I will never forget that day in the counseling center at UVA. It was the fall of 1985. I was nineteen years old and I had just returned for my sophomore year of college. My summer break had been stressful and I felt very depressedMy father’s alcoholism was growing progressively worse and my parents were in constant conflict.
By luck or intention, they assigned me to the head of psychiatry at the counseling center. I remember his demeanor was very matter of fact. He said, “Your father is an alcoholic so the depression is most likely biological. Therefore, I recommend you use antidepressants.” I paused and reflected. “How long will I have to take them?” I asked. He shrugged his shoulders and nodded his head and then responded bluntly, “For life.”
For life? I was shocked. I didn’t say anything. I was very shy back then. I walked out with a prescription for Nardil and a long list of foods that I couldn’t eat while taking the drug. ( Prozac wasn’t released until 1987.)
For three months, I took the medication as prescribed. One day, I spoke to one of my best friends from high school over the telephone. She remarked, “Are you okay? You don’t seem yourself. You seem numb. I feel like I could tell you that your house was on fire and you would just say, ‘Where’s the marshmallows?’”
That comment somehow woke me out of a trance. I was numb. And underneath the numbness, I was angry! When the psychiatrist told me that I would need to take antidepressants for life, it felt like he had given me a death sentence. A voice inside of me said, “I refuse to accept this! I refuse to accept that I’m stuck!”
I went back to the counseling center the next day. I didn’t want to take the Nardil anymore. They reassigned me to a cognitive behavioral therapist. She helped me understand how my thoughts were directly influencing my emotions. I learned that you can put two people in the same situation, for example, on a ski slope. And the one of those people can be feeling happiness and the other mortal fear! The therapy was very empowering to me.
Unfortunately, the therapy took me to a place where I knew how I wanted to be thinking and feeling, knew how I NEEDED to be thinking and feeling to be happy and peaceful but I still struggled with bouts of depression even during the days when my life was, by all external measurements, a fantastic life!
I was one of those people who had done a significant amount of psychotherapy but still felt stuck. I didn't know at the time but it was because, I hadn't healed on all levels mind, body and spirit.
Years later, refusing to believe I was stuck, I sought out hypnotherapy. The hypnotherapist told me that she suggested that we do some regression work to go to the source of my depression. I wasn’t excited about delving into my past. I will never forget her words, “Life is like driving a car. Sometimes you have to go backwards so you can go forward in the right direction.”
We did hypnotic regression work together and it was the missing piece for me in my journey to overcome depression. Hypnotic regression is an advanced clinical hypnosis technique. Hypnosis seemed to clear the hidden wells of emotions that were there from childhood. It helped me to embody the thoughts and emotions that I wanted to have.
It’s an interesting thing that oftentimes what you heal within yourself will reveal your gifts to the world. I feel so blessed to have a sense of purpose that allows me to help others in the same way that I was helped.
This is my professional opinion and not a medical one. I believe that mental health is very valuable for healing on the mental level! If you’ve done that and you still feel stuck, you may want to use hypnosis to explore the problem at the emotional or soul level to find relief. Please seek assistance from your doctor or a licensed mental health professional prior to working with a complimentary health modality like hypnosis.
My work with clients is very intuitive. I am able to sense where you need to go. Each client is different and the sessions will be a combination of hypnotic regression, in-utero exploration, past life regression, and regression between lives depending on where you are still stuck.
If you have never worked with me before, I recommend you book an Initial Hypnosis Session. If you have worked with me before, you can schedule a Soul Clearing Session and get started today! If you are interested in Soul Clearing but have questions about how to get started or how my process could help you, please email me to schedule a free phone consultation.
So if you are struggling because you feel stuck with something, I want to encourage you to never believe you are stuck with anything!
Only time heals the loss of a loved one…or does it? Over the course of 20 years, I have worked with a vast number of clients to heal from the grief of losing a loved one to death. In many cases, the loss came as a shock when the loved one died unexpectedly. In others, the loss is felt just as painfully when the passing was expected to happen due to illness or aging. In either circumstance, when we lose someone close to us, it is evident that on the emotional level, there is no such thing as time. The loss of a loved one can be felt for years, decades or even a lifetime.
Many of the unique imageries, symbols and affirmations that I use with my clients and in my audio hypnosis recordings have been born out of my own journey out of some emotional pain towards peace and serenity. I lost my father when he was days away from a kidney transplant. He was so positive about his prognosis that I never suspected how ill he actually was until I got the call. For months afterwards, I had dreams where I woke up crying. In one of those dreams, I was there for him at his passing and got to say goodbye. In another, I am visiting him in a park like setting and I know we are in heaven. He is talking to me in a way he always did in life, kind, wise, and loving.
One day I experienced a spontaneous imagery during a meditation. A spontaneous imagery is like a dream that happens when you are awake. It has elements that are unexpected and go beyond anything your logical mind would have created.
In the imagery, I am standing in a beautiful green meadow. There are shade trees and a brilliant blue sky up above. My father is there and he is young and healthy and smiling at me. I begin to cry. He says, “You don’t have to be sad. What is real can never be taken from you.” I reply, “Then, are you saying that you were never real? Because you are not with me any more.” He looks at me with such compassion in his eyes and he speaks with such certainty, “Now, I am always with you.”
