Childhood Depression and Chocolat 200C

I was approached by a father to see if I could possibly help his 11-year-old daughter who seemed depressed. Naturopathic medicine is not well known yet in east San Diego, but this family was looking for any alternatives to the anti-depressants that had been recommended. I suggested a homeopathic intake, not realizing what a nice ‘hole in one’ this case would make. The young lady came in with her mom and younger sister with the chief complaint of anxiety over ‘the change’. Friends and family thought it was all related to puberty since mom had experienced the ‘down in the dumps’ mood too, although not as intensely.

The young woman feared she might not get her period. She stated that getting her period meant she was a woman and that she still wanted to be a kid. She was afraid she wouldn’t turn out normal in the end and noticed that one breast was growing faster than the other. Fortunately, this patient had a good relationship with her parents and her sister, whom she described as ‘kind of crazy.’ This young lady spent 4-5 evenings a week sobbing in her mom and dad’s bed. I reassured mom that this is not a normal reaction to growing up, and I was glad to see them in my office.

Her past medical history included vaginal birth but mom described it as a rough birth: two ear infections, strep throat x3, Salmonella, EBV, dyslexia, sensitivity to nightshades, dairy, kiwi, and cats. There was a significant history of prostate cancer, with 2 – 3 occurrences on both sides of the family. My review of systems revealed some ringing in the ears, squeezing pain in the chest, neck and back pain that felt like someone was squeezing, and micturation that felt hot. No menses. Her belly was sensitive to emotion and hurt after eating because she couldn’t help but scarf her food down. She was fair with freckles, brown hair, hesitant to converse at first but then talked freely. Her belly was tender throughout the upper quadrants and breast buds were Tanner s tage 2.

When asked about mechanism, mom and patient recalled her birthday slumber party at her house with friends. Dad had told all the girls to go to sleep at 2:30 am and this triggered a feeling of being ‘down’ or weird feelings of sadness, like someone was squeezing. Since then she had felt so sad that she often cried in her parents’ bed in the evening. Sleep was good but she had trouble falling asleep and she felt tired throughout the day. As we investigated why the slumber party seemed to be the trigger, there was no clear understanding on her part, which led me to believe that it was a somatic response based on a previous event. I asked what other events may have made her feel the same way.

She recalled a visit to a friend’s house months before the slumber party, perhaps 6 months before. She was really looking forward to this visit with someone she previously got along well with. The friend ended up treating her poorly, telling her she was too immature to watch certain shows and preferring another friend who unexpectedly showed up. My patient did not feel welcomed. She didn’t feel liked. Although she was previously homeschooled, her parents felt seeing friends at school would help with the depression so they had put her in school. She reported that she does not feel included in conversations at school.

Routinely, I ask children to draw pictures for me if they are willing while we are in the visit together. Enormous understanding of what is going on in their mind can be gathered through an impromptu picture. This patient drew hills with grass, lots of rain clouds with a small sun and small rainbow. There was also one little straight house on the hillside with lots of smoke. I asked her to tell me about this picture. She said that there are lots of rain clouds but every once in a while there is sun or a rainbow, but not often. I prompted her to explain the house. It was a house that no one wanted to be near at all, she reported. As for the smoke, it was very busy inside – someone was trapped in there. When associating the picture to how she felt, she agreed that she felt trapped in her own body. She wants to let her body sleep and go out of her body. When she returned, she wanted it to be all healed. Mom concurred that her daughter would tell her that she wanted to get out of her body and fly. She liked rain and mountains. She was scared of spiders but not of snakes when asked. She loved animals and had 3 birds, 2 dogs, and a hermit crab. She dreamed of having a horse.

My initial assessment was dysbiosis and the viral history was significant for this patient.   Homeopathically, she displayed a cycle:

Sensitive. The main complaints started after being rejected and not welcomed. Physically, she felt not normal. The sensitivity led to feeling trapped.

Trapped. She desired to get out of her skin. This was also illustrated in her house. Powerless. Being trapped she expressed by anxiety, fears, and a burning or squeezing pathology. These two descriptors were used by the patient several times and could be likened to her picture of lots of smoke from the house and the tight walls, as if she were trapped.

Her animal love and possibly consolation helped her move into the final stage of rainbows and sunshine until the rejection was triggered again.

There is not much known about the remedy chocolat but I recall this remedy from encountering it in medical school. The case involved an adult with family of origin emotional trauma and the overwhelming understanding that she was despised. I dug back into the pile of medical school notes to find the cycle that was presented by Dr. Will Taylor. It involved an excitement or impulsiveness that would lead to restlessness or confusion, then irritable, isolated feeling, then onto anxiety over whether something will or won’t happen. Duty or weakness will convert to sensitivity and finally to a euphoria where the person may fall in love with the simple, such as sunshine and rainbows. The cycle seemed to fit well but didn’t fit my radar remedies very well. An interesting note that somewhere during the visit without prompting on the topic, she mentioned how she had eaten chocolate at school and become so sick that her mom had to come pick her up at school.

I prescribed Chocolat 200C and some basic naturopathic treatments with instruction to follow up in 4 weeks. They didn’t return for the follow up visit, so I followed up by phone. Things had changed dramatically for her. The parents were so dumbfounded by the response that they chalked it up to a weather change or time. As far as they were concerned, all of their concerns emotionally and physical were resolved. Despite encouragement to return for a visit, they did not see a reason to return. I recently checked in with the family, 7 months after treatment, and the patient continues to thrive and be well without the previous concerns.