By Anke Zimmermann, BSc, FCAH
Violent Impulses and Noise Sensitivity
This is a case in which I collaborated with another practitioner, Louis Klein from Vancouver in fact, who found the correct remedy. I had seen the client and we had tried a few remedies with marginal success. She had also seen several other practitioners previously. In cases like this I refer to another homeopath or at least consult about the case. All the names and identifying details have been changed to protect the individual’s privacy. Ava, age 38, case taken October 2006.
Ava was looking at me with large, dreamy eyes. She had come to see me regarding increasing difficulty with her sleep, concentration, memory, energy and mood. She had been unwell for about five years, but was getting worse. She was the single mother of an eight-year-old daughter, Melinda. She did not have a medical diagnosis but would probably have been diagnosed as suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome/ME and/or Post-Traumtic Stress Disorder.
“I have had insomnia since I was a child. My parents gave me my own room because I was so sensitive to noise that I could not sleep in the same room as my siblings. I am very irritable and feel like I want to attack people for no reason. I can control myself, but I know that I have those impulses. I used to have the impulse to cut people with a knife. Now it is more that I want to hit them, smash them, hit their faces, or smash them against a wall. Sometimes I want to jump on people and strangle them, but mostly hitting and smashing. I do not do it, but I want to. I am afraid that I might hurt someone as the impulses are quite strong.”
“Noise is terrible for me, it makes me so irritable. I’m unusually sensitive to noise. My daughter is very stressful for me as she likes to shriek and speak loudly. I constantly have to aks her to quiet down.”
Dreams of Water and Animals
Ava has had a lot of stress. She tells me that she has been a single parent since the birth of her daughter and has had to work full-time since the baby was born. She grew up in another country and has no family in Canada for support. The child’s father is no longer involved with them, but caused a lot of trouble until Melinda was five years old.
Ava feels exhausted and describes increasing brain fatigue. “I worry about my brain function. Sometimes I don’t know what is real and what isn’t. My dreams are more real than my reality. Sometimes I am not sure if I am awake or asleep.”
She has a lot of vivid dreams about houses, water, plumbing and animals, especially animals that live in water, like fish, whales, lobsters etc. Luckily for me she had been keeping track of her dreams for some time as she was already familiar with homeopathy and knew that dreams could be a clue to the right remedy.
“I woke up at 2 o’clock in the morning, checking for shrimp in my hair. I dreamed I was in the ocean, washing my hair with shampoo, looking out at the horizon and seeing large ships passing by. Suddenly the tide went out and I was just standing there with shampoo in my hair. I notice that there were several large tide pools in the area, and I decided to go into one of them to wash out the rest of the shampoo. As I looked into the pool, I noticed that there were thousands of tiny red shrimp in it. I went in anyway and washed out my hair, only the shrimp were now all over me and in my hair. It did not bother me in the least.”
“I dreamt that I was in a movie theatre, watching an adventure movie with friends. Then I had to find a bathroom, but all the bathrooms were in severe disrepair and full of animals, more like stables. There were bathtubs full of fish that looked like eels, some were dead at the bottom of the tubs. There were pigs and birds and lots of feathers, but no toilets I could use.”
“I was travelling in a car with a male driver along a very long dock on a peninsula. There was water, ocean, on both sides of the dock. We were driving to ride on an enormous roller-coaster which was located at the end of the dock way out over the water. I was feeling a bit apprehensive about this; I did not realize we were going to this roller-coaster at the outset of the drive. At the end of the dock one had to take a small boat to reach the coaster.”
“Dreams of swimming laps in a very large, Olympic-size pool. The water was very clear and nice, the feeling of swimming very realistic.”
Ava used to be a competitive swimmer as a teen and has always loved the water. She spent her childhood in lakes, creeks and the ocean, examining the water creatures. She raised thousands of frogs from spawn, returning them to the wild when they developed legs. Ava also had many aquariums as a child and even used to breed tropical fish. She has always loved animals.
“Dream of standing on a bridge looking down into the water below. There are thousands of fish and other aquatic creatures in the water, it is thick with life. This is a recurrent theme. There are always lot and lots of animals and especially fish in the water.”
“When I moved to Vancouver Island two years ago a friend took me to see the salmon run at Goldstream. It was incredible, just like my dreams, so many fish, only in my dreams there were even more.”
Mental Fogginess and Fear of Developing Dementia
She would dream about other animals, too:
“I dreamt I was going for a walk along a deep snowdrift. Suddenly, out of the snowdrift appeared the heads of two walruses and a polar bear. I was a bit surprised, but not scared. Somehow, I ended up feeding them small bits of raw fish, like sushi. Later, one of the walruses somehow was my friend and I knew that he really was a university professor. I was on campus with him and all his credentials were engraved on his large chest. I was checking out the university to take some courses there.”
