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Refugees in Canada

New immigrants to Canada can carry trauma that impedes their future progress

Refugees come in various shades and are people that must leave their home and current location for reasons of safety and survival, often with no opportunity to return. They are people who are oppressed, displaced, persecuted or fleeing natural disasters, and often need to find a new home by immigrating to another country and culture. This is never an easy process, neither the events leading up to the decision to leave and the process of getting to a safer destination nor the transition period of acculturation and resettlement.

The United Nations defines refugees as “persons who are outside their country and cannot return owing to a well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.”

Refugees can have many physical wounds or illnesses related to a period of time where they lacked of basic needs and as well may be emotionally traumatized. The grief at leaving their home, the loss of their native country and culture, estrangement from family and friends are forefront in their experience yet often their emotional needs are put aside for the immediate material priorities such as food, housing, work and integration into the new surroundings. After the initial basic needs are met, but if the emotional needs are not, there can be isolation, depression, anxiety, poverty, long-term inadequate housing or nutrition, anger and addictive behaviour. If there is a loss of values or faith there can be hopelessness and despair. The risk for PTSD and depression is high for refugees and if there is considerable stress and trauma then learning a new language, finding work and developing social connections can be challenging.

“It is unfortunate and ironic that most refugees flee in order to escape human rights violations and violence, yet their vulnerable situation as refugees exposes them to additional human rights violations and violence. Walking away from danger with one’s valuables makes a refugee vulnerable to robbery from armed marauders. Young boys are always susceptible to being kidnapped and forced to fight for a military group. Women of all ages are potential rape victims. Children are no longer assured of receiving an adequate education. NGOs have trouble ensuring the safety of those who live in refugee camps. Refugees also occasionally have problems receiving food and water because such resources are often in short supply and are major targets of armed groups.” www.beyondintractability.org

Refugees that have trauma require greater mental and physical care and yet they can face social-economic or cultural barriers to healthcare resources such as language, cultural perceptions of health and illness, and an unfamiliarity with the available healthcare system. As a minority in a new country they can also experience what is known as isolation stress. This includes:

  • Feelings of loneliness and loss of social support network
  • Discrimination
  • Experiences of harassment from peers, adults, or law enforcement
  • Experiences with others who do not trust the refugee child and family
  • Feelings of not fitting in with others
  • Loss of social status

Integration with many forms of support

Most Western governments offer social services to help refugees pick up the pieces of their lives and start over again. In Canada there are language training programs, employment services, community organizations, and support services for childcare, transportation, translation and interpretation services, and short-term crisis counseling.

Homeopathy can be part of the complex recovery and settlement process experienced by refugees. At a basic level it can help the body to heal long standing physical issues and injuries. It can help to bring about long term emotional resolution of recent and long past events related to war, violence or persecution. The experiences related to these difficult situations are all traumatic, yet some people are able to cope with difficult experiences and move forward in healthy and productive ways. However, for others, a traumatic experience can have a profound and lasting effect on daily functioning. This is no mystery to a trained homeopath who understands the concept of individual susceptibility and perceptions of similar events.

We find that homeopathy can help with developing greater resiliency and to very quickly reduce anxiety, stress and fear that keep a person in a chronic state of stress. The inquiry process does not require reliving the past experiences and retelling the difficult stories, but instead explores how what happened has affected the person, their inner experience and how this presents as current symptoms. There is no need to re-traumatize a stressed person in this method. The support that homeopathy naturally provides means getting beyond the level of basic needs is easier and no longer as challenging. The person can begin to find their potential and meaning and better adapt to their life as it is now. In this way, they can also contribute more to their families and to the community.

To help with resettlement stress, change and adaptation, homeopathy can be a helpful treatment for refugees along with other social programs and health services.

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How does holistic treatment support healthy living? Why try homeopathy? Having a life long study in the principles of nature and healthy living, Lauren Trimble is happy to share her knowledge and experience. The art of retuning the body’s natural healing capacity & developing consciousness in a compassionate and gentle way is the gift that homeopathy brings to her current holistic practice. If you enjoyed this article find out more at Birdsong.

 

 

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I wanted to share this interview by Daniel Vitalis where he speaks with Dr. Gabor Maté, author of the books In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts and Close Encounters with Addiction. They talk about trauma and addiction and the work to find our way through them. The interview starts at: 28:19 minutes.

Some of the topics are about:

  • How we are as adults and how can affect our children.
  • The unhealthy way we lead our lives and relationships and how that sets us up for experiencing trauma.
  • We survive a trauma by disconnection from self as a protective response, but it is not state we want to maintain.
  • ADD, absent mindedness or tuning out is a protective response. If a child is in an unsafe environment that they can’t change or control, they will tune out or turn off.
  • How we often deal with trauma is to avoid it ever happening again by setting up defences, such as addiction.

