Support for Pandemic Stress & PTSD

In the blink of an eye our world turned upside down. Many people have lost their jobs or are in new positions they never expected, grandparents can’t see grandchildren and isolation means some people really are living totally alone. And while some of these things are manageable in the short-term, we have to consider the mental health implications of all of this.

Some people already had anxiety or depression before all of this started. Now we have new things to come to grips with and there is no road map for any of this. So let’s look at some of the issues we may be facing and some of the home remedies that can help bring some relief in the short term.

Obviously if you already have a condition that is worsening, or you feel your mental state is such that you need some more robust support, it’s important that you get in contact with your GP as a first point of call, sooner rather than later. While you may not need to take drugs (or maybe you do in the short-term), an appointment or two with a psychologist or counsellor can give you some strategies to get through.

Remember, fear or anxiety weakens and tires us and that’s not a place we want to be at the moment. Calming our adrenals, taking our mind off the current situation by turning off the TV and not continually checking social media and news feeds, and taking some steps to relax, ground ourselves and generally self-soothe are really important right now. This is about what is going on in our heads and yes, it is about what is going on in our lives, but we will find a way through and we are never alone. There is always someone there if we reach out.

What are we talking about?

First off, let’s look at the types of mental/emotional states we might be experiencing or we might be aware of in our partners, parents, children and friends.

Shock would be one of the first and most major issues. Shock about our own situation, loss of job, disconnection from family and friends, loss of money. Shock at the number of deaths and the number of cases and the horror stories we are seeing on the TV. We’ve had bad news, we’ve had disappointments, we may even have lost loved ones!
Then may come grief and this will be about all of the above, which can then lead either to anger about how much has changed, or depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, weakness.
And while as practitioners we would say to you, this is the time you need constitutional support, you may find your own practitioner is snowed under and your best option in the short term is going to be some home remedies, which actually can bring enormous calm at times like this and until you can get some additional support.
Again, if you are feeling extremely anxious or depressed, having suicidal thoughts or bouts of, for example, weeping, you should make sure you get in touch with your GP as soon as possible.
Another thing which may become an issue during this time are obsessions or obsessive compulsive behavior. These feelings and behaviours are about control, because suddenly we have no control at all about what is happening in our world. It could be obsession about watching TV or obsessive hand washing, fear of the epidemic, fear of contagion. Maybe it’s fear about going out of the house or an obsession about loss of money or of poverty. This  list can go on and our reactions to these situations of grief, loss and fear are always unique to us.
Homeopathy is about individualising the remedies to suit the person and their unique reaction, but there are many remedies which have a particular affinity for these times and situations, which can be helpful in taking the edge off and helping us cope with our new lives.

Support Remedies

Here are a few remedies which may soothe and calm. These are the remedies traditionally used to support people at this time and you’ll note we talk about the whole person, not just anxiety or shock or grief.

As always if you don’t have success with your home prescribing see your homeopath or other healthcare professional as soon as possible.

What you might notice as you go through this post is that while we are talking about remedies for mental and emotional support, these are also some of the remedies we’ve talked about for the physical symptoms of the pandemic and that’s because we are always treating the bigger picture. So, for example, a shock or a fright, things that lower our immunity and make us vulnerable, can suddenly bring on symptoms of a cold or a fever! There is always a connection between our mental/emotional state and our physical health.

Aconite is one of our big shock and fright remedies (see also Arnica) and it’s also one of the main ones for the beginning of a sickness with fever. The picture may appear from a single experience or may develop from watching too many horrible stories on TV or social media. Symptoms can come on very rapidly and intensely, often in the middle of the night. Things might start with strong anxiety or nightmares with a pounding heart. It can be helpful for panic attacks with fear and anxiety which come on suddenly. The patient may appear agitated and there may be an intense and irrational fear which may lead to palpitations, breathlessness, dry mouth, dizziness and in extreme cases even heart attack. This emotional state can lead on to acute illness, so it’s important to manage the anxiety and fear. The remedy can be taken frequently (every 10 minutes if necessary for up to 5 doses) and could be added to a water bottle and sipped.

Argentrum nitricum (Arg Nit) – Anxiety is often accompanied by or from fear of the epidemic, fear of contagion, fear of public places. Symptoms often include dizziness and diarrhoea. People who need this remedy are often jittery, quite impulsive and suggestible, but can usually be easily reassured. They may crave sweets and salt, which usually make the symptoms worse, particularly the diarrhoea.

Arnica is of course one of our big trauma remedies and while we might think of it for accidents and injuries, it has a big picture of feeling battered and bruised and the sufferer will often say “I’m fine” when it’s pretty evident they’re not. I’ve used this when someone has described how they feel after a divorce, an abusive situation, perhaps in a workplace, or just a shock where they feel as if they have been beaten up or hit by a truck. A simple first aid remedy, but you may find it really helpful if this is how you or a family member is feeling.

