I Tried Hypnosis to Get Out of My Own Head

Leandra Medine | March 16, 2017

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When you are suffering, you will do anything to make yourself heal, which is how I launched into an exhausting list of “self-care” practices that include herbal supplement consumption, adrenal testing, yoga, acupuncture, talk therapy, meditation and eating a banana everyday (apparently, it is mood lifting).

The problem with doing all these things when you’re a nervous person is that you’re a nervous person, so you apply the tendencies of your mind to these experiences and they become painstaking chores. You forget to take your herbs and feel like you have failed. You wake up and don’t want to meditate or go to yoga because you’d rather just sit at your computer with a BIG-ASS COFFEE that will definitely impact your adrenals, and you start to think that maybe you just don’t care enough about yourself. That maybe you don’t deserve to feel good.

So you keep working towards betterment, which is how I ultimately cherried my “healing” cake with hypnosis.

At the end of New York Fashion Week — specifically, two hours before the Thom Browne show on a Monday — I met with Morgan Yakus, a former East Coast stylist and shop owner who is now a bi-coastal certified hypnotist and generally compassionate person. I was vulnerable enough to not even consider the archetypal renderings of what it means to be hypnotized. Would she sit me on a sterile chair in front of a black seamless and dangle a yo-yo in front of my face until I genuinely started to believe that I was someone else? Right out of the gate, she explained that I wouldn’t feel like a different person at the end of the treatment. Then she asked why I’d come.

I told her I was sick of being a prisoner of my mind. I’d been holding on to my lost pregnancy like it was the sole defining trait of my identity and I couldn’t let go. That I didn’t want to let go because I feared I would never get pregnant again, that I’d never have another period. A broken loser who at best could muster vile jealousy towards any carrying woman and at worst, regretted waking up in the mornings.

She walked me through my childhood, asked a number of benign questions about how I was raised and where I was raised and how a whole bunch of hypothetical scenarios dealing in pregnancy made me feel. The questions were rudimentary — I felt like a kid learning how to express emotion — but I think their simplicity was precisely the reason I could let it hang out. There’s something about assuming the innocence of your child-self that makes thinking scary thoughts feel a little safer.

Following the inquiry portion of our session, she laid me down on a treatment table. I had a black towel over my head and was instructed to roll my eyes back and let them flutter until they felt the need to close. At this point, the questions progressed. We walked through a ton of shit — everything from my relationship with my mom to my favorite kind of breakfast. Over and over she asked if I was ready to let go; while she asked this question, I had to pay attention to four different sounds coming through the room. “Yes,” I kept telling her, as I heard the fan slow down then pick up, slow down then pick up. “Yes.”

It felt like 20 minutes but by the time she’d concluded our session, it had been close to two hours. I got up, rubbed my eyes, put my shoes back on, left, and felt exactly the same.

Granted, I was slightly tired (I’d definitely fallen into some version of a meditative state), but I was sure that if you’d have asked me to replay the miscarriage — sitting in that chair while my mother-in-law tried to console me — or the announcement of my best friend’s pregnancy, I’d cry. But my mind wouldn’t let me go there, so I didn’t bother trying to make it go there.

I went for dinner that night with a couple of friends. We were talking about life and work and love and food and one of my friends looked over at me in an intimate moment and said, “You know you’re going to be fine, right?” I looked back and said I was fine — like I meant it.

For a good number of weeks, I believed it. I barely thought about kids, I stopped calculating how old I would be by the time they reached their 20s, I had sex just to have sex — can you believe that? For pleasure. It was actually nice to hang out in my head again. I loved being there! People always say that when you stop thinking about it is when you get pregnant (a stupid thing to tell a heartbroken, desperate woman) and when my doctor called me following some blood tests to let me know that I still hadn’t ovulated, it felt like all the work had been reversed. Like the past several weeks were a trick. A joke on me. I was angry and comparative again. I wanted to grasp anything that could give me hope. The acupuncture, the energy healing, the supplements. So I did. When I could. And when I couldn’t?

I simply couldn’t. It didn’t make me a failure or indicate that I deserved to suffer. I just didn’t have time. For me, this has really been the magic of hypnosis. That I could genuinely stop thinking I am the greatest loser of them all, stop beating myself down so profoundly? That’s freeing.