  • We experience spiritual bypass because the culture keeps us from knowing what is inside of ourselves, and there is no healing in that direction.

  • Most rehab centres, addiction physicians, counsellors don’t deal with trauma, instead they see the behaviour as the problem, and this treatment is ineffective for most people.

Gabor Maté is famous for his definition of addiction, “Any behaviour, substance related or not, that people crave and in which they find pleasure and temporary relief and then can’t give it up despite the experience of negative consequences.” This includes alcohol and drugs as well as eating, sports, gambling, drugs, shopping, sex. All things can be addictive.

In his opinion we can heal by awareness, when we realize that we are not living in an authentic way a part of us wakes up that represents who we really are. Yet who is really aware 100% of the time? Regardless there needs to be a return to authenticity, to a connection with ourselves. We need to see how and when we are not being authentic and notice it every time. The moment we observe our inauthenticity is a path back to authenticity. And when we falter, we can’t pretend it is fun, or a healthy diversion, we need to be aware that right now we are choosing to escape. Awareness and participation is the key to resolving trauma. Thank you Dr. Maté.

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Usually it is the young that go through the experience of being a student and occasionally it is the mature adult that is returning to school. Regardless of our age, school has its challenges. Whether it is late night cramming before exam time or a deadline, an important BYOB party,working long hours to pay the bills or just the pressure of success, homeopathy can help take the edge off and return your energy and your enthusiasm!

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Overwork and burnout

Procrastination can be avoided with planning and foresight but sometimes we have to cram, or we are that person who works best pulling all nighters before the big exam day or the day an essay is due. This can drain our energy and cause strain and if we keep doing it, we can start to burn out. Pushing ourself, working nights and weekends, homework, studying, classes during the day, for many of us getting through school can be an ongoing slog.

Arnica: For the occasional strain and over doing it, arnica can be of great help. A person needing this remedy has pushed their natural limits and usually feels obstinate, headstrong and can refuse to admit that they have pushed themselves. They can have a feeling that they will ‘soldier’ on and get the work done anyways. There is fatigue and stress from overwork and mental overexertion. 

Ruta: If it is eyestrain from reading books all night, Ruta Graveolens can help with the overuse of the eye muscles.

Coffea: Here there is a need to be industrious, productive and creative, and to do things for the benefit of others in order not to feel isolated. They will sit awake at night, working and creating, doing good things for other people in order to feel accepted. The nerves feel excitable and over sensitive, and there is fatigue along with great nervous agitation, restlessness as well as insomnia.

Nux vomica: This is the focused, driven, type A personality. Everything is tightly structured in order to optimize output. They can be competitive, compulsive and easily angered. The drive to succeed and the stress they impose on themselves leads to exhaustion and collapse from overwork. A student’s best remedy when they are sleepless after mental strain and cannot turn off the mind.

Silica: Here the feeling is a lack of grit or inner back bone and one feels uncertain about their abilities and doubts all their work and how they are performing. As one loses the strength, firmness and decisiveness needed for action, they yield as soon as problems arise. This mirrors the adolescent stage where we often lack confidence and are incredibly image conscious of how our peers perceive us.

Natrum Muriaticum: Less common is a burnout from perfectionism and suppressed feelings. The person is romantic, sentimental, withdrawn as if behind a wall, intellectual and rationalizes emotions. They are often a workaholic. They are afraid of humiliation and ridicule and are always on guard, careful, and seem to be withdrawn into one’s shell.

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Fear of public speaking

What about when we have to be in the spot light? Public speaking is the number one social phobia and the dreaded oral presentation can make most of us weak in the knees. It could also be the first day when we hope to make new friends, or a first date or special interview and we fear we might stammer, not know what to say, or just freeze like a caged hamster. These remedies can help give us the muster to stand up and speak out.

Gelsemium: This is all about the stage fright due to fear of embarrassment, anticipation or bad news. The person feels cowardly and timid and would prefer to be quiet and still and has a sense of being paralyzed or frozen. There is a sensation of weakness on all levels – mental, emotional, and physical.

Argentum Metallicum: This can help if there is cracking and loss of voice or hoarseness due to over use of voice. One can have fears of speaking or singing before the great performance. There can be anxiety about maintaining the place they have achieved, as a bad performance might bring them down from the successful position they have gained. There can be a loss of control with extremes of weeping or of anger.

Arum triphyllum: There can be a hoarseness and a lack of control over the vocal cords. The person tries to raise their voice and it cracks or squeaks. This is known as clergyman’s sore throat and is a good remedy for anyone who needs their voice to ring loud and clear such as a teacher, minister or public speaker.

The Hangover

Party! That is the real reason for going to college no? And yes, you just drank too much, maybe took things you have never tried before, your head is pounding and you now feel like … terrible … and have to wake up early to get to class. Duh. There is a great remedy for this.

