Ann is a 35 year old, unemployed single mother of three young children. She is visibly malnourished, fearful, extremely distressed and was almost hysterical, throughout the interview.
“I am investing everything into this treatment – it’s the last hope that I have.
I don’t know what life is supposed to be like. Fear underlies everything for me. Part of me is battling inside to have a life, the rest of it is bottled up, suppressed. I’m stressed out and anxious, feel out of control, UNSAFE. I think about suicide a lot; indulge in it all the time; escaping into macabre fantasies of death scenarios. DEATH IS A CONSTANT FASCINATION; I want to learn all about it; am possessive about it. I’m going to get it. It’s not going to evade me, like everything else in life. IT MAKES ME FEEL REAL.”
“I’ve lived all my life with the feeling that I’m irreparably damaged, that there is something different about me. I’ve spent all my adult life doing every kind of therapy available, yet can’t seem to get my life together. Being in charge of my life feels like a million miles away from me. I never learned the basic living skills that everyone else seems to take for granted. I feel trapped, desperate to escape or be rescued but can’t get away.”
“This has been my life for as long as I can remember. I got married very young just to get away. I had just had a mental breakdown after a huge drug binge and was hospitalised. During the breakdown I couldn’t turn anything off; I felt manic, as if I was possessed by some alien power. He married me then and took care of me until I was well again. Then I started to become desperate, panicky; flailed about, as if I was trapped in a cage; knew only that I had to get out of there as soon as possible.”
“All my relationships have been like that, crazy and mad; violent, fear-filled escapades. I felt that I had the power to cure them. I was determined that their violence wouldn’t dominate me, wouldn’t scare me. I’d laugh it off; brazenly defy them, defying God. There was always the dream that it was going to be perfect in the end – STUPID. It always ended the same way – me battered and bruised, running away with the kids, terrified.”
“I’m afraid of what I’ve become. I’ve become bad-tempered and violent myself. I’m really awful with the kids. I scream at them; hit out at them; bash them. My God, it’s horrible but I feel like I can’t do anything about it. I wish I could dredge up some guilty horrors to justify all this, but I don’t have any. I feel alone, unsupported. I feel like I don’t have the power or the discipline to change any of this. I can’t even get it together to make meals for the kids; they help themselves to whatever’s in the kitchen, whenever they like. I feel incapable of making even the most minor decisions for them. I want to do the right things, yet I don’t seem to be able to.”
“I had a very confused childhood. I grew up the only girl in a large family, a very macho male, loud and violent family. There was a lot of sexual abuse. It was terribly traumatic for me, but I’m unclear about the details. Whatever happened, it’s left me with a deep pain in the core of my being – a grief so deep, so inexpressible that I fear it will consume me utterly. I’m terrified that I may have exposed my kids to this kind of thing with the crazy guys I’ve been with. “
“I feel close to a COMPLETE BREAKDOWN. I afraid that something terrible is going to happen – I’ll be destroyed; the kids will be left on their own to starve; awful horrible things. Everything I touch seems to break down. I seem to attract the most unbelievably, horrible things into my life, but I seem to have no control over any of it.”
Physically Ann suffers from chronic asthma and has been on bronchodilators and corticosteroids most of her life. She also has bad heart palpitations; has a “serious” lump in her throat, crying ameliorates; a painful gastric ulcer; suffers badly from vaginal thrush; loses her sense of hearing whenever she gets emotional. She describes herself as a “hypochondriac” and is sure that she is going to end up with cancer. She “feels weird” in her body, “very thin and insubstantial, almost like I am a ghost.”
Apart from the dramatic picture she presented, Ann’s case also presented me with some ethical dilemmas. My concern for her was matched by my concern for her children’s wellbeing. As part of our healing contract, she agreed to bring them both for regular treatment.
Prescription: Berlin Wall LM1 daily.
Second appointment, 4 weeks later
“What was in that remedy? I feel very sedate, like I’m in a golden bubble. I can’t believe the response I’ve had. I feel centered and CLEAR. I can really see that this is what I’ve wanted all my life. I don’t feel pulled by others any more. I’ve a strong sense of my own presence for the first time. “
“I’ve just started work for the first time in years. I’ve a part-time job and am really enjoying myself, It feels like ME. I don’t want to play mind games any more. This is my life and I want to live it. NOW!”
Ann’s breathing has improved dramatically and she asks advice about possibly reducing her asthma medication. She appears visibly calmer and even jokes about the “craziness” of her life before homoeopathy.
