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And is there treatment for paruresis?

What is paruresis?

Many people can have difficulty going when in a bathroom if other people are nearby. This is not uncommon. However paruresis, also known as shy bladder syndrome, is when shyness, embarrassment, or fear of being judged for not being able to urinate develops into a phobia or irrational fear.

There can be a spectrum of what is ok or not ok. One guy is ok when there are empty spaces and there are large dividers between the urinals, but if there are no dividers or someone is right next to him than he can’t go. Or a guy can go if they use a closed stall and don’t consider this as a problem. At the other extreme a person can only go when they are at home and no one else is in the house, or if they use a catheter. I have known people that resorted to using a catheter during a long airplane trip, as there was no other way that they could take a 14-hour flight without intense discomfort and pain.

Why do people develop paruresis?

Why does someone have this? Good question! Certainly there is sensitivity, and a heightened awareness of one’s surroundings. Keep in mind that virtually no one can go when their body has shifted into the fight or flight mode. This is part of the biological design of mammals. When we are running away from a tiger the last thing we are going to do is stop and take a leak, we are just going to keep running like mad. Or we may freeze and every non-vital function is going to be put on hold as long as we are gripped by fear. This includes digestion, rational thought processes, and also the sphincters that are related to urination are going to close up. And for a person with paruresis, absolutely nothing they think or will to happen in that moment will loosen those sphincters! Not until the fear passes and they can relax again.

I find the main issues about shy bladder to one or a combination of the following:

  • Visual, being seen going to the bathroom. If there is a stall without large gaps in the structure, or a urinal with large divisions between the basins, they are usually ok to go in public.
  • Auditory, this is more about being heard than seen. Often the standard pubic washroom design makes going impossible. In Japan, they play music in bathrooms, or the toilets make noise to mask the sounds of going to the bathroom.
  • Proximity, this is about how close the other person is. It can be ok if they are five urinals away, but not two. Or if they are eight stalls away or across the hallway, but not right next to you. It can also be that they are only able to go if there is no one inside the same building or house.
  • Delay, this is about how long it takes to start going. If it seems that someone else is listening or can hear and is therefore judging the person about how long it is taking them to go to the bathroom, this can start anxiety. Once the anxiety is triggered it can be impossible to start.
  • Knowing that someone is waiting can also be an issue. Even if that person is outside of the washroom, just knowing they are waiting is the issue.
  • Some people have a germ phobia, so this is more about the uncleanliness of a public washroom rather than paruresis.

Stigma and shame

Unfortunately being teased or laughed at for this particular phobia is common. And usually people either think that they are the only person on the planet who has this thing, and that everyone else can go easily whenever they need to. Some will think, “Am I crazy. I don’t understand this.” Or they are too ashamed to ask for help and to reach out to friends or professional support. The result is that people with paruresis are often very isolated and don’t seek help. Then the phobia can easily become the center of their life.

My own story with paruresis

Part of the path to cure is knowing what we are feeling anxious or fearful about. For me it was the amount of time, I couldn’t just sit down on a toilet seat and start to go. I finally realized my main issue was the delay. I felt embarrassed about how long it was taking me, especially with people waiting to use the bathroom. I was convinced other people were keeping track and that they could notice my hesitation. That combined with my usual anxiety, and my issues I found through homeopathy of vulnerability, safety and performance, and I started to take longer and longer to be able to go. And eventually I completely blocked.

So in less than six months after moving to a large city, where bathrooms are always filled with people, I went from being a bit shy about going in front of others to only being able to go if I was alone at home with the door closed. It happened so fast, and led to a closing in of my life. I became very isolated in many ways and I also felt ashamed and at fault for what had happened. I was so completely unaware that other people also have this problem at first. I mean really, who can’t go to the bathroom! We all need to go, every day, several times a day, and no one talks seriously about not being able to go, they just laugh at the idea.

Social life and isolation

You can see how much this might affect a person’s life in terms of relationships, friendships, socializing, work, and career. There is a preoccupation with what you drink, especially before you leave the house, with where you are, and what options are available for using a bathroom. Every day is taken up with these kinds of thoughts. You change your habits and social behavior in order to compensate. It is no longer easy to plan on going to a friend’s house, a party, or the theatre. The longer it goes on, the more the person can forget how it was before they were phobic and not realize how much the phobia is affecting their life and their choices. After time a person is a person controlled by his or her own fear and shame rather than being able to be spontaneous and social.

What I did to get better?