Nux Vomica: We already covered the typical Nux state, one who is tense and tightly wound with a strong need to achieve and perform. This can lead to overindulging, in alcohol, sex, cigarettes, coffee or even work, and this creates an imbalance but this remedy helps achieve equilibrium again. The classic “Hangover remedy” for food or alcohol,or even too many laxatives, par excellence.

Pressure to succeed

Another common issue of students is when the need to achieve is of such importance that there is unbearable pressure. The elevated expectations can lead to issues such as depression and reaching the end of our rope. Although these remedies may ‘take the edge off,’ if the situation is getting seriously off balance, seeking outside help is a wise consideration.

Aurum: A high drive to achieve, to succeed. This alternates with depression and fleeting thoughts of suicide. On the low side, the patient may feel no connection to life, existing in a dark and isolated void. On the up side they are very intense, idealistic and want to be the best and set very high goals for themselves. This is a good remedy for high level athletes, performers and those who set very high goals and need to be the best in their field.

Staphysagria: This state is sensitive, quiet and emotional. There can be an addiction to work and having a problem standing up for themselves. They can feel depressed because of shame, resentment, suppressed emotions and hurt feelings. When under too much pressure there can be fits of rage. They feel a great sense of pride and must control their emotions or they feel they will lose their dignity.

Arsenicum album: The obsessive worrier is helped by this remedy. They can worry about their health and be perfectionists, and can feel depressed if they don’t reach their own ideals and standards. They feel weak yet restless, and are very demanding of others. They never experience complete satisfaction, something could always be better or more perfect. They have anxiety and insomnia and worry they might be about to die, or that a thief will take away their job, possessions or wealth.

Student and caregiver

When we are students that also carry the responsibility of looking after someone else while we go through school, the burden on our energy and focus can take a toll. It can be young kids of our own, elderly parents, a loved one who is unwell and requires care, whatever the case, when you have burnt the candle at both ends looking after someone else you can take a remedy before it is you that needs to be taken care of.

Sepia: Unable to assert their independence and sense of personal choice they can feel like the caretaker role is stifling, especially concerning their very important sense of creativity. These obligations lead to feelings of resentment, and they can feel drained and lethargic to manage the basics of life such as work and relationships. They can become indifferent to their loved ones and even lovemaking becomes just another chore. They can be impatient, irritable and even nasty. There can also be fears related to insanity or poverty.

Cocculus: When taking on the role of caring and looking after people they suppress their own feelings and desires. This shows up as sympathy, anxiety and concern for the health and feelings of others. This is a good remedy for sensitive caregivers such as nurses and parents who lose sleep and peace of mind worrying about and taking care of others. There can also be a feeling like seasickness or nausea when they are in moving vehicles. They wish they could lay down with their eyes closed and avoid insults and rudeness from others.

The suggestions in these lists are for self-care and first aid use. Remember to take remedies only as they are needed, and that taking them as seldom as possible is the best approach. Homeopathic remedies are not like chemical medications that you take on an ongoing basis, often a single dose of one remedy will do the trick. Usually a 30ch or lower potency number is best for this kind of self-administered remedy selection. If you find you are taking any remedy more and more often for the same reasons it might be time to consider a consultation with a homeopath to find the deeper causation and get you to a healthier state. Otherwise, remember that homeopathy is a simple, gentle and natural way to address the stresses and concerns of student life.

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How does holistic treatment support healthy living? Why try homeopathy? Having a life long study in the principles of nature and healthy living, Lauren Trimble is happy to share her knowledge and experience. The art of retuning the body’s natural healing capacity & developing consciousness in a compassionate and gentle way is the gift that homeopathy brings to her current holistic practice. If you enjoyed this article find out more at Birdsong.

In February I had a concerned mother contact me about her toddler with extreme constipation. The little guy was suffering terribly, and so was the mother in trying to find ways for him to be more comfortable. We did several Skype consultations beginning in February and after an initial remedy were able to find a long lasting solution and he has been doing great since.

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Constipation is painful and unpleasant

Anyone is technically constipated if they don’t pass stools once, or more than once, per day, and the average person goes every day or every other day. In cases of extreme constipation there is also pain and very large, hard stools. This little guy of barely 3 years was having a terrible time and only passing stools every 7 to 10 days! His stools when they did pass were very large or hard and had a terrible smell. It was extremely painful so the little guy was developing trauma and many fears about going. He was fidgety, whiny and clingy and super active or wanting to nurse just before going and could only really go if he was standing up or moving, so getting him to go to the bathroom was becoming a big ordeal that took a lot of time and effort on the mom’s part.

The doctors suggested he may have a sluggish bowel syndrome and his mother was trying several medications such as Restorolax and Glycerin suppositories to help him go. As well she had tried several homeopathic remedies and cell salts over the fall and winter. Basically everything that after our first session I would have recommended she had already tried and nothing worked or if it did, not for long. This included Phosphorus which I felt was the child’s most prominent constitutional type.