Sometimes her dreams included romantic or erotic components:
“I dreamt of a couple swimming under water, kissing and embracing. He was wearing scuba gear, but the woman didn’t, however, that didn't seem to bother her. I figured she was sharing his air. She was almost like a mermaid, very beautiful, in a bathing suit and with legs rather than a tail. It seemed as if I was in the water with them, but then it seemed as if I was watching them on a very large screen TV, which was somehow placed directly on my bed. In the dream I was wondering why the TV was sitting on my bed.”
She also dreamed about houses:
“I was about to buy a very large property in the country. The building was bit run down. I think I had already bought the place when I discovered that there was a large, fancy restaurant on the second floor of the building. I asked the previous owner of the building how much rent she was charging and she told me it was $500 a month. I thought that was too low and contemplated raising the rent. The place had a large indoor pool and my daughter Melinda, our friends and I went to swim and frolic in the pool, it was great. There were also all kinds of showers and sinks in the pool area, but many in serious disrepair and I thought that I would change all of the faucets once the building was officially ours.”
Dreams of swimming pools and plumbing issues were common. Leaking faucets, malfunctioning toilets and showers, floods.
Ava appeared very gentle and blushed easily. There was a certain shyness about her, but also a disarming openness.
In spite of her mental fogginess, I notice that Ava had a good sense of humour, which also seemed to find is way into some of her dreams. Her mental fogginess is so bad that she has been unable to work much for the past two years. She is a consultant and is living off money she inherited at the moment. She is worried that she is developing Alzheimer’s disease or some other kind of dementia as her memory is so poor and that she might not be able to go back to work. Sometimes she has to sleep for a few days in a row.
A Nightmare of Child Abuse
When Ava was pregnant, she left the father of her child because he was mentally unstable. He said he did not want to be involved with the baby but changed his mind after the baby was born and then enforced visitation rights. He used the child to torture Ava. The baby would not sleep properly for days after he had a visit.
When Melinda was three years old, she revealed that the father was sexually abusing her. Ava reported the concerns to the child welfare authorities, but the father was so manipulative that the authorities turned against her and he continued to have access to and abuse the child. There were numerous investigations over the next three years.
When Melanie was four the authorities took Ava to court to have her child removed from her because the father had convinced the social workers and two psychiatrists that Ava was somehow manipulating her daughter to make false statements of abuse. Melinda was supposed to go into foster care or potentially be given to the father.
Ava developed panic attacks at that time: "I was forced to continue to hand over her daughter, knowing that the father would abuse her and that she would not be able to do anything about it. I was beside myself with anxiety!"
There were many child-welfare and police investigations, but due to the young age of the child she was not able to give complete information. Ava described how her daughter was expected at three and four years of age to give evidence in a police interview room without her mother and often days or weeks after an incident. The whole situation was extremely traumatizing to Ava.
When Melanie was almost five years old there was another investigation, this time Melanie was able to more clearly explain what had happened.
"Melinda was seeing a play therapist after every visit with the father and made a disclosure to him. The therapist called the police and reported the disclosure. The father completely disappeared after that incident and did not see the child again. A few weeks later he agreed to undergo a psycho-sexual assessment and the examiner concluded that he had indeed abused the child all along, but with the main intent of traumatizing me, the mother, which was extremely disturbing to the examiner."
After this Ava was able to obtain a court order which permanently denied the father any and all access. He has not seen Melanie since.
“Some time after it was all finished, I dreamt about John, my child-welfare worker. We were very close in the dream and he was expressing his sorrow about not having been able to help me properly with the investigations around Melinda. He was very sincere in my dream. He told me that I could file a complaint with the judge and explained how to go about it. He was always kind. I felt much better after that.”
It was Like Being Tortured
How did Ava feel about what happened:
“It was like being tortured. Her father knew exactly what he was doing. He knew and he knew that I knew and that I could do nothing about it. It was very sick.
“He would tell Melinda that I did not love her and that he could do whatever he wanted to her. I know this because Melinda would sit in the back of the car and repeat those words to me after visits with her father.
“I was seriously considering suicide, but I could not fathom leaving my child. I was trying to figure out a way to kill both of us. But my spirituality helped. Otherwise, I don’t think I would have made it. I had a good lawyer, but she couldn’t do anything about it either. She told me I would have to wait until Melinda was old enough to give better evidence, which is ultimately exactly what happened.
