Observations: Woman, 57, shamonic, highly intuitive and creative with an intense but quiet and commanding energy. She has been a Rolfer, an emergency room RN, an art historian, a university professor, and a teacher both locally and internationally, of an innovative new model for working with and treating trauma. She sits with legs tucked beside her, erect spine and a regal demeanor.
Her main complaint now is fatigue. The fatigue comes on after she experiences periods of having abundant amounts of energy causing her to work excessively. After working intensively during these high-energy phases, she is left feeling tired and utterly drained. The energy that is driving her feels explosive and unbalanced. It began when she returned from Russia where she was working with trauma sufferers during the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster.
“I have days of fatigue-I have been working twenty hours a day with this completely driven, walk-into-the-wall fatigue. You know me-I have to do twelve things at once. I have been reading and thinking a lot and doing a lot of co-creative work on the phone. It’s a strange, intensely creative time without much face to face. I’m trying to communicate with my friendships-if you don’t live with me, I don’t see you.
“I’m synthesizing, I’m at the top of my game professionally-well paid, respected, don’t feel embattled, I pick my fights and usually win. Money’s a strain-this is one of the real pressures driving this insane workaholism.
“I joined a women writer’s group, and am committed to do my book on Men, Women and War. I have this theory that our lives are about the unfinished business of the previous generation; and in my family, the unfinished business is war. It was assumed that the experiences men had in war were separate from the experiences women had in war. I see, as a trauma specialist, that war is a state of mind that believes in separation. War and war trauma affects every relationship and goes on for many generations. It affects intimacy and ability to commit, and to parent. When things don’t make sense in a family dynamic, I always ask about war-usually there are survival strategies that have gone on for generations.
“There is tremendous resistance to the idea that war impacts a family for generations-I don’t expect it to be a popular book. The war between men and women has its roots in war. The men are off at war and the women are home making soup-which is true in America, though not so in many other cultures. But the genders still experience war differently. I feel very driven-it’s not an option to not do this.”
It has taken you into a lot a war zones-
“And a lot of danger. And a lot of plutonium zones.
“I have made two trips to Russia. The first one was when I spoke in Moscow in 1992 at a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder conference working with the aftermath of Chernobyl-the leukemia, the fragmentation of families-they had to air-evac. the kids out of there. The poisoning was widespread. The communities around Chernobyl were scattered and there was no place for them to go-and they lost their children-so there was this incredible emotional fragmentation in the interest of good medical care.
“In 1992 there were already eighty-thousand cases of leukemia-children, and the children were dying very rapidly. It was a devastation zone. We withdrew from that situation feeling very overwhelmed. Mira Rothenberg (author of Children with the Emerald Eyes) was also there working with the children of Chernobyl. There is a whole vast Plutonium picture there.
“On the second trip, we returned to the trauma clinic. Only later did we find out a little about the history of the founding of the clinic. The clinic was in Zelenograd-a community a little like Silicon Valley-an artificially created community of scientists, and the work that went on there was secret. The main focus of this secret work was the space program which was why it was closed to outsiders. When we got there, the city had very recently been opened to foreigners. What had happened when they moved this scientific community was that they took the Plutonium for the space program and buried it-and not very deep. They built a whole complex of apartment buildings and a trauma clinic over it.
“What had happened when they moved this scientific community was that they took the Plutonium for the space program and buried it-and not very deep. They built a whole complex of apartment buildings and a trauma clinic over it…The Russians are not known for safe nuclear waste disposal. We had been very puzzled about why the children all looked like fairy children-very thin, delicate, unwell-thin transparent skin, big eyes, very sweet and very out of it-unearthly and very creative.”
“The Russians are not known for safe nuclear waste disposal. We had been very puzzled about why the children all looked like fairy children-very thin, delicate, unwell-thin transparent skin, big eyes, very sweet and very out of it-unearthly and very creative. Remember those Keen paintings of wide-eyed children on black velvet? They were waif-like, docile, and resigned. We also saw a lot of children resembling Thalidomide babies; there were an enormous number of birth defects-kids born without arms and legs. We didn’t know what it meant at first, but eventually it transpired that we were living and working on top of a Plutonium dump site.”
