“I love color,” Isobel said. “As a child I adored pink, yet as I’ve aged, red has enchanted me. It’s the color of blood, especially in the sense of the healthy blush of vitality. Yet it also expresses the splendor of Christmas and even the racy color of sports cars.”
Isobel was 60, had raised a brood of five well-adjusted kids and was married to the same man for more than 35 years. (“He’s one happy guy,” she says, but she discreetly does not go into the details about that part.)
Isobel’s verve was expressed in her language, her dress, her home and her relationships. Nothing about this post-menopausal woman was boring. She had a firm hand on the tiller of her life.
She wasn’t always like that, however. She related a time, about 15 years previous, when she felt that a storm had rocked her foundation. Isobel was not herself. Her skin showed signs of age, she needed support for a sagging figure, and her behavior was more than eccentric.
Her husband gingerly tip-toed around his tempestuous wife. Even their feisty little terrier cowered when she entered the room.
“I was a shrew and needed to be tamed, but the doctor I visited took that to mean I needed to be medicated,” Isobel says. “Truth be told, she was a drug pusher: hormones, patches, sleeping meds, anti-depressants. Foolishly, I took the stuff because I thought I had no choice. I recall the doctor assuring me the drugs would correct a chemical imbalance and that there was no other way.”
After months of the prescribed “drug therapy,” a term Isobel now calls an oxymoron, she sunk into a state of emotional numbness that prevented her from experiencing life. The doctor told her that the antidepressant would eliminate anger and depression.
But it was only a half-truth.
Like making a pact with the devil, Isobel had gotten tripped up on the jargon. The doctor didn’t warn her it would cause a personality lobotomy. Instead of feeling hysterical, Isobel became pathetic and insipid. Instead of feeling depressed, she was emotionless.
When her daughter-in-law announced that she was pregnant with their first child, Isobel responded with a neutral “That’s nice.” Need I tell you that her family was concerned? Oddly enough, however, no one recognized that it was the drugs that had altered her personality since they all trusted the doctor’s advice.
Surely she would not have prescribed anything that would harm Isobel.
That trust was shattered, however, when the family went to the shore for a two-week vacation. Isobel left her meds behind, whether inadvertently or intentionally, it’s not clear, but it was all that was needed to redirect her course. It wasn’t easy.
She went through withdrawal. She succumbed to tantrums, couldn’t sleep and vomited, but even that was worth suffering through because within a few days of abstinence, the family began to see glimpses of her old persona. Unfortunately, Isobel’s anger and depression returned in a worsened state, and she knew she had to find another solution fast.
At last, her neighbor Sarah told her about a homeopathic remedy that had helped her through her menopause passage. The neighbor said that she would not have been willing to part with the bottle had it been ten years earlier, but as she had completed menopause years ago, she gave Isobel what was left of the little pills.
“My homeopath told me to take this once daily for about thirteen weeks, and I noticed a shift after the first two weeks,” Sarah said. “It was just me minus the ugliness, not me in an altered state.”
Isobel wasted no time in taking the remedy. She had been accustomed to using homeopathy to treat her children’s strep throats and ear infections when they were little, but she didn’t realize that homeopathy could help with something as formidable as menopause, depression and anger.
Yet, within a few weeks, her husband noticed that Isobel had begun to soften again. She smiled at his teasing. She showed interest in life again, and her energy improved as her sleep was repaired. She was Isobel again.
This marvelous little remedy was Ammonium Carbonicum 200. And it is specific to the passage into, through and out of menopause. Originally derived from sesqui-carbonate of ammonium, commonly known as smelling salts. When made homeopathically, it is especially powerful for menopausal women and has helped tens of thousands at the Prasanta Banerji Homeopathic Research Foundation. Since working there, I have seen firsthand its efficacy in helping woman through menopause.
Ammonium carbonicum is also a remedy for chronic fatigue, mental sluggishness and feeling worse around and after menses. Dr. Margaret Tyler in Homeopathic Drug Pictures offers other uses. “There is relief from faintings and other neurological or cardiac symptoms, including heart palpitations that arise during the time of menopause.” This is particularly interesting in that Amonium carbonica 200 is derived from smelling salts. Dr. James Kent, who wrote Lectures on Homeopathic Materia Medica reports, “The menstrual blood is blackish, often in clots, leucorrhea is acrid, and there is violent tearing in abdomen and vagina. There is a sensation of deep-seated soreness in the whole pelvic viscera; at times it seems as if all her inner parts were raw.”
I have also seen it restore marriages that seem irreparably damaged by the woman’s menopausal insistence that she no longer is attracted to her husband and wants to leave to “find herself”. What I’ve noted time and again is that during this phase of a woman’s hormonal shifts, she can’t be convinced that she’s acting irresponsibly or thinking with her uterus, but that is often what is occurring. A few rounds (say 13 weeks or so) and I’ve witnessed a change of heart towards the husband. Soon, the desire to own a life that is devoid of this particular man and his perceived drawbacks, reverts to acceptance of a marriage worth saving.
In Isobel’s case, her passionate nature was forced into apathy by the anti-depressant drug. It threatened to destroy her personality; in fact, to obliterate the very essence of who she was. Indeed, if homeopathy were not available to right the wrongs, it would likely have been better to have simply put up with her outbursts for months, if not years, in an effort to save her from the scourges of chemical treatment. For someone else who might not be subject to such intense emotions the use of the same drug may have brought relief from anger only to cause depression to set in. Do we really want to chemically tamper with human dials? I think not.
Like august and dignified architecture, our maturing bodies and minds hold treasured secrets. We can take on the responsibility of being the master of these mysteries, or we can acquiesce to a patented, synthetic counterfeit inflicted upon us by an industry gone haywire. Flying buttresses provided by the likes of spandex and underwire bras are at least a harmless way to bolster old age. But chemical drugs are far more sinister than oversized falsies. They eventually reveal themselves to be dangerous counterfeits. By the time we reach this age, authenticity is what we most crave. No one minds a telling patina as long as the soul behind it is in tact.
Diana Vreeland, who became editor of Harper’s Bazaar at the age of sixty once said, “There’s only one very good life and that’s the one you know you want and you make it yourself.”
Nature did not intend this transformational time to be a battleground. Homeopathy helps the body navigate through the changing hormones without running aground. It offers a woman self-empowerment to put our hormonal house in order.
This morning, Isobel painted her toenails red. “I like to look down at them peeking through my shoes,” she said. “It reminds me of how vibrant life can be.”
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Joette is not a physician and the relationship between Joette and her clients is not of prescriber and patient, but as educator and client. It is fully the client's choice whether or not to take advantage of the information Joette presents. Homeopathy doesn't "treat" an illness; it addresses the entire person as a matter of wholeness that is an educational process, not a medical one. In order to be treated or diagnosed, Joette believes that the advice of a holistic physician is in order.