Homeopathic Remedies for Overcoming FearTamara Der-Ohanian February 1, 2012
“Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark, or the man afraid of the light?” – Maurice Freehill
Fear is an intrinsic part of the human experience. It is necessary for our survival and triggers the ‘fight or flight’ response to keep us alert and out of physical danger. Living in chronic fear, on the other hand, can have serious and far-reaching ramifications for our health and well-being. This is the type of fear discussed in this article: the type that holds us back, makes us feel inadequate, interferes with our happiness and robs us of our dreams.
Everyone has a unique life story, so two people with the same fear will experience it differently. Thunderstorms may induce feelings of physical insecurity in one person, but trigger subconscious memories of an angry, yelling parent for another. Resolving deep-seated emotional trauma requires individualized medicine, such as homeopathy. A homeopath’s task is to uncover the key issues that lie behind a person’s fears. Each individual’s fears will have evolved differently, arising from specific life situations and events. Homeopathic remedies have the capacity to heal the deepest of wounds, helping us overcome fears, feel more confident and fulfill our creative potential.
The Many Faces of Fear
“You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.” – Eric Hoffer
We all have fears. We need them to keep safe. A fear of heights can be a good thing when it makes us cautious and keeps us from falling off a cliff. But if a fear of heights stops us from climbing above the second floor, it may be a phobia.
A phobia is a form of anxiety disorder arising from irrational fear. It is defined as the persistent fear of an object or situation, where the sufferer goes to great lengths to avoid the object or situation. For example, most people feel fear when they encounter a snake in the wild. A person with snake phobia may become anxious and sweaty after looking at a picture of one.
Fears are as unique and numerous as the people who possess them. They may focus on failure, public speaking, ghosts, death, poverty, germs, the dark, being alone, being attacked, terminal illness, being poisoned, small spaces, open spaces or crowded spaces, and the list goes on.
Fear can manifest in many ways. In its mildest form, fear may be experienced as a vague feeling of anxiety or discomfort. In more extreme forms, it can lead to anger, obsessive compulsive disorders, panic attacks, paralyzing phobias and even violence.
Anger is one manifestation of fear. We get angry when someone cuts us off in traffic. Underneath the anger, however, is the fear of getting into an accident or being hurt and perhaps fearing damage to our car.
Laziness or procrastination may have roots in fear. These come about as a result of the fear to face up to a given task, often because of feelings of inadequacy. Jealousy is the fear that we are inadequate or don’t measure up. Greed indicates a fear of not having enough, and perfectionism is the fear of criticism. If I am perfect, then I can’t be criticized.
Fear of Germs and Illnesses
“Every man, through fear, mugs his aspirations a dozen times a day.” – Brendan Francis
Ever since contracting Herpes Genitalia, Mark had become increasingly more paranoid about germs and illnesses. The problem had become so severe that his girlfriend was threatening to leave him. They argued constantly. He even admitted to physically abusing her, and having violent outbursts.
Mark scanned over his body each day, making sure there were no changes or new blemishes that could relate to an illness. Pimples, or even the slightest changes in skin colour or texture, inspired feelings of severe dread. Mark insisted that his girlfriend be as vigilant about her own health, and this caused them to argue. To compound the relationship problem, Mark had diminished sexual interest and considered the act of sex to be unsanitary.
Mark’s social life had shrunk from weekly dinner parties and get-togethers with friends to declining social invitations and staying home week after week. He washed his hands each time he touched a doorknob or shook someone’s hand. His existence consisted of going to work, picking up groceries on the way home, and remaining at home with his girlfriend the rest of the time. He felt paranoid about getting ill and argued with his girlfriend on a daily basis.
Mark told me he felt anxious while completing the medical history form before our appointment, because it forced him to think about his illnesses.
After six weeks on the homeopathic remedy Syphillinum, Mark reported feeling much more relaxed and not as fearful about germs and illnesses. Although the thought of getting ill still crossed his mind, he only scanned his body every so often and stopped arguing with his girlfriend. After a period of six months, Mark reported feeling like his old self again. He felt happy and planned to start a new business and eventually leave his job. During the six-month period he experienced one mild case of herpes outbreak, compared to the weekly and painful episodes prior to treatment.
Fear of Death and Dying
“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.” – Marie Curie
Ever since her mother’s death in 2008, Patricia had developed a fear of dying. Over time, the fear had escalated to a constant feeling of anxiety and daily panic attacks. She only felt safe at home, where her father could come to her rescue.
Following a major panic attack in 2009 that landed her in the emergency ward of the local hospital, Patricia was forced to go on medical leave from her accounting job. She was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and given prescription medication for both. Her days were consumed with obsessive thoughts of death and dying. Sometimes the thoughts were accompanied by difficulty in breathing and mild to moderate chest pains.