Since it happened so fast I realized I could not live like that, being unable to go out without extreme anxiety and discomfort. I stubbornly reached out for anything that might help me. Once I found the definition for paruresis online and realized that this was a thing that could happen to people, around 7% of the population, I could at least say to myself that this was a real thing. At that time there was not much online about it. I found the International Paruresis Association in the United States and this encouraged me to start and lead a support group in my city.

I wrote emails to people with shy bladder, I read books, I did the graduated exposure therapy practice in the malls, I went to Baltimore for a workshop for women, I saw a cognitive behavioral therapist, I helped host workshops in my city, whatever I could do I was going to do it to get better. And it helped; I went from a nine to around a five or four in a couple of years. The biggest piece was understanding the cycle of anxiety and how to stop it, and that no matter what I do, I will tend to have a delay before I can go. So if I could sit in the delay and avoid the anxiety, all was well.

Homeopathy and phobias

I started studying homeopathy and got my degrees, and through that process my facilitators and instructors treated me. After several core remedies and exploring the symbols related to safety, vulnerability and performance, I was much less triggered and anxious in general. One day I noticed that I was no longer phobic about going to the bathroom anymore. This is not to say that who I am completely changed, sometimes there are situations where I don’t want to go or can’t go. So, as I was before the phobia, I am still a bit shy. However, I don’t feel anxious or uncomfortable anymore.

Needless to say my work life, social life and relationships have all changed immensely for the better. My day is never overshadowed by worry and concern for what may happen, or where I will be, or what I might have to say to avoid discomfort or embarrassment. With homeopathy my perceptions changed in many aspects and now that I don’t feel worried or ashamed and my shyness never escalates back into a phobic condition. I feel I have gone from a 5 down to a 1. And as I mentioned above, lots of people are shy about using bathrooms, they just aren’t phobic about it.

How homeopathy is different?

Homeopathy is based on the principles of individualization, minimum dose and like cures like, and it uses a truly holistic approach. The aim of homeopathy is not to treat phobia, or shy bladder, or any disease diagnosis, but to explore the root source of symptoms and individual susceptibilities. Homeopaths don’t separate the mind and the body into various parts and systems that are treated independently of each other. They see that all aspects of any person are dynamically interconnected and directly influence each other. Liver, nervous system, anger, ego, soul, any symptoms the person focuses on are considered during a homeopathic session.

It is always great to start early as well. As a child I was terrified of the dark, timid, shy, and in my early teens developed epilepsy. These can all be treated in children simply with homeopathy. I had to wait until my 30s to find homeopathy and this after having years of living with anxiety, depression, and the shy bladder phobia for a short time. For an adult, symptoms usually get more complex, we have compensated, suppressed, denied our experiences, been further traumatized, and gotten further and further away from our true self. And by this I mean the inner self that is not our personality, or ego, or our social mask. This is one of the best parts of homeopathy, it brings us back in touch with this inner self, and it reminds us of who we really are, of what our purpose is. After all, this is the key question all spiritual paths eventually ask of us, “Who Am I.”

What is the expected process?

The most common response to a well individuated remedy is a nearly immediate reduction of anxiety. We can start to feel whole, the root of the anxiety is addressed and we are able to start the healing process. Healing is not that different than being able to go to the bathroom, we can’t heal when we never relax and we are anxious all the time! The rest of the process may take time, depending on each individual person, there is no way to know in advance. However, as the response to a core remedy is global, the results can be wide reaching and often unexpected! And no matter how challenging the process, it is certainly worth the investment if we can regain our life and joy of living.

Listen to my interview about paruresis and phobias with NotBroken Radio, April 17, 2017.

 

 

 

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World Homeopathy Awareness Organization

10 GOOD REASONS TO USE HOMEOPATHY

1. NATURAL ACTION
Homeopathy works by stimulating the body’s own natural defence mechanism to promote health and to resist infection and susceptibility to disease. Although gentle, the results can be powerful and long lasting.

2. HEALTH & WELL-BEING
Homeopathy improves health generally, rather than merely alleviating localized symptoms. It treats the whole individual, acting on the mental and emotional levels as well as the physical level, providing a balance in overall health and an increased sense of well-being and quality of life.

3. EFFECTIVE MEDICINE
When used correctly, homeopathy can be an extremely effective system of medicine, providing long-lasting relief from many acute and chronic conditions and illnesses.

4. NO HARMFUL SIDE EFFECTS
Homeopathic treatment offers a gentle and non-invasive approach to health, producing no toxic side effects, no dependency or addiction, and no withdrawal.