Exploration, a foundation of the case taking session

We explored the mother’s experience while pregnant and giving birth as this makes a strong impression on the child for the first four to seven years, as well as diet and other symptoms that occur along with the constipation and in general. We also explored as much as possible his experience of constipation and of his general nature. This is limited since I can’t really ask him much and was, along with his mother, only able to observe him. He is an only child and during the first period of his life, including gestation, his mother was constantly moving from apartment to apartment, almost every month. Once he became mobile it was important to make each new place safe and adapt the environment to the little toddler’s needs. They had been more settled for almost a year which was helping. Whenever they came back home he would immediately want to nurse and had always been very avid about being nursed. I asked about his play and what he preferred to do. He either wanted to play monsters and be loud, destructive, powerful and scary and would like to hit things. This game involved a lot of chasing. Or he liked to play babies and be soft and cuddly and take care of each other.

When playing with other kids he liked to be the centre of attention, a leader, telling others what to do, was very extroverted and could even be pushy sometimes. He would like to take care of his mother when she was unwell, he would say that he could make her calm or happy. The mother found that he was very sensitive to noises. He liked to be home, to be warm and could be very grumpy in the morning if the mother was not there when he woke up.  He was also likely to get very sad, as if he was misunderstood, if he was scolded or reprimanded and did not like when others went faster than his rhythm, he would get stressed and angry at this. There were some main physical symptoms as well such as having a very hot head and sweating before falling asleep on his head and neck. He also had had dental surgery for several dental cavities and cradle cap which smelled sour. The dental procedure was addressed separately with several remedies for the bruising, anesthesia and for the mom’s anxiety for her son.

The first remedy selection

In March, we decided to try Silicea 30c for a period of time as it fit the symptoms we had been able to explore so far. After a month things were improving but the laxatives were still required, although less often and when they stopped working she stopped using them altogether. In the follow up I could see there was less of a need to be comforted, he was more independent and happier and passing stool was more comfortable. This was what we had hoped to see as a good sign of general improvement, more independence and a movement of separation from his mother, although he was still dependent on the nursing. After a couple of months he was able to go a little every day, although only when he was sleeping, and this indicated there was less trauma about going. At this point he was starting to nurse less often and be less ‘sticky’ to mom and they were able to be more relaxed and to get out of the house more. The mom started to look much better as well I noticed! In playing with other kids, he was less pushy, not needing to lead so much, and was less emotional about not getting his way, and he could play on his own as well more.

A deeper sense of spooky

In May, I did another long follow up and was happy to be able to learn more about the little guy’s inner world and some of his specific physical symptoms were more clear as well. He had had a nasty stomach bug and although by then he could pass stools while awake also, since the bug he was going less often again. The clinginess returned and there were tantrums if either parent left him. It was really important to him that they all stay together. His mother tried a few homeopathic remedies during the illness, and went back to using the laxatives. He was anxious, crying and had insomnia related to daycare, he would cry for a half hour if he had to go there and this was new. He needed to be physically close and would scream, “I need mommy.”

We then explored his play again which revealed a fuller picture of his obsession with scary things. He was fascinated by zombies, monsters, Scooby-Doo, vampires and with running away and hiding. I could chat with him a little more via the computer connection this time and there was something about hearing him describe these things that was a bit creepy so I could consider as unusual and important to his uniqueness. In his play he would vacillate between being scary to being a cute cuddly cat that needed to be petted and to get loving attention, then to wanting to eat his mom and being a big T-Rex that roars. And again, when he played with other kids his favourite thing was to be chased, and this now had a context. He was re-enacting the scary game with them about monsters, fear and running away to hide and be safe.

 

A second remedy selection

So this time I was able to really see the little guy and feel into his inner experience in a more global way. I found a spider remedy that normally would not be considered for constipation issues:

Rectum: Inactivity, constipation, difficult stool, as from constriction in rectum
Stool: Black, forcible like an explosion, with perspiration.

But also covered the other main physical symptoms:

Generals: Chilly but heat flushes, sweaty face.
Extremes of tension, spasticity, constriction and prostration.
Cramp like unbearable pains, coming and going in waves like labour pains, worse with motion. Yet patient is so restless that he cannot lie still.

And also the personality traits he expresses:

Spider themes: Cunning, plotting. Active, hurried, restless. Hysterical, complaining. Stinging pains. Chilly. Extreme sensitivity.
Type of attack: Caught and trapped; deceit; cunning; impulsive, violence; sudden fear of death; kill and hide.

And his obsession with monsters which is when I was really certain this might be a great remedy fit for the little guy:

AFADH: Themes of mastering the environment; manipulation; vibration; provocation; monsters; powerful and wild animals. Fear of imminent death.

