Reaching Out to the Diaspora
Updated: Apr 14, 2022
The word ‘diaspora’ suggests being spread around the world as well as dislocation and disenfranchisement. Those involved represent the victims who are often forgotten. At a time like this, however, they are often the ones whose memories are re-evoked and the sufferers re-traumatised as a result.
When news broke of the war erupting in Ukraine, I started to reflect on, not only those involved on the front line and those who were forced to flee their homes to other lands, but also the diaspora from both related and unrelated wars in recent and past history. As people flee Ukraine in their millions as a result of the war, unless they are supported in their suffering through treatment with homeopathy or other therapeutic disciplines to adjust to the degree of upheaval involved, they will become the forgotten members of the diaspora who become afflicted in this way. If this is the case, the wounds will become unwittingly perpetuated through repeated patterns of resonant triggers over the years ahead.
In Spring, 2020, Homeopathy in Practice (the Journal of the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths) brought out a special edition entitled ‘Homeopathy and War’ in which I contributed an article entitled ‘Reconciling the Invisible Wounds of War’. I am now drawn to revisit that article considering those whose wounds have never had the chance to heal and who would inevitably be re-triggered by the current scenario of resonant destruction.
In one case, a colleague told me she had never taken on board the suffering her ancestors had endured as a result of the first and second world wars. However, now buried and unexpressed memories impressed upon her were being dramatically re-evoked with the images which are being beamed into our living rooms on a daily basis. Her parents are no longer alive for her to question them about what they had endured and had kept so closely under wraps. This just acted to compound her grief at their loss and earlier suffering. In their day, it was less common to open up about such a history, fearing the tumult which would be unleashed by doing so. Of course, there was much more stigma at that time and less recognition of professional support available.
The term ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’ (PTSD) has become a poignant description for what happens when the brain is forced to witness suffering beyond the capacity of its normal endurance. This memory becomes suppressed as a survival mechanism but is reactivated when under duress, even years later. It is as if the psyche is in a permanent state of ‘adrenal alert’ and cannot disengage from this. One patient, although born and brought up in North America, told me she may well have been brought up in the Warsaw ghetto - as a child, it was unclear to her as to whether the war her parents had escaped from was still being waged. For her, it certainly seemed to be the case.
If these ‘wounds’ are not dealt with at the time in the sufferer, they can be passed onto future generations. This is often seen in countries where genocide has been perpetrated against civilians. It often takes years before the sufferer realises they are a victim and for them to come forward to seek help. As homeopaths, we need to be able to recognise when this is the case and treat accordingly. Giving voice to trauma supports the path to healing and there are many homeopathic remedies which can prompt this necessary process towards resolution. The use of nosodes is often relevant here, especially Carcinosin, which is a sum total of all of them. It can reach back in time to reconcile the transgenerational trauma and, in the process, stop the onward and unrelenting spread involved.
The remedy, Opium, derived from the emblematic poppy, is often quintessential to healing in cases of post-traumatic stress disorder from exposure to battle. The outstanding symptom of this remedy is based on the re-activation of the vital force, even after a protracted interval of time, when such memories are deeply buried. Opium is the remedy which gives voice to sufferers who can no longer articulate their feelings and may even become completely mute as a result of their experience of what literally represents ‘unspeakable suffering’. I have read in the media about this phenomenon occurring with increasing recognition from observers in the current hostilities.
Other remedies related to Opium which are also derived from mind-altering substances and which have affinity for such war ‘injuries’ include Anhalonium lewinii, Cannabis indica, and Morphinum aceticum, among others. In Anhalonium, memories become exaggerated. A type of hyper-vigilance takes over. This remedy shares with Opium disassociation with loss of identity. In these cases, the victim loses the ability to adapt to what should be normal life on their return to their families. They no longer know who they are - a type of disassociation takes over - and are completely detached in the way they present. If memory exists at all, it is completely distorted and time can stand still. On August 9th, 2020, I wrote an article about this remedy with a more penetrating insight. (2)
Cannabis indica shares with Opium panic attacks and paranoia. At the time of war exposure, cannabis may have been used to allay the inevitable fears engendered, especially if the victim was actively involved in the conflict at the time. This adds an energetic layer which increases the inner turmoil. Over time, schizophrenia can slip in as a way of blotting out the memories. (3) One only has to search the repertory to see how many delusions there are in this remedy - most of which show great distortions and absurdity. Even images of corpses can remain long after the event. It is no wonder that patients needing this remedy have a fear of being approached (as commonly seen in Arnica).
Morphinum is an under-used remedy and is poorly represented in the repertory. Addiction may become an issue in these cases and the moral compass is often completely lost. The experience of pain is intensified to the extent that the patient becomes extremely reactive to it, whereas Opium blanks out pain to the point of painlessness (as a survival mechanism).
Certain other remedies carry a theme of war - in Iodum purum, survival is at stake and sufferers feel the need to continually escape. They can, like Cannabis indica, be haunted by images of dead people. An impulse to kill can take over. This could be attributed to their extreme sensitivity to external and sensual impressions, including loud noises. There may be a background of starvation in this remedy, as seen in Holland during the second world war (4), as well as in Mariupol today. This means that anxiety can prevail when hungry, resulting in the gulping down of food with no consciousness of this very entrenched habit. When this type of history becomes trapped in the epigenetic code, future generations can develop eating disorders without any professional comprehension by those who set out to treat them.
One could speculate that those who survive a war situation may succumb to guilt when considering their fallen comrades and their fellow citizens they have left behind. Therefore, sycotic remedies such as Natrum sulphuricum could be indicated as much as syphilitic ones, which carry more of a theme of self-destructiveness. This is a major remedy for head injury and an interesting rubric is ‘injuries to the head - altered mental functions’, where Natrum sulphuricum is the only black type remedy, along with Helleborus niger in italics, and Opium as well as Stramonium as the main ones appearing in plain type.
Violence against others as a result of war exposure could point to Lyssinum, where the feeling of being taunted is paramount. This remedy, derived from the bite of the rabid dog, could equally turn the knife against themselves in the form of self-harm. A fundamental picture can later emerge to be prescribed on - if necessary. The original response is more like the ‘anaesthetised state’ the carrier has been manifesting all the years since the original exposure and has now been evoked - even years later - and often in a completely different setting.
My conclusion is that even though different remedies may be needed in cases of war trauma, Opium or a remedy derived from a related mind-altering substance, is often indicated in the first place to neutralise the ‘numbing out’ which so often occurs in these situations. Members of the diaspora may well have been comfortably absorbed in their new land even years before. However, they are often the overlooked victims of any possible repeated conflict in their ancestral (or a related) homeland which can still ‘call’ them. In this way, it so easily gets referred through the generations even when the victim has become so far removed from the original offending hostilities, both geographically and psychically-speaking over the years.
Adalian, Elizabeth, Spring 2020, Reconciling the Invisible Wounds of War, Homeopathy in Practice.
Adalian, Elizabeth, August 9th, 2020,Reconnecting to the Soul With Peyote (Anhalonium Lewinii), www.adalian.uk.
Collingwood, Jane, 2017. Cannabis May Cause Schizophrenia-Like Brain Changes. www.psychcentral.com/lib/cannabis-may-cause- schizophrenia-like-brain-changes.
Bastiaan, T., et al, 2008, Persistent Epigenetic Differences Associated With Prenatal Exposure to Famine in Humans, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 10. (44).