“I could not deny the father access as this could have meant that the court would give the child to him. I felt it was better for her to be abused twice a week than seven days a week.
“After the child welfare people took me to court, I was only allowed to keep my daughter if I signed an agreement stating that if she made another allegation of abuse, I would have to call them immediately and they would come and take the child away. I thought it was bizarre. Who would want to call them in such a case? It was all so bizarre and unreal."
Ava has food cravings for fish, seafood, salty things and refreshing foods like watermelon. She loves cheese but it causes constipation. Her bowels tend to be a problem.
She has always had difficulties with her hormonal system; PMS with much irritability and breast tenderness.
She felt very confused when all these problems with her child happened. She could not understand why the authorities would not believe her. Her faith in the legal, psychiatric and child welfare system was completely eroded. Nobody except her lawyer, the child’s school and caregivers and the play therapist believed her.
"The authorities were totally useless and adding insult to injury. Everything was so unreal. I had collected a mountain of evidence on the father from other people who had been abused and conned by him, which I showed to the authorities, but the material was being held against me instead. He was like a professional con artist, but he was also a highly educated professional and very articulate, so he got away with a lot of things.”
Ava really questioned reality and truth during that time. She did a lot of research into spiritual matters to try and help herself and her daughter.
Mental confusion was also evident in her dreams:
“I dreamt I was swimming in a large, warm pool. Kind of like a hot tub, with a whole bunch of men! I think they were mechanics and supposed to fix my car, but then instead of fixing it, they changed it into a different car, it looked older and kind of weird – I hardly recognized it. I was not upset about this, just bewildered as usual…”
Bewildered was a good description of her state. Exhaustion, irritability and confusion, with a history of having been tortured in a way. Then she gave my colleague the remedy:
“I am beside a body of water, looking in from a dock or something and notice an unusual fish nearby, like a big goldfish, the size of a guinea pig. It looks like a blend of guinea pig and goldfish, in fact, with a round body and large fins, in unusual colours. I reached down to pet it and it enjoyed that.”
Louis Klein, the other practitioner to whom the case was referred for a second opinion, chose the remedy Carrassius auratus, a homeopathic remedy made from a goldfish. Ava’s dreams of water, fish and other animals, the mental fogginess and history of being insidiously tortured were all pointing to this remedy. As a homeopathic remedy goldfish can be used to treat neurological illnesses, including brain tumours and dementia. Goldfish are cannibalistic and will eat their own young. My colleague said that “Ava’s brain had been cannibalized.”
Ava likely would likely have qualified for a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME and/or Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder, but she chose not to pursue a conventional medical diagnosis.
Plan: Carrassius auratus 200 CH as needed.
Follow-up December 2006 - Intense Dreams of Anger
“The remedy was amazing. Every time I took a dose of it I had intense dreams of anger towards many people from the past. It seemed that every unresolved conflict I ever had with anyone was being replayed in my dreams. Then I would wake up in the morning feeling so much better. I have not woken up refreshed in the morning for years. I feel very peaceful, as if I have no wants and no needs. I go for walks and nature and it is just so beautiful and I am so happy and at peace.”
This state of total peace continued for three months. She described this time as the most beautiful time of her life.
Her dreams were intense and descriptive:
“I had a very violent dream involving my mother. I was kicking and hitting her repeatedly, there was a lot of conflict. Then we somehow made up. It is very unusual for me to be violent in my dreams. This was the direct result of the remedy, whenever I took a dose, I got these kinds of dreams.”
Her mother had been a suppressive force for Ava in her childhood. She would not allow her daughter to discuss anything with her. She would just leave the room if Ava wanted to discuss anything. Conflicts were never addressed in her household while she was growing up. People would just stop speaking to each other for a few days, the silent treatment was the rule of the day, except for the occasional violent outburst of the father who would chase the kids around.
Her mother used to lock Ava up in the basement when Ava was too uppity, but Ava says that she did not really mind, she would try and play with the mice in the basement. There had not been any contact with her mother in years because Ava felt that her mother blamed her for the sexual abuse of her child.
Dreams of Unresolved Conflicts
Ava also had dreams of other people with whom she had unresolved conflicts:
“I dreamt about some people I had shared a house with many years ago when I first came to Canada. They were a married couple with three young children. The woman was very strange, lied in bed all day and sang weird wild songs to the children at night. She was very sloppy and dirty. I am quite sure that she stole some jewellery from me which my father had given me, earrings set with small pearls and rubies. In this dream I had a confrontation with the man, yelling at him. I was feeling angry and expressive.
