Anxiety doesn't have to be the new normal.
Is there a remedy for fear? Is there a remedy for anxiety? Is there a remedy for panic attacks?
What about waking in the middle of the night in a state of terror? Is there something I can take? I’m so anxious, I can’t function straight. There’s talk of a second wave, another lockdown, mandatory vaccinations, and my feed is full of contradictions and posts I prefer not to know about, and yet I feel compelled to enter that Rabbit hole, obligated to be conscious, to know everything. And what about the government, are they really part of a satanic cult? Is Bill Gates serious about blocking out the sun and releasing genetically engineered vaccine filled mosquitoes? The right is the new left, the left is the new right, will there be a civil war? Little girls are sexualizing themselves, tick-tock is glorifying teen suicide, what’s going to happen? I don’t have a job, my children are forced to wear masks and sit in cubicles, will things ever return? Is this the new normal? Am I am going crazy?
Every now and then, I get swept up in the panic. Yesterday, along with everyone else, I rushed out to the supermarket to stock up on basics before the small country in which I live (Israel) goes into our second lockdown before the start of the Jewish New-Year, Fast of Atonement, and Festival of Sukkot. I have a sick adult child at home with what we suspect is the virus, and it’s always an intense time before the holidays, much like Christmas and New Year. I wore my mask, sanitized my hands, and was careful not to get too close to anyone. I am usually quite affectionate, I hug and touch easily, I trust that higher forces are at play and while I respect the horrific potential of this virus for some, (I have seen the effect on patients and friends), I also don’t believe that hysteria does anyone any good. I am not driven by fear.
But yesterday, in the supermarket, a young man buying cigarettes, started to swear at the cashier, acting quite inappropriately, and as she lifted his bottle of beer to scan, we noticed it was empty. Israel is not a country of day time drinkers. Everyone is working too hard to make ends meet. The young adults in Tel Aviv drink in clubs or bars at night, but generally, Jews and Arabs don’t drink much, and certainly not first thing in the morning. The cashier managed the situation beautifully and when he left we looked at each other in shock. She took a deep breath and then dropped her head down into her hands for a second to recover. This was unusual. “It’s the pressure”, she said, excusing his bad behavior, “people are out of work, the lockdown, everyone is under pressure”.
By far, the most common question I am asked is, can Homeopathy help with anxiety? And the answer is yes, it can, and it does. Anxiety is complicated, and like all homeopathic treatments, it is highly personalized. For every experience of anxiety, there could be any number of remedy choices and sequences of remedies, your homeopath might make. For example, Aconite is an excellent remedy in the heat of a panic attack. It can bring down the increased heart rate and accompanying cold sweat and the sense of impending doom. But Syphilinum has a completely different type of anxiety. The memory is weak, did I turn the gas off or not? Did I lock the front door when I left? And they go back and check, often two or three times. Arsenicum has a tremendous fear for their health. They go from doctor to doctor, specialist to specialist, looking for confirmation and you sense they are really worried about death and disease.
Sulfur patients also have a fear of germs, of dirty plates when eating out, though they don't mind their own dirt. Look into their handbag or on their desk, you will see used tissues and weeks old half-drunk cups of coffee, or piles of disordered, stained papers. They both have burning pains, but Arsenicum is cold and restless and leans more towards OCD controlling behaviors, whereas Sulphur is hot, critical, haughty, sluggish, and anxious about his children, who keep him up at night with worry.
What about specific fears? Some remedy pictures hate cats. Some have a great fear of standing on the edge of a building looking down. Others will run out of the room if you even mention snakes. That’s me. I can’t see a snake. Even writing about them makes me uneasy. I was once at the beach and a young man was sitting a good few meters away with an exotic snake slinked around his neck. l could not relax, I couldn’t watch him and I couldn’t not watch him, so in the end, I left. That is pathology. And this is enough for a homeopath to use as a keynote towards one remedy over another. The organism expresses the pathology and the pathology points to the remedy.
But what about this current craziness, this free-floating anxiety that doesn’t really belong to you. Maybe you were a little anxious before but now, you are obsessing, you can’t think about anything else and all your free time is spent scanning social media for proof that conspiracy theories have validity. You are fighting with your partner who thinks you’ve lost your mind, and your children want nothing to do with you. Or perhaps you are exhausted, from this constant state of instability. Is there a remedy for this?
In these situations, I generally look for a constitutional remedy. Keeping in mind that the constitution may change over time, what we call a constitutional remedy, is one which includes the symptoms, keynotes, and the essence of the remedy. For example, you describe your anxiety as a general feeling that something will happen, though you can’t put your finger on it. Generally, you worry about your family, and your health but you are easily assured by your doctor. Maybe you are very open and impressionable, so you believe much of what you read online. You are clairvoyant and easily startled. Your gums bleed easily and you are always thirsty - you like your drinks cold, and even though you are generally hot, your knees are surprisingly cold to touch. You like company, even just having someone in the house makes you feel better and you love ice-cream. You give a lot of energy, socially mostly, but you burn out easily. Phosphorous would be an excellent remedy.
What about the patient who is too good, too responsible. Anxiety has always been there, but recently in these unstable times, she feels so destabilized. She worries about her children and the future, she can’t sleep at night, and she can lie awake all night. She loves stories, and read early as a young child. She is very sensitive to hearing bad news and tragic stories, they invade her delicate psychic space. She loves salt and chocolate, the darker the better. She is a perfectionist, she is fastidious in her work. Her intellect is sharp and she can get caught in her repetitive thought patterns. Much like Phosphorus, she too has weak boundaries. She has trouble saying no. She would do (and does) well on Carcinosinum.
This is what she says after a few months on the remedy:
"I am putting up clearer boundaries, I am less anxious, I have removed Facebook and Instagram from my phone. I am making the children help at home. I have asked my husband to do more. I walk more, I’ve gone back to dancing, I’m doing yoga in my room. I'm eating well, I’m planting a garden, I am breathing."
These are the things that return once the correct remedy has been prescribed. The correct remedy or sequence of remedies is like a gentle reminder to the organism, a reminder to return to that natural state, one that supports balance. And then the organism knows what it needs, movement, breath, water, to dig in the dirt or put on an old Monty Python movie and laugh so hard that you almost break a rib. The organism knows what to do, once the direction towards health has been reset.
Anxiety may still arise, of course, these are indeed strange times, but after the correct remedy, you will be more inclined to witness it instead of claiming it as your rightful inheritance. It is not that. It is an ancient and primitive response to stress, nothing more, nothing less. When you have to run to catch the bus, it is useful. Otherwise, it is a distraction. We are all being called upon to walk through the fire. As Dr. Zac Bush says, we are being upgraded. Be conscious where you put your energy. Contract your focus, make it small. Shop locally, eat seasonally, nourish yourself. Look at the details of your blessed life. If you find it too overwhelming, find yourself a good local or online classical homeopath and support yourself through the journey. It can make the world of difference.