How did it feel to you?
“I could feel the field-I was frightened a lot-it was heavy dense, dark, and full of stuff. There was a feverish hot quality, even though it was cold. Extremely oppressive. That was familiar-I grew up in an oppressive family. I felt at home and I wanted to get out of there very much, and had a lot of fear that I wouldn’t get out. When the plane took off, it was like being released from a nightmare.
“At first, when I got back to America, I thought I was all right. But within a week, I felt this curtain of oppressive heavy darkness come down. I was scheduled to teach in Boulder, and on my way, I remember looking out the window with this horrible suicidal despair-not seeing a reason to go on another day. The planet was doomed, why even bother, and I didn’t know if I could go on.”
“When I got here, I was staying in a basement flooded with Radon, which didn’t help. As soon as one of my colleagues saw me, he said, ‘Sweetie, you have been poisoned. I don’t want to talk to you, we’re not going to discuss this, I’m going to take over now.’ He wouldn’t let me talk the language of the poison; but it had an urgency. I had seen the future-everything is breaking down. It’s anarchy. The center isn’t holding. The hospitals have no medicine, and no sheets and no soap and no toilet paper. And I felt it was going to happen here. Our center wasn’t going to hold. I had seen what we were going to be like in twenty years. This is the state of mind I was in at the time. He wouldn’t hear me. He said no. But I felt very alone in seeing this.
“So I let him take over. He began with injections of B12 and intensive ozone-two times a day, radiation de-tox baths with sea salt and baking soda, carrot and beet juice, and blood cleansers, and within twenty-four hours I felt a dramatic difference-the suicidal heavy oppressive, ‘oh my God, the world is coming to an end-I have seen the future and there is no hope’ lifted. I still had the information, but I didn’t feel oppressed by it. I began to get playful again. It began to dawn on me that I had had heavy metal and radiation poisoning and it had deeply affected my psyche and worldview. And I was there for such a short time, and they live there. How many people in Russia have this? The suicide rate there is off the charts.
“I recall one instance when we were going to eat dinner with a Russian dance therapist -but she was delayed two hours because someone jumped in front of the train. We were horrified, but she said this happens every day. The suicide rate is very high, and they don’t have guns, so they throw themselves in front of trains, and out of windows. The dark, heavy oppressive depression is everywhere-its endemic.
“Then I went into the whole survival guilt thing-I got away and they didn’t, which I don’t think I have cleared at all. I want to know where they are and how they are and I have not disconnected the trauma bond-I am very much in a grief place. The woman I went with is a really different constitution than I am, and really got extremely damaged-she was deeply depressed, and was completely non-functional for several years. She went blind, and her vision is still impaired, but it’s better. I went the other way, which was to be driven.
“I felt a heart-felt, visceral connection with the Russians-it’s a trauma bond. We’re all in this together, and they’re further into it than we are. There is no law and order in Russia. The judicial system doesn’t work, the medical system doesn’t work, the fire department doesn’t work, the whole thing has completely disintegrated and broken down. This is a set-up for a fascist mentality to come in. They are very split, very fragmented. Public Russia is very cold, detached, beaurocratic, abusive, and rude. Private Russia is warm, connected, very motherly and nurturing. I think Plutonium has accentuated the split. We were taught Russian face-we were not to make eye contact-believe me it was for our safety. But when the door closes and you are in private quarters, it’s a whole different thing. Their survival depends on it. Split, split, split. And I think it has been more accentuated since the atomic age-split atoms.
“The Russians took us in very deeply-they’re very secretive and walled off-but we talked with the army, and the grieving mothers and the physicists. In order to teach, I had to drop every model I knew-they fought me all day-argued, double-crossed me and then at night there would be a knock at my door bringing the vodka and caviar-and they would ask me about this and that. When I was at the clinic, they were teaching me, when I was at home, I was teaching them.”
What makes you worse?
