1980: Cambridge, England. One Saturday morning turned upside down when a dear friend, Carol, phoned, sobbing that her husband was having a nervous breakdown. I let Carol talk as I had no immediate answer. I had never seen anyone having a nervous breakdown. Flashes of potential behaviors surged through my mind from books and movies of unrestrained sobbing, anger, and unable to move exhaustion, and then I got practical as there was no point trying to help on the phone. Chris needed real hands-on help.
“Bring him here as soon as you can,” I commanded with a strength I had learned to trust over the years. “How soon can you get him here?”
“In about three hours,” she responded with surprise that shifted into practical action as we discussed logistics. They lived south of London and we were in a village north of Cambridge.
“Bring what you need as you will probably need to stay over.”
“Yes, I will,” Carol confirmed, more like her self.
I immediately moved into emergency mode. Advised husband and children. Took out my big herbal brew pot and boiled the water. Herbs were measured into a cotton bag and placed in the pot of boiled water, with stove settings turned low to begin a slow, low-heat herbal decoction process.
With excited cooperation from my two young daughters, I helped my youngest move out of her bedroom and helped both rearrange to share for a day or two. Next, I sent them to the village store to get treats, new crayons and art materials for projects they could play with while guests were in the house.
After clearing and cleaning the oldest daughter’s room, I brought in fresh bed linens, towels, hot water bottles, and created a healing bed for Chris. As much preparation as there was to accomplish in a short three hours, my heart thrilled at the opportunity to help my friends. Other supplies are gathered and arranged while my husband shopped for extra food to carry us through the weekend. When all was ready, I set off on a brisk early spring walk to clear my head and prepare to receive my guests, glad to have a few minutes to myself to think things through.
Since the first extreme chronic anorexia case with the young student, Clara, followed by all of the learning from the months of working with her, and other new cases along the way, I had gained confidence in sharing what I knew to be true from my experience. The natural path of herbs and diet already proved many times during my own Self Healing, also worked every time for others. It did not matter about the name of a condition. What I learned was that without exception, healing was an unravelling of a complex of contributions stimulated by the body experiencing release and relaxation with appropriate nourishment. Everything used was always safe and administered with common sense for each person. The methods simply worked.
Questions surfaced in my mind. “How does a nervous breakdown heal? I had only heard of people being hospitalized, drugged for sleeping cures, put in a sanitarium or a rest home by the sea, staying at a spa for extended times, or sentenced to mental homes where electric treatments for extreme behavior were administered along with freezing baths and restricting clothes.
“Were these conditions nervous breakdowns? What is a nervous breakdown?” I questioned. “How do they happen?” I asked again, as one question multiplied into many questions.
Whatever the variation of the question, the same answer appeared. The medical system calls it a breakdown but every person breaks down for different reasons and the symptoms vary depending on each person’s weakness. When I tried to simplify my thoughts, I begin asking even more mystical questions.
“What is a health crisis? Is it a message from our body or our higher self or both? Are they challenges or tests to make us face ourselves, take responsibility and change our life, as it did for me when I was faced with the reality of having my breast removed? Or is it simply evolution when we reach a portal in our timeline and have to be birthed into new perceptions, growth, and understanding? Is a crisis meant to lead us further on the seeking, longing path to merge with the divine, and help us find our way home?”
All thoughts seemed to be true, so I twirled around on the wet meadow grass, and shouted my promise to the early spring fields, “I will begin with the nervous system, and if there is breakdown, then there is exhaustion. No point having a consultation. Just begin with the herbal bath and then go from there.”
I was sure my instinct was right on to allow relaxation to assist the body to return to normal function and rest. That in itself could be enough, I decided. Chris was a strong man. He would know what to do once he had a chance to get through this crisis.
I already had the Bach Flower Remedy Rescue Remedy ready for arrival (the famous blend of Rock Rose for shock and fright, Cherry Plum for an overstrained mind, Clematis for not being present because of the extreme circumstance, Impatiens because of the impatient conflict to return to normal when you are not, and Star of Bethlehem for the shock and distress of the symptoms.) I had also set out Sweet Chestnut for great anguish or unbearable symptoms, Vervain to calm a strong will, and Walnut for going through changes and to shift the pressures and stress of being influenced by the financial world of fears, greed and constant change, in case more remedies were needed.
“I will know when I know,” I cried into the wind that shivered the leaves in the trees, “And I trust,” was offered to the universe, and then I ran back home. It was time to have lunch with the family before our guests arrived.
After lunch, as I cleared the kitchen, I gathered images in my mind from memories of being near Chris and Carol, flashes of Chris as a high frequency person who moved and talked from confidence, images of a successful man in his prime who loved luxury, fine clothes and possessions. I knew he had a stressful job as an advertising executive who worked long hours. As I progressed with memory recovery, thinking about a person in a way that I never do in friendships or when I am with them, I realized I knew more than I had imagined. Then, I considered the stress of the life changes of Chris and Carol’s passionate romance, engagement and marriage. Both had previous marriages, divorces and children to work out. Chris had purchased a large home for their marriage and he enjoyed a superb car. Everything I had simply accepted before added to an accumulation of pressures and stresses of a new lifestyle that might have simply become too much. Just as I was trying to imagine what that might feel like, the door bell rang.
Carol was anxious and overwhelmed, so I put my arms around her and guided her to sit on the sofa in the living room. My daughter offered her the calming herbal tea I had prepared as I called my husband to help me bring Chris into the house.
