She put me in my room and wouldn't let me out: a case of Falco peregrinus
Fred, a six year old boy brought in by his mother due to his fits of anger
Appearance: sweet face, brown eyes and hair, red lips, good eye contact, fidgety.
Fred (F) says he likes school, funny books and that he has lots of friends. But there are bad bits at school: it is boring and long, and he has to sit still.
Fred’s mother (M): he has a heightened sense of irritability. He gets agitated. He can’t sit still, wriggles on the chair.
He is super bright at reading, already reading fluently and is able to do spelling for the two years above him.
He is a lovely sensitive boy; he cries if another child cries and notices if another child is away.
He is very competitive, he likes to win. His brother Harry is ten years old; Fred is six years old and he can run as fast as Harry. They go horse riding and Fred can compete with Harry on a level playing field. He can canter faster than Harry but he stopped as Harry was upset that he is not as good as Fred. Fred says he didn’t like seeing his brother upset and that he doesn’t mind not horse-riding anymore.
F: Riding feels like walking fast, running, cantering fast is fun. I like show jumping on a horse; it feels like being in an aeroplane. I like flying, I like aeroplanes.
M: Fred likes to do things with Harry, even just going upstairs and going to bed. He shares a room with Harry. He is sad when Harry is away, happy when he is back home. He is not especially jealous, he is very attached to siblings. He is very confident, he talks to anyone. He doesn’t like being on his own, he needs company, he needs the comfort of brother, sister, dad.
M (on discipline): Fred has tantrums; he used to get cross if I asked him to do something three times, now he gets cross if he is asked only once. If he can’t get what he wants and I make him go to his room, he is a ball of screaming energy. He tips things over, he doesn’t know what he is doing and then five minutes later he is sorry.
His mum gets sad when he breaks things.
Fred describes how it feels when he is the angry: it feels nervous, a tingling feeling, like someone tickling me, as though a feather duster tickles me. Mum carries me upstairs if I’m cross. I feel crazy. It’s hard to stop. I felt like I was going to die. She may drop me. I may hurt myself. I couldn’t breathe; she was squeezing me. She put me in my room and wouldn’t let me out. I was so nervous. It’s a tingling feeling, with shaking. I’m sad she may do it again.
When I get picked up, it feels like I’m being pinched, squeezed by a grabber, like a crane, or like someone has whacked me in the tummy. I get wriggly.
Warm and sweaty
Foods: he likes pizza, burgers, fried chicken takeaway, spice, salami, bacon, milk++
He is very messy
Happy: playing pool / billiards with daddy
Fears: of the dark; of a purple and slimy monster (on TV) that eats me up.
Fear of the cat’s shadows; the cat creeps in at night to jump on my bed.
Fear on top of the Eiffel tower
Fear of being alone
WM: what is the fear if no one is here?
Fred: the police coming to get me, I don’t want to get taken away by them. I’m not allowed to stay home alone. I’d be put in prison if I stayed at home alone.
WM: what is this like?
F: sad, dark, horrid, someone has come up and taken me away; like in a war, they’d put me in a prison and leave me there.
WM: what is this prison like?
F: several metal bars and a padlock, no light. I’d be scared.
F: I got lost once in a shopping centre; I was watching TV then I couldn’t see mummy, she’d walked off. I tried to find her. I was worried that someone would take me away and put me in a shop and leave me locked in there, and I couldn’t get out.
M: he loves the family’s cat although he is sad if it catches a mouse, rat or bird.
His mum only realises how terrified he is of the punishment of being put in his room when she hears Fred say how scared he feels. Once, she found him standing on the windowsill and was worried he was about to try to get out of the window.
Prescription: Falco peregrinus 1M
A month later: Fred is fine after this. There are no more tantrums.
A year later:
M: he’s a ball of energy; he zips around, fast, knocking everything over. He’s a ball of energy, then he runs out of energy.
F: fear of dark monsters, after seeing a scary film. Bad dreams, someone is coming for you.
Observation: Very red lips.
Needs to eat ++
M: he likes to perform. He’s a great swimmer, with a swimming club. Plays football ++. He’s very cuddly, sensitive to his mum’s and his siblings’ moods; he’s very empathetic, he feels sad if they are sad.
Mum says she has four strong children, but Fred wants to be top dog. He is never the instigator of fights but he’ll get involved in fights.
Mum calls him an ‘animal’; he is the ‘cave man’ of the family now that he is bigger.
Prescription: Falco peregrinus 1M
Eighteen months later:
M: he was fine, now he has been having tantrums and getting angry with his brother and sister. He gets cross, kicks, throws things, breaks the door even though he does not want to hurt anyone. Sudden onset.
F: there is bullying at school and he feels mummy does not believe him. Feels sad about this as the bully is unkind but behaves nicely in front of mummy. He also has concerns about family health; he is worried about Mum getting taken away to the hospital.
His anger explodes and he cries a lot. He feels he cares more than the other children.
M: there was a bad episode when his mum had a haemorrhage in the cinema and was taken to hospital. Then, his grandma was ill in hospital, and his mum is caring for her, so she has to go away, and Fred sees that his mum is upset. This worries him.
Prescription: Falco peregrinus 1M
Follow up two weeks later:
M: there was a slight aggravation for two days, after that he settled down, much less angry and now, he is back to his normal self.
Fear of imprisonment
The central issue of Falco peregrinus is fear of imprisonment and a desire to escape.
A fear of being locked up, imprisonment with terror and desperate need to escape was at the heart of this boy’s case. Falco p has a fear of the dark, and is controlled by its falconry master by hooded imprisonment.
Although he is the youngest of four children, he is competitive and likes to be top dog. His mental symptoms – anger tantrums and anxiety, are triggered by concerns for his family and worrying about his mother, grandmother or brother.
Concern for the family
Like all bird remedies, there is great concern for the family. Bird remedies enjoy the freedom of fast movement – like cycling or riding, and we see the empathy of this young boy being able to restrict his own cantering on the horse, an activity he loves doing, because his brother cannot keep up with him. There is a strong will but he will trade his own freedom and fun to keep his family happy.
He has a fast metabolism, needing to eat lots. This is typical of people who need a bird remedy.
Editor’s note: as you can read in the editorial of this issue, Willa Muir admits that this case was solved by ‘an intuitive leap’, or rather, we can see that it was solved by perceiving an overview of all the themes in the case, a form of conceptual thinking of the overall pattern, which is so typical in birds cases.
Domination issues, pride, humiliation
Fear of imprisonment, being captured, institutionalised
Freedom takes the form of resistance to subjugation or domination by another
Abuse and abandonment
Protecting children and concerns for the family – anxiety about children and desire to escape from family
Anger against anything perceived as restraint. Cold hard, indifference, lack of feeling
Willpower and determination, or loss of willpower, powerlessness
Intense, strong and direct
Resignation, paralysis, despair, no hope for the future
Feels lonely. No family, support or work
Horrifying image of earth and water being polluted or desolate landscape
Will give up their freedom for acceptance. Pleasing, wants to please others. Desires the good opinion of others. Wants to be faultless
A messenger from another world, a stranger in ours. North American Indians believe the Peregrine Falcon is a messenger who brings us guidance from the spirit world.
Ancient Egyptians believed the Falcon brought the sun in the morning and dragged it away in the evening.
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