5. COST EFFECTIVE
Homeopathic medicines are surprisingly inexpensive to purchase, especially when compared to over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

6. FAST-ACTING FIRST-AID RELIEF
Homeopathy can be safely used at home or on the road to provide rapid relief for minor problems such as bruises, simple burns, sprains, insect bites, gastric upsets, etc. However more serious or long-lasting complaints should be treated by a qualified homeopath.

7. NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS
Homeopathic medicines are tested only on healthy humans in order to determine the range of action of each remedy.

8. COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE
Homeopathic medicines can be used independently or along with conventional drugs and other therapies (with the full knowledge of your other healthcare providers). It can often alleviate unpleasant side effects of conventional treatments (e.g., chemotherapy).

9. ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY
Homeopathy has no adverse impact on the environment. There is not waste of energy or natural resources in the manufacturing process and no pollution of the water supply, oceans, or dump sites when used. In fact, homeopathy is the ultimate Green Medicine!

10. MEDICINE OF THE FUTURE
Homeopathy is the second most widely-used system of medicine in the world. It is available in most countries and is gaining in popularity as an alternative to conventional medicine.

From the Canadian Society of Homeopaths at www.csoh.ca

 

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Natural prevention, tick removal, recovery and post-recovery support for Lyme

How can you prevent Lyme disease? What if you get Lyme disease? And what options are available for long-standing chronic Lyme disease? The standard medical treatment for Lyme is antibiotics. However, this may not work for everyone. Read on for ideas on prevention, acute treatment and natural treatments. The body knows how to heal itself with a little help.

Natural Lyme prevention

A natural way to immunize against Lyme would be to take the homeopathic Lyme disease remedy. The protocol is to take 2-3 doses of the Lyme remedy, also known as the Borrelia remedy, in a 200c potency. It is good to do this in the spring, spreading the doses out over a couple of weeks or more.

Lemongrass essential oil is suggested to deter ticks. You can make a spray with water and use a bit of the oil to put on socks, shoes, pants and sleeves. It is safe to put directly on the skin since the oil is diluted.

Tick removal

If you find a tick that is attached, pull the tick out safely. DO NOT use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish, or other products to force the tick out of the skin. This can make things worse and the chances of leaving the head of the tick in the skin are much higher. It also stresses the tick, which may mean greater discharge of toxic materials into the skin. Remove attached ticks with tweezers gently to avoid crushing the tick’s body. Grasp the tick firmly and as close as possible to the person or animal’s skin. With a steady motion, pull the tick’s body away from the skin. Do not be alarmed if the tick’s mouthparts remain in the skin. (Watch this Video by tick expert Kateryn Rochon)

Homeopathically it is good to give a dose of Ledum palustre 200c while removing the tick. I will discuss the use of Ledum in homeopathic protocols later on.

Cleanse the area with an antiseptic or lavender essential oil. You can put a drop of lavender oil at the site right away. It is antibacterial and antiseptic yet will not suppress any symptoms. You can also mix the lavender with coconut oil or other carrier oil to dilute the essential oil so it will not affect sensitive skin.

Calendula helps the skin to repair and heal without scarring. There are some calendula wax-based or cream formulas available that would be good to apply after the lavender oil has set in. Another option is to use a Bentonite clay poultice to draw out anything left in the wound. You can add some lavender oil to the Bentonite poultice.

Recovery from Lyme with Western medicine

Going to the doctor will result in tests and antibiotics. There are cases where there is no response or an incomplete response to antibiotics. In these cases either oral or intravenous antibiotics are continued for months at a time. Some patients ultimately respond well to this aggressive treatment, others do not, or they may suffer extensive side effects from prolonged antibiotic use.

For many with a strong immune system and vitality, the recovery is quick and effective. However, cases in which the symptoms return after months of an apparent cure, or never completely go away with standard or aggressive treatment, there can be serious suffering and health deterioration. Patients in this category are said to suffer from chronic Lyme, or post-treatment Lyme disease. This is not recognized by all medical systems and treatment is therefore often unavailable.

There are also problems that can arise with only using antibiotics as a treatment. All bacteria create biofilms in the body. Similar to a house or roof, they build a stable place to exist. When under assault by the immune system or antibiotics, they form spherical shapes and can thus hibernate in a comatose state like a seed. They then constantly monitor the environment waiting for the opportunity to ‘wake up.’ They are more difficult to remove from the body when in this state. It is also well known that it is not advisable to take antibiotics over a long term. This can disrupt the delicate balance of the body’s microbiome and lead to problems with basic body functions such as digestion and assimilation. It is possible therefore that using only allopathic treatments can suppress symptoms that come back later, and residual effects can be carried for years.

