Something is sitting on my chest; a case of Python
A 41 year old woman came to me in September 2010 for an episode of breathlessness:
Jhanvi Patel (JP): Describe all the complaints which are bothering you, both physically and mentally.
Patient (P): “My main problem is that sometimes I get severe breathlessness and suffocation; I have had asthma for the past nine years and I’ve taken Asthalin inhaler, 0.5 mg once a day for the past three years. My body is swelling up these days. I get occasional headaches. I feel weak, exhausted, and stressed. I’m a bit short tempered. I’ve been operated on twice for kidney stones. I have pain in my left knee sometimes, and spondylitis. I have high blood pressure and for that I take Corvadil-M1 tablet every morning. I’m not satisfied sexually by my husband.”
JP: Out of all these complaints, which one bothers you the most?
P: “My asthma! When I get an attack, I have to strain to breathe. Other complaints never make me feel like I’ll die. So this is bothering me the most.”
JP: Tell me about your asthma.
P: “I feel suffocated at that time, breathlessness. I can’t breathe properly. I have to strain while breathing, it’s not normal. I feel like I’ve worked a lot, I’m completely exhausted. I feel as if someone has put a burden on my shoulders, like someone has put a weight on me. I feel pain in my neck and in the back of my legs, as if it is stiff and heavy, as if lifeless, as if my body is being broken into pieces. Like my body is not free, all the joints are stiff, not flexible, and not movable. I want silence and peace.”
JP: Describe the experience more. You are explaining it really well.
P: “I try to move my joints deliberately. I feel as if some weight has been sitting on me and I can’t move easily (HG: stooping her shoulders). I feel suffocated. I can’t breathe easily. I feel the weight is so heavy that it is not letting me move at all. I feel my body is not free and I am closed. I have to move deliberately and I even have to strain to breathe. I feel that everything is closed up due to the weight and I don’t get air to breathe (HG: two palms facing each other and moving towards each other).”
(Here she generalizes her experience.)
JP: Very nice. Describe the experience as it happens to you.
P: “Even in my office, I feel that everything is closed and shut and I feel suffocated. I feel that I can’t breathe, as if air is not coming in from anywhere, as if there is a weight on my chest, shoulders, back and neck. When I open the door, I feel relieved and able to breathe. I’m feeling tired right now.”
JP: Yes, I can see that. But when you completely experience all this, you will feel much better. Tell me little bit more.
P: “I feel as if someone is sitting on me, and if that person / thing will move away from me I will have relief. But that thing is not moving away. I constantly feel weight on my chest and back, both in front and back.”
JP: What do you feel when that weight is there, on your chest and back?
P: “I feel as if everything has become stiff. Nothing can move; because of that weight, I can’t move at all. I’m not free. I can’t expand my chest to breathe. My lungs are not moving out. I have to strain for that. I feel that everything - my chest, back, neck, shoulders have become tight, they are not loose. From my neck to my legs, everything is tight and stiff. This is what happens with an asthma attack.”
(Since the chief complaint is completely explored, I move into other general areas of the patient. I give open space (Passive case witnessing*) to the patient to understand everything in detail.)
JP: Tell me about yourself in general.
am very free by nature. I make friends easily. I like reading story books,
magazines, watching TV, movies and fairy tales. When I was in college, I used
to take part in all the activities - drawing, sports, drama, singing, writing,
etc., and I used to win in all of them.
I was never left behind. I was always ahead in everything I did. But
after a few years, my dad passed away and all the responsibility of my brothers,
sister and mom came onto my shoulders. Then, I got my brother married and a
year later, I got married.
"My in-laws are not very broad-minded. I do not feel egoistic, but my in-laws feel that I think I’m too smart; I never feel accepted from their side. Since a very young age, I have not seen much happiness in my life. After my dad’s death, my aunts wanted me to marry a man ten years older than me, so, my maternal uncle took me along with him to Mumbai, but even in Mumbai, all three of my maternal uncles have used me do their household work. I used to study and do all household work, as well as hold down a job. But, I have confidence I’ll achieve whatever I want to do.