I can’t know for sure but his need to be home, to be with his parents, and to care for them could be related to the theme of outcast from the proving:

Proving of Latrodectus: being an outcast, one who is suddenly rejected by the group; a psychic sensitivity in general and specific sensitivity to danger.

The outcome?

He took this remedy once at the beginning of June and I heard back from the mom in September. No news is good news in this field! The remedy was a deeper core match than any of the previous remedies and in the words of his mom, he has really flourished! He was able to go on the potty and on a regular basis three weeks after taking the remedy. He was doing well all summer and is a totally new person since the weight and unease had lifted. If he was to regress slightly, which would be normal, the mom could re-dose to continue the healing process and that might be all he needs, 2 doses of a well chosen core remedy. Welcome to the mysterious and sometimes spooky world of homeopathy.

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How does holistic treatment support healthy living? Why try homeopathy? Having a life long study in the principles of nature and healthy living, Lauren Trimble is happy to share her knowledge and experience. The art of retuning the body’s natural healing capacity & developing consciousness in a compassionate and gentle way is the gift that homeopathy brings to her current holistic practice. If you enjoyed this article find out more at Birdsong.

In 2007, Tom Shadyac was in a bicycle accident that dramatically changed his life. He was at the time a successful comedian and film director making comedic films such as The Nutty Professor and Bruce Almighty. After the accident he suffered post-concussion syndrome and had headaches, hyper-sensitivity to light and noise, and chronic tinnitus that eventually led to suicidal thoughts. All Western medical treatments failed to help and he began to give away his mass fortune and sold his mansion in LA then he moved into a deluxe but simple trailer park in Malibu in order to reorient and simplify his life. He isolated himself completely, sleeping in his closet with black out curtains on the windows of his mobile home. This life threatening experience prompted him to ask, “What is wrong with our world and what can we do about it?,” and he made an amazing documentary around these questions called “I AM” in 2011.

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Symptoms of a concussion

Concussion or Traumatic Brain Injury can alter the way the brain functions. The effects may be temporary and include what are considered as milder symptoms such as short attention span, slowed thinking, reduced ability to learn and process information, headaches, fatigue, sleep disturbances, impatience, frustration, confusion, poor judgement, depression, mood swings, blurred vision and vomiting. There is often a loss of consciousness when the trauma occurs but it is not always the case, and therefore a person is often not aware they have had a concussion. When there is a severe head injury, there is a greater risk to the brain and the symptoms can also include unconsciousness, fits or seizures, difficulty speaking or staying awake, vomiting, blood or clear fluid coming from the ears or nose, memory loss, swelling and bruising around the eyes or behind the ears, difficulty walking and possibly death.

We now know that previous head injuries can seriously aggravate a current head injury and this is something that professional athletes and active people are aware of. However, as was Tom’s case, there is no recognized medical treatment for concussion other than rest, medications for headache, and ongoing observation that the patient’s condition does not get worse, or in the most extreme case a surgical procedure may be suggested. What people don’t always know is that homeopathy has many remedies for concussion and trauma to the brain.

How we know we can use homeopathy

In 2009, an article was published in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation on a study of the homeopathic treatment for mild traumatic brain injury. The study showed a significant improvement in those taking remedies over the control group not receiving homeopathy. They saw improvement in their ability to understand technical or work-related information, follow instructions, read newspapers or novels, do housework, and socialize in small or large groups. Some of these participants who were unable to work for years returned to work. The past 200 years of clinical cases of brain injury cases also support that homeopathy can help recovery and healing of mild and serious concussion and post-concussion syndromes. The fascinating fact is that homeopathy can be helpful in current situations but also in previous and long standing symptoms due to head injury. What this means it that we can resolve the symptoms of a recent injury as well as resolving ongoing symptoms of previous injuries, and that means a future head injury might be less traumatic or life threatening for those at greater risk such as hockey players or avid mountain bikers.

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It is important to remember the Three Branches of Western medicine making sure that standard medical care is sought out in the event of any kind of serious head injury. However, using homeopathic remedies as well can speed up the recovery and improve the outcome. As with any kind of trauma, the person can at first be in a state of shock. This state makes it difficult for them to think clearly and responsibly. They may underemphasis the severity of the injury and attempt to forego any medical treatment. This can have terrible consequences later on. Maybe they just have headaches and difficulty sleeping, but some people can undergo extreme changes to their mood and may develop depression and even suicidal thoughts which were never present before the injury.

There are several remedies depending on the situation that can be self-administered after a head trauma or given to the person who was injured.

Arnica: This is the go to remedy to take immediately or as soon as possible after any serious head injury. Arnica addresses the shock and also works to reduce, stop and even reverse damage from bleeding, swelling and the effects of blunt trauma. The effects are rapid and powerful and can reduce the severity of the trauma and future complications. In a severe case, it is ok to take a high potency 1M arnica in moderation. For the lower potencies it would be ok to redose more often at first to keep the bleeding and swelling in check depending on the severity of the injury. If the person says they are fine and they don’t need any help, encourage them to take the arnica as a preventative measure.

