When I tell people that I used to be so anxious I barely left the house, struggled to speak, hated myself and was constantly paranoid about what total strangers were thinking about me, every single person is shocked. That’s because today, people see me as outgoing, outspoken, sociable and unafraid to do whatever I want. When I tell them that it took me just 1 hour of hypnotherapy to change to the way I am today, they can’t believe it! Neither could I, to be fair! But it’s the 100%, cast-iron truth. My mission is to get other people to understand that there are ways to completely eradicate social and generalised anxiety that they may not even have considered, or thought that there was no way they could work. So here is my hypnotherapy story.
I lived with social and generalised anxiety for over 20 years, right through my entire childhood. At the time, I didn’t know I had a mental health issue. I just assumed I was incredibly shy and it was something I would grow out of. But that didn’t happen. In fact, as I hit adulthood, it got WORSE. Much worse. To the point where I flunked college because I stopped attending and went through university as a social pariah. After university, despite getting one of the top grades on my course, I ended up in crappy, minimum wage office jobs because I didn’t have the confidence to go for anything better. I was lonely, had no real friends, barely left the house, was self-medicating with MDMA and alcohol, constantly anxious and going nowhere fast.
I couldn’t understand how I’d ended up like this. What is the cure for that? Aside from the fact that I would do anything to avoid going to the doctor, what was I supposed to say to her when I got there? How could she even help me? She’d probably just say I would “grow out of it” or to “man-up” and “get a grip”. How could I even disagree with that?
This was a decade ago, before everyone had internet access. At that time, it was almost impossible to know about a mental illness unless you’d actually been diagnosed with one. So I did the only thing I could think of that could possibly help me – I booked to see a hypnotherapist.
I had no clue what I was doing! I knew almost nothing about hypnosis. When I made the appointment, I did have “legitimate” excuses not to. I had to pick up the phone and make a call (which I never did because I was scared of speaking on the phone). I had to go into a busy city-centre (which I never did without alcohol, drugs and the safe cover of night!) in the middle of the day.
But I still pushed through because I’d hit rock-bottom and there was nowhere else to go. I knew I had a choice; stay on the path I was on, headed for further isolation, failure and sadness or try something to haul myself out of the situation. There’s always a choice.
My therapist talked to me about my issues before going “under”. It was the first time I’d ever revealed my feelings to ANYONE and he empathised with everything I said. He was even telling me how I felt about things BEFORE I’d had a chance to! This made me feel so safe in his hands and completely understood for the first time. It was easy to then relax into the session.
I was asked to think of a moment in my life when I felt proud or happy. That’s not easy for many anxiety sufferers! But I managed to conjure up the time when I was selected to be team captain by the rest of my school football team. As captain, I had to go up and receive the league championship trophy in assembly. This meant leading out my team onto stage in front of the ENTIRE school. Normally, the very idea would have had me cacking my pants for weeks beforehand. But this time, although nervous, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride. I relived it as if it was happening right then and there and intensified the emotion. Waves of happiness washed over me. It was a beautiful moment.
I was also asked to visualise scenarios where I felt extreme anxiety. Now that was no problem! I would then recreate the emotion when collecting the football trophy and hold onto it as I visualised talking to a girl, or with a group of people or walking alone into a bar. I played each situation over but let it run smoothly and just how I wanted it to go. It really was that simple.
I worried all the way through of course! I thought I must be doing it wrong. Or that I hadn’t visualised the scenes in enough detail. Or that I wasn’t deep enough “under”, so it wouldn’t work. Or that I was going to sneeze at any moment and cover the therapist in thick, gooey phlegm.
In part, I think I just felt it was too….well, easy! And there was no burning incense, Gregorian monk chanting or crystal pendants being waved in front of my eyes. I was slightly disappointed in all honesty!
A NEW MAN
Of course, I was scared about the session. When I walked through the city-centre towards the therapist’s office, I was my usual self. Head down, eyes to the ground, scuttling rapidly, desperately trying not to make eye-contact with anyone. Head filled with the conversations of other people and the negative things they were so OBVIOUSLY thinking about me! After the session, as I walked out of the office and downstairs to the exit, I was certain it hadn’t worked. But when I stepped outside…..BAM!!
I was the complete opposite:
Head up, striding along slowly and confidently. DELIBERATELY trying to catch people’s eyes and SMILING at them as they walked by! I didn’t know what the fuck was going on but I LOVED IT! I had an insane urge to just RUN. I didn’t but if I had, I don’t think I’d have stopped till I got home. I felt free, for the first time in my life. The proverbial weight, a ten ton iron anvil, had been lifted from my shoulders. I was ready to take on the world.
The next few days and weeks were spent largely laughing at myself for how warped I’d been.
“Why on earth was I ever worried about this?”
This was the phrase which kept coming to mind, as day after day, I put myself into situations where previously I’d been racked with anxiety. Catching the bus, answering the front door, making a phone call, shopping, speaking to work colleagues. All of these things were done with the minimum of fuss. And because they went by without any hitches, avoidance or caring about what others thought, I was not ruminating over the scenarios at the end of the day. Which is a large part of what consumes anxiety sufferers. I not only totally eradicated anxiety, I went on to create an incredible life that I could only have dreamed of before.
DON’T WAIT – GO FOR IT!
Just ONE HOUR of hypnotherapy created ALL of this. Crushed my anxiety. And it can for you too. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is some weird, new-age, woo-woo bullshit – it fucking WORKS! 20+ years of stress and worry GONE in an hour. And it wasn’t even difficult! Or expensive! How much would you pay to be able to wake up after a decent night’s sleep for a change? To not care about the trivial little things that cause you to fret and ruminate all day long? To stride confidently in public and speak whenever you felt like speaking? To not give a fuck about what any troll or tactless individual said about you? £1000? £5000? I can tell you I would’ve paid a lot more than that if I’d had the money! My 1 hour cost under £50. £50 to get your life back. Or in my case, £50 to get a life for the very first time. My point is this; at least TRY it. Leave your scepticism at the door for one day and it could transform your life like it did mine.
If you’d like to read more about my experiences overcoming anxiety, greater detail about my social anxiety, more about hypnotherapy, how I also overcame post-traumatic anxiety, please read my ebook “How I Crushed Anxiety TWICE! The Easy Way and the Hard Way”.