CASE STUDY FOR INSOMNIA
• Muscle soreness
Pierre: Please tell me what troubles you?
“I have lost a huge amount of stamina. I can’t exert myself nearly the same way I used to be able to: I can’t exercise and I am increasingly getting worse. Early in 2001, at the height of my physical health, I was in the best shape I could be in and going to yoga several times a week. On the day following each yoga class, I would be so sore that I eventually stopped going. I felt I was doing myself more harm than good. Now, I get tired just walking 20 blocks. Even sex is hard to recover from. It calms the psyche but physically it does not feel good, especially the day after. When I exercise it feels good, it’s afterward that I have problems. My big fear with these two problems is that I am headed for some destiny. My father has MS. He is not a happy man; he never was. I am not like that but the MS really scares me. I hate to say it, but I am predisposed to it.”
Please continue. This is all very interesting to me.
“In 2004, I remember having to travel and I was taking melatonin, so perhaps it started around that time. Now I take Ambien. I started a relationship around this time and it was a difficult adjustment. I was staying up late and messing up my sleep regimen and something triggered that keeps me up at night now. So far, the only thing that has made a difference is magnesium citrate powder.”
Tell me more about the insomnia, please.
“My mother passed away and that was a major life event. It is the biggest thing that has happened to me. Thinking about that event puts me back in a really bad place. I started to hear my heart while falling asleep. There are nights when I don’t sleep at all. I am so exhausted all the time. Some nights I only sleep one or two hours.”
How is the insomnia affecting you?
“I feel I’ve lost enthusiasm. I avoid social situations because I am too tired. I find there is such a correlation between the insomnia and my relationship. There is also this fear of being like my father, of not being able to work because it is so bad.”
Could you tell me about the correlation with your relationship, please?
“When this relationship started, my boyfriend was holding back a lot and it was upsetting to me. He constantly sent me mixed signals that lead me be apprehensive about our relationship. I had to wonder. I am so susceptible to this kind of anxiety. The insomnia started around the time that my mother received some horrible news about our family. I remember in a flat second that nothing was going to be the same with my family.”
Continue please. Tell me more.
“The day my mother died, I knew it would send me into orbit. Family for me is a core and I say that because I don’t have one of my own. Being without one… Oh, gosh. It’s petrifying to think about it.”
Tell me more about family, please.
“I lived in a foreign country for a while. The newness of it was great, but I found that others don’t know you on the inside. This is you and then there is this whole other thing; you can never feel you are “in” because they don’t know all the history, all the details of growing up together. Without my mother I feel isolated. With her I always knew there was an unmitigated, unconditional feeling that she would understand and care for me. You can only get that from family.”
It’s wonderful to have had that. Please tell me more.
“None of my relationships have worked out. I was uprooted four times and I didn’t have friends. I need to be in a relationship, but when I am in a relationship I feel very self-conscious. I have such a difficult time asking for basic needs. I can’t just snap it off. Without sleep I need to focus more, it is the same as with my relationship. It is the same as when I was in Italy. I feel the same way. I feel like I am an orphan. I just don’t feel like I am part of anything or anybody.”
Pierre: How are you feeling, are you sleeping more?
“Within one to two days I felt different. Sleep within the last two weeks has been up and down, but when I don’t sleep I don’t have that feeling of panic anymore. The first two weeks were much better. Now it has been more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Like I said, I don’t feel panicked about it, I don’t find myself obsessing about going to bed at a particular time like I did before, but it is not as good as it was a month ago when I started the remedy.”
I am very happy to hear this, tell me more, please.
“My energy has been better. The muscle soreness is also a lot better. I have a stronger sense of being in my relationship than I did before. He seems so much more relaxed. I don’t feel like it is a horrendous match.”
Good. Could you tell me a little about hearing your heartbeat at night, please?
“For the first two weeks it was not beating heavily or racing like before, but it has been back in the last couple of weeks.”
Have you had any dreams?
“My dreams have been in relation to my mother or father but they have been pleasant.”
SEVERAL FOLLOW-UPS LATER:
“I have discontinued Ambien. I am feeling well and paying attention to the things that can keep me from sleeping well. I mainly have good nights. I have been sleeping in hotels for the last couple of months because of business and that’s been great. The muscle soreness and fatigue are just about gone too.”
I present this case for everyone who suffers from insomnia. I have noticed puzzlement in insomniacs. The feeling is like “How can I not sleep? It is as natural as eating or being awake and yet it is not happening. What’s wrong with me?” The frustration is great and the fatigue is even greater. Sometimes a lack of understanding can be compounded by friends who might regard insomnia as a psychosomatic problem and say, “Just relax.” It is a difficult ailment for people to grasp and have sympathy.
She says sleep with Ambien does not feel like real sleep. “The eyes are closed, but it is not the same thing as real sleep.”
I say, “Tell me more about the insomnia,” then her answer is about her mother. It is the sufferer who weaves the whole tapestry of the condition on all levels. My purpose is to listen and go where she leads me. Using her words, I probe further and further until we reach the very root of what ties everything together. I picture this process like two happy kids running in a field of wheat: the sun is warm and we are walking back home but the wheat is taller than we, so we are going blind trying to pick up clues as to where we stand. Then we reach the edge of the field and I know exactly where we are. This is the way I see the process of finding the remedy. Sometimes I try to take a shortcut, which is like jumping up to see over the wheat. Rarely do the shortcuts get me anywhere.
If you feel this process is radically different from medicine, I would say that you are right. In fact, it is the exact opposite. To me the person with the problem knows more than anybody else. Part of my job is to bring it all out to the point where it all comes together for the purpose of giving a remedy that matches.
Correlating the insomnia with her relationship, her mother and her family appears as the central theme. As you read these cases you may find some themes seemingly obvious or simplistic. What is really important to understand is that she is telling me what she feels. No one else can know this. Together these themes form the gestalt that includes insomnia, fatigue and soreness.
Fatigue with insomnia can be rationalized. Most people who have insomnia are tired but soreness can’t be rationalized since
not all people suffering from insomnia get sore the way she does.
Inasmuch as the insomnia compels her to focus, it is the same feeling as when she is in a relationship and as when she was in Italy. In short, without a family she needs to focus because she “feels like an orphan.” She does not feel part of a group. These are the opposite feelings to when she had her mother. The soreness after intimacy also relates to a relationship. Not being able to break away from a relationship is stating the obvious.
This case requires a remedy that has family as its central theme and the overall symptoms she suffers from. The homeopathic remedy will resolve all of her issues in a deep acting fashion upon the Vital Force.
In her case, the only thing that helps her a bit is magnesium citrate. A lot of insomniacs take it to sleep; it is palliative, which means that as long as you take it you don’t have symptoms. As soon as you stop taking it, the symptoms comes back. In homeopathy, magnesium relates to a family or group just like it is in this case. What was a little trickier to figure out in this case was the other half because magnesium can’t be given by itself. I gave Magnesium carbonicum because of her feeling like an orphan as well as her affinity to her father’s illness. There are many other choices available to the homeopath. Had the specificity been about the brother the remedy would have been Magnesium phosphoricum. Had it been about the mother, Magnesium muriaticum would have been appropriate.
The thing to do here is simply to continue. Everything is moving in the right direction.
The remedy was repeated several times through different follow-ups. She remains well.