A few years back, my wife’s grandmother passed away on Christmas Eve morning. It was sudden although not unexpected. Grandma Jean had been in a nursing home with advanced Alzheimer’s for the past couple of years. Her memory had declined to the point where every visit was heart wrenching because there was no recollection of the times past. Grandma Jean’s quality of life had diminished greatly. She didn’t suffer with pain and her passing was very quick. It was made easier for the family because everyone knew Grandma Jean would be celebrating Christmas (her most favorite time of year) in a better place.
Often an unexpected loss can cripple us emotionally and physically, locking us into patterns of sadness and anger. Grieving is a normal part of the loss experience. Whether a loved one dies or a relationship ends, grief will come whether we want it to or not. If we get stuck in our grief, it often will manifest in physical symptoms. When we are stuck, I believe homeopathy can play a significant role in moving past the emotions and the feeling of being trapped. I want to share three of the most commonly used remedies in my practice for grief and the traits that indicate which remedy will be best for a particular situation.
Ignatia – Ignatia is indicated when there has been a sudden and extreme change in the emotional state, the change is often to: sadness, disappointment, or anger. Consolation can lead to even deeper feelings of despair, although the Ignatia patient is typically better from affection. An Ignatia person will appreciate and possibly seek out hugs in their state of loss. Ignatia patients will generally control their emotional outbursts or limit them to small expressions. They may sigh repeatedly and involuntarily as they attempt to contain their emotional distress. Ignatia grief often manifests in the throat, the crying that is being contained feels stuck like a lump in the throat. I will often think of Ignatia for patients that developed pathology around their throat area (thyroid issues, sore throats and difficulty swallowing) after a loss. Ignatia patients are generally better from physical exertion and exercise.
Natrum Muriaticum (Nat. Mur.) – Nat. Mur. is indicated when the loss manifests in a state of silent grief for the individual. The individual often seeks solitude and desires to process the loss alone. Often the individual will carry a feeling of guilt, whether or not they actually had anything to do with the loss. Nat. Mur. individuals also generally are worse from consolation. Unlike Ignatia individuals, Nat. Mur. individuals are not better from affection. “No hugs, please leave me alone.” The Nat. Mur. person will often dwell on what happened and compound their grief and guilt around the situation. This silent rumination often progresses to a feeling of anger over what happened. Nat. Mur. individuals may play sentimental music over and over again to dwell in their loss. Even when surrounded by loved ones in a time of grief, a Nat. Mur. person feels alone and isolated. Nat. Mur. individuals often will crave salt and may state that they do or believe they would feel better at the beach.
Staphisagria (Staph.) – Staph. is a grief remedy that is indicated when the patient is stuck in a state of sadness and anger with the anger being the primary manifestation. Staph. individuals may try and suppress the emotions which will only compound the pain ultimately resulting in an emotional explosion at some slight trigger. The individual may throw or strike at things in uncontrolled rage and will often feel that they are out of control. This may be a slightly more common response in children after a loss, although adults that feel wronged may have a similar expression of their grief. Think loss of a relationship where one individual was unfaithful to the other. Staph. individuals also seem to be tired all the time from trying to contain the emotional upheaval and often a nap may make them feel worse.
These descriptions are only a glimpse into the characteristics of these three remedies I may use for loss and heartache with my patients. The dosing instructions for the patient are to take 3 to 5 pellets every twenty to thirty minutes for a few hours. If symptoms do not begin to subside after three doses of a given medicine, it most likely is not the best suited remedy for the patient. I do want to stress that there are other remedies (nearly 100) that can be helpful for grief. I would recommend that if you or a loved one is struggling after a loss please seek the help and guidance of a trained professional or group that can support you in this time of need. The website http://www.griefshare.org/ allows you to enter your location and find a nearby group of others that have lost loved ones. As with many other instances where we struggle, there is no need to journey through grief alone. ~Dr. Swanz