Homeopathic for Positive Grieving
BY Marjorie Lewis
While it may seem strange to see the words positive and grieving together, the reality is that as human beings at some point in our lives we will experience loss and when dealt with properly, the grief experience can be a positive life event. Grief is a natural response when there has been a loss or disappointment of some kind on some level. This loss may take many forms; it may or may not be evident to others.
In fully grieving our losses we also fully acknowledge our aliveness and relationship with the world we live in and ultimately we will call in new beginnings. We cannot feel love and hope if we are not capable of also feeling grief. We cannot ripen and become fully human if we have not opened to loss for this would mean that we have neither loved nor hoped.
The act of grieving is an organic one and often does not need any help. We are born with the ability to cry, to feel loss, and to express this loss in some way. Sometimes, though, we come to a place where the grief process becomes stuck.
Perhaps the time that led up to the loss event was long and drawn out and the result is a deep depletion. Perhaps the loss was sudden and large and the resulting state is one of being frozen, unable to take in and deal with the immensity of what has occurred. Perhaps the experience has been a series of losses and it is all too much. Or maybe the loss was of a very personal hope, a dream, a belief, and there is a feeling of being alone in the experience.
Let’s keep in mind here that concepts of loss are highly individual. While we might as a culture all agree that the death of a child, or a close family member and the like, qualify as “large” losses and thus qualify for “large” grieving the reality is that human nature does not always operate this way. We are each and every one of us an individual and our tendencies are very different. For a child the temporary misplacement or loss of a cherished teddy bear or blanket might be a large grief. The loss of a grandparent they hardly knew might not qualify at all. Thus, it is important to be present with the person themselves and to witness clearly their response, and conversely to not paint the world with one’s perceptions of what does or does not qualify as important and thus worthy of mourning.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve, however in our culture grief does have the tendency to become stagnant and that is unhealthy. This is when homeopathy can emerge as a strong ally. Homeopathy may prove to be useful in many different scenarios.
You may simply know that it is time to call upon homeopathy when you or a family member are grieving. Or you may be actively aware that the situation is stuck, that the grieving person is tired, catching colds, not wanting to go out and see friends, and so on since the loss, and decide to use homeopathy to help. Perhaps the creative forms that once were a part of life just seem far away, too difficult to connect with.
Homeopathy is a gentle medicine that can help you reconnect with your ways of expression and thus your ways of processing loss and moving on. It may be, however, that you hear yourself having conversations in your head or in your child’s play chatter regarding how that wasn’t such a big deal, people have loss like that all the time, you really ought to get on with it. That is a real warning signal that the emotional process is stuck and I suggest that you quickly choose a way to work with the grief even if you don’t think you need to.
It is always helpful to nourish ourselves, to eat well, rest, exercise and take time for fun when under stress. Yet in a state of deep and stuck grief lifting a hand to nourish oneself, or even to ask someone else to help, can seem as unreachable as a summer’s day in childhood when feeling old in the depths of winter. Homeopathy can be a great ally at this time, the correct homeopathic remedy can quickly help the “misalignment” that does not allow one to grieve healthfully to adjust back to a normal flow. The ability to nourish and express oneself or others may be restored.
The key here is that the misalignment, of which stuck grief is a symptom, is brought back to a balanced state and grief is allowed to happen. The grief will not simply go away, it will be experienced and thus allowed to resolve. Homeopathic remedies for grief are not “happy pills.”
While happiness may well come, it will be because the grief has been allowed full expression and not been deeply suppressed or pushed inside. Many people learn to walk through life with the ability to experience grief as a great teacher and know how deeply empowering and inspiring a profound loss can become thanks to the up and out action of homeopathic remedies for grief.
There are three main homeopathic remedies used to assist in grieving. When using them always recall that you are going for good enough, not perfection. f, for example, you or a family member is experiencing physical exhaustion after a large loss it is not realistic to expect that they will be leaping off the sofa and back to their usual self in a matter of hours or even weeks. However, you should be seeing steady progress in this direction if the correct remedy has been used.
Grieving takes time. Grieving takes energy. Emerging as the deepened human being one will be after fully grieving is an event. Give the time and space to have this experience fully and the rewards will be rich.
Phosphoricum Acidum, or phos ac, is a homeopathic preparation made from a derivative of phosphorous. It is called for when the grief has become somatized, or is primarily being expressed through the physical realm. This is the remedy to reach for when you are so tired you can hardly make it out of bed, when getting off the sofa is a monumental effort, when true exhaustion has set in.
This is a grief state where one has crashed and burned, or feels about to at any moment. Perhaps you are experiencing dizziness or even fainting. Any action feels like too much.
