Wednesday, March 2, 2011

It is what it is

I had my first experience with hypnosis this week. I went in to the experience excited, curious, and a little nervous about what it would be like.  I assumed it would be generally positive, because I wasn't warned to bring a driver to get me home.  Seems like a good enough measure of how a counseling session will go, right?
The word "amazing" is getting way too overused in my life, but it really was kind of an amazing experience. Or rather, the results of the experience were amazing.

As I closed my eyes and grasped lightly two gently pulsating electrodes, my counselor asked me to find a comfortable position and then began to guide me on an audio-journey.  The instructions were simple:  listen, don't feel it necessary to speak or respond verbally, and to do with the information what seems appropriate.  Use it, or toss it aside.

I recall being fully aware of my surroundings.  I was conscious that my nose itched, and my eye felt sticky.  I recall opening my sticky eye a handful of times during the session.  I recall three stories I heard during the time. One was about a rare flower, one about a girl releasing balloons, and a third about me building a home from the foundation up.

I recall that I had difficulty summoning up an image of a tour group tromping through the everglades in search of an evasive and rare orchid.  I recall being absolutely sure that the girl releasing balloons was going to suffer some dire consequence for releasing the balloons before she was told too. Which I think is funny, that even in a quasi conscious state, I was concerned about the "rules" and was freaking out that she wasn't following them! By the way, there was no consequence, the story described the entire experience of releasing the balloons as purely joyful.  It was difficult for me to imagine being joyful about breaking the rules (she was supposed to release them at half-time, but she couldn't contain herself and let most of them go way before half time because they were bringing her so much joy to watch  float away.) I recall being asked to imagine a blue-print for a home I would imagine building.  The blueprint I imagined was for a very average but very respectable ranch style house.  In fact, it was pretty much my friend Nicole's home that she had in Iowa.  Realizing that, I find it kind of odd that my blueprint was somebody else's home (but it wasn't, it was mine, I just recognize that it was identical to my friend's home.) I recall as the story progressed that I was asked to begin lining my basement that I had worked so hard to dig with cement or bricks and that as I did so, an unwelcome guest entered my thoughts with a gigantic sledge hammer.  In fact, the image this guest was represented by was this guy:

Only he wasn't chasing after a mouse, he was knocking down my walls.  I would attempt to wall him in with brick and mortar and he'd knock through in a burst of dirty cement dust.  There was a genuine struggle as I attempted, and ultimately succeeded in walling this big jerk out of my house! But the result was that I had closed off 7/8ths of my basement and had found it necessary to redirect my house building activities into an entirely different direction. The result was a ridiculously thick foundation. In fact the foundation was so thick that the basement was essentially  not a usable space. On top of that foundation was a one room "shack". I say it was a shack, but it wasn't crumbling.  I recall that it had wooden floor boards, a woven carpet, a wood stove and a rocking chair.  One child played inside while I sat by myself on a wonderfully shady and yet sunny front porch.  I recall that the view from this porch was vast fields of wild flowers and grasses.  There were mountains in the distance, but they were a welcome sight, not a threatening presence. A gentle breeze was blowing the flowers and grasses to and fro as I rocked in a chair on that wonderful porch.

I was aware that I was shedding tears.  As I was invited to open my eyes and end our session, I was aware that I did not feel fully present.  I was aware that I was digging around in my brain a little longer.  I was aware that I felt angry at the man with the hammer and that I was disappointed that my house didn't match my original blue prints. But my counselor made a statement that helped me tuck it back in and become more present in the room again.  She said "the experience is what it is.  There is no big lesson in there that you have missed.  Let the positive images come forward and take this time as a gift for yourself."  Knowing that there wasn't any big lesson I needed to decipher out of the experience gave me comfort.  I think I am guilty of needing to find a lesson in just about everything.  I like the idea of allowing some (most?) experiences to just be what they will be and to enjoy them for what they are.

The result of participating in this session was that throughout the day I found myself "seeing" the image of the beautiful flower filled land stretching out before me.  I found that to be energizing and that it engaged in me a sense of peace, calm, and confidence.  I loved that the predominant image that returned to me throughout the day was such a beautiful one.  I loved that the beautiful image trumped the negative image.  I felt energized.

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to participate in this healing journey, and I hope my sharing will help somebody in some small way to know that not only is it OK to ask for and receive mental health treatment, but that it doesn't mean you're crazy, broken beyond fixing, or too lazy to fix yourself on your own.  In fact, I think NOT asking for help is just about the craziest thing a person can do.


Kristina P. said...

Interesting! Hypnosis always has freaked me out. I don't like being out of control. Which is why I would never use drugs.

clan of the cave hair said...

Kristina, me too! I have always said that the biggest deterrent to me using drugs was the idea that I would not be in control. What I loved about this was that I was FULLY in control. That nasty guest who tried to break down my foundation tried really hard to stay in my experience, but I was able to control the experience enough to cut him out. I really REALLY liked the experience, ALOT.

The Author said...

Sending you a virtual hug. I love ya so much. Thank you for sharing. It's just what I needed.