If you do not recover from antibiotic treatment, or have relapses requiring stronger antibiotics, this suggests there is an issue with your immune system response. Although antibiotics can help the body to remove bacteria, without the body’s own adaptive response and immune system response doing that work there is little chance of a full recovery. There are other treatments that can naturally stimulate the body’s immune and adaptive responses. They can help wake up the awareness of the bacteria causing the imbalance, and then the body can remove it gently and completely in most cases.

The Herx reaction
A Herxheimer reaction refers to the release of endotoxins where bacteria die off during antibiotic treatment faster than the body can remove the toxins. Symptoms can include fever, muscle pain, and overall increased Lyme symptoms. This reaction can produce symptoms more severe than the disease itself, and so care must be taken to help the body clear the toxins or to reduce the intensity of the antibiotic reaction. If the issue is blocked lymph nodes for example, then to do an intensive antibiotic course before addressing the lymph drainage would perhaps do more harm than good.

Using Homeopathy to support Lyme recovery

It is always better to treat the current and complete symptom picture of each individual, although there are many homeopathic protocols that may help for Lyme infections. Keep in mind it is possible to combine natural approaches along with antibiotic use, depending on what you feel most comfortable doing. However, it would be good to have the advice of a professional homeopath since antibiotics can complicate the body’s response to the natural treatments.

After the tick bite
If it is the first or second day of the bite, use Belladonna 30c or 200k to wake up the vital force and help rally the immune system to act. Indications are if there is any fever, redness, pain or red swelling. Also take Ledum 200c or 200k. Use only the Ledum if the bite has been there for a while, since the Belladonna is no longer useful once the acute phase has passed. The Ledum is excellent for insect bites and reduces inflammation and itching, redness with swelling, and throbbing pain.

In the case that the person is freaking out and worried they might die after the tick bite, you can easily calm then down from fear with Aconite 30c or 200k. Give them one right away, and another dose shortly after if they still need it.

Next steps
The best course of action with homeopathics is to individualize the treatment if at all possible. With the help of a homeopath it is good to use the person’s core or global remedy to help the body heal completely and fully. This addresses the previous issues that lowered their immune system response and increased their susceptibility to contracting the Lyme disease. This is best done with a professional homeopath, who will determine the complete set of symptoms and then match that to a remedy picture.

A homeopath will explore much more than just the physical symptoms and this unusual approach is only one principle that sets them apart from a general practitioner’s methods. After finding a core remedy or specific protocol, a homeopath can suggest the dosage, potency and duration of the chosen remedy. They can also suggest when to switch remedies, or if adding other remedies would be helpful. This makes healing a collaborative process between you and your homeopath, allowing for the best possible outcome.

Other remedies
After the initial protocol or core remedy, it is possible to use other remedies for particular symptoms as they appear during the healing process.

When someone is irrationally afraid of Lyme disease, consider Syphilinum. Their fear will often lead to a profound aversion to dirt or to touching dirty things. Lyme is similar to the Syphilis bacteria. There is an acute phase, dormant phase, and a progressive chronic phase where it gets worse with time. As mentioned above, an acute state of panic and fear of death can also be helped with Aconite. Homeopathy can definitely help with the feelings of despair, depression or even suicidal thoughts that may result from chronic Lyme disease.

Pharmaceutical clean up
In the case where antibiotics or other medications have been used, it can be good to do a drug detox for the system. Sometimes this is required before using natural protocols so the remedies can act fully to initiate the body’s response. This is mostly indicated in sensitive or very fatigued persons, although it can still be helpful for most people. There are various protocols that can help the body detox.

Food and Diet
Whole food supplements can also boost the immune system and help with fatigue. They can be used along with the homeopathic protocols and/or antibiotic treatment.

Spirulina contains essential amino acids, iron, protein, B vitamins, and vitamins C, D and E and supports the body, boosts the immune system and helps with recovery from fatigue.

Bee pollen is also a potent whole food supplement. It contains beta-carotene, lycopene, zeaxanthin, the complete B and E complexes, vitamins C and D as well as protein and trace minerals including iodine, magnesium, and selenium. It is known as the most complete single food on earth.

Organic alfalfa is one of the most mineral-rich foods with optimal levels of magnesium, calcium, potassium, and trace minerals such as selenium, copper, sulfur, and zinc. These minerals are in balance naturally and promote proper absorption.

