Health & Harmony
Darkness seems to bring out feelings of loneliness and isolation in those so disposed. Cold weather generates shivering and a feeling of irritability and restlessness in the struggle to find a place of comfort and to generate warmth. For some people, being forced indoors allows them the security of a familiar environment, respite from the crowds, welcome solitude in the close and holy darkness. For others, being forced indoors means the constant presence of others, which aggravates and breeds discord between relatives and friends.
Seasonal changes affect us. Less light during our waking hours has an impact on our organism and is manifested in many different ways. Just as there are no two snowflakes exactly alike, so there are no two human beings who react in exactly the same way to the same stimulus. It’s a matter of perception.
The season of Autumn with it’s inherent darkness spawns all manner of discontent. Darkness aggravates. Conventionally, we call this Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD. And guess what? They are sad. Melancholia is a typical feeling as we approach the winter season. Heartfelt sensations of loss and despair make this season a prime time for heart attacks in both men and women.
As though in answer to these feelings comes the anticipation of the light and it’s festivals of celebration. Another dilemma for those who suffer from anticipation anxiety, or who are oversensitive to excitement or noise or crowds. Odd as it may seem, anticipation of holidays and an excess of joy can make one sick.
The winter solstice is a time when the “sun stands still” and the night is the longest. We look forward to the lengthening of days. For as sure as there is darkness, there is light. One follows the other as an unwavering principle, a Universal Law. Cultures all over the world have traditions and rituals to honor this time. It gives us hope. The ability to carry on in the face of fear, loss and despair. The time of the Solstice is a time for reflection, for coming to a greater understanding of our true needs and desires, for making and using rituals and tradition to build a more meaningful and inclusive community.
One way to do this is through the eyes of Homeopathy. When we are in a state of balance we can see all sides of an issue. We are able to adapt to our environment. We can tolerate all the diversity both within us and around us and not lose our place. We are able to drink from the cup of conscious awareness and have it nourish ourselves and our relationships. The opposite is also true. When we are in a state of disharmony within, the place where we are stuck is the lens through which we see everything around us. During times of heightened sensations such as holidays bring about, the stuck states of the people around us may become patently obvious as their symptoms tell their story.
Let’s look at some of the typical faces of this season. The ones you will recognize gathered around the holiday table. With clear vision, you may be able to prescribe an appropriate homeopathic remedy and bring peace to the season. Remember, peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.
Ailments from anticipation is a favorite rubric to use for the stresses of the holiday season. The person who is angry, critical or curt when asked what he/she wants for a gift may be in this state because they get anxious when anything is expected of them. They are a bit miserly as they fear financial loss and so don’t want to be placed in the position of having to give a gift in return. They might be the person at the gathering that drinks more than he should and offends someone by being critical or insulting. Of course, they themselves are offended easily and take everything in bad part. Trying to console them with kind words only makes things worse. Although averse to company, being alone aggravates them. This is a person whom darkness aggravates. It makes them sad and they suffer their grief in silence. The restless irritability is a big clue as to their inner state. It’s contradictory, something that they are intolerant of. Arsenicum Album is a remedy with this picture.
Ignatia Amara is a remedy which suffers from anticipation anxiety because they tend to see the holidays through the lens of their grief. They have ailments from the death of parents or friends and have anxiety with fear and headaches as the holidays approach. These people feel better in their own home as they tend to homesickness and will likely be the one who hosts the festivities. They like company and can be very cheerful while busy making preparations. The excitement and exhilaration as well as all the mental exertion can cause them to become hysterical and impatient at trifles. Their behavior can range from quarrelsome to scolding and from screaming to simply sitting, staring and sighing. You can also see the Ignatia picture in the child who is badly misbehaving and who is overtly mean to a sibling or who appears jealous and provocative to a sibling or relative by pushing, biting, hair pulling or other injurious behavior.
The little old lady sitting rigidly on the chair, looking like a smile would crack her face, is also suffering from grief. She anticipates the holidays with dread because she recalls all the past disagreeable memories and she dwells on past offenses. She has hatred for those who have offended her and so desires solitude. She will stiffen up as you approach to hug her. She has tremendous grief after the death of a loved one but is unable to cry about it and holidays remind her of her pain. This is why she needs to keep everything very structured. You can count on her to be there on the right day and at the right time. Holding everything in is a great effort so the holidays are hard for her. The emotional excitement of these occasions causes great weariness and headaches. This person typifies the remedy Natrum Muriaticum.
No holiday celebration could be considered complete without the person who needs Nux Vomica. There is one in every family. While they indeed have ailments from anticipation, it is more likely the family that will suffer this most acutely. The picture of Nux Vomica is a person who is irritable and jealous. They have been called control freaks. They tend to overindulge in both food and alcohol. They can be malicious and express themselves without inhibition even when not drinking, however, Nux Vomica is a classic for character changes from drugs and overindulgence in alcohol. They are nervous and oversensitive and talk about business a lot. Quite a bit dictatorial and overbearing, he is competitive and a go-getter. His sensitivities towards noise and crowds aggravate him and the heightened excitement of festivities makes him irritable, impatient and quarrelsome. He also suffers from grief and hatred of persons who have offended him. This leads to his overindulgence, which will lead to hangover headache and all manner of stomach complaints.
Those who react to the holidays with wide-eyed exhilaration and anticipate them with unbridled joy are also the ones who get stuck in this phase and can’t seem to come down from the high. These are the children who literally bounce off the walls with excitement and can’t sleep at night. If you have ever drunk a cup of coffee and then felt the rush of energy and the hyperactivity of your mind and body that results from this, you can understand the feeling of the remedy Coffea Cruda. Severe insomnia can occur from the nervous agitation that is generated from oversensitivity to emotions like joy and pleasurable surprise.
Clear vision and astute observation of the remedy states inherent in people and brought to life by the aggravations of the season can endow you with the creativity to make changes where you can. It may not happen all in a day’s work but have faith that it will happen, as sure as day follows night.
Wait and watch.
And don’t be afraid of the darkness, for that is when stars shine the brightest!
May The Blessings Be!
By Dr. Nancy Gahles