Hypericum perforatum: This remedy is good to add when there is trauma of the nervous system after head, neck or spinal injuries. Symptoms following the trauma such as stiff neck, whiplash, pinched nerves, can all benefit from hypericum. Feelings of numbness, tingling, burning and neuralgic pains that shoot out suggest damage to the nerves and nervous system. Spasms and seizures can also indicate the use of this remedy.

Helleborus niger: After the injury the person seems very slow to respond to questions and slow in talking, and there is a noticeable delay in their cognitive function. They may have a blank facial expression and lack any range in emotional responses. They have trouble thinking, concentrating and remembering things. There may be chronic headaches and they appear slow, passive and seem to be depressed, indifferent and apathetic.

Natrum sulphuricum: This is a well known remedy if the post-injury symptoms are long standing. It is also a good remedy when the person become depressed, has shifts in mood and personality, such as becoming more irritable and confused, and even thoughts of suicide. There may also be chronic headaches and new symptoms of asthma.

Belladonna: If there is a lot of heat, redness, throbbing, and fullness in the head after an injury. The may become delirious or frantic, and in this state may even bite or strike at those around them. 

Cicuta: If there are seizures after a head injury or if the head injury is severe and there seems to be mental retardation, consider this remedy.

The suggestions in this list are for self-care and first aid use. The remedies provided do not represent a complete list of available remedies but are trusted choices for the states described. Remember to take remedies only as they are needed, and that taking them as seldom as possible is the best approach. Usually a 30ch or lower potency number is best for this kind of self-administered remedy selection. If you find you are taking any remedy more and more often for the same reasons it might be time to consider a consultation with a homeopath to find the deeper causation and get you to a healthier state. It is of course ideal in the case of a severe concussion for the medical team to work closely with a professional homeopath for the best possible outcome.

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How does holistic treatment support healthy living? Why try homeopathy? Having a life long study in the principles of nature and healthy living, Lauren Trimble is happy to share her knowledge and experience. The art of retuning the body’s natural healing capacity & developing consciousness in a compassionate and gentle way is the gift that homeopathy brings to her current holistic practice. If you enjoyed this article find out more at Birdsong.

 

 

 

 

Everyone goes through the experience of loss during their lifetime. How that is experienced depends on the person, the situation and the attachment to what was lost. Sometimes we find that we are stuck in one or more states, feeling like we aren’t really coping well, or that we can’t move forward in our own personal way afterwards. That is when the help of a homeopathic remedy can be a welcome relief.

The death of a family member or loved one, the loss or separation of a relationship, even the loss of a job position, financial savings, a treasured possession or home can catapult someone into a state of grief. The remedies listed here can be very helpful for any sudden and recent experiences of loss. If what you are going through stems from older experiences, or events that occurred in childhood that are still causing extreme grief and trauma, it is best to seek the help of a homeopath who can accompany you through a deeper level of healing support.

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The most common phases or states of loss are shock, instability, grief and perhaps anger. The medical approach is to prescribe sedatives, painkillers and anti­depressants when the person suffering is stuck or feels too overwhelmed to cope. The problem with this method is that it can merely numb the person and suppress their experience. This halts the process of acceptance, adapting to new situations and a possibly changed life. The homeopathic approach instead stimulates the processes of recovery, adaptation and repair, on both physical and emotional levels. A remedy is an adjunct to facilitate this process, not to suppress or replace it, so the grief will still be there but the person can begin to intentionally work through it. In the words of another homeopath Bob Leckridge, “The best way to deal with grief is to come to terms with this massive change in life consciously with the support of loved ones or professionals who can listen, advise and care.”

 

Shock is usually the initial acute response to loss

Whether the loss was sudden and unpredicted or we knew it is coming, we can experience a state of shock when it happens. The person feels stunned, numb as well as an increased sensitivity. There can be fear, agitation and even panic, and this can lead the person to do things that are not usual or even possibly dangerous. This is an acute, intense and sudden state and usually subsides quickly after the event. When it doesn’t, or the person is in an extreme state of shock that poses a danger to themselves or others, giving a remedy can be helpful.

Aconite:  Here we have a limbic, non-rational state where the person feels shaky, fearful and stunned after a sudden fright or strong emotions.  There is great fear, anxiety and worry and they can be very restless and moving around, even shouting, screaming or wailing. There can be panic attacks, or they may be inclined to run away and escape, everything is done irrationally and in great fear.