Arsenicum album (Ars Alb) – Ars Alb is, according to many sources, one of the main indicated remedies for the physical symptoms of the current virus and as a support remedy, but it also has a big mental/emotional picture that we are seeing widely at this time. People who need this remedy are usually very anxious about their health and have a tendency to need things to be very orderly, very clean and very secure. Financial loss can be particularly stressful for them. While they worry about getting sick, they may also worry a lot about not getting well again, of being incurable. They may stress that they have a particular disease, or an undiagnosed disease and go to many doctors and specialists – they are very needy when under stress. They have a great need to control everything and can be obsessive about small details; the more stress they are under, the more they will obsess. They will often “sweat the small stuff” around some event outside of their control, like the food or water on a trip overseas or perhaps while they are in lockdown and are unable to access their usual products or shops. Anxiety can occur any time but at night and particularly between midnight and 2am is a common time for these people, when they may wake feeling anxious and restless and actually get out of bed to pace around. They often have digestive issues (commonly diarrhoea) or asthma attacks related to anxiety.

Aurum metallicum (Aurum) is a remedy that your practitioner would usually prescribe but I’m including it here to show you another remedy picture. Aurum (the metal gold) is a deep acting remedy and one that we are likely to think about for someone who has severe depression, a feeling of emptiness and despair, often with suicidal thoughts and tendencies. As with some of the other remedies, they will often have fear of contagion, fear of being incurable, despair of recovery, and handwashing is quite likely to be part of the picture as they can be OCD in this very depressive state. They are likely to have no interest in life or the people around them and they often have feelings of guilt or regrets about something they feel they should have said or done differently. There is a feeling that they have lost their purpose in life and their life is not worth living. If someone in your family is in this state, they do need support from their GP and a mental health plan, but homeopathy can be really helpful as part of this overall support package, however, this is not a remedy to buy over-the-counter and home prescribe. It is described here as an illustration of a mental state only.

Calcarea carbonicum (Calc Carb) Individuals needing this remedy are dependable, solid souls who become easily overwhelmed from working too hard or perhaps as a result of an illness, and start to fear they are losing their mind, although you’d never know it. On the other side, they need to work, they want to get back to their job and they feel burdened by the responsibility of it all – work, life, family, employees. They can become foggy and confused when tired and this adds to their anxiety. They don’t cope well with change, worry or bad news and an underlying dread of disaster can develop. These individuals are generally quite fearful, and fear of heights and enclosed spaces are common, so some states of isolation are going to be challenging. They often crave sweets and eggs and are easily fatigued.

Gelsemium – This is another well indicated remedy for the current virus, so it is going to fit the achy, fluey picture with slow onset that many people will present with on the physical level. But it is also a big anxiety remedy and while under normal circumstances we’d be thinking about using it before an interview or giving a talk, it is a major remedy for fear, anxiety, jelly legs and weakness after receiving a shock or bad news. They may literally feel paralysed by their whole experience, by thoughts of the future, and feel like they are rooted to the spot and they just can’t think. They may become weak, shaky and dizzy and may even experience chills and hot flushes, diarrhoea and headaches, which might be in relation to the actual virus or as their mental/emotional reaction to their situation.

Ignatia These are sensitive individuals who are often anxious following a grief, disappointment or other stressful experience. I often describe them as bordering on hysterical because their moods can be all over the place and their physical symptoms can be too! Mood swings, frequent sighing, they may burst into tears or laughter, or be uncharacteristically rude or defensive. They can also become OCD in their anxiety. Headaches like a nail being driven into the side of the head are common, as is the sensation of a lump in the throat or crampy pains in the tummy or back.

Kali phosphoricum (Kali P) – is one of Schussler’s tissue salts which are used in the 6x potency, but it can also be used in other potencies. Symptoms indicating Kali Phos may appear when someone has become exhausted by overwork, worry or illness and they feel anxious and unable to cope. This remedy has an affinity for the nervous system so they may be jumpy and oversensitive and easily startled. Physical symptoms may include headaches, backaches and digestive upsets. Hearing unpleasant news or thinking about world events can aggravate the problems. Concentration may become a problem, along with insomnia and a sense of nervous dread. Eating, warmth and rest often bring relief.

Lycopodium (Lyc) People needing this remedy often have a great lack of self-confidence – not that you’d know it, as outwardly they may be domineering and overbearing with people they feel comfortable with. They do however often feel self-conscious and intimidated by their superiors or people they perceive as powerful! They have major issues with taking on responsibility (including marriage or parenthood!) and this can cause anxiety and fear of failure. Losing their job and the prospect of having to go to Centrelink or perhaps apply for something else will be daunting. Again you may not know what is going on as they can be rude and a bit bombastic! Having said this, once they start the task they usually perform well and come out on top. Claustrophobia, irritability, digestive problems with major gas and bloating and a craving for sweets are often indicators for Lycopodium.

