After decades struggling with his mental health, Robert turned to homeopathy in desperation. Now 45, he shares how a visit to Homeopathy UK’s Edinburgh clinic helped boost his confidence and pave the way to a calmer future.
I’ve suffered with anxiety and depression most of my adult life and tried numerous treatments including therapy, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication. But I could never find anything that worked.
When things were at their worst, even the phone ringing or the dogs barking would set me off. There was a spell when I couldn’t go to work, and I just wanted to stay in the house and be on my own. I didn’t like being around people, and it made life with my wife and family difficult.
Homeopathy was suggested to me by my mother-in-law, who swears by it and uses nothing else. I’d tried everything else, so thought to myself, ‘Why not? I may as well give it a go’. I knew that conventional medicines could only take me so far and I needed to reach a point where I could live my life.
But trying to get access to homeopathy through the NHS proved to be hellish. It took about 6-9 months of asking my GP to be referred to finally got an appointment in Glasgow – an hour and a half train journey from where I live in Midlothian, Scotland. The homeopath I saw gave me a remedy to try and sent me away for three months. I gave it a go, but I still felt I wasn’t getting to where I needed to be.
A significant diagnosis
Around the same time, I went back to my GP and explained that none of the conventional approaches we’d tried were working anymore. She finally referred me to a senior clinical psychologist who, within a few appointments, diagnosed me as being on the autistic spectrum and having Asperger syndrome. The problems I’d faced while growing up started to make a little bit more sense. Now I could trace back the beginnings of my anxiety to primary school and understand why I sometimes struggled in social situations.
It was hard to come to terms with the fact that I’d waited 43 years before somebody picked it up. I said to the psychologist, “How have I survived this long without a diagnosis?” I was told it was because I’d stayed active and had moved from one thing to another. It was true: I’d always been very busy and had three or four jobs at a time, up until I moved up to Edinburgh in 2000. It was really at that point things really started showing and breaking down.
Back to homeopathy
Soon after, I discovered there was a homeopathic clinic much closer to me – Homeopathy UK's Edinburgh clinic – and I was lucky enough to get an appointment with Karen Hooton, who runs the service.
I went through everything again with Karen, and felt she took the time to get to know me so she could give me the right treatment. It wasn’t just five minutes, here’s some tablets and off you go. I think my first appointment lasted about 45 minutes or so. She gave me a remedy to try – Lava – which suited me because I’m very hot tempered and quick.
With the help of this remedy, taken in conjunction with the medication prescribed by my GP, my stress, anxiety and depression improved. I never expected that one pill could solve everything for me. In addition to anxiety, depression and Asperger’s, I suffer with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is caused by my nerves, and severe chronic back pain as a result of three car crashes I’ve had over the past 20 years.
But I felt a lot better taking the homeopathic remedy than I did with just conventional medicine. I still take it now when I know I’m going to face a stressful situation, for example if I know I’m going to a meeting or speaking to somebody new on the phone. And when I look back on things like that, I know I wouldn’t have been able to handle the situation if I hadn’t taken the remedy.
A big difference
The thing I like most about homeopathy is that it calms me without making me feel numb. The issue I’ve had with some conventional medicines is that they’ve knocked me for six. I wouldn’t be able to drive, or even stand up, because I felt so drowsy. That didn’t work for me because I needed to feel calm enough to handle most situations, yet still be able to function. Homeopathy helps me to do that.
I don’t think there are any pills that will help me cope completely, but homeopathy has helped me to move in the right direction. It’s helped me to get back to work and given me the strength to go out with my family.
I’d say the most significant thing it’s helped me with is giving me the confidence to set up a small photography group in my local area around two years ago. Before I tried homeopathy, I never would have dreamt of setting up a group like this, but it gave me the boost to do it.
There’s around 18 of us now and we do a lot of night-time photography, which means we’re away from crowds of people. It’s got me talking to like-minded people, who I’ve been able to meet one by one and gradually become part of an inner circle.
All in all, I feel positive about the impact homeopathy’s had on me. It’s helped me get to a point I never thought I’d reach – but I’m not at the finish line yet.