I prefer these natural whole food supplements to taking specific or multi vitamins that can be synthetic, unbalanced or difficult for the body to absorb and use.

Post-Treatment Recovery

It is important to rebuild the physical structures that were affected such as the collagen tissues, where the bacteria get most of their nutrients to survive. To rebuild the affected structures you can use homeopathic supports, nutritional whole food supplements and herbs, as well as a strong whole food diet. The areas mainly affected will show up in the symptoms that are expressed in each individual. It might be in the brain as neurological diseases, the joints as arthritis, or the heart as heart disease. There will most certainly be a nutrient deficiency.

Quinton’s Plasma is a good tonic to restore nutrients in the more serious cases that have lead to long-term fatigue. Mycoplasmas scavenge B vitamins, so taking whole food supplements can be helpful along with eating different whole foods that contain the range of B vitamins. If they have disrupted the GI tract, this can cause bowel permeability. Taking Aloe Vera gel for a short time can help repair the mucosa. It may also help to change your diet temporarily, reducing foods that cause any inflammation or irritation. Homeopathic intestinal flora remedies can also help with recovery in this department.

After using antibiotics, it is important to repopulate the digestive tract with healthy bacteria again. You can consume raw or unpasteurized fermented foods that still have living beneficial bacteria. There are many probiotic foods as well such as plain yogurt and kefir. Also important are foods that offer prebiotics such as onions and under-ripe bananas. These contain the food that the healthy bacteria need to survive and grow once they are inside the digestive tract again. For a more intensive recovery, the Genestra HMF probiotics are human-sourced proprietary strains that adhere better to the gut lining and more efficiently colonize the intestinal tract. Most probiotics just pass through the intestines and so continued use is required. Many of the Genestra strains will actually repopulate the internal flora for the longer term.

Homeopathic Tissue Salts can be very useful in a wide variety of functional disorders and physical symptoms. They are based on the 12 essential minerals the body needs to repair and maintain itself, and they help to regulate and restore these minerals and their functions. There are other homeopathic supports that can be used as well and if often depends on the homeopath’s familiarity with each system.

Other methods to consider alongside conventional medication include following the GAPS diet, osteopathy, cranial-sacral therapy and Traditional Chinese tuina massage and bone setting. It is not recommended to have acupuncture during homeopathic treatment as both methods are energetically based and may counter act each other.

There is a natural way to support Lyme disease, and to recover our lives and rediscover our potential!

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Natural support for Lyme disease
I offer support for Lyme disease all over the world via Skype or, at my office in Montreal, Quebec. Ask about a free 15-minute consultation. It is possible to work with the use of antibiotics, medications and other treatment protocols or to use a totally natural approach.

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 DHom, Nd 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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Homeopathy is the only healing practice we currently have that offers long term sustainability. There are healing practices like shamanism or energy healing, but as one of the complete medical systems, only homeopathy offers a Green solution to our ever increasing environmental concerns. More and more people want to make changes in their diet, their consumer choices, their personal care and cleaning products, yet it is also possible to make choices that supports and promotes sustainability in health care.

Part of sustainability’s Triple Bottom Line includes addressing the needs of the Planet. The extraction of non-renewable resources should be minimized and extraction of renewable resources should not exceed the rate at which they are renewed. The absorptive capacity of the environment to assimilate wastes should not be exceeded. Homeopathy does not degrade our environment or health.

“Homeopathy is ideally placed to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. Homeopathy is one of the greenest medical modalities. It has a very small, sustainable footprint, it doesn’t pollute, it’s not tested on animals and the experience of taking a homeopathic remedy often awakens us, at a profound level, to the inter-connectedness of all living things and helps us to recognize suppression both on an individual scale and on a global scale.” Mary Aspinwall.

