipe together. I can’t figure out how long things take to cook or how to get everything ready at the same time. Every job is stressful for me because I never know if my brain will freeze. I can’t function in the world, when my mind doesn’t work.
I’m in a financial mess, I keep digging myself further into a hole and I can’t get out. I own three properties but I feel like I hardly have any money at all. I sleep on the floor at various friends’ homes, so that I can rent my places out. I’ve lost a lot of money in poor investments, like renovating houses when they should have been pulled down. I should probably just sell them, then I would have money in the bank but you never know if the bank might collapse. My houses are near the water and they might be washed away by a tsumami and I would have nothing at all. There is no security at all, everything could crash in 2012. I only work part-time (as a school councellor) but I can hardly manage it; I go on sick leave all the time. I only buy second-hand clothes; no matter how much money I have, I put on any old clothes without bothering how I look.
I live in terror most of the time. Waves of panic come over me. I am startled by sudden noises, I jump up from fright. I think I must have been buried alive; I must have been gassed to death in a past life. I have an aversion to being bound; the thought of binding an infant so that she couldn’t move is terrible to me. I feel bound to my ex-husband, even though we have been divorced for many years.
I wonder if I am getting MS, like my two sisters. I have pins and needles in my hands, a loss of power and sensation in my left arm, and my speech is slurred at times.
My digestion is terrible. I can’t get any goodness out of the food I eat and it is sometimes regurgitated half digested. My belly becomes bloated on eating any sugar, yeast or gluten, so I don’t eat bread or desserts. I’ve been told that I have severe candida infections. Sometimes, I think I am anorexic, I can’t even put food in my mouth. I have an itchy palate most of the time and my sinuses are clogged. I’ve spent so much money on my teeth and they are still falling apart; I grind my teeth at night. There is pain in my heart chakra and my lungs feel as though I might have lung cancer.”
In the course of several years many seemingly adequate remedies had been given, with little or no success. It was only on studying the case afresh that the theme of the Leguminosae became apparent, though it was there the whole time: the feeling of a lack at all levels. There was no joy and no ability to utilise resources, such as food or money. The world felt hard and harsh, and she felt powerless in it. She split herself off from the world and went into a muddle of confusion and helplessness. The word ‘split’, which she repeated many times, reminded me of the beans and peas, which split into two halves. She expressed ‘split’ in many variations, separating from her inner self and disengaging from a world, which she found too hard. The polarity with being “bound” was evident as well; her aversion to feeling bound in any way and her need to “pull herself together”. Both Rajan Sanakaran and Jan Scholten describe the Leguminosae in similar terms: having to do with a split between a desire for joy and lightness on the one hand and an inability to achieve it. Her case reminded me of Jan’s Phaseolus case ‘angry and tired’, and I prescribed Phaseolus 200C.
The change in her after six weeks was dramatic: “It’s been quite a shift. I was more tired than usual after taking the remedy and I had a lot of diarrhea but since then, everything has improved. My mind is much better. I have taken a month long course that I was worried about being able to complete but my energy was fine. I was the best of the class! My mind is much better; it has ‘come together’and feels solid now. The left side of my brain, the rational side, didn’t connect with the right side and I was always trying to pull it together; now it functions. My memory is improving and I can cook without wondering what I am doing. My co-ordination is improving. I notice it when I am vacuuming, I’m not bumping into things anymore; I’m more present and more efficient. My left ear is starting to unplug but the left side of my head is still tender. My energy is so much better that I’ve even taken up rowing!”
I ask her about legumes in her diet: “I love them but I could hardly eat them in the past. Now I can eat them without problems.”
During the following months, the improvement continues: “My mind is working better, my brain is feeling more centred. The left side of my brain felt dead, I used to have to make that half of my brain work, pull myself together; now I have ‘straight forward thinking’. I’m not nearly so spacey and I can concentrate better during conversations.”
How are you doing physically? “I still have numbness in my hand from time to time but not nearly as much. My bowels are regular and I am able to eat foods that I couldn’t eat before, like bread. My sinuses are clearing out and my gums are not so tender.”
A year later, she relates: “I used to compare myself to powerful people and then feel inferior. Now, I look around at the people I used to be afraid of and I see that they’re not so powerful after all. I’m not so stuck in the past. I’m ruminating less and sleeping better. I’m clearing out my old clothes and buying new ones.”
Her energy continues to improve, as does her concentration. The fear of having multiple sclerosis is gone, since the tingling and the powerless are no longer there. “I don’t know where I would have been without that remedy; I was in such a mess. Now I’m pulling my life together.”
Keywords: chronic fatigue, poverty, joylessness, split, concentration difficulties
Remedies: Phaseolus vulgaris