A Mini Performance Anxiety Case Study

I’ve been working with a family, who has recently sent their eldest child off to university. In her first week, she was suffering a number of symptoms related to anxiety, including insomnia and diarrhea. She had many concerns about what was going to be expected of her, and if she’d be able to live up to expectations, especially her own.

When the mom called me, she described the total mental and emotional state, along with the specific physical symptoms. Aside from the symptoms I’ve already mentioned, the mother described that the daughter had been very irritable, and snapping at her siblings in the days leading up to departing.

Another thing that the mom pointed out about the diarrhea, was that it seemed to correlate with the daughters increased sweet tooth, which had gotten out of control towards the end of the summer. One particularly noticeable symptom was a very loud rumbling in the young woman’s stomach.

I gave her the homeopathic remedy argentum nitricum (which is made from silver nitrate), and within 48 hours everything was at least 90% back to normal. I chose this remedy on the basis of all of the symptoms that I’ve listed, as well as the core state of mind of this remedy which matched hers — that of an anticipatory or performance anxiety. On a similar token, this is one of the most commonly used remedies for stage fright, or any form of performance anxiety, whether on stage or off.

Seeing What’s Behind Your Time Line

This blog is part of a series; its original title was “Heilkunst Basics: University, 4th Year (Seeing What’s Behind Your Timeline)”

Today, September the 11th, marks the anniversary of an event which continues to have a tremendous impact on our lives. There are so many dimensions to its meaning, and I will stick here to the direct medical impact, as I have seen through my patients, both at the time of the event itself, and in the years since.

At the time of the event itself, there was a tremendous amount of call-ins to the clinic from patients seeking all forms of emotional remedies, especially including shock and fear at first, and then shortly afterwards followed by the full spectrum of tonic (archetypal) emotional states. The range of acute anxiety remedies (including aconite, ignatia, and so on), and the primary tonic emotional archetypes represented by NSOL were dispensed frequently, and often in very high potencies due to the intensity of people’s experience at that time.

The individual components of NSOL are:

Natrum Muriaticumfor feelings of bereavement and loss, and ultimately for a challenge to someone’s core belief structure which questions whether people and the world in general can be trusted.

Staphysagria – for feelings of being victimized, or abused. Possibly for an anger without knowing exactly where or how to direct it.

Opium – for the root state of mind underneath many fears and anxieties. A kind of feeling “frozen in place”, like the dreams where someone is on a railway track, and cannot move a muscle.

Lachesis – for feelings of guilt, and a generally intense state of pent-up emotions looking for an outlet. Think of the image of a snake all charged up, and ready to strike out suddenly with its venomous tongue.

The NSOL combination is generally used quite a bit during a patient’s general Heilkunst treatment, and its individual components will be called for when they are emerging in a very distinct way on their own. NSOL, and its components, are very often used for treating specific shocks and traumas on a patient’s time line, as well as for dealing with the emotional reactions to situations occurring in the present.

The nature of the event of 9/11 certainly brought up many of these intense emotions, but it went much deeper than that. As is the case with anyone’s time line of shocks and traumas, the question of what is perceived as a trauma, and what it means to a given individual, will depend not just on the event itself, but on their underlying structure, in terms of their armoring structure combined with their belief structure. Two siblings, for example, who grow up in the same dysfunctional family dynamic can potentially have very different perceptions and reactions to it based on their underlying structures.

For many patients, this experience of 9/11 and its aftermath served as a catalyst to break through some of this deeper structure, and start to draw out some of their deeper chthonic issues, as well as higher ideogenic themes. The very nature of our world, as we perceive it, changed in many ways as a result. From a phenomenological point of view, when such an event of mass impact occurs, it represents a point in time where such a general shift in consciousness has, or is about to begin.

