How I Fell Into Hypnotherapy: A Therapist’s Traumatic Journey Into Healing And Discovering Her True Calling (Part 1)
His voice still pierces my mind, “You are safer trapped in an elevator than crossing the Street.”
The day deceptively began like any other day, filled with the barrage of mundane morning routines: coffee, kids, husband, breakfast, school, and my usual drive to the office. I entered the elevator balancing my files, charts, keys, purse, and third cup of coffee (a Mom can never have enough caffeine). The underground parkade successfully concealed any obvious warnings, indications, or signs that trouble was a-foot.
As the elevator began to ascend, today’s agenda chock-full with meetings and tasks flashed through my mind with the usual thoughts of preparation…and a sudden jolt shocks me into focus.
The elevator halted between the sixth and seventh floor. The doors thrust open for a sobering view of the steel frame and shaft. As a calm, relaxed, and patient person, I have never experienced extreme feelings of fear or anxiety before, and this panic still eludes me as I am confident of my safety and believe nothing will happen….I am simply stuck in an elevator and will now be late for my first meeting at 8 am. I’ll just call my administrative assistant to let her know. No cell phone signal. Still calm…..I wait.
The elevator suddenly plunges and free falls to the parkade level with a distressing jolt. My body is tossed with the force of 2000 lbs of heavy machinery.
I crawl off the floor and try to get the doors to open to no avail. I lift the emergency phone and share the terror of the last few moments with the naïve expectations of help. “You are safer trapped in an elevator than crossing the Street” are the only cold monotone words spoken to me and he actually hangs up on me! No ambulance contacted, no comforting words that help is on its way, just one cold statement, then dial tone. I am on my own. I am on my own now. How do I escape?
The elevator begins to once again rise and panic and fear have now taken a firm hold. I will not survive another fall! I am going to die. I pray over and over and over. My children need me. My husband needs me. I’m not ready to leave. I realize that all of the stress and worry about work have no meaning. Trivial, vacant, hollow worry, stress, time. So much time wasted on these inconsequential details at work. My only concern is for my husband, my children, my family. There is nothing else. And in this moment my life and my values instantly came into sharp laser focus.
Suddenly a momentary flash of my colleague’s words from yesterday rang in my mind like a prophecy: “If you don’t slow down and take time for yourself, something will happen to force you to slow down.” He said this to me inside the elevator yesterday. Yesterday! I pushed away the statement and had no intention of heeding his warning. The Universe clearly felt my disregard and had now moved to plan B to get my attention. It worked. Every cell in my body was now present and desperately bargaining for a plea. I am listening now.
I survived the second fall with a long list of injuries including a severe concussion, severe cervical strain, nerve damage, fractured jaw (TMJ injury), herniated, shortened, and bulging discs in my neck, upper back, lower back, and post-traumatic syringomyelia (a fluid-filled cyst in the center of my spinal cord from T-4 to T-11 damaging nerves and possibly eventually causing permanent paralysis). On the psychological side, I was soon diagnosed with Post-traumatic stress disorder and Clinical depression from the searing daily chronic pain levels.
How did I finally escape this steel prison? Unaware at the time of both falls, a witness on the second floor was frantically trying to get me out. She saw and heard everything. The government body which was called in to perform a full assessment following the incident reported two faulty safety mechanisms and a damaged mechanical lift that caused the accident. Her continuous button pushing was the only reason the elevator finally opened.
Over a decade of procedures, medications, experimental treatments, and therapies, and nothing had changed. The pain levels were locked in a continuous loop, rotating throughout my countless injuries each and every day until one fateful day. A moment of clarity ensued and a gift bestowed. In the midst of my deepest despair, this new vision suddenly crystallized in my mind: a clear and vivid scene, an image of myself overflowing with happiness, health, functioning, working, playing, moving, running, and living! Actually living!
This was in fact hypnosis, and not only the catalyst to my journey of healing, but a gift shared by the Universe to instruct me to heal myself. Void of any evidence, any proof, any facts. Completely against my skilled team of physicians and specialists who clearly stated in unison that I would never work again, the damage is permanent, the intense pain levels and extreme restrictions on my range of motion and movement will never resolve or improve. And yet, this was the gift of knowing, a powerful life-changing vivid visualization.
I would not make the same mistake again by ignoring this message, this whisper from the Universe that was now seared into my subconscious.
Paving the way to my true calling, a new journey began…