  1. It takes very little of the original undiluted substance to make a homeopathic remedy. For example, one honey bee can make enough Apis remedy to help thousands of people. It is the transformation of the medicine from the material form (matter) to energetic signal (information) that makes this possible. Using homeopathy therefore has a very small footprint on the environment and on other living creatures.
  2. Except in experiments or clinical testing that copy the modern scientific model so they can be published in research journals animal testing is never used in homeopathy. Neither are remedies tested on unhealthy or vulnerable people. (Don’t get me started on the huge medical research industry in Quebec that depends on impoverished and sometimes desperate people to be paid ‘volunteers’ in pharmaceutical clinical trials and tests.) Remedies are ‘tested’ on healthy people who are willing to participate in the homeopathic proving process and this method is the original source of the double blind study method.
  3. Because so little source material is used and the process is one of dilution and dynamization there is no danger of polluting the earth’s water supplies or oceans during the production of homeopathic remedies.
  4. The remedies do not contain any toxic material or matter that can be eliminated as waste from the human body. Unlike pharmaceuticals and herbs that can end up in the water supply or the soil, and even in the plants and animals we might later eat, homeopathic remedies do not pollute.
  5. The process of homeopathy involves the case taking session and then the research and contemplation done by the homeopath. Rarely do tests or expensive machines improve the remedy selection process and therefore the healing process of the individual. All that is needed is the time to sit with the person and listen, and the highly skilled training of the homeopath. There is little need for expensive facilities, and there is rarely any medical waste needing to be disposed of.

The more we understand that homeopathy offers us a sustainable and green healthcare, the sooner we can shift our choices in that direction. Otherwise it may be by necessity alone that it becomes the medicine of the future.

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Hidden just under the surface, anxiety is something we all experience. Anxiety is the experience of worry, nervousness or unease, and is typically linked to an upcoming event or something with an uncertain outcome. Education and outreach on mental health used to focus on depression but a review of 48 studies from across the world suggests that anxiety is now a much larger problem. In the past decade, anxiety has sky rocketed to epidemic proportions, especially in the United States where over 40 million people or 8 in 100 people experience unhealthy anxiety.

Medical solutions

Xanax, Valium and Ativan are some of the benzodiazepines doctors prescribe to patients who are suffering from the effects of stress and anxiety. Sometimes anxiety is diagnosed as a depressive disorder and they prescribe selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (or SSRIs) such as Prozac, Cymbalta or Zoloft. These medications are known to stop anxiety or a panic attack within 30 to 60 minutes and generally last 11 to 20 hours. While they may at first seem like a godsend if you struggle with anxiety, there are many reasons to avoid taking them.

In Chinese medicine they say, wherever there is a ‘front’ there will also be a ‘back,’ and these drugs have a very big back. According to Hahnemann,”All medicaments produce two quite opposite states in the human body: the primary effect which manifests itself when the remedy begins to operate, and the secondary effect which appears only after the lapse of several hours, when the primary effect has ceased.” An example is how a laxative purges the bowel shortly after consuming it, but the next day constipation follows. Another example is drinking coffee that at first awakens and energizes, then later creates tiredness and lethargy. This is why the afternoon cup of coffee is so necessary for long term coffee drinkers. This is known as the secondary effect of medications so taking any medication, although providing an immediate relief, will have a bigger back so to speak.

There are still gaps in the science. Medical researchers do not know the exact mechanism by which benzodiazepines work. It is believed they raise levels of the calming neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) or increase GABA receptor sensitivity. GABA deficiency is linked to depression, anxiety and PTSD, insomnia and drug and alcohol dependence so the theory that improving GABA levels would reduce these symptoms is logical. In the big picture though, the overall effect of benzodiazepines on the body is not known.

It is no secret that medications often have a long list of potential side effects and how they might affect each person can’t be predicted ahead of time. Benzodiazepines in particular are known to develop an addictive dependency. This makes these medications dangerous to stop and the person can either take them far longer than is recommended, or they have to carefully wean themselves off with medical supervision.

Also, medications are given for a disease label rather than the unique set of symptoms that represent the underlying state of the whole person. It is known that treating symptoms superficially and not treating the deeper source issues may act as a temporary palliative and does not often provide a lasting solution. It can in fact suppress the natural expression of symptoms and lead to more grave health issues in the future. A symptom is like a white flag calling for attention and support, but it is not the real disease.

Natural solutions

Relief from overwhelming anxiety problems can come in many forms and there are many solutions that are natural. They do not need to forcefully change the brain’s chemistry and have possible side effects. Some of these include the more well-known methods such as cognitive behavioural therapy, hypnotherapy and high intensity interval training as well there are alternative methods such as meditation, dietary changes and seeing holistic practitioners. Homeopathy is one natural solution that has shown to be very effective for anxiety and stress.

Stress has emotional and physical effects directly related to the person’s response to inner and outer pressures and perceived fears or conflicts. Long-term stress can develop into anxiety and each person expresses behavioural, mental and emotional symptoms. During a homeopathic session the mental and emotional state of a person, the physical symptoms, the perception of the person towards their experience, their susceptibility, a complete family history and whatever else the person brings up are addressed and explored by the homeopath. In allowing for the whole set of symptoms to be explored, this leads to discovering the deeper experience of the person and their inner state. The homeopath will then reach a remedy choice that can help the person with the root issues that produce anxiety.