Patricia felt unsafe going outside. She feared that something would happen to jeopardize her safety, causing death. She also feared for her father’s safety every time he left home for his part-time job. While Patricia felt safest at home, the hours spent alone were agonizing, with no one to rescue her in case of “emergencies.”
Patricia had difficulty falling asleep, since she feared she might not wake up. Her appetite had diminished because she feared choking to death when trying to swallow. I prescribed the remedy Kali Carbonicum. Within two weeks on the remedy, Patricia reported feeling 25% less anxious and having fewer panic attacks. Within four weeks, Patricia was able to leave the house to go grocery shopping. She still felt a little anxious and unsafe, and thought about death, but challenged herself to go through with it. Within three months on the homeopathic remedy, Patricia was back at work and moving forward with her life.
Fear of Independence
“You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.” – Mary Manin
Katie was married for 23 years and had wanted to leave her husband for 21 of those years. She initially sought homeopathic treatment for severe menstrual cramps and sleep problems, but the bigger picture was clearly her unhappy home situation and fear of leaving her husband.
Shortly after she first decided she wanted to leave the marriage, Katie found out she was pregnant with her first child. Then, a few years later, her mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, so she felt she could not leave her husband at this difficult time. Then she got pregnant again. Later, more excuses materialized, including her attachment to the house, her reluctance to separate her children from their father, and her financial dependence on her husband. Following 18 years of unhappiness and feeling completely stuck, she decided to give counselling a shot, hoping it might save the marriage.
It turned out that counselling was yet another distraction which did not affect how she felt about her husband. More years went by and Katie became increasingly despondent and resentful. She blamed herself for being weak and unable to leave, and blamed her husband for not being the man she wanted him to be.
After taking into account Katie’s core emotional issues and physical complaints, I prescribed the remedy Sepia. Within four months of taking the homeopathic remedy, she was able to muster the courage to leave the marriage and said she’d never felt happier. Katie was back at school, pursuing her dream of becoming an artist. Her physical symptoms also disappeared.
Fear of Not Enough
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” – Marianne Williamson
We all fear that we are not enough: not rich enough, not smart enough, not good-looking enough, not strong enough, not lovable enough. At the core of not enough is the deepest fear of all: that if we’re not enough, then we won’t be loved!
Ellen was a 28-year-old computer programmer who lived in constant fear of being judged and not measuring up. She avoided social situations as much as possible. Each time she engaged in a face-to-face conversation, she became extremely self-conscious, wondering if the person was judging her looks or intelligence. Ellen’s life was organized around her feelings of inferiority. She felt everyone was better than her in some way.
When Ellen was forced to participate in a social situation, even a family function, her cycle of anxiety, panic, worry and fear would be set in motion days beforehand. She agonized over what to wear, how she would be perceived, and who would be there to judge her. The self-inflicted stress made her argumentative with her husband, and sometimes led to fits of rage. She also experienced skin breakouts and loss of sleep for days.
Ellen complained of feeling trapped and unable to lead a “normal” life. As a result of her fears, she was forced to quit school. Her dream of becoming a chef was crushed.
The remedy that most closely matched Ellen’s fears, phobias and physical symptoms was Lac caninum, which ultimately proved to be instrumental in helping Ellen become less self-conscious and more self-confident. After taking it, she was no longer afraid of running into friends or attending social events. Ellen resumed her studies the following school year.
“Every time we choose safety, we reinforce fear.” – Cheri Huber
Fears are as complex as the people who possess them. They can have deep roots in childhood experiences and traumas, genetic makeup and cultural mores. Playing it safe is commonplace in our society, despite the fact that the ability to confront and act in spite of fears is the key to happiness and success. What can we do to overcome fears and move on with our lives?
Awareness is power, and understanding our fears is the first step to overcoming them. Overcoming fears is the result of deliberate intention and conscious engagement in activities and situations that frighten us. Facing our fears is therapeutic. When we force ourselves to face any fear-inducing situation, we feel a sense of accomplishment and pride. We feel empowered.
It may be fairly easy to beat minor fears, but deep-rooted phobias require hard work. Homeopathic medicine is one great way of acquiring awareness and overcoming our fears.
Fears are like roadblocks on our journey to happiness and success. It is time to understand them, face them, conquer them and achieve our hearts’ desires.
Tamara Der-Ohanian is a Homeopath registered with the College of Homeopaths of Ontario. She is the creator of Homeopathic First Aid Kits (www.Homeokits.com). Tamara has her own practice and is accepting new patients. Call her at (416) 385-1001 or visit her website: www.TamaraDer-Ohanian.com