“Russia, jet travel, and in Munich, this dark field-I got into an insane schedule of sessions before class, sessions during lunch, sessions after class, and partying until 2 am. I was drinking cognac, and even smoking on two occasions-with intense conversations-intense deep German black humor-deep stuff about the arts, politics, healing. Coming out of that field, I came back here and collapsed. I took a lot of Sepia 30 to 200, while I was there-it helped a lot. Intense, intense. Professionally I was at my very best. I am very comfortable navigating more than one language and culture-language was no barrier-I got what was going on. It was deeply satisfying but dangerous to me.”
What do you feel?
“The driven-ness is insidious. I was that way in grad school. But this had some other energy-it was as if an engine was driving it-it has less purpose-like vacuuming at 3 a.m. I can’t stop. I feel I have to carry the whole weight of everything and there is no way out. I have to take it all on. This is very Russian, too. If you want gasoline you sit in line twenty hours and they give you a quarter of a tank. Increasingly driven, depletion, and I couldn’t see myself objectively at all. Overburdened, carrying it all and not being able to rest. I have the ability to lead a completely impersonal life-the part that does the work in high gear. Its like being possessed-it is possession -a creative energy enters me and I can do all these things in an altered state. I saw a cartoon, it said, ‘Mary has simplified her existence by eliminating her personality all together…’ It was most strong in Munich. I feel like it’s imbalanced.”
Have you had any other radiation exposure?
“I was married to a radiation oncologist, and we lived in Berkeley in Strawberry Canyon below the Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Reactor. They buried tritium below the Strawberry Canyon public pool. We were in Nevada at Ellis Air Force Base in ’68 when they were doing the underground nuclear tests. I bought a house in an area known to have high Radon readings, though my house doesn’t have a basement. It’s within twenty miles of Rocky Flats, the largest Plutonium storage facility in the U.S. -having stored 14 cubic tons of Plutonium. But Russia was the peak of my exposure.”
Chief Complaint (mentally)
More and more driven. Gets up earlier and earlier, and can’t stay up late. Very driven-and it can have a tremendous indifference in it.
“If I slow down, I have tremendous compassion-it’s real important that I slow down. Indifference is a matter of speed. If I slow down, I let myself feel that person. The higher my speed, the more I shut down my emotions.
“The survival guilt has gotten worse. I can’t watch the videotapes of my trip without getting extremely upset, especially when they start to sing-those boys-I just completely lose it. I left two wars ago, and there is no end to the slaughter.”
What are the physical symptoms that you want managed, toned down, rebalanced?
“Weight gain. Worse since menopause. Everything is cream cheese and jell-o. I get Rolfed every week to keep my shape. In Chinese medicine, it’s a spleen issue. I haven’t exercised because I work 8am-8pm. I feel hypoglycemic -faint, shaky, weird. I need animal protein in small amounts during the day. I especially feel better eating lamb, and all animal protein.”
She gets ungrounded when she eats sugar, but doesn’t crave it. Craves wheat and is worse from it-develops allergy symptoms such as water retention, foggy, tired, and feels mentally dull.
agg. pineapple-strong swelling
agg. apricots and chocolate-will give her a headache for three days.
“Where my health breaks down under stress is in the lungs-usually related to being on an international flight or during flu season. I had pneumonia after Munich-treated with antibiotics-cleared it in two days, but threw my colon into spasm. Started teaching class soon after being in the emergency room. I have a video of me teaching traumatology while my colon went into spasm and I started going into shock. Everyone said it was the most concise description of trauma they ever heard.”
What makes you better?
“Sleep, a wonderful opera, nature.”
Breasts-L duct sore for eighteen years. “I keep having it checked and it’s not cancer-but I’ll probably have it out. Hard, ropey, long, slender.”
She is a cold person
Dream: “I had a dream one month ago that I had liver cancer. After the dream, I went to a Chinese doctor and he said my liver was great.”