Prescription: Continue with Berlin Wall LM1
Third appointment, 3 weeks later
“Feel much stronger in myself, still calm, able to handle stuff. I can’t believe how much fear has controlled my life. I’ve redecorated my house and painted the kids rooms. We’ve been doing stuff together. We’ve become a family! I realised that I was so terrified of messing their lives up, that I ended up paralysed and couldn’t function with them at all.”
“Now that I’m starting to get things together I don’t feel alone any more. People are there for me. I’ve given my power away so often, but I see now that not everyone has been out to manipulate me. I had been so PARANOID, imagining that the whole world was out to get me. I feel CONNECTED, not isolated anymore; connected to people around me, connected to myself, my body.”
The palpitations are now gone. Ann’s breathing had improved so much that she stopped her asthma medication herself. She described herself as “breathing for the first time in my life.”
Prescription: Berlin Wall LM2
Telephone conversation, 2 weeks later
“What’s happening? I’m full of dark thoughts, full of resentment. Resentful at all the shitty things I’ve suffered, all the horrible things that were done to me. I’ve been having awful nightmares. Lots of memories have come back. It’s like watching horrible sadistic videos, but they’re all about me. I’d love to dump this right back on my family but these are MY feelings. I have a huge need to express all this rage, to put it somewhere safe. I’m terrified by what’s happening and afraid I won’t be able to deal with it.”
“My body seems to be cracking up as well. I’ve been really ill the last week – diarrhoea, fever, sweats and weakness.”
Prescription: Berlin Wall 10M & stop LM2
Fourth appointment, 3 weeks later
“Everyhing seems to be settling. Feel strong in myself. We had a family gathering for my mum’s 70th birthday. The whole family was there and I spoke about my childhood for the first time and how I felt damaged by it. There was a predictable uproar when I spoke out, lots of anger, excuses and blaming each other, but I could hold my ground without breaking down. I WAS HEARD. I can’t believe the power I feel in me.”
Prescription: no remedy, wait
Fifth appointment, 5 weeks later
“I started a new job two weeks ago – a permanent one, the first I’ve had since I was 18. It’s great but it has brought up lots of my old fears and insecurities. I’m afraid that I’ll be caught out, that my boss will see that he’s made a mistake employing me. Everyone seems so normal in the job, but I feel they must see what kind of person I am. I feel like damaged goods, just waiting to be cast aside. Full of anxiety, really unreasonable anxiety but I can’t seem to shift it.”
Prescription: Berlin Wall LM3
Telephone conversation, 6 weeks later
Ann called to cancel her next appointment and to say that everything was fine. Physically and mentally she was in great shape. The job was going brilliantly and she had done some “wonderful healing” with her family.
Prescription: no remedy
Over the next 2 years Ann phoned a few times to “check in” and came to see me a further 3 times, when she felt things “slipping”. Berlin Wall was prescribed in LM4 and LM5 potencies and twice in 30C for acute respiratory problems. She is still very well in herself and free of physical complaints. She is now in a stable relationship and has made peace with her family.
I have included this case, as the remedy used has come in for some controversy. One of our most well-known colleagues has publicly ridiculed the very idea of making a remedy from such a substance. I have used it successfully many times over the last years and feel it is a very important remedy for our times.
As the name suggests, the remedy was made from a piece of the broken “anti-fascist protection wall”. Built in 1961 by the East German State to stop East Germans leaving the country, it quickly became a powerful symbol of state oppression.
The full remedy picture is published in Colin Griffith’s The New Materia Medica. What follows is a summary of the most important themes that I have seen in this remedy.
All of the patients I have seen with this remedy have had a similar atmosphere. They create a very uncomfortable energy and carry with them a sense of something indescribably dark, an edgy, fearful, aggressive energy, a sense that at any moment, something explosive could happen. There is usually a lack of connection with the practitioner, often a cold, unsmiling expression and a huge sense of fear and despair.
The patients usually present with hopeless depression, a sense of having being deeply oppressed by their life’s circumstances, unable to break free from their past. There is usually a huge amount of fear, bordering on terror, a feeling of being trapped – a victim of countless cruel injustices. Depression and deep, inaccessible grief are common. There is usually a very high level of impulsive aggression. This aggression can be towards themselves (alcohol, drugs, self-mutiliation) or others. They can be victims of violence themselves or be violent bullies who abuse their power. A fascination with cruelty, violence or death is common.
Obviously a deeply syphilitic remedy, this remedy has empowered many patients to break free from years of violent abuse and often needs to be considered in “stuck” cases when indicated remedies such as Syphilinum, Plutonium nitricum etc. fail to act satisfactorily.