When I woke up, I felt very surprised about this dream, I had not thought about these people in many years. Since taking this remedy I have dreamt about virtually everyone I ever had a disagreement with, especially something that was left unfinished, like the lost or rather, stolen, jewellery in this case. It is usually confrontational, with me being the aggressor.”
“I dreamt of a big fight I had with my last boyfriend, he was five hours late for a date and completely drunk. At the time I got so angry I threw a pillow at his head and yelled at him. I felt like throwing the coffee table through the window with rage. He got so scared it ended the relationship, which was very sad for me as I was very much in love with him. He just disappeared and refused to talk about it. In the dream the whole scene was re-enacted in every detail. Once again I felt much better physically after that.”
Her bowels have been moving better as well.
The irritability is quite reduced, she rarely has the impulse to hit or smash things or people.
This case shows the impact of old emotions. Ava had experienced a lot of anger and despair which could not be expressed regarding the situation with her daughter’s father, the child welfare system, the courts, psychiatrists and other people involved, but she had also had other incidents in her life where she had been unable to or not allowed to express her feelings. It was as if all those incidents were now being released by her system, mostly through dreams.
This is not an uncommon finding in homeopathic practice. Ava’s case beautifully illustrates how dreams can help us to find the right solution or remedy for an imbalance. Ava was basically dreaming about a possible remedy, she even dreamt of goldfish.
Follow-up Feb 2007 - Feelings of Sadness Surface
She has been doing very well regarding the irritability and mental confusion. The impulse to attack people is 95% better. Now she is feeling a lot more sadness and grief. She is surprised how much sadness there is. She remembers walking around in the family garden as a child feeling very sad and alone. She felt like an orphan as a child. Her mother had been an orphan who was adopted by her parents. Both her mother and father had been born out of wedlock and orphaned as children.
Plan: Magnesium-mur 200 CH, a common remedy for people who have been orphaned or feel like orphans.
Follow-up May 2007
The depression is better. There were no major dreams after this new remedy. She has not had any water and fish dreams since the goldfish remedy.
I have seen Ava occasionally over the next five years and her case is still ongoing. Overall, she has made a lot of progress. Her mental concentration became much better and the irritability resolved by 90%, only present during PMS. She has no violent impulses at all. She is able to work again and is enjoying it. Her relationship with her daughter is better as she feels more patient now.
Follow-up January 2021
The violent impulses are still gone and Ava’s brain function is normal. Once or twice a year she dreams of water and sea creatures if there has been a lot of stress in her life. Sometimes this involves sharks or crocodiles, which she just observes in the water. Then she takes a dose of Carrassius and all is well again.
In her case, and this is not uncommon in homeopathy, her dreams were a pretty direct indicator of which remedy she needed. All the dreams of fish and sea creatures pointed to a remedy from that realm. At the time when I first met Ava I was not aware of a remedy made from goldfish or many other fish.
This information is now more widely available and Louis Klein recently published a book about homeopathy and dementia volume one, which is dedicated to fish remedies.
To quote from his book:
"Towards the latter part of my homeopathic practice, I started to see an alarming increase in the number of new patients with brain pathology and cognitive decline. As well, many patients feared the fate of ending up like their relatives with Alzheimer’s disease with no effective conventional treatment.
"This prompted a project on the homeopathic treatment of patients with cognitive
problems, Alzheimer’s and dementia, even though the books I have previously written
have always been through the perspective of homeopathic classifications and not disease
categories. It has, therefore, been a challenge for me to write a book based on a diag-
nostic category. However, each case is prescribed on its individual features and certainly
the treatment of someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia still requires careful
individualization. The book strongly imparts that.
"Here, in Volume 1, I talk about my discovery of connections between fish homeo -
pathic remedies and Alzheimer’s disease as well as all the other clinical information on
remedies in other kingdoms."
Homeopathy is a wonderful treatment for people who have been abused and/or traumatized and/or who are experiencing cognitive decline and difficulties of various natures.
Careful listening and case taking has the potential to reveal the exact nature of the homeopathic remedies needed. The remedies assist in the natural healing process of the organism, which includes being free to feel all emotions and also to let them go. If emotions cannot be fully felt and expressed, they are likely to affect the organism in ways which can disturb its health in every way imaginable.
Anke Zimmermann, BSc, FCAH, August 5/22
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Anke Zimmermann, BSc, FCAH is a professional homeopath with a special interest in children with developmental and behavioural concerns. Cases are all from her practice. Names have been changed to protect privacy. The cases were published with permission and are intended for education only. They are not intended as medical advise or solicitation. Homeopathy treats the person, not the condition.
Anke Zimmermann, BSc, FCAH
Classical and Modern Homeopathy
Sooke, BC, Canada
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