Author: Helen Beaumont
I am finding it more and more difficult to attain what I should do: a case of Cadmium phosphoricum
by Helen Beaumont
Woman thirty-eight, single, a university lecturer
Presenting complaints: acne, cold sores, irritable bowel syndrome
Patient (P): “Acne is the more pressing issue. I also get irritable bowel syndrome. The GP thinks it is not linked and has checked for coeliacie (gluten intolerance). I have excluded wheat and dairy from my diet. My stomach is not as bloated and painful but there has been no impact on my skin and it has not regulated my bowels. The cold sores are not nearly so bad but I still get them frequently.”
Helen Beaumont (HB): Tell me about your skin?
P: “I will not leave the house without make up. It is only on my face, around my mouth and nose. It is worse before a period, big lumpy things. I have tried everything except Roaccutane. I had homeopathic treatment, Natrium muriaticum but did not help the cold sores, there was no real difference.”
P: “It started when I was twenty-five, my best friend committed suicide. I was traumatised in a quiet way. It was such a shock – disbelief. I didn’t know how to deal with it, I became withdrawn.”
HB: Tell me more about the shock?
P: “Shocking, it was so out of the ordinary, shock affects your body. Women internalise things, things happen to the body since you don’t express things.
“I am red around the face, lots of pustules that were weepy and infected. I get lumpy, yellow-headed boil-like spots around my mouth.”
Hot and greasy
P: “When I eat cheese, especially hot cheese – hot, greasy, it itches my face around my mouth. My face is too greasy. I spend a fortune on lotions, trying to look better.
“I suspect sugar, I can’t cut out sugar. I eat fruit, dried fruit, and wine. I have a good diet, I never eat junk food, I have a mostly vegetarian diet. I exercise, I don’t smoke but I have really bad skin.”
HB: How does it make you feel? What is the experience?
P: “I feel miserable. It is only a superficial complaint, I have not got a terminal illness but it affects everything I do, like going on holiday, especially camping.
“I hate it. I feel so self-conscious. It takes up a huge amount of time, always looking at it. I have an active time socially but I am always messing with my face, putting make up on. I’m very self-conscious. I’m a show off, I like photos normally. Now, on holiday there are no photos. Sun takes the redness away, it looked better with a bit of colour, the redness does not look so red, but the sun can trigger cold sores.”
Performing on stage
HB: Tell me about being a show off?
P: “I play in bands, I direct a band, I like to be on stage performing. I feel great. I did it last night. It was a great sense of achievement. It feels good, it’s such good fun. I play percussion and drums. I like music.
“I am controlling, I am directing, I am in charge. I am involved with a group of friends. I’m not a controlling person but I do like things my way. I am a lecturer at university in the school for policies. I am a research coordinator. I disseminate information. I am responsible for organising the group. It is good. I do a lot of work with survivors of violence. In a small way, I can make a difference. On the research side, I did a big project with the Women’s Institute. I did a huge launch with NSPCC with teenagers. I’m not stressed about my job, it is a difficult field to work in, but there is a good support network. It is a feminist unit; activist, a network with a political impact. I am lucky with that, it affects policy.”
Music and creativity
HB: What are you passionate about?
P: “I have a big social network, I am in three different bands. My family – my sister has three kids. My friends are so important to me, I don’t have children or a partner. I’m out more than I should be. I love doing things with people, I am different from other people, I like to be out with my friends, playing in my bands, creating music, being with people, we can all communicate through music and creativity. Friends are very important. I was with someone until last week (starts to cry). It is all a bit raw just now, we were together for a year. I love holidays, seeing new places meeting new people, something different and new.”
HB: Fears, phobias?
P: “I fear I will be on my own with no family, no friends.”
HB: What would it be to be on your own?
P: “I would have no family, or more importantly, no friends. That would be the worst possible thing I could imagine, I could not tolerate that. There would be a sense of loneliness and isolation, it would be a waste of life. It is not what we are functioned to do, you will not have maximised what you can do. My sister says I find it hard to relax and do nothing. I do too many things and get over-tired. I don’t want to be on my own.”
HB: What would it be to be on your own?
P: “It would be very sad. You could not imagine what it would be like. No one to talk to, no one to get support from, no one to enjoy things with.”
HB: Tell me more about support?
P: “We all need support, to be told what we look like in a new outfit, to talk about work issues and whether to buy a house or new CD. You need non-judgmental support but you need critical support as well.”
Treated unfairly at work
HB: Tell me more about critical support?
P: “I have got some work issues. The structure at work and the higher management are not being helpful. Hierarchical things. I feel aggrieved, there is a gender hierarchy. I was not treated as other colleagues were, so I am annoyed. Virtually, all the positions of responsibility are taken by men. Men progressed further than me. I have been through all sorts of challenges to address it. They know I think I have been treated unfairly, some people are supportive, some have not been. I feel undermined.”
