At 16, Emily was under such high pressure from her family to succeed academically she would lock herself into a room for the whole day just to study. The stress continued to impact her as a university student until she eventually fell into a deep depression. Aside from the anxiety and irritability, Emily (not her real name) found that her condition was also wreaking havoc on her skin. She saw a dermatologist to help with her acne, but no matter what expensive pills or potions she used, nothing helped. “I had really big cysts, painful ones, and it just started there and didn’t go away with medication or over the counter products,” Emily explained. “It didn’t work at all.
My husband told me to try homeopathy because he suspected my skin problems were due to my emotional health, not because of my lifestyle because I always ate healthily and exercised.” Then, two years ago, she stumbled on an article in this newspaper about Bermudian homeopathic practitioner, Melanie Dupres. Desperate, she decided to give the alternative medical route a try. When she met with Ms Dupres at the first consultation they talked extensively about Emily’s personal and physical background — from the types of medicines she had used in the past to what kind of allergies she had. “It was different from Western medicine, which is more straight forward,” Emily said. “You tell them your symptoms and they give you medicine, but with homeopathy they have to interrogate more.
“ Mel asked a lot of questions about my general health, but also about my emotional challenges, and simple things that Western doctors don’t usually delve into. “From there she gave me homeopathy remedies made from natural herbs and we would keep in contact every few days to discuss how the remedies made me feel.” The remedies Ms Dupres gave her aimed to balance her hormones, improve her overall wellness and manage grief and depression. Ms Dupres said people typically come to her with a specific problem like acne or eczema. Sometimes it’s a hereditary issue, but other times there’s an emotional cause, like in Emily’s case.
In order to see results people have to be prepared to better understand themselves and heal on a deeper level. “Homeopathy isn’t dealing with the symptoms. It’s dealing with the person and addressing the issues of the individual,” Ms Dupres said. “For instance if someone has asthma and it gets worse with stress, they can take a pump or steroid inhaler and the symptoms will go. “But they aren’t necessarily free of asthma. Homeopathy will look at whether they have grief, which is associated with problems in the lungs, because if you don’t look at the emotional causes they can’t get to the root of what’s causing the illness.” Nonetheless, homeopathy isn’t a fast fix.
Emily said that during the first six months her skin actually got worse before it started to get better. She said: “It was tough because I really wanted my skin to look better and sometimes it discouraged me and affected my emotions and self-esteem. “Mel recommended that I go to see a psychotherapist back in Bermuda and that helped a lot. “Since I was young I had been keeping my stress and upset at my parents inside and didn’t know how to deal with it or let it out. But I think the combination of homeopathy and psychotherapy really worked.”
After a year, Emily noticed her complexion had improved. Now almost two years later her acne is completely clear. “I feel the best I have ever felt and feel liberated,” Emily said. “Now I have the courage to try new things, before that I didn’t dare to try anything. I’ve even conquered a few of my fears.” She recently went on holiday and even got to wear a bikini for the first time. Her chest and back used to be covered in acne and she didn’t want to attract any attention, but these days she feels much better about herself. Her skin care routine is also much simpler. Whereas she used to spend thousands of dollars a year on pharmaceutical products or and internationally renown brands like Clarins, now she just sticks to the basics. “You name it, I tried it, but they didn’t work for me,” she said. “Now I wash with a simple cleanser, moisturise and wear sunblock.” She said she wanted to share her story to help other people.
She encourages people to consider whether their health problems might actually be caused by an underlying emotional issue. “If you are going through puberty your acne is probably caused by the hormones and in that case I would encourage them to go to a dermatologist or try a simple cleansing routine. But if it’s something that’s ongoing for several years then I think they should see a homeopath.”