The divided self

Hydrogen occupies a special place in the mineral kingdom and the state of a human being who requires this medicine is especially striking and fascinating writes Jonathan Hardy

A man of 27 came to see me in October 1999. He had been given a diagnosis of depression and anxiety and was currently taking Prozac for his psychological state and Motilium for severe and chronic diarrhoea.

After discussing his physical symptoms he said, “On occasions I feel suicidal and quite nihilistic. But I am aware of myself spiritually and therefore I haven’t done it. I am in a state of turmoil. There is a lack of continuity in my life – I don’t know where my roots are – I was adopted. It is so big that it is almost too difficult to talk about. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by just getting out of the front door.”

It is very interesting to note the sort of words he is using: nihilistic, spiritual, continuity in life, big, overwhelmed. The language a patient uses is very important and I was by this stage beginning to get a sense that this patient viewed himself and his world in a rather unusual way. 

“There is turmoil inside me -so many things in my mind,” he continued. “I feel disorientated, almost a physical dizziness – I will start to feel woozy, as if I’ve been on a fairground ride, and then I feel sick and I’m unable to relax. I feel pent-up, het-up, tense, unable to stop thinking about things. I’m generally unwell – tired, heavy, lethargic, unable to relax. I tend to be unapproachable and distracted and withdrawn. I’m off sick from work at the moment.”

It was clear that he was suffering intensely. Not only was he unable to find any state of peace in himself but he was unable to function properly and was therefore not working. He continued, “I have remarkable mood swings ­sometimes I have an irrational elation about the world, some days I am absolutely ecstatic – I will suddenly start laughing and giggling for no reason. It feels like I’m crazy – my sense of humour comes back in a strange way. I am unreasonably happy about absolutely everything. Suddenly I feel part of the universe, connected with everything. It feels as though there is a pattern to the universe and I am part of it. I can feel absolutely brilliant, on top of the world – it’s a feeling of elation, of connectedness, that there is a point to life and I feel more active and intelligent. When I’m like this I want to talk to people more and I become hyperactive. I am really Superman and I feel really lucky and that things will really go my way. I feel that I have a boundless self. I have a confidence which makes me feel that I can deal with anything, that there is absolutely nothing I can’t face up to. It is a total sense of well­being. It feels that everything is going to be OK – with me, with other people, with the world and the environment ­absolutely everything.”

It is not every day you hear a patient describe things like this! He is using extremely unusual words and describing extremely unusual states which reflect a very unusual perception of himself and the world. In conventional terms we might think this patient is manic.

In homeopathy a specific medicine is chosen on the basis of what is unusual and different about a particular case and I quickly felt that I had a Hydrogen patient sitting in front of me. The sort of words he used to describe his state corresponded remarkably closely to many of the symptoms found in the proving.

He then went on to describe another aspect of his state which contrasted remarkably with the ecstatic state. “I have always felt a certain insecurity from being adopted especially when my parents divorced. It made me feel like I was outside of things. When I thought about it I realised that I quite often felt like I was outside of my family. I feel I don’t know where I come from, where my real family is.”

I noticed at this point that he tended to lean forward far more than most patients do ­really leaning over the desk as if he was trying to make a connection with me and that he had to get close to me in order to do this. Observation of patients is so important in homeopathy – everything about them can tell us how they are feeling.

“I felt part of something when I was at boarding school. I find it really difficult to feel that I belong, that I am a part of things. There is a lack of continuity in my life ­no direction. For the last six years I have had one job after another. I will be 27 in five days and I feel there has been no benefit in what I have done. I see no plan for my future. Jobs just don’t lead anywhere. I come up against a brick wall which means I can’t face doing the same thing day after day. I feel like I’m not part of a community, I’m not part of society. I feel there’s no one I can approach and that I’m not connected to people. When I feel that way I become physically jumpy. I am sometimes really nervy and twitchy in my arms and legs or my head.”

This patient had a number of physical symptoms. He had severe diarrhoea and would pass loose bowel motions six or seven times a day. He was very hot and sweaty. He had a skin rash in his armpits which was red and raised and would weep a sticky yellowish discharge. He had a sore pain in his stomach and his intestines would churn. I gave him a single dose of Hydrogen in a 1M potency and asked him to come back in one month.