Natrum muriaticum (Nat Mur) – This is one of our major grief remedies and there is going to be so much grief at this time. Not just loss of a loved one or loss of a job, but loss of freedom, unexpected change and total upheaval in daily life. These souls have deep emotions and can appear aloof and reserved, which is really a protective mechanism. They are not always comfortable in social situations so are often lonely and can be easily hurt and offended. They tend to dwell on what may be minor offences from others, refusing to be consoled even though they may want it. They are, however, good listeners! They can often be fearful, with anxiety at night, fear of robbers or intruders and fear of enclosed spaces. Isolation may be a problem for them if they don’t have a garden or other place to escape to. Migraines and insomnia are symptoms that may arise as part of their anxiety picture and may come on after a loss or grief. The anxiety may not be obvious as most things can tend to be hidden in Nat Mur people.

Nux Vomica – these people are often our ‘A-type’ personalities, so competitive, work-focussed and usually successful. They may be entrepreneurs or high level managers with a lot of responsibility, used to working long hours and being constantly occupied. They often crave stimulants to keep going, so this is likely to be their go-to at times like our current situation; alcohol, coffee, drugs to excess and then they become liverish or irritable. Their stress generally comes on in relation to work and they are not great at taking holidays, needing to have their finger on the pulse at all times. A job loss or loss on the stock market means lack of financial security, fear of poverty and major stress. They classically wake around 4am and then have trouble getting back to sleep. If they do get back to sleep, they may wake later feeling terrible and then are bad tempered for the rest of the day. Their digestive system is also a source of aggravation for them, in particular suffering indigestion and constipation, both of which are worse when stressed.

Phosphorus – people needing a dose or two of Phos are outgoing, excitable, generous, and open hearted. Because they are so open they can also be jumpy and full of vivid fears and imaginations. Anxiety can be triggered by almost anything as they lack the boundaries necessary for modern life. They are over-sympathetic and when they become worn out from watching too many news programs, spending too much time on facebook and generally over-caring for everyone, they suffer exhaustion, may get spacey or even become ill. They are better for company and reassurance, as well as conversation and a massage or back rub, so isolation could be particularly difficult for these people. They need their friends and family around them for energetic support and, because they are often quite touchy-feely people, video-calls or phone calls may not cut it for them.

Stramonium is a remedy your homeopath might give you if you’ve experienced fear or a fright that is really intense and you or a loved one are still living as if that is a continuing reality. Sufferers can’t bear to be on their own, they feel isolated and there may be a great fear of the dark. There are likely to be nightmares which can be horrific. The person needing this remedy can be very angry, and the anger can erupt very suddenly and may be violent. There may also be great fear of water and dogs. This is a remedy that your homeopath will prescribe for you and they will want to support you through the process.

Combinations, Essences & Sprays

Don’t forget our Anticipation & Anxiety Combination which includes remedies traditionally indicated for a variety of situations where anxiety or anticipation may be an issue.

And of course SOS, our own 21st Century version of Rescue Remedy and similar, is great to carry in a handbag or pocket for these times.

Some of the WyldChyld Essences have an affinity for anxiety and fear or feeling unprotected, and are applicable to adults and children alike.

If you are aligned with your life path, you might find some additional support in our Soul Harmonics range of essences.

Products like our Protection spray or Angel I-Con might also resonate with you.

And if you don’t find anything that fits the bill, get in touch for a more individualised option.

How to take the remedies

You may need to take your chosen remedy a few times in a day and then reduce, or you might find that a couple of times a day is enough. We follow the energy with the remedy, so if you are super anxious, you may need more doses. If you are low and just a little bit anxious, you’ll need it less frequently because the energy is less intense. If the remedy lifts you, you don’t need another dose until the symptoms begin to come back. If you’re not feeling any change at all after five doses, your remedy probably isn’t right and it’s time to have another look or contact your homeopath or healthcare practitioner.
In terms of potency, if you have a 30c in your remedy box, just use it. Otherwise many of the remedies I have talked about about are available in 200c potency on the website.

Melanie Creedy trained in the UK in the early 1990s and holds a Bachelor of Health Science in Homeopathy. She is registered with the Australian Register of Homoeopaths (AROH) and is a member of the Australian Homoeopathic Association.

Melanie has used homeopathy for 30 years and has been in practice since 1998. For many years she ran The Children’s Ear Clinic in Western Australia, but since her tree change to Tasmania, has a special interest in women’s and children’s health generally and helping individuals manage their journey on the spiritual path with homeopathy and her range of essences. Melanie has developed her own methods of dealing with complex cases over the years and offers distance consultations via phone and skype to allow people Australia-wide to access her services.

She was Vice President and Professional Development Coordinator of the Australian Homoeopathic Association from 2011 to 2015 and is editor of the AHA National Newsletter.

Homeopathy is a traditional medicine. It may be used in conjunction with other medicines. For any ongoing chronic condition, it is important to be assessed or examined by your GP or specialist. Always seek medical advice in emergencies. The information provided in this blog does not constitute medical advice but is for information only. If in doubt as to the appropriateness of a suggestion or treatment seek advice from your homeopath.