Gelsemium: This is the opposite of aconite, there is instead of a flailing panic a stoic response. They try to control themselves and avoid the feelings they have, and there is also a weakness and numbness as if they are paralysed. They will not cry and feel drained of energy, and their mind may go blank. Here the danger is more that they try to avoid anything that reminds them of the situation or their fear.

 

A period of instability and adjustment

During this time there can be extreme emotions and moods shift dramatically and quickly. This is an intense and unstable period and can seem to as inappropriate behaviour, such as laughing in a moment that is somber and serious, or not replying when spoken to. The most common first aid remedy given for grief or loss is Ignatia and it fits this state very well.

Ignatia: The person is experiencing rapidly changing and intensely emotional states. There can be a bout of tears and distress and then suddenly they are silent and withdrawn. They may sigh a lot and also have a sensation of a lump in their throat. It is a good remedy when grief is “stuck” and lasts excessively or it produces symptoms such as weeping that is silent and controlled or that is brief, irregular and dramatic. There is a sense of being shattered from the loss of something or someone that they had invested a great deal of their emotions.

 

The feeling of Loss

This can be profound for some and was once described in medical terms as a “forsaken feeling.” There are several remedies that can be a good fit depending on how the person experiences loss and how they react to it.

Ignatia: Same as above. Give this remedy if the  grief is “stuck” and lasts longer than what the person considers to be normal or necessary.

Pulsatilla: Here the loss includes feelings of abandonment, it is not just about feeling alone, they feel as if they have been left alone by the loss, that they have lost an anchor of support. They wish to seek comfort and sympathy and are emotional, weepy and distressed. They can seem needy because of the intense feeling of abandonment and want to be hugged or held. There is also a sense of instability as their moods can shift radically.

Natrum Muriaticum: This person does not seek out help but prefers to be left alone to deal with their experience. They don’t want to be fussed over and consolation makes them feel worse. They may have irritable outbursts over small matters and will not cry unless alone and even then the tears may not come. Sleep may be affected as they start to think about past events, old wounds and hurts and dwell on them. There can be depression and tremendous grief after losing a significant person in their life.

Phosphoric Acid: There is a great exhaustion and debility since the traumatic event. They can feel isolated from loved ones due to discord, or being physically distant and not being able to have communication with them as much as they would like so homesickness can be involved. They can have insomnia from worry and anxiety about their loved ones and can have difficulty in their thoughts or finding the right word, as if the pathways in their brain are not connecting properly. There is a sense of being emotionally crushed that shows up as lethargy, despair, apathy and they can seem almost lifeless.

 

If the angry phase develops

Anger is a complex emotion and can vary in intensity, reaction and causation. The remedies below may help the anger to express itself in more healthy ways and allow the purpose of that anger to become clearer.

Magnesium Carbonicum or Magnesium Muriaticum: There can be rapid flare ups of anger that disappear quickly. The person feels intensely sensitive and lonely. The sensation is similar to being an orphan or a child whose parents were separated or divorced. Magnesium Carbonicum is when the symbol of anger is masculine and Magnesium Muriaticum when that symbol is feminine in nature. 

Staphysagria: Here there are strong feelings of injustice and poor treatment, perhaps of how the deceased was treated in their final days. There is anger and indignation and lots of very intense emotions. They might say it is not fair what happened to them. There is often a lot of pride, and so feeling easily offended or that others are being rude. Or it is the opposite state and the anger is suppressed and controlled, and they refuse to show it due to their strong sense of dignity and pride.

Colocynthis: Also angry and indignant, the person has a very strong opinion of what is right and wrong. They do not like to be contradicted and are sensitive to slights or humiliation. They will try to retain their emotions, will feel unfortunate and discontented, often complaining quite often. They are restless and have a lot of physical pains and maybe even cramps.

 

The suggestions here are for self-care and first aid use. Remember to take remedies only as they are needed, and that taking them as seldom as possible is the best approach. Homeopathic remedies are not like chemical medications that you take on an ongoing basis, often a single dose of one remedy will do the trick. Usually a 30ch or lower potency number is best for this kind of acute remedy selection. In using homeopathy, finding our self through the process of grief and loss can be a little easier and gentler.

 

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How does holistic treatment support healthy living? Why try homeopathy? Having a life long study in the principles of nature and healthy living, Lauren Trimble is happy to share her knowledge and experience. The art of retuning the body’s natural healing capacity & developing consciousness in a compassionate and gentle way is the gift that homeopathy brings to her current holistic practice. If you enjoyed this article find out more at Birdsong.

In the previous post I discussed trauma and related symptoms and when it can happen. In the case of trans-generational trauma, the original unaddressed trauma is carried over from a previous generation to the current and future generations through their descendants. And for those coping with this kind of trauma, the symptoms such as anxiety, phobias, addiction and autoimmune reactivity can be confusing to address since they are not based in the person’s own life history or experiences.

