Diffusion is the theme which runs through the Phosphorus pathology. Diffusion is the process of spreading outward into the environment, like smoke spreading outward into the air, or the colour from a tea bag diffusing uniformly into water. The same happens to the energy, the awareness, the emotions, and even the blood of the Phosphorus patient. It is as if there are no barriers for this – physical, emotional, or mental. Because of this, the Phosphorus patient is vulnerable to all types of influences. On the physical level, we see that almost any injury or stress results in haemorrhage; this occurs because the sheaths of the blood vessels are weak and easily allow the blood to diffuse into surrounding tissues. On the emotional plane, the Phosphorus patient’s emotions freely go out toward others, with little ability of the patient to contain them and protect the self form emotional vulnerability. Mentally, the patient easily forgets himself, even to the degree that awareness can become too diffuse and unfocused; the patient becomes easily “spaced out”.
Let us first describe a person in the healthy state who nevertheless possesses the Phosphorus predilection, which can emerge into a disease state if the defence mechanism becomes overwhelmed by too much stress; in doing so, however, keep in mind that we only prescribe on the pathological symptoms, not on the healthy ones. The Phosphorus patient physically is usually lean, tall, and delicate in features, hair, skin and hands. As a child, this person is warm, outgoing, affectionate, artistic or musical and very sensitive. The child is very open and impressionable; one can “see through” such a child, whose being is effortlessly manifested. without much reserve. During adolescence, there is a tremendous growth spurt which leads to the typically lean, lanky appearance.
Throughout life, the Phosphorus type person is a warm, friendly extrovert who enjoys friendship and company very much, but also may enjoy solitude to pursue artistic endeavors. Such a person is enjoyable to have around, because he or she is truly sympathetic, freely putting the interest of friends above personal concerns. The Phosphorus person is highly intelligent and refined. There are no secrets for such person; whatever is on his mind he shares freely Warmth and affection diffuse freely towards friends and even strangers. Much of his or her life revolves around interpersonal relationships. Such a person makes a good politician, the type that pushes for humanitarian causes, or a Phosphorus type may become a sales agent because he has the ability to sell anything he believes in. The Phosphorus person is very impressionable and will believe anything which is told to him in an area outside of his own competence, then once he has adopted a belief he will be enthusiastic and convincing to others.
Such a person makes an enjoyable patent for the homoeopath because he s impressionable and trusting; the Phosphorus patient believes in what the prescriber tells him and follows directions willingly and with effusive gratitude. Right from the first interview, the patient views the prescriber as a friend, shaking his hand warmly, sitting forward on the seat, and perhaps reaching out to touch the prescriber’s hand or wrist when emphasizing a point. This patient gives symptoms freely, without holding back. There is a predisposition toward anxieties of various types, but these are relieved easily by just a few reassuring words.
The diffusion of awareness is evident by the fact that the Phosphorus patient is easily startled. All of us can relate to the state of mind of daydreaming; awareness drifts to a far-off place or circumstances. During a daydream, if there is a sudden noise, like a blaring horn, a slamming door, or a burst of thunder, the daydreamer is startled because awareness is pulled suddenly and joltingly back into the immense reality. This is the state to which the Phosphorus patient is highly susceptible. It is a diffusion of awareness which the patient may not be able to control readily. During a thunderstorm, the normal person will hear a clap of thunder and then easily prepare himself for more; the Phosphorus patient, however, tends to become diffuse automatically, and so will be startled with each noise.
In the first stage of Phosphorus pathology, the physical symptoms usually predominate. In the childish stage of development (whether 5 years or 35 years of age), there may be a tendency to easy haemorrhages. Nosebleeds occur with little provocation. Menses may be profuse and prolonged. The bleeding tends to be bright red in colour. The bleeding tendency is symbolic of the general essence of Phosphorus. What warmth and brightness the Phosphorus patient possesses diffuses freely outward, with little sense of barriers.
It is as this stage that we see the Phosphorus patient who is easily refreshed by sleep. This is understandable when we reflect that sleep is a time when the ordinary effort to maintain immediate physical awareness is relaxed and rested. People who are more controlled and metalized take a long time to achieve this rest; they must fall into a deep sleep. The Phosphorus patient, on the other hand, is quickly refreshed because his awareness can diffuse in this manner very readily.