“I don’t like to bitch about someone; I don’t like people who bitch about others. Our neighbors are like that. In times of difficulty, they come to me for help, but behind my back, they backbite and say bad things about me. They feel I’m rude. I feel angry when someone tells me lies and then tries to hide it. I feel as if he has cheated on me.
“If someone ignores me on purpose (like an old person in my office does), I feel really angry. I feel like I must learn how to harass a person. (She says this with energy and weeps)
“I love my mother a lot. I can’t tolerate it if someone says something bad about her.
“I feel angry if someone makes excuses for their mistakes.
“I was very aggressive before my marriage, my anger was out of control: I would hit, shout, and throw things.
“I never let my husband down; we never humiliate each other or look down upon each other. We respect each other; he will never let my self-respect down.
“I can easily convince other people to do as I wish.”
(Now I become Active* to explore one of her sensitive issues.)
JP: You said people ignore you at your job place, harassing you, can you describe them in detail?
(Of all the issues that she spoke of, I ask about office incidents because that came loaded with energy, anger, and tears.)
P: “They do not want me to go ahead; they do not succeed as quickly as I do. They feel that our boss is giving more importance to me. If I call them 2-3 times, they do not answer me. They say they did not hear me, and then I feel very angry. My boss feels maybe they are jealous of my success, so they hate me. They want to let me down in my boss’s eyes. They complain about things I haven’t even done; they want to harass me, humiliate me; they make fun of me, saying I am fat.”
JP: How do these things make you feel?
P: “As if I am not good enough. They show that they are superior, they try to dominate me, and they underestimate me, as if I don’t have any value. I feel the same with my in-laws. They’ll deliberately let me down with little things; I feel that I don’t have any value or any importance. They always humiliate me; my husband also humiliates me in front of them. When my in-laws have some problem they come to me, and when the work is done, they try to push me away. Like a ‘fill in the blank’. As if you are useless, like a servant.”
(She generalizes her feelings of humiliation, no value, useless, etc. in two more areas of her life. This confirms that I am on the right track; here, I start with Active-Active case witnessing* to explore her experience to the end.)
JP: Describe “humiliation, let down, as if useless, without any value.”
P: “You are not worthy enough to speak in front of them. They try to dominate you. I really feel angry then.
JP: In these situations, what do you experience?
P: “As if they are trying to irritate me and harass me and that makes them happy. As if they are doing it on purpose, they want to dominate. I feel my husband is pressurizing me to do the things I don’t want to do, he wants to suppress me, pull me down. He wants to crush my self-respect. At that time, my blood pressure rises. I feel he is trying to prove his domination over me. I feel pressure on my head.”
JP: Describe the experience of being crushed, pressure?
P: “I feel a heavy load on my chest, as if someone is trying to stop my voice coming out of my mouth. This pressure is not coming only from one side; it is coming from all sides. My voice is being crushed and can’t come out.”
(She comes back to where she ended, with asthma. Her inner experience, be it her asthma, harassment or domination, etc. is one and the same. Now, I will try and explore this to the end and understand her vital experience.)
JP: Describe this – “pressure is not coming only from one side.”
P: “The pressure is coming not only from the front but also from the back and from both sides. As if the walls are coming closer and closer from all sides, and at one point they are tightening around you. It is the same feeling like when I am having an asthma attack.
(Here, she connects with her chief complaint, which shows we are on the right track.)
“You feel as if there is no space for your lungs to expand and breathe (HG: two palms are tightly closed facing each other). You feel suffocated and breathless.
“When my husband pressurizes me for something, I feel he is putting some heavy weight on me. As if he himself is sitting on me, pressurizing me from all the sides; as if I’m so small that he can put me between his hands and wrap his hands around me, tightening his hands more and more around me (HG: gripping something in between both the palms, clasping the finger with each other, tightly closing). And, due to that weight, that pressure, I feel as if I’m being crushed in his hands. My body is falling to pieces. He is not letting me go. His grip is so tight that I can’t move or shout or breathe. I feel as if I’ve become stiff.”
JP: Go on.
P: “I feel as if something is getting tighter and tighter around my whole body. It feels like creepers engulfing the tree, the way they surround the trees and go upwards (HG: coiling). In the same way, I feel that something really heavy is coming upwards, from my legs up, making round coils around my body and its weight is crushing me, making me stiff in its grip. I can’t move. And when it comes to my chest, I feel unable to breathe. I feel suffocated. And I feel pressure and weight from all the sides over my body (HG: closing two palms facing each other with no space in between).
