Monday, September 8, 2014

A Brush with Hypnosis

Life was perfect.

Yet, I was depressed, and I couldn’t figure out why.  I had no reason to be so down.  A friend suggested a hypnotist.  I was skeptical, but it was better than adding more pills to my regimen.

I asked around and finally found a woman hypnotist that came highly recommended from several sources and friends.  I must admit, my anxiety skyrocketed as I approached her home office.  I felt silly, but I was sick of being in this dark slump.  I knocked, and her warm smile reassured me.

“Welcome.  Come in and sit down,” she said, waving me past her.  “You don’t need to be nervous.  Just take a deep breath and relax.”

Easy for her to say.  I didn’t like giving up control to anyone.

“Would you be more comfortable sitting or lying down?”

Leaving.  Why am I here?  This won’t work. I stiffly moved toward a floral chair with a high, curved back.  “Here’s fine.”

“Tell me why you are here today,” she said, pulling up a matching chair directly in front of me.

I pushed my back into the chair and curled my toes inside my shoes.  My fingers dug into the arms of the chair.  “I’ve been a bit depressed for a while now.”

She took a deep breath and signaled with her hand for me to do the same.  My breath was ragged, so I tried to unwind. How could she hypnotize me if I was wound tighter than a toy top? I tightened then released my tense muscles.

“Breathe in slowly through the nose.  Hold it.  Now release slowly through the mouth,” she said.

We continued with breathing until she told me to close my eyes.  I wiggled my foot as inconspicuously as possible to touch my purse, sitting on the floor.  Did I really think she would steal my wallet?  No. But, I wasn’t comfortable closing my eyes.

“Let’s go back,” she said.  “Back to when you were a child.”

Are you going to blame my mother? Am I really under hypnosis?  I had no idea what I should be feeling. In a way, I felt odd—almost child-like.  My voice sounded like Carol Burnett doing her impression of Shirley Temple.

“Where are you?” the hypnotist asked.


“What grade are you in?”

“Third grade.  We just came in from recess.”  I shivered and rubbed my arms.  “It was cold and snowy out there.”

“What are you doing now?”

“Walking to Mrs. Jensen’s class for reading.  The floor is wet from everyone’s shoes.”

Mrs. Jenson was a kind, large, dark-haired woman who always wore Hawaiian muumuu dresses and low-heeled shoes with buckles.

I felt a bubbling of tearful emotion starting to build in my throat.  My lip quivered.

“What are you doing now?” she asked.

I could see it all so clearly.  The snow out the wall of windows, the straight rows of desks facing the blackboard, Mrs. Jensen’s desk at the back of the room, and all the colorful coats lined up on the back wall.  Kids hung up their coats, others squeaked their way to desks.  Mrs. Jensen stepped carefully from the blackboard and worked her way around kids toward her desk.

From the doorway I saw her…and then I didn’t.  All of the kids squealed with loud laughter that felt like it lasted forever. Mrs. Jensen had slipped on the wet floor and went down.  She struggled to her feet, the laughter continuing.  Tears filled Mrs. Jensen’s eyes.  I could see both pain and embarrassment.

“Stop it!  Stop laughing,” I yelled aloud.

“What’s wrong?  What happened?” the hypnotist asked.

“They’re laughing at her.  Why are they laughing?”  Tears streamed down my cheeks.

I slowly shook my head.  I couldn’t believe it.  My chest ached with sharp pain.  How could these kids be so cruel?  Mrs. Jensen limped past me out of the room. 

“You are only watching,” the hypnotist said.  “This happened long ago.”

I wept, clamping my hands to my chest. 

She brought me back gradually.  She finally told me I could open my eyes.  They fluttered open and then I stared at her in amazement.  All this emotion over someone else’s experience.

“That wasn’t even about me,” I said to her, looking for a tissue.

“Yes, it did happen to you.”

“It happened to Mrs. Jensen.”

“The emotions you feel are your own.  You are obviously a very caring, sensitive person.”

“They were so mean.”  My bottom lip trembled.

“You were so young. It was probably your first experience with how cruel others can be.”

I didn’t know what to say.  I felt odd.  I felt embarrassed. I left in a daze.

I’m still amazed that my first hypnosis session took me back to Mrs. Jensen’s 3rd grade class and even more amazed that my depression went away.

Have you ever been hypnotized?  What was your experience?

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs!
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Copyright: Cole123RF / 123RF Stock Photo

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