Many years ago, a young couple found their way to my office with their five-year-old son and three-year-old daughter in tow. The father took a glance at the worry-worn face of his silent wife and began to speak with some difficulty. In a flustered manner, he recounted the daily battles that had been fought in his household for the past three years. To this day, parents and children who come to the clinic for similar cases bring the weeping father’s face to the forefront of my mind.
He told me that every single day, at three o’clock in the morning, their three-year-old daughter would startle awake and begin to scream and wail. She would continue to sob and thrash about until eventually, she tired herself back to sleep. This could sometimes take two or three hours. The parents had hoped that the condition would subside as their daughter became older, but on the contrary, it had only gotten worse. They had tried large hospitals, various pediatricians, and had even dabbled in Korean exorcising rituals. But when their pediatrician prescribed psychiatric medication for the three-year-old, the parents finally drew the line. That’s when they decided to look into TKM (Traditional Korean Medicine) and made their way to me.
When I took the child’s pulse diagnosis, I found the child to be in a state of shock. Despite her young age, she was showing signs of intermittent explosive disorder (characterized by sudden episodes of impulsive and aggressive anger). Her parents were aware of external symptoms, such as waking up to cry at night, but had no idea as to the depth of their child’s mental instability and fear.
I decided to investigate the reasons behind the pent-up emotions in the xin (heart-mind) of the young girl. Because both parents worked full time, both the girl and her older brother were often left at a daycare center. The older brother did not exhibit the same symptoms, therefore the situation was not to blame. When compared with her older brother, the young girl seemed to have more difficulty with expressing herself. She often could not indicate her preferences and was unable to play with her favorite toys at the daycare. The parents told me that repeated stressors of this nature often lead to frustrated tears in the daytime as well.
The case was that the child was unable to release the emotions from her symptoms and the heat from her heart, which inevitably led to the only biological release that she knew of that would simultaneously attract attention: crying. I decided that the way to bring down the heat and prevent anger from the child was to increase the time she spent with her mother during the day and to prescribe a tonic that would circulate the heated chi in her body so that it would be released through urines. I recommended that her parents sincerely hug the girl frequently and to look into her eyes when they talk to her so that she could feel relieved and trusted.
This memorable case was a case in which a forgotten trauma had triggered certain disorders and symptoms that was solved through a mixture of psychological therapy along with the application of herbal tonics.