Fear of heights
Of course, Argentum nitricum has many fears which are often associated with these impulses. He has great fear of heights and an unsteadiness or vertigo when standing in high places. One distinctive feature which can be seen in this fear of heights is a fear even when looking up at tall buildings. The fear may be expressed as merely a discomfort when near a tall building or an actual fear that the building will come crashing down on him. A similar feeling may occur if there are a lot of clouds in the sky
– he fears that they will fall on him. Tyler describes an interest- ing case:
A wee boy of 43/4 was curiously ill – mentally. The history was: measles before he was two; then double pneumonia and meningitis. He ‘rolled his head’ and had evidently marked opisthotonos. When he began to walk, he walked backwards. Now had ‘terrible nights, with much screaming’ and ‘mad’ attacks by day. Was in terror of his father, by night. ‘Daddy might look at me!’ He said of people, ‘They make me bleed, and I’ll make them bleed.’ He said the next house was ‘going to fall on him’; that ‘the clouds are coming down on him.’ Great fear of noise. After a couple of doses of Argentum nitricum the next report was very much better. Lost the things coming down on him. Fears all gone.
Interestingly, during the Argentum nitricum’s depression there is an actual tendency or impulse to jump from a high win- dow or balcony.
Argentum nitricum has a peculiar fear of narrow bridges. The patient, when confronted by a footbridge, may be totally incapa- ble of crossing it. He becomes unsteady on his feet, vertiginous, and goes down on all fours in order to cross it. It seems that this dizziness is partially due to an actual vestibular dysfunction and partially to a fear of falling from a height.
Another classic fear of Argentum nitricum is claustrophobia. The patient may be completely incapable of entering an elevator, preferring to walk several flights of stairs instead. In some cases, the anxiety about health is aggravated in a closed room. He may