By Lee-Anne McCall, Dip Hom (NZ).
Anything we have had an attachment to that is no longer in our lives or has sharply changed in form can bring up deep feelings of grief. This could be the death of a loved one, the loss of a relationship once held dear or even the loss of finances and possession. Think of the child who is keenly feeling the absence of one of their parents after a separation. Grief can manifest as sadness, irritability, anxiety or disturbed sleep and if we don’t have the opportunity to move through it completely it can stay with us, influencing our reactions or compromising our physical health for many years to come.
Emotional trauma can be the consequence from sudden events leaving lasting distress or fear. This can be the result of violence such as a robbery or arguments or even abuse. At the moment in New Zealand we have many in the city of Christchurch dealing with grief and trauma after the recent earthquakes and the far reaching consequences of those events as they repair their lives.
I will discuss some remedies for acute grief and trauma that are perfectly safe to try when coping with sudden and recent traumatic events. However if your trauma dates back to childhood or a dark place in your past, I advise you to seek the help of a qualified homeopath who will be able to help gently undo the layers and have a vast repertoire of remedies to choose from to help your individual needs.
Remedies for Grief
Ignatia: This remedy is very, very good when a person’s acute response to grief is to weep. The keynote is that the weeping comes in bursts that the person will try and control. You might see only tears in the eyes. A person in the Ignatia state feels shattered inside from disappointment, disappointed love, fright or bad news. They can be worried inside however they will try and present a composed front to others. They may sigh a lot and also have a sensation of a lump in their throat. (Children and adolescents who may benefit from Ignatia may not be as composed as adults, and when they do cry, may burst into tears loudly and dramatically and storm out of the room.)
Nat mur: When the person’s response to grief is irritable outbursts over small things, this could be a good remedy. These people will not cry in front of others at all or perhaps feel like they would like to cry and it won’t come. They need to be alone to cry as they are very private. There can be deep sadness extending into a mildly depressed state. Nat mur in homeopathy is about the making and breaking of relationships. The person may feel betrayed, alone and like they really need some nurturing. However a Nat mur person will not let on often that they feel like this. They might have difficulty going to sleep as they tend to mull over past events, old hurts and conversations at night while in bed.
Phosphoric Acid: People who need Phosphoric Acid are often exhausted and debilitated within their mind and body since a traumatic event. Normally the grief or trauma involves feeling isolated in communication with loved ones. This can be after discord or it might be simply being in a different city or country from loved ones and not being able to pick up the phone and have conversations with loved ones as much as they might like. They will often not sleep very well due to worry and anxiety about loved ones and may also have crushing or vice-like headaches. They will have difficulty gathering their thoughts or finding the right word…almost as if the pathways in their brain are not seeming to connect properly.
Remedies for Traumatic Events
Aconite: This is the “Arnica of the Emotions”. It is very good for sudden fright and ailments from strong emotions. If you find yourself trembling after an emotional exchange with someone, Aconite will soothe you and bring you back to a centred place quite quickly. It has great fear, anxiety and worry. This remedy is useful to alleviate the instant response of intense fear.
Stramonium: I have given this in my clinic when clients have been a victim or threatened with violence or robbery and have been traumatised afterwards. A person who needs Stramonium will be fearful of the violent event happening again and may be so anxious that they will not want to leave the house. They will not want to be alone and may have difficulty sleeping due to their developing fear of the dark and nightmares.
Staphysagria: Deep anger and indignation after a hurtful act that violates ones boundaries. The person will either not feel able to express it or will respond very angrily to perceived insults. This is one remedy to consider after a sexual assault or for mothers who have had a difficult birth and had to endure an instrumental delivery or other invasive procedure such as a C-section that was not wanted – even though it may have been necessary. In both cases, the person may complain of sharp, smarting pains in the genital area and/or in surgical incisions. It is important not to give this remedy to anyone who has been sexually assaulted who is in an environment where they may suffer further abuse – such as an adult in a violent relationship or a child who is living in an environment where they may be re-victimised by the abuser. In this type of circumstance, a dose of Staphysagria might give the victim the energy to fight back if attacked again, which might have tragic consequences as it could provoke more extreme violence from the abuser.
Pulsatilla: Here is a remedy that is brilliant when children suffer the feeling of abandonment. Their anxiety can show as becoming clingy and tearful easily. They will want their mother’s attention at all times. This state can be brought on by the absence of a parent due to divorce, parents going away for a holiday or when the child first starts daycare or kindygarten and must face the prospect of being separated from mum and dad in a strange environment.
Arsenicum: This remedy is for people who are extremely anxious and often restless. The clear indicators when needing this remedy are waking between midnight and 2 am. The person needing Arsenicum will be restless in bed and have difficulty getting back to sleep, often getting up to watch television or read a book. They may even be frightened about robbers breaking into the house. Fear is a strong keynote for this remedy. They can be frightened of dying, poverty, their health, and dislike being alone. To compensate for their fears they can become very controlling of their environment, trying to keep it in order. If the anxiety is very bad or prolonged, they may lose their appetite and becoming thirsty. This is a great remedy acutely to try for great anxiety. If it is the right remedy, the anxiety would lessen very quickly, sleep would be better and the appetite should improve.
Calc phos 6x: In homeopathy Calcium fears that something bad will happen. This anxiety is mainly focused around their family, home and income. It is anxiety around basic survival needs. Phosphorus has a particular fear of earthquakes. This is a remedy that I would recommend for children and adults who are experiencing the Christchurch earthquakes and have anxiety around the aftershocks that are happening and who are trying to cope with the loss and change of personal circumstances. It will gently support their physical bodies as well as gently alleviate some of the anxiety and fear.
Flower Essences: Having a personal blend of flower essences made up can also support an individual through times of grief and trauma. The right remedy will restore a sense of calm and emotional balance. Fear will be alleviated and grief will be moved through and released gently. Sleep will be improved and energy levels will increase.
Editor’s note: The NZ Journal of Natural Medicine frequently features articles on homoeopathy.
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