This case study encompasses both my professional roles as an alternative healthcare practitioner and corporate wellbeing training provider. The aim of the case study is to encourage you to assess the impact of executing a decision on the health of those who are involved, perhaps through no fault of their own and therefore what could have been done differently.
The client in question, came to me for the treatment of chronic depression. She had been recommended by a person who I had been treating for some time who also suffered from chronic depression, which I am glad to say he is mostly free of today. At the time she was under the “control” of the specialised NHS mental health, psychiatric unit as well as receiving medical assistance. She is taking several medications for depression, anxiety and sleep including Lithium.
A lady late 50’s who was employed by a high school as the assistant director of the school, a job she has been doing for some years already while also continuing to teach the pupils an academic subject. An active person who was working long hours every day, five days a week in school and some part of her personal time to catch up, mark papers and do other administrative tasks, she seldom did less than a 10-hour day. Her husband also works in education. Her daughter was due to graduate a couple of months after her first consultation with me.
About 3 years ago, as a part of some kind of change in status and re-organisation of the school, all teachers were asked to re-apply for their jobs to continue employment at that school. Each teacher would be hired based on the new requirements. My client was not re-hired, nor was she given an explanation as to why, she was simply told that her job was no longer needed as of tomorrow. No redundancy payment was offered. That news would be a dramatic shock for most of us, even if thinking of resigning or retiring. Lack of appreciation, feedback and thanks would make anyone angry, likely followed by sadness at having the job and career you love crudely removed with no further contact. From May to September of that year she did not feel well, she lost interest and enthusiasm for life, but tried to regain this by taking up a role as a volunteer in a local charity shop.
At a similar time, her father died during Covid and this seemed to “tip” her over the edge into mental illness, specifically severe depression combined with anxiety. Her father also suffered from depression and anxiety therefore depression running in the familial line. She stated that she remembers shaking uncontrollably at the loss of her father, and perhaps to this day has not yet come to terms with this loss through the normal grieving process.
Certainly, we can debate if how she lost her job was according to the law? That is not the purpose of this case and therefore we will avoid going down that route. The client is now on four medications for anxiety and depression, some of which are also negatively affecting hair growth, causing hair loss, which further embeds the feeling of “why would anyone want or love me?”. In addition, she is putting on weight, which also negatively impacts how she feels about herself. Her quality of sleep is poor due to twitching, a side effect one of the prescribed medications. To aid sleep she has been subscribed Zopiclone, a common sleep medication which can cause drowsiness during the day. In her own words, she “Has no reason to get out of bed and most of the time feels blank and tense,” therefore can spend the whole day in bed sleeping with no desire to get out of bed. In order to end this cycle, she saw only one way out and that was to commit suicide. She tried, but luckily was not successful.
She had her gall bladder removed approximately 10 years ago and despite this has no difficulty in digesting most foods. However, looking at this energetically, the gall bladder – “How can you have the gall to……?” is a representation of rage and extreme anger that has been suppressed within the body, ultimately causing severe inflammation and damage to the gall bladder until eventually it had to be surgically removed. This is an example of how suppressed negative emotions manifest on the physical level to show us what it is we need to deal with. Does removal of the gall bladder mean we have dealt with these negative emotions, or do they still remain in the body as the person’s behavioural pattern remains the same?
Mrs M also suffers from a fungal nail infection in both her feet under the nails.
Despite being under the guidance of the mental health team in her local area, at best she is staying numb to life, devoid of any kind of emotion whether joyful or otherwise, at worst is not living. Weekly she has a counselling session with one of the mental health counsellors. After several years of guidance from this team, she and her husband, whose life has also been tipped upside down, decided to try something different and on recommendation from one of their friends, sought a health consultation with me.
The main goals for treatment are:
- To get better from severe depression and anxiety to live her life as before.
- To improve her quality of life and reduce medications.
- To empower her to embrace life through physical and mental health and vitality.
To date she has undergone 2 consultations. Between consultations she is taking herbal remedies and orchid essences as well as Omega 3 for brain health and vitamin D. The orchid essences were to address the anger at herself and to re-balance the victim and saboteur archetypes that are both running negative patterns affecting her behaviour. Naturopathic advice included:
- Going outside into nature for a minimum of 10 minutes twice daily. When someone does not even want to get out of bed this is a huge challenge.
- Removal of all wheat from her diet.
- Find one positive in her life every day and give thanks.
- De-clutter her “office” for 10 minutes 3-4 times weekly until complete. Throw past documents out with joy at letting them go.
The first two points were essential to creating wellness. The other points are important, but if not done every day at the early stage of treatment, this is fine. This gives you the background of this client. Now look at this situation from a treatment perspective and answer the following questions:
- How did this person end up with severe depression and anxiety when previously she was a capable, active woman who up until losing her job we can assume was able to take responsibility and get things done?
- The mental health and medical teams are treating the symptoms of her condition trying to provide her some quality of life while stabilising anxiety and chronic depression. Comment on the approach?
- When treating any dis-ease condition how important is it to treat the symptoms and the cause for long term relief and to ensure she is able to live her life with a good degree of normalcy?
- What do you think is the root cause of her prescribed condition?
- Treating any dis-ease requires consideration and treatment of both the emotional underlying factor as well as the physical condition/symptoms? What is your opinion?
- Do you think that treatment through the traditional, allopathic medical system considers the person as a whole in the treatment protocols or rather focuses on the visible symptoms and therefore dis-ease diagnosis?
- What naturopathic advice would you give to the client, bearing in mind that she may not have the energy to get out of bed? What actions do you think would bring the most positive impact to her mental health?
- If you were the manager/HR manager who informed this client of their redundancy would you do anything differently?