The mental state is one of great indifference, even apathy. Depletion exists on every level. The limbs and joints may feel weak. Often there will be chilliness, even acute coldness. Diarrhea may be present.
To help the vital force revive and flow in alignment I recommend using the wet method of dosage with phos ac. Use a 30c potency and place 2–3 pellets in a well-marked container (with no metal parts) of filtered or spring water. Add a few drops of alcohol to keep the mixture fresh. I am fond of using flower essences such as Rescue Remedy to add the alcohol to my wet mixtures.
Allow the pellets to dissolve for a few minutes, and then shake the container a few times. Take a sip of this water remedy, wait fifteen minutes and take another sip. From now on you can take up to three sips a day, morning
midday and evening, of the remedy for as long as you need. You will be able to gradually taper off the frequency with which you need this remedy as inner balance grows and symptoms dissipate.
Ignatia, a remedy prepared from the St. Ignatius Bean, is considered the most contradictory of all remedies in the homeopathic materia medica.This is the grief remedy to look to when there are hysterical or contradictory symptoms present. Symptoms are erratic and superficial.
That symptoms are superficial is not a judgment, rather an observation that will help to distinguish the call for this remedy from the other two in our materia medica of remedies for grief. While equally profound in importance, the presentation of symptoms in this state is one of easily changeable states. The symptoms expressed in other grief allies are more stable and still compared with ignatia’s fast and flowing nature. Happiness and exhilaration alternating rapidly with sadness and tears is a common signal that ignatia will be a useful remedy.
There may be quick excitement alternating with quick melancholy. Talkative one moment, brooding the next. Sighing and possibly sobbing will likely be present. There may be a headache. The feeling that there is a lump in the throat which cannot be swallowed is a key symptom of ignatia.
In the state which calls for ignatia people in grief will often turn from their ordinary diet and choose to eat all sorts of strange and non-nourishing foods. A craving for acidic foods is common.
I tend to suggest the dry method for people who are called to ignatia. If you are helping another then using the wet method, as described above for phos ac, is fine.
For oneself, I’ve noticed that using the homeopathic pellets dry has the tendency to put the brakes on taking the medicine too much, a common desire among those in the ignatia state.
Use the remedy in a 30c form and take 2-3 pellets at one time, up to three times a day. Continue to repeat the medicine for as long as needed. You may find that you will be able to taper off the use of it gradually, eventually taking one dose once a week until the symptoms have subsided.
Natrum Muriatricum, or nat mur, is a remedy made from homeopathically prepared salt. Nat mur is a useful remedy when the grief state is stuck in a manner which produces symptoms that render one silent, responsible, distant, and weary. It can be as if life has thrown too many curve balls and so one just starts to shut down under the weight of it all.
The nat mur state is one in which someone is aggravated by consolation. Nat mur is an appropriate remedy when a person does not wish to be helped, told that others are sorry for what has happened, or have attention paid to them or the event in any way. While tears may overflow and be seen in public the desire is to cry alone, or on the shoulder of one special and safe person only. It may simply be impossible to cry.
A stiff upper lip and importance placed on tending to duty is the key here. There is the tendency to become irritable, to become consumed with the need to place great attention on small, inconsequential events or tasks. Sometimes I will listen to a person in the nat mur state talk, they will go on and on for an hour or more yet at the end of the time I find I know absolutely nothing deep or real more about them that I did before the conversation. This is not a shallow person, this is a shut down person who is trying hard to show up and do their best.
Headaches may occur, especially throbbing blinding headaches during the day. There is an overall sense of weakness and both mental and physical fatigue occurs easily. Chapped lips, hangnails, or fever blisters may be present. There is often a desire for salt or salty foods.
I recommend using the wet method of dosage when employing nat mur as a grief ally, see the instructions given above for phos ac and follow them.
If you have employed the above remedies as an aid in grief and find that the expression is still stuck, still not able to move fully out of the misalignment, keep on. This is not the end of the road; there is a great deal more that homeopathy, and other modalities, has to offer.
It is time to look deeper still. If you wish to continue to pursue homeopathy as an aid in your grieving consider that it may be time to walk for a while with a well-trained homeopath.
Above all, please do not give up. There are answers and they will work. Not pursuing what is needed may mean allowing the unresolved grief state to become the main note in life for a very long time. Not finding the jewels in your loss and moving on would then become the true loss.
Tips for using homeopathic remedies:
Put nothing in your mouth ten minutes before or after taking the remedy. Do your best to avoid strong camphor, mint, and eucalyptus as it may antidote the remedy.
[The remedies can be found at most health food stores or at many online and by phone pharmacies such as Homeopathy Overnight 1-800-ARNICA-3