One month later he returned and said, “I have been pretty well the last two weeks. The first two weeks were a bit of a nightmare – I felt very, very low – a real sense of despair. The diarrhoea was much worse. Now though I feel a lot more balanced. I am taking care of myself better and rushing around for others less. I am starting to think that I don’t have to just get through this depression but maybe there is some future for me. I am feeling more confident. I am more in control of my emotions – I am less tearful, less obsessive. The diarrhoea is much better in the last two weeks, I am only going two or three times. I am less twitchy. The rash in my armpits is much better. I haven’t been grinding my teeth so much – my partner is really pleased about that! My appetite is getting better.”

This is just the kind of reaction we like to see. It is not that common for a patient to have such a bad aggravation but it is the long term improvement which is most important. One dose of one medicine has produced across the board improvements! Not only is he feeling all kinds of changes for the better in his psychological state but all his physical symptoms are getting better too. For me this response of the whole person is absolute proof of the holistic view of healing. I gave him nothing more and asked him to come back in five weeks.

In fact he came back seven weeks later and was feeling much better and more positive. Again I gave him nothing more and this time asked him to come back in two months. However, a little over two weeks later he rang me up: “I am really depressed and tearful again, and much more over-emotional. It has just been the last two days.” This was a little over three months after his first dose.

In a chronic case, when the medicine is the simillimum you normally expect improvement to be maintained for at least two months after the first dose. However this depends on a number of factors including the depth to which the patient is affected, how long they have been ill, their general level of vitality and the nature of the remedy and its potency. I was not at all dismayed that he had relapsed after approximately fourteen weeks. I repeated his Hydrogen in a 1M potency. 

At his appointment seven weeks later he told me he had improved again from the second day after taking the second dose, without any aggravation. I asked him to come back in ten weeks, but he forgot his appointment ­not for the first time (Hydrogen symptom: Absentminded!). I spoke to him on the telephone to check on his progress before writing this article. He told me he is doing very well and has not looked back since improving the second time.

Remedy profile
Hydrogen is a gaseous element and has the atomic number 1. The lightest of all known substances, it is estimated Hydrogen makes up more than 90 per cent of all atoms and three-quarters of the mass of the universe. Prior to the big bang it is thought that nearly the entire universe was comprised of Hydrogen.

The English homeopath Jeremy Sherr and his Dynamis School first determined the therapeutic power of Hydrogen. He elicited a superb picture of the prescribing indications and symptoms of Hydrogen including:

  • Unification, with high consciousness.
  • Delusion, that he is in the presence of God.
  • Love, overflowing for humanity.
  • Delusions, things look beautiful.
  • Delusions, distances are enlarged.
  • Delusions, body enlarged.
  • Spaced out feeling.
  • Everything seems ludicrous.
  • Laughing over serious matters.
  • Interested in esoteric subjects and astrophysics.
  • No boundaries or painful experience of earthly restrictions.
  • Problems of having to live in the world on account of a sensation of universal consciousness and enlightenment.

Other symptoms reflect the opposite state:

  • Delusion, that he is separated from the world.
  • Delusion, detached.
  • Delusion, despised.
  • Delusion, there is a division between himself and others.
  • Estranged, from family.
  • Estranged, from friends.
  • Forsaken feeling.
  • Delusion, thinks he is repudiated by society.
  • Delusion, diminished.

The Hydrogen patient has a state on the one hand of unity, accompanied by wonderful feelings of love and expansion and on the other hand a feeling of being small, separate and alone. Very often medicines show this kind of polarity ­two sides of the same coin. Such opposites are actually the two extremes of one pathological state.

It has been suggested Hydrogen, as the first element, is to do with the most fundamental existential issues which face mankind. It addresses the challenge of incarnation: the spiritual nature of a human being feeling a connection with the divine. Yet when we incarnate there is a sense of separation, smallness and unworthiness. The patient who needs Hydrogen is the one who is suffering too intensely from this inner conflict between unity and separation.

Dr Jonathan Hardy has been a homeopathic doctor in private practice in Hampshire for over 15 years. Last year he set up, in partnership with Dr Jane Winfield, one of the five new NHS clinics funded by the BHA.