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Although various methods of counselling have been used for over a hundred years, most people living in past centuries did not seek out this kind of help or even understand the importance of psychological and emotional health. The traumas they experienced, especially emotional and psychological ones, were dealt with internally and eased with the passing of time. This was not always effective and some people carried the wounds and patterns of trauma throughout their life and modern research is discovering how these can then show up in their children and their grandchildren. Energy-based modalities such as homeopathy can reach a deeper, more global level than medications or talk therapies and offers some unique solutions to resolving our inherited traumas.

I would posit that we all carry some traumatic resonance from our ancestors to varying degrees. There have been recent historical situations that have left traumatic imprints on large numbers of people such as WWI & II and the holocaust, enslavement and slavery, civil wars, and many other wars and conflicts. On a smaller scale there are witnesses and refugees of genocide, colonial suppression, political totalitarian control, invading military forces, and terrorism. And on a personal level, there might have been domestic abuse, sexual abuse, bullying, addiction, poverty, inequality, lack of medical care and isolation due to mental or physical illness. However, when we are not the original person who experienced a trauma, it is difficult to recognize the problem and seek out treatment. Far too often it becomes a confused mishmash of symptoms that are ‘all in our head’ unless we learn about the family history, yet the sad and unpleasant stories are often hidden, forgotten or suppressed. Without conscious memories, many therapies have limited ability in treating such cases.

This is further compounded by ‘collective’ trauma where the traumatic psychological effect is shared by a group of people and even an entire society. This can result in a collective sentiment and create a shift in that society’s culture and actions. The rehabilitation process is difficult when it has to include so many people. In this case, the trauma usually remains chronic and repeats in future generations and a whole society may experience an ongoing culture of suffering to some degree.

What we know now about inheriting trauma

Rachel Yehuda of the Mount Sinai hospital conducted a recent study that suggests the genetic imprints of traumatic experiences are passed from one generation to another epigenetically and not just through learned behaviours. (Epigenetics refers to external modifications to DNA that turn genes ‘on’ or ‘off’ yet do not change the DNA sequence.) The idea is that molecular tags attach to certain genes after traumatic experiences, and this can turn them ‘off’ afterwards. The researchers in the Yehuda study looked at a region of one gene known to be affected by trauma and that involves the regulation of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. When the tags are present and are switched off, this directly affects the ability to cope with stress by altering the number of stress hormones synthesized. It was assumed that trans-generational trauma was transmitted only by changes to DNA or social influences but this study suggest it is also the epigentic tags that can be passed from one generation to the next which can reduce resilience to re-experiencing trauma. This means in some cases when the environmental conditions are conducive, the tag can alter the gene but does not always turn off and cause problems, and this can begin to explain why some descendants are affected while others are not.

Other studies have also shown that trauma can be passed from parent to child. A study of mothers with major depressive disorder found that their daughters and even their granddaughters were more likely to suffer from depression as well. Another study in 2011 found that PTSD symptoms and behaviours were more prevalent in descendants of Holocaust survivors as opposed to Jewish individuals that were not the offspring of direct survivors.

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The use of homeopathy to alter the cycle of trans-generational trauma

When emotional trauma becomes overwhelming and we reach a point where we can’t cope and don’t have the tools or skills to find our way through, we can enter a state where our sympathetic nervous system goes into overdrive and we can get stuck in ‘fight or flight’ mode far longer than our body is designed to maintain. This leads to depletion and disruption of the normal functions of our system. When we are in this state for too long we can become susceptible to present-day traumas that then compound the problem. When we have an extreme level of trauma, known now as PTSD, the re-experience of trauma may arise involuntarily and in unwelcome moments or places, and this can have profound effects on our lives.

It is best if we do not hide, avoid, self-medicate or push away our feelings of pain and discomfort, yet it is difficult to experience the pain again, and to release it while we do so. This process requires an enormous level of non-judgment and acceptance that we can not always rationally and intentionally reach. The homeopathic session is meant to encourage a place of safe exploration and resolution. Thankfully with the understanding of how epigenetics is dependent on the environment to alter DNA tags, and that trauma does not result in structural DNA changes, this means there is always the potential to change or return the gene to the original expression as the trauma is released. We don’t have to carry all that ‘baggage’ around with us.

Homeopathy is able to work directly on the basic symptoms of trauma such as stress and anxiety, and is known to help with chronic issues related to fears, phobias, addictions as well as autoimmune disorders. In such confusing and complicated cases as trans-generational trauma, the process is the same regardless of whether there is a medical diagnosis of the problem. The process includes looking at the case history, the current symptoms, the areas of suffering and exploring the inner experience to facilitate a greater awareness and knowledge of the self. Remarkably it has been observed that by going through the homeopathic healing process, immediate family members not receiving treatment are also affected, as well as those close to us and even those we work with. Healing and resolution can radiate outwards, and it all begins with the choice to make a difference in our life.

 

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