Funeral Dream: “There was a barn in the back of a house that was a chapel with Anubis and Horis figures at the entrance. Definitely underworld. To the right of the chapel was a graveyard with a fresh grave. Walking toward the house I grew up in with my back to the graveyard, I thought how sad it would be to have someone I loved in that grave. I looked back at another beautiful cemetery, and wondered if it was Moslem or Jewish. A Russian woman with a babushka, from a part of Russia where they did nuclear testing, walked up to me with a red rock that she said was very important to her process. All that I really brought back from Russia were rocks. The only red one was a garnet. Maybe I brought Plutonium back, in my body.”
Rx: Plutonium 30C
Response 1 week later
Went into a 3-day tremendous aggravation. Deep panic, terror as if from spinal anesthesia.
“I was split as if the terror got frozen in another time and space. It was time travel, soul retrieval-part of me got stuck in a very nasty field.
“Deeply aware of the survival guilt-I can leave, and they’re doomed, poisoned. And I felt as if a part of me was never really able to get out. A part of me stayed. The spinal anesthesia was about being paralyzed as if not being able to leave Russia.
“Had the awareness that this is planet Plutonium-it dominates the field. There is nowhere to go to get away from it-it is intrinsic to the planet, and it has a consciousness. “I went into an extreme state of not knowing who I was. I had awareness, but no self.
“Got intense heat, like sunburn-my face was as red as borscht-it began the splitting of energy up into my head, and the exploding.
“Violent electrical energy starting in the solar plexus that went wild. Bolts of energy coming through unevenly, as if my nervous system had split from my viscera. I felt like Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase.
“There was no place to discharge from-no core, no place of reference. I couldn’t find myself. I couldn’t talk, I wasn’t sure I could get dressed. I knew I needed to sit up, but nothing would respond. My nervous system was completely scrambled for a couple hours. I was very altered.
“Then ‘it’ came back, my ‘higher self ‘, very clear and knowing. I trust it completely-” ‘it’ does the trauma work. My body was not hooked up so I couldn’t work. I always want to work, and I didn’t want to work. I remembered and regained myself as I was before Russia. Quiet, spacious, softer, more relational, warmer-but still did not feel much of a sense of personality.
“Two women who had been trained by me sat with me to track the dissociation, but didn’t try to stop it. ‘Can’t speak? When you can we’ll listen.’ That’s the way to bring someone out of extreme dissociation. I had used up all my overwhelm credit in Russia seeing the children and knowing they had been poisoned. And knowing this whole world is doomed at a DNA and RNA level, and not being able to contain the grief and horror. It took enormous voltage to blow the frozen solar plexus apart. The driven thing was killing me-to a stroke, or heart attack, abnormal PAP-I couldn’t stop. I believe this homeopathy has saved my life.”
2 Months later
“I feel like I’ve been set free. I had idealistic goals, but a long dark shadow broke. We were up against much more than we could manage-it would have killed us. She (the colleague she traveled with to Russia) knew it and I knew it. I got an invitation to present at the most prestigious European trauma convention, and I truly don’t care. This leaves me a lot of space to be in present time. I’m Rolfing children again. I no longer need any publicity.”
2 Years later
“I don’t think I have cleared it totally yet-the need to keep going and not being able to stop even with serious depletion. At some point I feel I will need another dose. I know I have a very Plutonium consciousness. After being in Russia, I felt possessed by it. I saw things from a Plutonium point of view. It’s in our biosphere pervasively -it’s an alien energy-not human. It’s a really dark deep transformation, way beyond good and evil. I have no illusion I can transcend it, or change it. It’s easy to see it as evil, because it’s transformative in ways that aren’t friendly to humans. What’s next in evolution? If we were dinosaurs, we’d see from a dinosaur point of view. I’m hooked into the next evolution and I’m not concerned about the human-but I am human, and that concerns me. Before Russia, my consciousness was hopeful -I wanted us to make it. After, I didn’t. The more poisoned you are, the darker your view. I was taken over by something larger than the human agenda, beyond good and evil. Before I had the remedy, I was so busy working, I didn’t have time to be contemplative. I didn’t worry about the meaning of anything except feeding all those people with no food. Now, I still have the knowledge, but I don’t feel the isolation or despair.”
