At this time of year, many students are suffering from exam stress and exhaustion.
Ryan and his mum came to see me last week, as a year 11 student mock exams were well under way and like many teenagers, Ryan was exhausted. Since September, the school had increased the pressure to study and with weekends full of sports matches and no down time, Ryan’s body had run out of fuel.
Although there were no emotional signs of stress, sleep wasn’t a problem, although he said he sometimes felt too tired to sleep, appetite was the same, Ryan didn’t feel anxious or worried about the forthcoming year of exams, but his body was showing physical signs that it was under strain.
Ryan said his legs felt like lead, they literally didn’t want to move his body around and he generally ached all over. He’d previously been to the doctors, who’d confirmed it wasn’t Glandular Fever, the obvious thought for most teenagers feeling unwell at this age, but still Ryan had struggled to get through a day at school since returning to the new term in September.
The picture Ryan was presenting with was that of the remedy Gelsemium, a remedy widely used for colds and flu, which has the mental dullness and aching body, which Ryan had come with. I also gave Ryan a combination of Homeobotanical tinctures to boost his immune system, which had become compromised by the stress he was feeling.
Leaving the clinic room with a bag of remedies to take, Ryan was also reminded that he also needed to ensure his diet was full of good quality nutritionally dense foods and not just crisps and fizzy drinks. With the majority of the immune system being based in the gut, the quality of our food significantly affects our body’s ability to fight illness. Stress also has a detrimental effect on our immune system, so keeping ourselves emotionally healthy and letting others know when we are feeling stressed and anxious is important too!
Luke came to see me with his mum, having been diagnosed with high functioning autism some years previously. Luke was in mainstream primary school, but high levels of anxiety and occasional outbursts of anger meant he was often removed from the classroom and his friends. His anxiety and anger were helped by coping mechanisms, employed both at home and in the school environment, but his Mum wondered if there was anything else that could be tried holistically to help alleviate the level of anxiety Luke felt on a regular basis and enable him to spend more time in the classroom with his peers.
Luke had previously used Rescue Remedy, a combination of flower remedies, which have well documented success in alleviating a persons stress and anxiety and based on this, Luke’s mum wanted to explore how Homeopathy could perhaps help.
At the first appointment, I spent some time allowing Luke to settle and feel comfortable with both me and the environment, speaking mainly with his mum about his presenting symptoms and his medical history. Slowly, as Luke became confident in the appointment he began to answer questions for himself and engage in the appointment, and with me.
Together we talked about the situations that increased Luke’s anxieties and how these showed as physical symptoms i.e. hitting out at family members and breaking things. Luke felt he benefited from taking the Rescue Remedy and liked being able to have something he could personally take responsibility for.
How else could I help?
Between us we looked at how Luke’s diet could be improved, by removing processed foods and including as much fresh fruits and vegetables as possible. making sure Luke’s nutritional needs were covered was important as often autistic spectrum children are lacking in vital nutrients. Luke’s sleep was also an area for concern and I suggested his mum included a daily spoonful of Apothecherry, (http://platinumeurope.azurewebsites.net/wisehealth/product/2110e) a tart cherry tincture, which has been found to balance the natural levels of melatonin in the body and improve mood and sleep, thus helping to regulate a natural rhythm for sleep.
Homeopathically, Luke was given a remedy that helps to balance the bowel. Energetically the digestive system is seen as the ‘second brain’ and finding balance and improving friendly bacteria is known to have a positive effect on emotional symptoms. Wheat grass is also known to be beneficial in balancing the gut, but understandably Luke wasn’t too keen on taking anything that tasted like cut grass in the first instance!
As Luke liked to have remedies that he had control of taking when he was feeling anxious, I also gave him a bottle of a combination of remedies known to calm the nervous system. This he was able to take as and when he felt his anxieties rising.
A month later Luke and his mum returned for a follow up appointment. Both Luke and his mum felt he had improved significantly in the previous month and his mum said the school reported a noticeable improvement in Luke’s ability to control his anxiety in the classroom environment. Although there had been some instances whereby Luke had struggled with his anxiety, the benefits of taking the remedies were clear. The prescription was repeated at this point and once again Luke and his mum were asked to come back in a month.
The next appointment arrived and again Luke and his mum noted improvements in Luke’s behaviour and his ability to manage his anxieties both at home and at school. He was better able to communicate his concerns without the physical outbursts and was able to engage with me more than previously when discussing how he was feeling. Once again, school had communicated to Luke’s parents that they felt he was a ‘different child’ and was able to spend more time engaging in his education than before.
Luke hasn’t needed to come for an appointment for the last 3 months. His mum continues to contact me with occasional updates, but his behaviour has remained manageable and Luke himself feels able to communicate his anxieties more freely than before.
If you’d like more information on how I was able to support Luke and his family, or have any questions about how I may be able to help you or a family member, do get in touch.