Chris collapsed on the sofa, unable to say anything, so I went into action. “I’ve prepared an herbal bath for you, Chris. Carol, let’s put him in the bath and let him totally relax and rest so he can sleep, and then we can talk. Carol, can you help me?”
Carol nodded, tears flowing as she poured the bath. I brought in the big pot of herbal tea, the pungent fragrance a strong presence that seemed to say, everything will be ok! My husband and Carol helped Chris undress and get into the tub as I prepared an herbal poultice for his chest. Until Chris arrived, I had not known his lungs were severely congested.
Here I turn the narrative over to Chris Rudd’s description of his experience, however the time continuum was longer than he remembered. His experience felt like a short time but in reality the bath extended for hours and then through an overnight sleep, so I adjusted those comments.
“At forty three years, I was in extreme distress, physically, mentally, and emotionally in my personal life and work life. For some months, as an anxious advertising executive feeling stretched to my limits with coping because the advertising world was changing, I was also stressed and suffering from chronic bronchitis with severe coughing and wheezing. I simply had reached the point where I couldn’t carry on.
Once I got into the steaming hot bath of dark green herbal leaves, I lay there with my eyes closed, sweating in a sweet swirl of soothing herbal sea. Then Farida placed a potent poultice of herbs over my partially submerged chest which immediately began relaxing, loosening, and letting go. I remember giving a long and heavy sigh of relief as I could feel months of misery and tension gently ebbing away from my torso, especially from my lungs. My breathing slowed down and I felt a warm, green, calm gradually spreading from my abdomen up to my throat and then to my forehead. As I lay there sweating in the herbal bath with a warm wet blanket of herbal poultice cherishing my chest, Farida gave me a hot mug of tea to sip slowly before I began slipping slowly into an ever deeper feeling of carefree liquid comfort.
The internalization of my process of letting go increased until such was my peace and sense of release that I could no longer stay awake. I fell asleep in the bath and stayed asleep for apparently a good long while, though it felt like a short time. Farida and Carol attended to me during that time, keeping the water warm and always watching over me. When it came time to remove me from the bath, I was so relaxed that my weight required the assistance of a neighbor to come and help Farida’s husband lift me from the bath and place me in the healing bed they had prepared for me
When I awoke, as it turned out, 12 hours later on the next day, I found myself wrapped in warm towels, feeling fuzzily magnificent and magnificently relieved, I knew immediately I was cured, as my chest felt light and clear and I was no longer coughing, no longer wheezing, no longer stressing. Months of chronic bronchitis had, as if by magic, evaporated with the potent power of this treatment. Forty years later, I am still breathing easy without wheezing and coughing in November of 2020.”
After The Treatment Slowly Chris woke up, received a morning cup of tea and shared how well he felt. A while later he was dressed and joined us for breakfast.
I wanted to talk things through with Chris so we went for a walk. “Chris, let’s go over the causes of how things got to this point. Now that your system is clear and relaxed, it is time to make sure things don’t build up again.”
And so out tumbled stories of how the pressures of the advertising agency were getting to him. Most important, he wanted to change this lifestyle but couldn’t figure out how. We talked until he understood that changes were necessary. Now that he felt balanced and rested, he could look at his life and figure out with Carol’s support how to create a new path that included long-term health and well-being.
I asked Chris basic questions about diet and life habits to understand cause on that level, and when we returned to the house, I went into my office and created an herbal formula for him to take home.
To this day, November 2020, we are friends, and whenever I visit Chris and Carol in their generous and hospitable country home, the hale and hearty Chris makes a vegetable juice blend based on Dr. Stone’s Polarity Therapy and offers me a glass. Chis has a multitude of energetic responsibilities, interests and creative projects, yet he is always ready to add in a country walk, a deep conversation or respond to someone’s need, and especially a lovely wood fire in the evening. Chris is there with a full heart as a sturdy friend, with extended family support and as a committed supporter of community events. When I told Carol I was writing this story, Chris was happy to write a personal commentary on his healing experience and offered to add his name to this case study. Carol generously looked over my writing and offered suggestions. Together, Chris and Carol are a team of dedication and devotion to healing, hospitality and love in action.
Chris Shares: “What began as a healing crisis was resolved dramatically in a day and a night, due to Farida’s instant, intuitive and insightful intervention. However, the long term healing process initiated by Farida, progressed slowly and steadily over the following decade. Inspired by the German philosopher Schopenhauer who said, ‘The greatest mistake a man can make is to sacrifice health for any other advantage.’ I realized that emotional and physical health was worth more to me than material wealth.
As a young man I had worked in a hospital as an operating theatre technician; so I knew what medical intervention and surgery could do. As an adman, I had promoted some of the world’s most famous pharmaceutical brands; so I knew what drugs could do.
With Carol’s constant and loving support, I gave up my high-paid, high-pressure job in London in favor of a more relaxed rural lifestyle, first in Dorset as a managing director of a small publishing company, then in Devon promoting a health training center, and finally in Norfolk… unplugged, unhurried and unworried.
Now, having been married to a psychotherapist for 43 years (Carol is the author of Flower Essences. An Illustrated Guide, Element Books 1998), and having witnessed the healing work of Farida for almost as long, I know what love, nature and herbs can do.
Thank you for the photo taken by a mutual friend, Chris Crookes, that he freely shared.
God bless you, Farida, and your astonishing herbal healing! I’m proud to be associated with you and your healing work, with love and gratitude, Chris Rudd, Norfolk, England.”