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I Will Survive

Updated: Apr 30, 2022

They say resilience is the capacity to quickly recover from any difficulty, tauma, or stressors. I say resilience is my superpower, and it is one that can be taught or learned, especially with the use of hypnosis. When I look back on my life, I have bounced back from so many things, mentally and physically regardless of what medical experts deemed probable or even possible.

At the age of 12, I was performing a dance routine at an event that was using a collapsible, portable stage. I had never practiced on such a stage and was not aware of the bounce-back that occurs when force is applied to such a stage. I did one of my beautiful leap-splits and the bounce-back from that portable stage chipped my pelvic bone and tore nearly every muscle, tendon, and ligament in my upper right leg and hip. Somehow I managed to finish the performance (much modified) and was taken to the ER. The doctor said I'd probably never dance again and might be lucky to walk without a limp because I was young.

Well, dance was my life, and this was completely unacceptable to me! I begged my mom to put a ballet barre in my room and we went to the bookstore in the mall to get some subliminal persuasion tapes (yes, tapes...I might have even had an 8 track or two, lol), which were really hypnosis tapes. I had to sit on a gel filled cushion for six months, but I stretched and listened to my hypnosis tapes every day. I went on to be a member of a ballet company and even received some dance scholarships to college. I graduated cum laude from Point Park University with my dance major in 1993, and continued performing until my late 30s.

In 2009, I was rear-ended my a drunk driver on a Sunday evening. Oddly enough, I was acting as the designated driver for a birthday party that day. The accident totalled my car and caused numerous injuries, some of which required a few years and surgeries to repair. Right after the accident, I became incredibly afraid to leave my house. It would give me so much anxiety that I'd avoid it at all costs if I could, sometimes going without eating. I was teaching yoga a couple of times a week back then, and it literally took all the energy I had to get there. I would need to sleep for a whole day after leaving the house for any amount of time. I had been seeing a therapist and she actually began coming to my home because I couldn't get out and this was before Zoom was a big thing. She even saw me pro bono for a while trusting I would someday be able to pay her back (and I did), but that wasn't for a while. I was in the process of losing everything from not being able to work. I even spent a month in a homeless shelter, but getting back to that wise therapist...She told me one day that she felt we weren't getting anywhere by talking about my issues and thought I should see a hypnotherapist. At first, I said no way! The thought of having to leave my house to go see a complete stranger and rehash everything seemed to be just too much to handle, but then I remembered how I was able to get back to dancing just by listening to some tapes, and I thought, WHY NOT? After a few sessions of hypnotherapy, I was slowly getting out more and more, getting things done, and really getting back to life. I was so excited by what I had learned that I decided to become a hypnotherapist myself rather than returning to my nursing studies.

And these are just a couple of examples of physical resilience. Hypnosis, meditation, and yoga helped me to overcome some emotional traumas as well including failing a college course, overcoming an abusive relationship, and other grief/loss situations as well.

In 2020, I needed to have a total hip replacement. I was fortunate to find a wonderful surgeon who allowed me to listen to hypnosis while he operated. 23 hours later I was in PT and doing yoga. Unfortunately, a few days later I tested positive for COVID. These were the early days of COVID, and no one knew what to do or say. Many were terrified. I wouldn't be allowed in for my hip x-ray until I tested negative, something that would take 3 months of testing at the stadium every Friday to achieve. Headaches were nearly unbearable, my taste and smell disappeared for a long time, and the fatigue was absolutely draining for months. I remember my primary care doc saying perhaps my oxygen levels were plummeting and causing fatigue. She said I might want to have someone watch me while I slept. She had the COVID Clinic start calling me in the mornings to make sure I was still alive. I used to use my lavender oil to calm any anxiety I might have, and now I couldn't even smell it. Finally, I had had enough. I told the COVID Clinic not to call as they were only waking me up and asking pointless questions, and I set about practicing tasting and smelling things using essential oils and self-hypnosis to reconnect the neuropathways the virus had damaged until that was resolved. I'd go to bed every night imagining little Pac Men eating up my COVID "ghost" cells. Then I contacted, Karen Hand, a colleague in Chicago, and we worked on the fatigue and eventually developed a hypnotic protocol for those enduring loss during the pandemic as well as for COVID Long Haulers like myself. We called this mixed modality approach (it involves breath work, NLP, EFT, meditation, hypnosis, and embodied practices) Pandemic Problem Solving, and we presented it internationally at hypnosis conferences and held workshops, which are still available for purchase as replays today. And the hip? Well it's doing fine. I'm back to doing yogic splits and pretty much anything else I want to do. In fact the surgeon asked to use some of my photos to advertise his work!

So, as you might already know, much of resilience is attitude. Positivity gets you much farther than you might imagine because what we focus on is what we find more of. So go make lemonade out of any lemons you are dealt today, and if you need any assistance, I highly recommend hypnosis.

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