“Its grip is too tight, its weight is too much, I can’t come out, can’t move. When I try to breathe in, I have to strain a lot. But when I breathe out, the plant is making its grip even tighter, leaving even less space for me to breathe. So, when again I breathe in, I have to strain a lot. When again I breathe out, it is making its grip tighter around me and leaving even less space around; ultimately it leaves a very small space for my lungs and hardly any available air.”
JP: What do you mean by “it is making its grip tighter”?
P: “Suffocation; as if someone is choking your neck and pressing it so much so that you are about to die. It feels as if someone has put a pillow over your mouth and nose and you can’t breathe.”
(Here, she explained her vital experience completely with appropriate hand gestures; something very heavy is coiling around her, making the grip tighter and tighter and that makes her feel pressurized (heavy weight), suffocated, crushed from all the sides. She has spoken the source language! )
Understanding of case:
There are issues like me v/s you, competition, victim/aggressor, which suggest animal kingdom. Then there are issues like jealousy, back biting, conspiracy, loquacity, sensation of constriction, strangulation, suffocation, etc., pointing towards snakes/ serpents. Themes such as “being overpowered, dominated, and enveloped by heavy weight”; “feeling pressurized, suffocated, and crushed by its strength” suggest Boidae.
I thought of giving her Python (Reference from Vital quest and Internet search).
Pythons are non-venomous serpents. These snakes are basically constrictors, which mean they kill their prey by wrapping around and suffocating rather than by killing with their venom. With a quick lashing out of their head, they grab the victim with their sharp, backward-pointing teeth and in no time, quickly wrap coils of their body around the prey to squeeze it. These snakes choke the prey with immense masculine force. As the victim breathes out, pythons tighten their grip to stop it from breathing in.
Prescription: Python 200C, 1 dose
Summary of Follow ups:
After a month, she felt much better. Her asthma episodes reduced. Her allopath stopped her pump and switched her to oral drugs. She had an episode of suffocative feeling in her office once but the intensity was much less. When asked to describe the suffocation, she again narrated the same experience of being forcefully gripped and pressurized and crushed in her neck. With this episode of suffocation, she improved on her own without any medical intervention.
Three months after starting the treatment, she again had an attack of asthma; her state was aggravated after a fight with her in-laws, so I repeated Python 1M, one dose. Meanwhile, she reported that her allopath had completely stopped her medicine for asthma, and her blood pressure medication was reduced as well.
Five months after the first consultation, she had high blood pressure once due to emotional disturbances, and at that time, I repeated Python in 200. After six months, she continued to do well. Overall, she has been improving very well. She feels aware about her own self and state. Her relationships with her colleagues and her husband are much better, but with her in-laws, she still feels the same.
In between, she has had dreams of snakes playing around her. In one dream, she saw a snake coiling around her neck, suffocating her. She did not require a repetition of the remedy, as she was improving well overall. She is following my regular weekly meditation sessions as well (I incorporate meditation with homeopathy for my patients’ holistic healing).
Meanwhile, it has been almost 2½ years from her first consultation; until now, she has been doing fine. Her other complaints of knee pain, swelling, headaches and her anger are fine. She is off all her allopathic oral drugs for asthma and high blood pressure. Her relationship with her husband and in-laws has improved dramatically; she feels respected and loved by all of them.
*:As learned from the book “The scientifically intuitive case Witnessing Process - The Journey of Three” steps by Dr. Dinesh Chauhan and his lectures. I have learned the Case Witnessing Process (CWP) and its three steps (Passive, Active and Active-Active) from Dr. Dinesh. The CWP has helped me reach the deepest core of several difficult cases of mine (patients at a low level of experience, defensive, denial, etc.) by offering precise signposts over the case interview journey. I thank Drs. Chauhan for being there for us as a guiding force.
Angolan dwarf python; tigerpython; Wikimedia Commons
Keywords: asthma, aggression, harrassing, pressure, constriction, competition, serpents, suffocation, humiliation