Churning pit of the belly worry and lips- going- numb anxiety are feelings that I’m very familiar with. Usually I don’t have anything to be particularly anxious about although I’m sure Freud would say my mental anguish comes from a deep seated desire to fondle my mothers cat, or that I’m essentially afraid of death.
Maybe it’s the multiple pressures inflicted on my generation? Whatever.My anxiety is irrational and has gone on for far too long and I don’t want to explore it, I just want to cure it and get a handle on the pesky IBS that is associated with it.
A couple of months ago I was at a hen party and had been feeling particularly worrisome and in my own head when I discovered that a friend had overcome the worst of her anxiety by seeing a hypnotherapist. So with my whole life ahead of me, gurgling guts and a desire to channel my creativity into something more productive than writing mental horror stories for myself, I decided to give it a go.
An appointment was booked for the following week which gave me plenty of time to Google things like, ‘has anyone died during hypnotherapy,’ and worry that any natural cynicism would mean that it wouldn’t work and I would have sit there for an hour pretending to be in a trance – what ever the hell that was. Have you seen the film Trance?!
Roll on hypnotherapy day and feeling rather shaky and light headed I walked into the practice which reeked of essential oils and was plastered with posters for reiki – I won’t lie, my heart sank a little as I was going for a more ‘ therapist,’ vibe.
I needn’t have worried as walking into the treatment room I was met with a roaring fire, leather chair and a nice solid oak desk that smacked of medical legitimacy. We chatted about my anxiety and why I was there and then I was told to sit back, relax and close my eyes while she counted me down into a trance. My heart was beating loudly in my chest and my inner-monologue told me what a crock of shit this was.
Yet as I listened to the clock and focused on her voice I started to feel really tuned in, she kept telling me to relax and slow down my breathing yet I was sure she could see my heart pounding out of my chest.
Suddenly my heart slowed right down and I was fixed on her lovely reassuring words, things like, ” you will experience life more fully,” and “nobody or anything will ever effect you in the same way ever again.” I wasn’t so keen when she said, ” You will stop being so focused on yourself,” even if she had me pegged.
She said a word really strangely, which I scoffed at in my head and put down to mad hypnotist speak, but I couldn’t remember what it was until I met my friend in the pub that night ( the one who had been hypnotised too) and she did a great impression. The word would also crop up in the CD that I was given to play in my own time.
Over two months later and two sessions down I’m feeling a lot more zen and way less anxious. During my second session I was more open as I knew what to expect and I felt real benefits – my body felt disconnected from my body,in a nice way. Maybe I’m a crank and it’s all in my head, but that’s fine as I suppose as that’s what it’s all about.
It’s hard to say if my new state of mind is down to the hypnotherapy or whether I’ve benefited simply from being more mindful and taking time out to listen to the CD and think positive thoughts. I lead a pretty healthy lifestyle and go to yoga a couple of times a week which also helps, but I’ve always exercised as a way to feel good and think clearly.
The moral of this tale is that if you’re feeling horribly anxious and in your own head and there’s no big important reason behind it, then it may be possible to shut up that negative inner chatter, or at least quieten it down a bit. I’m sure that it’s not for everyone, but for now at least, hypnotherapy seems to have worked for me.
And you’re back in the room.