A Girl with Severe Nightmares
By Anke Zimmermann, BSc, FCAH
Dreams of Monsters
Zoe is an engaging and lively 11-year-old girl who was initially seen on December 20, 2014. Concerns included increasingly vivid, recurring nightmares which were beginning to spill over into her waking life.
“I dream about weird creatures the size of bears, but in human form,” Zoe cheerily told me. “They can change their shape. I often see 2 creatures – one is a monster in human form, and the other is a real human. They argue about who is the human and who is the monster."
"Both are trying to convince me that they are the human and ask me to pick the right one. I always end up picking the monster, who then turns against me and chases me over a cliff."
"The creatures can access your mind and change you into one of them, too. They tickle you and you are sucked into darkness. As they tickle you, it feels like being rolled into a black hole and it hurts. Once in the black hole, I’ll suddenly wake up, all hot.”
“They can run really fast and take advantage of cornering you. They can hover over the ground like aliens. They can also take the form of animals. One might take the form of an innocent little hatchling during the day, but at night it wanders into your home and transforms back into a monster."
"The creatures can transform themselves into demons and go into my stuffies. Sometimes the demons take over our dog, Maxi, and she will growl at me or even snap at me. She is nice to my Dad but not to me."
"The monsters can also transform themselves into ordinary things, such as flowers or sidewalks. I know in my head it’s not real, but I see it anyway. I feel like something is watching me, like a million eyes.”
An Unsettled Early Life
Zoe was adopted from another country when she was 3 years old. She had lived on the streets with her mother for the first 18 months of her life. Her mother repeatedly abandoned her in various places and Zoe ultimately ended up in an orphanage.
Her adoptive parents had heard her moaning and crying out in her sleep from the time they first adopted her. She began to tell them about her the nightmares when she was about 5 or 6 years old.
“Zoe always seems to be jumpy,” her mother said. “She is scared and startles easily, even with me walking into her room at night. She will be instantly awake. She reacts dramatically to being touched – laughing, screaming, freaking out, not necessarily upset, just dramatic. And she is often awake in the middle of the night for 2 or 3 hours at a time, looking out of the window, watching for stalkers.”
Zoe is slow to wake up and complains about lack of energy. Due to her fatigue, she is unwilling to participate in physical education or join clubs.
She still wets her bed about once a week.
Assessment and Plan
I gave a remedy called Lyssinum, also known as Hydrophobinum, in 1M potency. The remedy is made from the saliva of a rabid dog. No worries, this is a high-potency homeopathic remedy and the saliva was sterilized before producing it, so there are no rabies particles in the final product at all. The remedy was given based on the young girl's liveliness, traumatic history, the dog growling at her and biting her, her fear of the dark and watching for stalkers and the themes of being tormented in her dreams by shape-shifting monsters, which can even turn her into one of them.
No more Monsters
During her follow-up appointment six weeks later she told me: “There are no more nightmares, but my dreams are a little strange. For example, I dream I’m in bed, stretching and then I go to school and then I’m a camel in the desert.”
She still gets up with a flashlight at night to look at the lawn.
“There are no more monsters. I feel you’re safe and you are loved.”
There has been no change with the bed-wetting. At this point I decided to give her a dose of Medorrhinum, 1 M, based on the lack of change with the bedwetting and her history of kidney deformity.
Follow-up March 5/15
“There are no more bad dreams but I have ‘glitches’ during the day. I am walking with friends and suddenly my neck muscles lock, my head is pulled sideways and I walk into a tree. We were hiking at this lake and I was suddenly really scared that I would trip and fall and break my neck. I can see myself stumbling and dying in my head.”
She has had this feeling before, about once a month.
“I still have a feeling that there is a stalker outside the window, but only for 2-3 minutes. I check the window and the lawn. I can see something walking across the field but I know it’s not true.”
Zoe's mother then shared that this used to keep her up for hours at night regularly before.
No more shape-shifting flowers or sidewalks.
“I have visions of my brother being attacked. I can hear him screaming.”
The bed-wetting got better and then relapsed a bit over the last month.
Medorrhinum may be a good constitutional match for her, but she still needs Lyssinum.
Plan: Lyssinum 10M one dose.
Follow-up April 9/15
There are no bad dreams, no more glitches and no more bedwetting either. Her muscles are not locking when walking any more. She still sometimes thinks there is a stalker outside the window and still closes the curtains tight, but it has not happened for a long time.
She sleeps much more soundly now. Before she was immediately awake if her mother walked into her room at night, now she keeps sleeping.
Getting up in the morning is a bit easier too. Before she was tired in the middle of her class in school, now she has more energy. She even participated in a running club yesterday, which she has never done before!