During this stage, we also see the characteristic Phosphorus thirst, particularly for cold drinks. If there happens to be burning in the stomach (Phosphorus experiences burning pains internally – a manifestation of warmth), the pains will be relieved by cold things but this lasts only until the drink or food warms in the stomach, and then the stomach may be again aggravated. There is a typical craving for chocolate and sweets; Considering the thirst and the craving for sweets, it is easy to see the Phosphorus predilection for diabetes.
As the physical pathology progresses further, the process of haemorrhage may be evident on deeper levels. There may be painless haemorrhage from the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in an unexpected haematemesis or melaena. There may be bronchitis in an early and mild phase, yet with haemoptysis of bright red blood. There may be haematuria unaccompanied by any other symptoms. Laboratory tests and x-rays may be done, and nothing found. In these circumstances think of Phosphorus as a possible remedy.
While the physical symptoms predominate, there are few symptoms in the emotional or mental spheres. As the pathology progresses, however, into the second stage, we see a subsidence of the physical symptoms and an increase in anxieties and fears. Of course, there is a true anxiety for the welfare of another, whether friend or stranger. It can be carried to a pathological degree of anxiety, dissipating even the energy of the patient himself. This is the true state of sympathy, whereas other remedies in the same rubric are anxious about others out of a primary motive of self concern.
There is a strong anxiety about health in Phosphorus. The patient becomes so suggestible that even if he hears of someone else with a particular illness, he will be concerned about the possibility that he also might have that illness. This vulnerability to suggestion, however, is easily assuaged by counter-suggestion; a few reassuring words by the homoeopath, and the patient sighs with relief and is profusely thankful, only to come back when he hears another alarming possibility.
It is during this stage that there is the emergence of many fears. There is fear of the dark, fear of being alone, and fear at twilight. There may be a fear of thunderstorms. At first these anxieties and fears are fairly mild, and still corroborated by thirst and refreshed sleep.
As the third stage emerges, the patient becomes overwhelmed by the anxieties and fears. Whereas before they were mild and manageable by simple reassurance, they gradually occupy more and more of the energy and attention of the patient. The patent finds it increasingly difficult to relax, and anxiety may lead to hyperventilation and resultant imbalances in the pH of the blood. The undercurrent of anxiety and tension prevents relaxation even during sleep; the patient awakes unrefreshed and also with great anxiety (like Lachesis, Graphites and Arsenicum).
Eventually, the continuous anxiety becomes a “free-floating anxiety” with no identifiable cause. There is a fear that something bad will happen which pervades the person’s life, like background music. Every possibility anticipated with fear. There is a fear of impending disease, particularly a fear of cancer (rather than heart disease), but eventually the fear of any impending disease.
Finally, the Phosphorus patient falls into a fear of death, a panic state over the idea that death is imminent. The patient feels like he is dying, especially when he is alone. There is the sensation of fuzziness internally, like bubbles rising and diffusing outward, or that the soul is leaving the body. There is great panic, hyperventilation, excitability and palpitations. This is the point when the patient develops a need for company, because of the fear that death is imminent.
The need for company car, e so strong as to drive him to leave his house to find friends to talk to. This is not a need to talk to people about health in particular, as in Arsenicum; rather, Phosphorus just feels the need to talk to anybody about anything, in order to relieve the panic.
As the states of fear increase, many of the other corroborating symptoms on the physical level disappear. There may be no thirst, no craving for salt, and no craving for fish.
Finally, in the fourth stage the mind breaks down completely. The fears diminish, but the mind degenerates. There is a difficulty in concentration, an inability to think coherently, or an inability to understand what is being said by others. The body and the mind become weak. The patient becomes indifferent to company and indifferent to surroundings. The result is a state of senility or imbecility. Another common end result in Phosphorus is a stroke in which many mental faculties are lost.
The final stage can be a very difficult on n which to prescribed because there is a paucity of symptoms to distinguish Phosphorus from other remedies. For this reason, a careful history of the past sequence of events and proper knowledge of the stages of pathology of remedies is crucial to being able to benefit the patient. Once the essence of Phosphorus is seen, one needs only to confirm the remedy with corroborating symptoms. From experience, some of the most useful are, thirst, desire for salt, desire for fish, desire for chocolate, desire for sweets, worse left side, unable to sleep on the left side, formication of the tips of the fingers, painless loss of voice. In addition, different Phosphorus patients may be either warm blooded or chilly – though not in the same patient.