Then, I hand him my pain and sorrow in the form of a dark ball of energy. He transforms it into orange butterflies that rise above us and spread out over the green meadow. I feel as if a heaviness inside has released and I am ready to face the day with love and hope in my heart.
With the news of Robins Williams’ death, why are so many of us taking it personally? From Good Morning Vietnam, to Mrs. Doubtfire, to his stand-up comedy stage exploits in which we see his inner demons truly exposed, Robin Williams quotes and words have left an indelible mark on society.
Robin Williams was found dead of apparent suicide, Monday, August 11, 2014, following multiple reports over the past few months of another battle with depression and addiction. Just last month he checked himself into a rehab facility in Minnesota for some maintenance work on his successful 20+ years of sobriety. (He sought treatment again in 2006, after quitting drugs and alcohol in 1982.)
Having dealt with depression myself in my teens and twenties, I understand how the battle with depression is one that many people deal with silently. I understand that it can come in cycles and the importance of getting help before things become too hard to manage. I respect his decision to get help, and have always respected him as a spokesperson for depression, addiction, and mental illness.
But here’s the thing about his death that is hurting so many people right now: we all suffer and Robin seemed to be someone who was able to rise above it and uplift everyone around him as he did it. This is someone who brought so much laughter and light to the world. He inspired us to find humor in difficultand stressful situations.
He demonstrated repeatedly how to reach for the silver lining. His movies and comedy acts uplifted the world at times when we were down and depressed. “His gift was the most mysterious of all gifts,” James Lipton, the great interviewer of actors said, “It was genius. Genius is inexplicable. … You can teach craft. You can teach technique. You can’t teach genius.”
And perhaps, he was so aware of his role, that it became increasingly difficult to admit that he was in a dark place and needed help. It may be hard to believe he carried enough emotional pain to want to end his life. Robin Williams said, “Ninety-nine percent of the people who go through [drug or alcohol addiction] are trying to deal with some pain.” Obviously, he was speaking about himself as well as others he had met in his treatment journey.
But to be so animated, indicates to me he was a highly sensitive person and highly empathetic. My description to explain how this can be a challenge is that Robin, like many of my highly sensitive clients, feel the world in 3D when others feel the world in 2D. And without effective coping skills and strategies for managing stressful emotions positively, life can feel like a burden. Life can feel extremely painful.
So, when someone who publicly advocates for a disease, then decides the pain is too much to bear, even with every resource available to him, I have to believe that the standard procedures for assisting with this debilitating problem need to be reconsidered and further solutions explored.
In recent articles, I have been very open about my struggles with depression as a young adult and how hypnosis helped me to overcome what felt, truly, like a life sentence. In fact, the doctor told me in college that my depression was biological. And that I should expect to take antidepressants for life.
From my personal experience and my professional experience, I do believe that depression is both biological and a habit. The question is which comes first? Does a habitual way of thinking and responding cause our brain chemistry to change? For some people, depression is a habit of coping where one shuts down emotional pain and stress when it becomes too much to handle.
The subconscious mind is all about survival. Physical. Mental. And emotional survival. If someone is going to break a habit of shutting down (depression) or going into fight or flight (anxiety), or using drugs, alcohol, or food (numbing out), they must learn active, useful and helpful skills to emotionally survive in other ways. The subconscious mind won’t let go of it’s old coping skills until new ones are effectively in place.
We, as a society, must advocate for and promote emotional fitness as much as we advocate for and promote physical fitness. We must teach our children how to manage stress and stressful emotions. We must teach them that it is okay to feel anger, frustration, fear, and disappointment and show them tools and techniques for managing the stressful emotions effectively and proactively instead of shutting down or numbing out. Most of all, we must teach them to love and appreciate themselves despite emotions that are less than perfect. And, we must actively teach our children skills for emotional management that can allow them to feel empowered by their emotions instead of victim to them when life or those emotions feel challenging.
Hypnosis is not a replacement for medical care. If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, anxiety, or struggling with an addiction, seek proper medical care or help from a mental health professional.
However, hypnosis is an amazing complimentary health tool along with guided imagery and other modalities that empower you to reframe your relationship with your emotions and eliminate habits. These tools help bridge the gap between intellectually knowing how you want to think, feel, and behave and actually embodying the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that you want to have. Hypnosis and guided imagery work with your creativity and the subconscious mind, not intellect. They can give you the tools to actively cope with stress and stressful emotions. They can help you to eliminate self-sabotaging thought habits at the subconscious level that trigger anxiety and sadness. They can help you re-message your subconscious and think more positively.
Once on Actors Studio, James Lipton asked Robin Williams, “If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say at the pearly gates?” “There’s seating up front!” Robin chimed. Robin, we will miss your LIGHT. We will deeply miss your sense of humor, your genius and your ability to help us rise above our pain. Thank you for sharing your light with us for as long as you did. I am sure that God did honor your request and at this very moment, you are sitting FRONT and CENTER. May you rest in peace knowing you were deeply and profoundly loved.