2 Years later
“Having Alzheimer-like neurological symptoms-I know what I want to say but can’t connect it to words, so I go for a substitute word. What I think, and what I say are different. When I took that dose of Plutonium, I knew things but I couldn’t talk-it was extreme, I couldn’t speak at all. Now I am always scanning, always faking it; I can’t find the right word. I can write well, because it’s a slower process. It’s my speech that is inarticulate and inaccurate, and it forces me to speak much more slowly to find the words.
“My tongue feel so swollen, it feels like it fills up my whole neck, like mumps. It’s spongy, cotton-candy state, dry on top and too wet on the bottom. It’s worse at night-my speech can be noticeably slurred-I can’t organize a crisp communication. My neck is so full of crepitus, I have to keep it in motion to keep it from locking. There are sharp pains that move around my back. I can’t eat spicy, like Cajun or mustard-it makes my tongue feel raw ulcerated. I have to eat bland foods.
“I get very disoriented driving, even in very familiar areas. I can be coming out of a shopping area and not know how to get across traffic to a shopping area across the street. I got re-routed by construction on one familiar drive and got lost for two hours.
“I’m irritable, agitated and driven. One colleague told me I was de-capitating people. Another said, ‘You’re so driven, so nuts, so tired, I’m removing myself from this insanity.'”
Rx: Nux moschata 1M
Response: Temporary relief of mental symptoms, back and neck pain and tongue symptoms, but they came back. She felt it didn’t go deeply enough.
Rx: Plutonium 30 C
Response 1 week later
“One tiny little pellet, I thought, ‘what can this do?’ Three days later I went into an explosion of rage and volatility. It was impersonal-I wanted to blow up buildings, like at Oklahoma City. I stayed home, and tried to act normal and cook a turkey for a friend and her fiance. After lunch, she stayed and we tore the house apart, threw all the furniture on the deck and started painting the walls red-orange. We can have this whirling dervish energy-when I get destructive, she gets creative; when she gets destructive, I get creative. It was like Dionysus on cocaine…and within all this frenzy of dismantling and restructuring and painting it all red, I got peaceful! And suddenly this red-hot, nasty, prickly, itchy rash jumped out of my neck-bilateral, under the ears and side of throat on the Gall Bladder meridian, and the lymph pathways. It looked like it was going to ooze, like Poison Ivy or Oak, but didn’t. Painting the place red-orange is the only thing that could have made me happy-and we just happened to have a couple of gallons of red-orange paint that she had mixed up a couple years ago, stored for this moment.
“Then the next morning, I had a session with my most difficult client-who has been annoying and irritating me to the point of giving up on her. Something shifted in me when I saw her-I felt a connected compassion for her incarnational dilemma, and was able to hold a heart space for her in a way I haven’t in a long while. I was a much more compassionate person before Russia-it broke my heart and blew me apart. I realize now the shut down happened after my Russian exposure to Plutonium. So I compensated by working in collaboration with very feeling, heart-full partners. I just kind of borrowed a heart. She was right from ‘central casting’; the perfect client to test my heart. Nothing irritated or annoyed me, and I was completely present and available.
“I had just co-authored an article on terrorism. It’s an extremely powerful need to change things. What Plutonium wants to do as an energy, is to destroy the status- quo, and it’s amoral. Now I understand why the Russians are so intent on bombing Chechnya. I went into a completely impersonal place and completely tore this place apart, happily. In the heat of tear-it-all-downand- paint-it-red, I realized how often I have taught creativity as a management for rage. The Plutonium rage is an extreme demand for change-especially architectural structure. I needed to rearrange buildings and I just happened to have one, and now it looks incredibly beautiful and warm.
“After the rage and rash, I really dropped into the peace. I looked in the mirror, and saw a clarity in my eyes I haven’t even known I was missing. They were a lighter green. It’s as if some dark veil has lifted. It’s not a straight shot; it’s more like a miniature golf game. There is the first hole, and then the second hole, and you have to go through all these challenges.