Einstein said that, ‘We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.’ Homeopathy accesses the natural principles of healing and does not rely on mental therapy to get us out of the loop of our own thinking process. A lot of the common tools and techniques such as graduated exposure therapy, slowed breathing or distraction are useful and can help manage anxiety and keep a person functional, however getting to the root issues can make real and long term change possible.

With the help of homeopathy we are able to fill in the source of both what inspires the individual and of the unhealthy state that produces disease. This is the beauty of it, the homeopathic process can help in cases of depression, anxiety and stress without causing further harm, and without or in conjunction with medications. Einstein knew what he was talking about when he said that we can only solve our problems with a different level of consciousness than where we started with it. Holistic healing approaches are one way to shift levels and see profound results.

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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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The effect of being bullied can have long-lasting effects and be very traumatic. It can lead to chronic anxiety and stress, and if it happens during childhood the effects can be even more intense. There have been many headline stories of young people ending their lives after being repeatedly attacked by bullies at school. What can we do to protect our children and ourselves?

An urban issue?

The world population has nearly doubled since the year I was born and since 2009 the majority of people on the planet are now living in city environments. This has lead to increased levels of tension, aggression and stress that we deem as the new ‘normal.’ It is the nature of the urban beast so to speak, so we have to live with it. The word scapegoat refers to a person who is compelled to bear the burden of someone else’s guilt, or to symbolically bear the burden of sin. It is essentially a release valve for tension and stress as well as aggression. I was watching a wonderful documentary, The Hidden Life of Wolves, by Jim and Jamie Dutcher and discovered that in wolf hierarchy there is an omega role. Although the observations of the omega have been made mostly in unnatural settings such as in captivity or living in close proximity to human observers (and so may be exaggerated to truly wild wolf behaviour), this mirrors the way most humans are now living in relatively unnatural environments that are enclosed and overcrowded so it is perhaps relevant.

A need for the omega?

According to the Dutchers, the social hierarchy of a pack is what maintains order dictating who makes decisions, who mates with whom, who eats first and who eats last. Although wolves are very affectionate and playful, this order is constantly reinforced by displays of dominance and submission. The lowest position in the pack hierarchy is one or more wolves, usually a male and a female, known as the omegas. These wolves are dominated and pushed around by all the other wolves in the pack. The only apparent consolation for the omega wolf is that they are typically the jester of the pack and are the one who starts up play and chasing games, perhaps to diffuse these very tensions.

You can hear the concern and worry in the Dutcher’s narrative about a favoured wolf that is given the role of omega.

“When I first recorded his howl, I was amazed at what was coming through my headphones. Lakota, eyes shut and head thrown back, was just pouring his heart out. His rich, mournful voice soared into the evening and hung in the air for what seemed like forever. I actually found myself welling up at the sheer beauty and expressiveness of his song. I felt as though I were listening to him sing the blues, giving voice to all the loneliness and pain that his social position brought him. Even when new pups were added to the pack in later years, no member of the Sawtooth Pack ever came close to comparing with the beauty and sadness of Lakota’s howl.”

Who is the omega?

Once the role is determined, the omega wolf seems to be left without any other options and he must play the role utterly and completely each and every day. He has been delegated to a role not of his own choosing. Even if it seems unjust or unfair, the only way his role changes is if another wolf is given a lower rank. As this omega bears the brunt of the tensions and aggressions of the pack one or many of the wolves assert themselves over him and he will flip over onto his back whimpering in surrender. Generally this is a bloodless exchange but at times, especially during the breeding season, it can get vicious and extremely difficult to watch. Essentially the softest and gentlest of the group needs to become assertive and aggressive to simply maintain his space, have access to food and not be attacked.

Watching the wolves’ aggressive behaviour around the omega is similar to the disturbing video I saw recently of a group of young people where the bully is beating on another girl, ending with the bully standing over her and hitting her while the girl is cowering and covering her face. The rest of the youth looked on, no one moved to get involved or stop the violence.

According to Glynis Sherwood, “Usually they are either sensitive, unhappy, vulnerable, ill and/or the outspoken child or the whistle-blower.” We make weakness, difference or threat to social order into something separate and maintain that isolation through violence and aggression. The role of scapegoat does not have to remain throughout life however. And the idea that we can stop bullying by campaigning and educating people about the bully’s behaviour only goes so far.