Armoring of the Abdominal Segment

This blog is part of a series; its original title was Heilkunst Basics : University, 3rd Year (Armoring of the Abdominal Segment)

While I am continuing my descent down the seven segments, always keep in the back of your mind that is not a simple black and white or linear process of starting at the top and working your way to the bottom. While this is conceptually true, and this  overall sequence needs to be respected, the dynamics of a real-life case will also involve a kind of cyclical movement, due to the multiple layers of armoring within each segment, which call for the treatment to return back to work on some of the upper segments before continuing on again with the current segment under treatment. Add to this that de-armoring represents a particular aspect of the overall Heilkunst treatment, and that other therapeutic goals and modalities are woven together along with the treatment of the segments.

After the diaphragmatic segment, the abdominal comes next. It is more of a transitional segment, bridging the stronger content of the diaphragmatic and the pelvic. The prime feeling of the abdominal segments relates to the feeling of security (versus insecurity), and our perceived ability to move about the world freely, or in a guarded way. Feeling “tightness” in our abdomen versus a free-flow is the key difference here.

 

deep-breathing1

 

Treatment can include a pressure placed on the abdomen, or possible a gentle stroking to encourage it to release. Thedeep breathing exercises done when working on the diaphragmatic segment can be continued here. Some of the homeopathic remedies used for general anxiety can be helpful in treatment here, including gelsemium and aconite.

Overcoming Stage Fright With Homeopathy

stage-fright-1-638

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My blogging friend, Janet Kidd, has recently written about stage fright, and how to deal with it as a singer. I’d like to add some homeopathic remedies into the mix of her suggestions for helping with stage fright. For some patients, we’ll not only give them these remedies for when they do public speaking or performing, but also for generalized anxiety issues which paralyze them in their life generally. This is a good case study, by the way, of the importance of treating the unique qualities of a given condition, rather than matching a pharmaceutical drug to a generic label (such as “stage fright” in this case).

  • Gelsemium – “Frozen in fear”; A tendency to “freeze up” on stage, or in life situations in general. The mind which goes blank in an exam or interview situation. Involuntary responses, such as trembling, or frequent loose stools or urination. Feeling a tremendous anxiety in anticipation of an event. A defensive posture of tiredness or droopiness. This is usually more of a tendency for introverted types.
  • Argentum Nitricum – A nervousness which expresses itself with fidgety and strange or impulsive behaviours. Excessive talkativeness as a defensive posture. Enactment of superstitions or ritualistic behaviours are used to try to dispel the nervousness. Distorted sense of time, and usually tends towards feeling that it is going by too fast. The Argentum Nitricum subject generally feels better when other people are around (the classic extrovert response). Experiencing bizarre thoughts or perceptions.
  • Aconite – Primarily used to treat a state of shock, but also for the type of anxiety which mimics this. The intense and sudden symptoms of panic attacks are addressed by this remedy, including shortness of breath. The feeling that their death is near – this may explain the statistic that people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of death. An extremely restless state of mind. Especially suited for anxiety symptoms that come on quite rapidly and intensely, like a storm that seems to appear out of nowhere.
  • Ignatia – Over-sensitivity of emotions, with a tendency to expect to be disappointed. Feeling emotionally vulnerable in front of people, with a desire to run away and hide. The root of this anxiety is generally connected to some form of unresolved grief. A sensation of a physical lump in the throat can get in the way of speaking or singing.  Frequent involuntary sighing or yawning. May be linked with physical symptoms of headaches, or lots of sweat on the face.

 

 

 

Choosing the remedy, or combination of remedies which best match your symptoms can work remarkably well to help you through a performance or public speaking event. Over the longer term, the deeper process of Heilkunst treatment will remove the underlying factors which create this tendency towards stage fright, and eventually the remedies won’t be required any more, as you claim more and more of a natural state of biological and psychological functioning. There will be any number of deeper factors contributing to such triggered responses of stage fright which can be transmuted through depth treatment. Common wisdom would suggest that stage fright is “just the way someone is”, but is not a natural state in itself, and is entirely reversable through treatment.