P: “You are not appreciated; your work is not acknowledged or it is belittled. You are not recognised for what you are doing, you see other people advanced for what they are doing. I watch the department reap awards for the work I am doing. The department receives accolades in The Guardian but I don’t get the same money. It pisses me off. I do not get the recognition.”
HB: Tell me about being advanced?
P: “Formal channels to draw to people’s attention. I am not getting the attention or the appreciation. I am finding it more and more difficult to attain what I should do, there’s a constant pressure to perform but I’m not being appreciated.”
Extended lunch breaks
P: I feel unmotivated. I have been taking extended lunch breaks and not going in early to work– it’s counterproductive. I’m not doing as much as I should be, I have less enthusiasm.”
HB: Tell me more about your digestive symptoms?
P: “For years, I have had a sore, swollen stomach. I don’t have proper bowel movements, they are not solid; I wonder if I am not absorbing nutrients. I wonder if eating no wheat helps my stomach and no dairy helps my skin. I get lots of bloating, distended stomach, I’m full of gas and air. I have an upset stomach, painful belly, gurgling and diarrhoea. If I go out for a meal I have to sit on the toilet in the morning, sometimes after a meal. Spicy food makes me belch. Red onions aggravate me.”
HB: Tell me about your nature?
P: “I am seen as outgoing person, keen to organise parties. People see me as easy going and well balanced. I do like time on my own, but I need to be doing something like reading. I never watch TV. I might lie around if I have a hangover. I rarely do nothing, I would feel I was missing out. I’m exhausted since I came back from holiday. I go out every night with friends. I’m not happy, I’m very unhappy since my relationship split up. I should not be unhappy as there are good things in life. I sold my place (400 miles away) to find a place here. I have a permanent job here. I live in a shared house but I need something that is mine. This transient way is affecting my mental health, I am not feeling settled. I would be happier being in my own place, I could decorate it the way I wanted to.”
You have to make contact
P: “Mum and Dad split up and Dad disappeared. Just last year, I had an email from his wife saying it was his birthday. They separated when I was eleven; I didn’t have much contact with him until I was nineteen. When I was twenty-one, there were huge fights and arguments so he cut off all contact and did not see me or my sister at all.”
HB: How do you feel when your Dad does not want to be in contact with you?
P: “I feel very sad and upset. I was very hurt, I think he has no idea how he has treated us. Dad not making contact is cruel. I was upset about it but I have got my friends, you have to get out there make contact with others, socialize because you can’t rely on your family. The email from his wife gave some closure. He has other children now. I have a good relationship with Mum.”
Weather: “I like sun and heat and warmth and light. I hate cold wind, rain, and misery. I feel cold in the house.”
Food: “I eat too much cereal, I love my cereal. I like fish, seafood, and salad. I became vegetarian age fifteen, never eaten red meat since.”
P: “A few years ago, I had shingles, afterwards I had chronic fatigue. I do so much and then I am completely knackered, wiped out, I feel low. Sometimes, I go out seven nights a week.”
Prescription: Cadmium phosphoricum 200C, split dose, repeated one month later.
Eight weeks later: she did very well on Cadmium phosphoricum. Her acne improved and it was no longer a problem for her; she felt she could not go out and be seen without her make-up.
Twelve weeks later: she enjoyed playing with the band again and was assigned to work on a project she wanted to do.
Sixteen weeks later: her work situation improved, she felt she was getting the recognition she deserved and she got a promotion.
Sankaran: Cadmium has the feeling that their talent, creativity, or performance is constantly threatened or attacked. They need to be very alert to maintain their position, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain their position under attack. They make constant efforts to maintain their position but there are many unsuccessful efforts.
Phosphorus salt was chosen because of the strong emphasis on friends and exhausting herself by overextending herself and socializing. The focus on communication is seen in Phosphorus and also in Cadmium itself.
Jan Scholten: Cadmium is in series 5, stage 12. Cadmium features are repetition in performance. Feeling powerless, undermined. Drama. Threatened. Reproduction, forgery. Decay.
Cadmium rubrics suggesting this feeling are:
Dreams; destination, not reaching
Dreams: looking for someone and failing to find him
Dreams; running, after someone
Dreams: unsuccessful efforts to: do various things
Cadmium is a lustrous silver white metal, its surface has a bluish tinge, it tarnishes in air. It is ductile, very malleable, soft enough to be cut with a knife. Its capacity to absorb neutrons is very high, so it is used as a barrier to control nuclear fission. Cadmium is often found in combination with zinc. It is a component of nickel cadmium battery and in colouring agents in the form of bright yellow or bright red cadmium sulphide. It is also used in communication in telephone and tram cables. It jams conduction, prevents flowing. During the proving, the telephone lines of Jayesh Shah were blocked.
Keywords: undermined, aggrieved, critical support, unappreciated, constant pressure to perform
Remedies: Cadmium phosphoricum.