What we can do about bullying?

It is the inner world of the person that needs support, their perception of themselves in relation to the world around them is what is possible to change. A bully is a force of nature looking for an outlet, how can someone no longer be a suitable receptor?

I have seen in my own experience how a core homeopathic remedy can change our inner experience profoundly. The child who has an illness can be given a chance to regain their strength, the unhappy an opportunity to discover their joy, the vulnerable a means to develop their strengths, the sensitive an avenue to explore their talents, the outspoken support and encouragement for their voice. In my own experience a core remedy was like going from a 40-watt bulb to a 100-watt bulb. Suddenly who you are burns brighter and gives off more light.

This approach will not directly change a bully’s behaviour, but if it enables the bullied person to feel stronger and less vulnerable, then they often find that they cease to be the target of bullying. With an increase in self-esteem and confidence the cycle can be broken naturally without confrontation and blame. The child can then see a reduction of stress and anxiety and continue with other methods to help recover from the experience and to move on with their 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.

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Anxiety is an individual experience

Extreme anxiety can arise with no apparent reason in certain children, but usually a child is susceptible to specific situations or events. These can include a major life change such as moving to a new city or school, or changes at home such as the parent’s separation or a new relationship. Other susceptibilities can be witnessing a distressing event, or being in an upsetting situation such as emotional abuse or bullying. If the child is different in some way such as being LGBTQ or having a visibly noticeable difference such as a birth mark, that can also trigger anxiety. However, we have all observed that what upsets one child has no effect on another child.

What to look for?

How can we tell if a kid is experiencing anxiety that is unhealthy? With young kids we tend to give a lot of tolerance for personality and individual character or for situations that are obviously difficult. Usually we can say, ‘just give it some time and they will find their footing.’ Or we can discuss the situation with them and then see if they outgrow a phase. There are things we can look out for such as sudden changes in behaviour that seem out of character or are not the usual growing pains. If a child has unexpected changes of their feelings, such as a happy child that is suddenly worried, guilty, angry or fearful this is something to observe closely. When the emotions do not shift naturally and seem to get stuck on only one ‘channel,’ that can point to a lack of adaptation and spontaneous response. Hopelessness and rejection can be signs of something deeper, and if left unaddressed may lead to more serious issues such as depression, a desire to self harm or even of suicide in later adolescence. Also, for older children, the use of drugs or alcohol, especially when they are alone can signal a need for soothing, coping and numbing out uncomfortable thoughts and feelings.

It is also important to notice if they are complaining of physical symptoms like frequent headaches or stomachaches, if they have problems eating or sleeping, or have a general lack of energy. Take notice if they start to make odd or repetitive movements such as when they are playing or resting. It is good to observe as well if they start to avoid things that before they enjoyed or liked, if they are suddenly less social or interested in being with others. And if they show any signs that they are having trouble coping with regular activities and normal everyday challenges.

What if I don’t have a diagnosis of anxiety for my child?

Observable signs and symptoms determine unhealthy anxiety in children. In older children they may also be able to provide their inner experience of physical symptoms as well as thoughts, imaginations and dreams. An official diagnosis can be difficult since behaviours such as shyness, anxiety nervousness, strange eating habits, and outbursts of temper can occur as a normal part of a child’s development. It is important to be able to discern if they happen very often, last a long time, occur at an unusual age, or cause significant disruption to the child’s and/or family’s life.

It can be reassuring to have medical tests and a diagnosis since a child is unable to fully express or understand their own symptoms and inner experience, but in some situations they may be too costly or unavailable. When there is a diagnosis and the doctor is doing tests, this can help to direct the course of action to take. With homeopathy however, there is no need for a specific diagnosis of anxiety, a serious concern is enough to warrant a trip to the homeopath. Then in collaboration with the parents, they can see if there is a general remedy to help with the stage and adaptation that the child is struggling with. In more serious cases when something is definitely wrong, it can be good to give a deeper, more individualized core remedy to help the child with all aspects of their life and to give them an opportunity for more healthy development and balance.

Homeopathy is a completely natural approach and instead of prescribing medications or lengthy therapy, a few sessions can often determine the situation and resolve the issue or with the suggestion of a remedy or remedies this can help the child to naturally resolve their issue. By naturally adapting to their current situation a child can develop greater resilience, a stronger immune system, develop their individuality and reduce the level of toxicity or stress that medications may cause.

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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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