ALMOST overnight everything has altered, old values have gone, new values have appeared. We have got to accommodate ourselves to a totally different would, and one thing among other we have been told is to keep calm and collected. This is a difficult thing to do, when everything round one crashes; business and trade nearly gone. Many people who have responsibilities find themselves reduced almost to the point of penury.
Others find their family circle broken up, fathers separated from wives and children-not because they have been called up to face the enemy on the battlefield, but because the whole of England is now a potential battlefield and the weaker vessels, old and frail people and the children and their mothers have been moved out to presumably safer areas. This brings forth many new problems, problems of adaptation. Another problem we have all got to face is the problem of air raids, and A.R.P., as it is called in the short, snappy way, does not only mean splinter proof and blast proof shelters, sandbags and the rest.
It also means putting on a mental armour to protect ourselves against the insidious enemy of fear and anxiety. Here homoeopathy is a valuable friend and help against the effects of fear which produces and empty feeling round the umbilicus, a burning, gnawing sensation, a cleaving of the tongue to the roof of the mouth, a shaking and trembling of limbs; all of it due to the upset of the supra-renal gland.
There are several remedies in our pharmacopoeia which give us moral protection.
I mention the most common. There is Argentum nitricum, the fidgety, nervous individual whose nerves are all to pieces. He is always in a hurry, anxious hurry, so hurried and scared, he feels he must run or walk quickly, he can never walk fast enough, he feels he must fly, feels as if all the “furies of the underworld” were after him, and he runs until he is dead beat, always anticipates th worst, lives in a perfect welter of fear and anticipation, breaks out in a sweat at the mere though of a raid.
But this anxiety and fear brings on internal troubles and disturbances of the gastro-intestinal tract, the stomach refuses to digest anything, vomiting may come on quite suddenly when an air raid warning is sounded, or even diarrhoea many suddenly set in. The stomach is full of gas and quantities of wind pass upwards which usually relieve the distension. Silver nitrate in the 3rd or 6th decimal potency would relieve such an over- anxious, frightened, hurried individual, so that he can face the inevitable with more equanimity.
A remedy with very similar effects is Gelsemium. He is also in a state of funk due to anticipation, fear, shock from fear, sudden fearful surprises. As Kent puts it: A soldier going into battle gets diarrhoea. He becomes weak and exhausted and faint, and tired in all his limbs from sudden fear, from sudden shock, such as being awakened at night by a raid warning. Palpitations of the heart accompany this sudden shock.
He has not courage, his limbs tremble; but he is struck dumb, almost paralysed with fear; the restlessness and hurry and anxious running about of the Argentum nit. Patient is absent. Thus you have to individualize and find the right remedy for each state or nerves.
Another anxious, restless patient may want Arsenicum. Here you get great fear, great anxiety, great restlessness and prostration. Some people take the blackest view of any situation which might arise. These are the folk which will say, “What is the use of doing anything?” They will ring their hands and wail, :Where can I go? I am not safe anywhere; if I remain here, the bombs will drop here, and if I go away into the country, they are sure to follow me there. These over-anxious people, who are much worse when alone, will need Arsenic, and it will calm the troubled waters of their mental fear and unrest.
Aconite also had symptoms of fear. He is frightened i a crowd, wont mix with people, afraid of public places and public shelters full of anguish, full of restlessness, afraid of the dark, much affected by the black-out, dark street, darkened rooms. He gets violent palpitation of the heart, the fear, attacks the heart, not the stomach, and the umbilicus as Argentum nitricum and Gelsemium do. He predicts the next bomb will hit him, and predicts the time of death. He broods over this, and this fear makes him sleepless and restless and full of anxiety.
We have another valuable remedy for air raid fear in Ignatia. This is the hysterical individual who faints at the slightest provocation, collapses into the arms of the nearest male for protection; is tearful, nervous, full of twitches and jerks, full of grief; her husband is away, she is always sighing, she has a feeling of emptiness in the stomach and abdomen, along with trembling, is continually sighing, sad at having said good-bye to her son, or her fiancee or her husband.
She is apprehensive all the time the something may happen. Ignatia is the best antidote I know for the stressed feeling one gets after a sudden bereavement, when the unfortunate person who is left behind to face the world lies there with dry, burning eyes, hour after hour, and can hardly believe that it is true that her dear one has left her.
These are hard times, but with these medicines to help us, which the genius of Hahnemann has discovered and worked out, we can face the dark days before us perhaps with a better heart.