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Case Study

The Silent Sufferer
Dr Nandita Shah.
` Cocc

In my practice I have confirmed the value of dreams in understanding the state of the patient. I give the example of a 49 year old lady who came to me with frequent headaches. According to her she was very tense, could this be the cause of her headaches she asked. She and her husband were living with her parents in order to support them. She looked after her bed-ridden father, her lonely mother who did not get along well with her father, her husband and her niece. She also handled her father's business. She was affectionate, sensitive and sympathetic. I gave her Ignatia on the basis of the following:

Conscientious about trifles.
Mildness, bears her suffering, even outrage without complaining.
Offended easily.

Then she told me the following dreams.

  1. There is a big dark room filled with people sitting around. I try to make everyone comfortable. There is no food. Its too expensive. Toast costs 25 Dollar. I make tea for everyone and make sure everyone has a place to sleep. Everybody is chatting and all are happy. There is no fear.
  2. Men on horses are coming fast I jump out of the first floor window to warn the others and manage to lie low on the streets so as not to be harmed, as the horses race by.
  3. Dead bodies are everywhere. No smiles, no laughter on the faces of the people. Somebody is getting married.
  4. There is no body left, only two persons and myself. I implore them to stop sword fighting since we are the only ones left. The sword pierces through all three of us. I realise that I am dead.
  5. We are all in the suburb in a small flat. I am anxious about the comfort of my mother in this place. There are many people and I make tea for everyone. Finally, I cannot find a place to sleep so I climb upstairs to a tiny room. I do not want to sleep there but have to.

There were several other dreams along similar lines. The feeling in the dreams was never fear rather it was calmness. In all the dreams she was anxious about the welfare of others and was busy looking after them. This was the reality in her life too. The last dream also expressed her claustrophobia, which she said was very intense. She feels suffocated if she has to sleep in a small room and no windows were open, or even to be in a small place. At this time her father died after a prolonged illness, during which she had been nursing him. She developed a severe weeping eczema on the foot.

I gave her Cocculus 1M one dose on the basis of her state and dreams. Anxiety about others, cares about others.
Anxiety night watching after; anxiety nursing after.
Fear of narrow places.
Yielding disposition.
Delusion, sees dead persons.
Fear of impending danger.
Familiar things seem strange.
Sensitive to rudeness.
Conscientious about trifles.

Both Ignatia and Cocculus are very sensitive, sympathetic, con-scientious and industrious remedies doing a lot for other people. Both have hysterical tendency too. Cocculus looks after everyone from a feeling of anxiety for others. She is like a nurse losing sleep in her anxiety about others. We also find it in the rubric-Anxiety about health.

So, night watching, nursing and loss of sleep brings a slowed, confused Cocculusstate. Ignatia does things out of a sense of duty-Delusion neglected duty and so bears this burden without complaining. Mildness, bears suffering, even outrage without complaining. But when it becomes too much and she needs help and she cannot express (Sadness quiet, Grief silent) then she resorts to getting attention by hysteria.