The visions of her brother being attacked have stopped. Sometimes she still hears something or someone calling her name. She still occasionally has visions of her racing down a hill and stumbling: “Girl stumbles, dies, blood on the sidewalk," she laughs.
The dog has not been growling or snapping at her anymore.
Assessment: Very good progress, wait.
Follow-up July 11/15
Zoe had a dream of being in a labyrinth with glass walls. Eventually she found her way out and saw large, glowing paw prints and a glass statue ten feet away. She then realized that a family was being turned into glass statues one by one.
In the dream she asked herself: “Should I leave and try to find help or try to help them now – the more I pondered the more members were being turned into statues. It wasn’t a bad dreams as much as confusing.”
The bedwetting was better and is coming back again over the last week.
There have been no glitches and no neck stiffness. She definitely has more energy now and participates in fitness runs for PE now. Her physical ability has noticeably improved and she now wants to go for hikes. Before she always resisted hiking with the family.
She is playing guitar now and her musical abilities are flourishing. There is no more fear of a stalker outside of the window.
Her father comments that she sleeps much more soundly and wakes up much more rested now. Previously she would wake up easily if her parents entered her room, now it is difficult to wake her up.
She is no longer tired at school. There are no more shape-shifting flowers and she does not hear her name being called any more. She no longer has any visions in her head of stumbling and dying.
The dog no longer growls at her and instead now begs her for cuddles! The cat is also calmer and no longer comes into her room at night.
Assessment: Very good improvement with slight return of old symptoms of dreams and bed wetting.
Plan: Lyssinum 10M one dose.
Follow-up December 4/15
Zoe’s dreams are starting to recur a bit over the past two months at least once or twice a month. There are no shape-shifting sidewalks or glitches. She is still sleeping much more deeply and gets up easily in the morning. The bedwetting has also recurred a bit over the past four months.
Plan: Lyssinum 10 M one dose.
Email from mother and Zoe December 8/15
Two days after the remedy Zoe had the following dream:
“My brother and I were on an island in a huge pond. We were trying to run across the water to reach our mom and dad on the other side but were unable to get across safely because these ducks were protecting the water. So I stayed on the island to cheer him on while he tried to reach our parents.
He went across but sunk part way through and he couldn’t swim very well and had another 100 feet to swim. So these ducks started to toss him around like a seal does with a ball, but on the ends of their beaks they had little sharp things that acted as needles. These had the ability to paralyze you so you couldn’t swim and my brother started screaming in pain and every time he went under he was slowly drowning.
So I raced out on the water to try and rescue him but he was too heavy so I ended up being attacked with him and Mom and Dad disappeared and I had no idea where they had gone! I managed to get my brother to shore and somehow managed to make it also.
That’s when I realized my brother was gone. Frantically I looked around and saw three of those ducks in the water circling around and round. Then it dawned on me: While I was drowning I must have thought I’d thrown my brother to shore but apparently I had thrown him into the deep end and killed him. Then the duck things got out of the water and started to chase me. I was dragged under the water and died.”
This horrible dream again shows all the original Lyssinum themes of feeling abandoned, attacked, tortured confused, doing wrong and feeling guilty. It also has a theme of dangerous water and gradual loss of consciousness, via drowning in her dream, as well as ultimately death.
The etiology of rabies includes being bitten by an infected animal. Note the sharp needles on the duck’s beaks injecting paralyzing poison are quite similar to teeth. The rabies virus is transmitted through the saliva of the rabid animal in 'injected' via the teeth. In rabies there is a strong fear of water, an inability to move parts of the body and death.
I think this case is a great illustration of the power of Lyssinum to heal deep trauma. Lyssinum can be a wonderful remedy for victims of torture and abuse, for post-traumatic stress-disorder (PTSD). One of the first symptoms a rabies victim experiences is a horrible sense of impending doom, that something very bad is about to happen, and then it does of course as the virus starts to attack the brain.
Lyssinum can also be used to treat problems after dog bites, especially if the dog was freshly vaccinated against rabies and also for bad effects of rabies vaccination.
We don’t know if this child was abused, bitten by dogs or if there was a family history of bites or rabies vaccines. We do know that she was repeatedly abandoned at a very young age and who knows what might have happened to her.
But what is peculiar is that the family dog used to bite her and then changed to begging her for affection after her treatment. A wonderful reflection of the girl’s internal state and it’s interaction with her world and a testament to the power and mystery of homeopathy and life.
Zoe is still under my care and has required another dose of her remedy on April 8, 2016. I expect her to need occasional doses of Lyssinum for the next couple of years.
Anke Zimmermann, BSc, FCAH, Classical and Modern Homeopathy, March 2016
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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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