“The next day the rash was almost gone, and the tongue wasn’t as thick. It’s re-differentiating. I’m still not great with words, but I can feel it’s getting better.”
This case represents both acute and chronic aspects of Plutonium. From a chronic perspective, her life has been organized around themes central to Plutonium, for years:
– The uncanny synchronicity of living and working in Plutonium epicenters: she lived and taught at UC Berkeley for years where Plutonium was discovered, and now lives “downwind” from the largest Plutonium storage facility in the U.S.
– Her work with the aftermath of a nuclear reactor disaster in a clinic built over a Plutonium dumpsite.
– She has a deep affinity with Russia and keen awareness of its decay from a super nation back into its elemental nations, just as radioactive elements break down.
– Her strong professional focus on the trans-generational legacy of war trauma-the suffering originating from the sins of the forefathers being passed down for generations, and her international teaching of this in America, Germany, Switzerland and Russia.
– The devastating awareness of our hubris as a species that has unleashed radioactive demons on our children and their children’s children resulting in leukemia, and birth defects.
– Traveling into “enemy territory” after the end of the cold war, she wrote one paper entitled, “Grieving with the Enemy.”
From an acute perspective, many of her symptoms are a result of acute radiation poisoning: intense, driven, restless, industrious, weak, exhausted, low energy, and above all, the deep heavy depression, isolation and suicidal despair.
Some of the statements from the proving that fit this case include:
…horrific, fear and despair
…vision of faces of alternating warriors and peacemakers
…dissolving the “Sins of the Fathers”
…depressed, paralyzed, almost possessed by heaviness
…There is nothing, I am nothing, nothing matters…a dead space
…emotional heaviness, a dark cloud all around me, feelings of isolation
…a childhood state comes back to me strongly (the oppression she grew up with)
…battling something evil out there that is actually inside me but not quite part of me
…despair and desperation for myself and also the world
…intense aloneness, sense of separation, isolation
…impatient…cold, detached…not hearing the bird song
…fear of cancer
…more motivated, more efficient, mind racing…working continuously and effectively…I need to do things
…surer and more confident in myself, stronger inside on a deep level
…four things in my hands from three different jobs…feeling of hurry and agitation…restlessness inside driving me
…dreams of underworld with mythological half animal, half human figures
…dreams of dangerous travel (her travel was actually very dangerous)
…exhaustion and feeling that all energy had drained away
…delusion that I am constantly followed by a bear (Russia), which says, “Nourish me!” (survival guilt)
…complete brain dysfunction-memory bad
…my memory went completely…couldn’t remember what I had said or what I was going to say
…kept forgetting what I wanted to say just before I said it
…slight verbal dyslexia-would say one thing but mean another
…difficult to put into words what I want to communicate, stumbling over words, mind going blank in the middle of conversations
…couldn’t get words out…couldn’t think of the name of something
…delayed reaction between thinking and doing
…dull, heavy, confused, lack of clarity
…tongue…sensation of a piece of fluff on it…red patch like a superficial burn
Perhaps acute exposure to radioactive pollution will bring out symptoms of the radioactive remedies, as it did in this case. Our exposure to radiation poisoning is going to increase. In America, any imported perishable food is irradiated, and most of us are only vaguely aware of it because none of it is labeled. More domestically produced food will be irradiated -supposedly it increases the shelf life of a chicken to three years! Nuclear waste is proliferating, with no reliable solutions for its disposal. Inevitably, there will be more instances of reactor breakdown. In mid-January, 2000, on national television news, there was a story of a Department of Energy plan to recycle radioactive nickel from power plants and turn it into eating utensils. I am grateful to Jeremy Sherr for proving such an important remedy. We are going to need it.
Kat Shea practices a dynamic combination of classical homeopathy, body-centered psychotherapy, and massage in Boulder, Colorado. Her eclectic blend of modalities is unified by the homeopathic principles in the Organon, which apply so universally in the therapeutic use of touch, image, movement, and language, as well as our vast and growing Materia Medica.