I was 18 years old and I would suddenly go in and out of these intense spurts of not being able to function. I was dead tired to a point where if I couldn’t take a nap in the moment I needed to, I felt as if my heart would give out. The fact that I was so young, I knew something was wrong. I went to many doctors, many doctors who all told me I was either stressed or depressed. And I looked at them and I said I’m a freshman in college. Really, what do I have to be depressed about?
So for years I did research into why I felt the way I felt and I became my own advocate. I began experimenting with diet, with lifestyle, many different things, just to try to get a handle on my symptoms. And I started to feel better and I was able to really get a handle on my life and to manage life really well. And when I finally had a big handle on my health, I got severely knocked down again. And when I say knock down, I mean almost killed in a near-fatal car accident. T-boned, smashed, left hanging upside down in my car until the firefighters came to cut me out not sure if I was paralyzed or dead.
Without going into the gory details, I knew that I was in for a long ride ahead of me. I was handicapped for six months and I developed what’s called PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. And on top of that I began to feel sick again. In 30 seconds, I wasn’t the same Danna anymore. I developed PTSD and because I knew that I was one person and I wasn’t that person anymore, I knew I had to see someone or do something about it.
So I began to see this therapist and she was a very nice woman. Yes, she would tell me things when you get to a stop sign in each street. So I thought to myself, am I really paying you this much money for that, that I got.
So eventually after six months of minimal improvement, I met a woman who survived cancer and she said she would not have survived cancer were it not for this trauma therapist she went to. So I said that’s my woman.
So I went and the first appointment with her, this trauma therapist, she said to me and she looked at me and she said, “I’m a bit alternative. I hope that’s okay with you.”
And I said, “I’m desperate, whatever you got.”
She said, “I do this thing called hypnosis.”
I said there is no way you’re touching my brain with that stuff. I was super skeptical, I had no idea what it was and my only reference was show hypnosis and hypnotherapy is not show hypnosis. So basically after about six or seven sessions of meeting with her, I decided that I liked her. She was smart, forward thinking, compassionate, so I thought to myself: “What the heck! What can it hurt?”
So I walked in that session, I walked in feeling one way, I walked out feeling another. I wasn’t exactly sure what she did. I just felt better. Within six weeks, my PTSD was gone. The next month my depression, the next month my anxiety. This woman saved my life.
OK, so that’s all interesting and I want to tell you something even more interesting. So I mentioned to you earlier that I started with chronic fatigue and later developed what’s called fibromyalgia. I view these two elements as sisters, it’s very similar. Yet fibromyalgia on top of the intense fatigue is a serious muscular pain. Yet what’s the interesting part is I didn’t develop this pain until after my accident.
So here’s the interesting part. When I was healing my trauma through hypnosis, the pain in my legs began to dissipate. Bit by bit, little by little, the pain in my body was leaving. I thought to myself: “Well what’s happening here?”
So that brings us to where we’re going today. I want to walk you through the mechanics of the hypnotic process and how it works and how the mind and body and disease and thoughts are all interconnected. But, first, let’s jump into the science of how minds and bodies interact.
So how exactly are trauma and disease correlated? I want to mention to you that trauma doesn’t have to be a near-fatal car accident; it doesn’t have to be coming back from war. Really in my mind the way I view trauma is if you viewed the world one way and then some situation happened to you and now you view the world in a different way, that can be a traumatic circumstance. So it doesn’t have to be this overwhelming experience.
Have you ever heard the phrase “stress kills”? OK, so I used to hear that phrase and I used to scoff. Yet now I see just how valid that statement is. Physical and psychological stressors cause inflammation to occur in the body. Inflammation is the key word in many diseases. Reducing inflammation is the key to healing many diseases. Are you with me this far? OK, beautiful.
When events happen in life they’re recorded; when stressful events happen they are recorded as is, and that creates a certain level of shock on the mind, which therefore sends distress signals down the nervous system which in turn will tell the endocrine system to increase adrenaline and cortisol. And while those levels are increased, our immune levels are lowered. The fact that we have these stress responses initially is not a bad thing. Yet the fact that our minds compound all of these situations over time without ever letting them go every situation builds upon each other. So the real reason we experience stress in reality is for our own good, for our own safety.