I have since modified my “self-care” routine to the following:

+Breathing

+Blinking

+Anything else when I feel like it.

I don’t think I’m ever going to not want to be a mom, or that I’ll stop fighting either. I anticipate that the vile jealousy will get better but don’t expect that seeing other women effortlessly receive (conceive?) what I still have not will make me happy like everyone says it is supposed to. I know that’s a controversial thing to admit — it might make me sound bitter — but for right now, in this moment, it’s enough to acknowledge and allow that without hating myself. No judgement.

Collage by Maria Jia Ling Pitt; images by GraphicaArtis and Fox Photos/Hulton Archive via Getty Images. 

  • Liz

    Leandra, I’m sure you’ve already had all of the testing that can possibly be done but I wanted to mention this in case you haven’t. I’ve had 2 miscarriages and pushed for genetic testing even though it wasn’t recommended. Turns out I have Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disorder that causes hypothyroid. This is very easily controlled but is attributed to miscarriage. We aren’t trying right now, but really hoping this is the fix! Hang in there!

  • Alexia Mickens

    OMG why must I continue to suffer! A banana really? Gonna have to try this!!

    See my latest post:
    // downtown in my favorite jeans
    born bred BE – a blog by Alexia

  • Stephanie

    Oh I so relate to your first sentence. My fertility and pregnancy loss journey only took me to acupuncture and yoga before I’d had enough. I continue to applaud your openness and honesty throughout your journey. It’s a sucky road we have to travel but you (and I) are not alone.

  • Slushee

    Hypnosis changed me forever. These guys are really really good http://www.hypnosisdownloads.com

    Meditation keeps my nervous system in check – TM is my flavour, but whatever works. Just make a non-negotiable, if you want to pursue it.

    And my heart goes out to you xx

    • Mariana

      How do you get you TM mantra? Did you did a course? I can’t seem to find anyone in my country teaching it.

      • Alexandra Queiroz

        Hi, Mariana, where do you live? I live in Brazil and I took a TM course in Rio de Janeiro. Let me know if I can help you somehow.

        • Mariana

          Olá! Sou portuguesa 🙂 cá em Portugal não existem cursos (que eu saiba) e eu gostava meeeesmo de experimentar TM. Tem algumas dicas que me possa dar? Obrigada

          • Alexandra Queiroz

            Olá, Mariana! Eu pratico o método de TM disseminado por Maharish Mahesh. É necessário fazer o curso para obter o seu mantra. Fiz o curso de uma semana há 13 anos e tem sido maravilhoso. (Posso contar mais a respeito se você desejar. ) Encontrei essa página do Facebook, divulgando a prática em Portugal:
            https://m.facebook.com/MeditacaoPortugal/?locale2=pt_PT

          • Mariana

            Eu já tinha visto essa página há uns tempos 🙂 mas é longe de onde eu vivo. Mas obrigada por ter procurado, foi muito atenciosa! Sim, eu gostaria de saber mais, se você tiver disponibilidade. Pode ser através do mail, por exemplo marianaferpi @ g m a i l . com se quiser ou por aqui.

          • Alexandra Queiroz

            Tenho disponibilidade sim! E se quiser, este é o meu email:
            alequeirozramos@gmail.com
            Você já tentou no site http://www.tm.org ?

  • Mariana

    Yap, when we suffer we just forget science and everything palpable and grab anything with the hope that might actually work. My hypnosis of the moment is going to try Reiki to ease my mind. I will let you know!! Maybe I could write here about the experience :).

  • Sarah Saladino

    I am not sure what is worse; worrying about not being able to drink coffee or drinking coffee !?

  • deanna

    I can very much relate. I started suffering from life-altering anxiety and panic attacks after trying to conceive. I turned to everything “natural” I could- vitamins, accupuncture, massage, therapy, herbal supplements, exercise. In the end after suffering horribly for 1.5 years I decided to go on a small dose of medication (after much resistance) and it made me feel like myself- the person I was so removed from for over a year. Not saying it’s the solution for all (or even me) but it’s just my story for now.

  • Laurie H

    You need to gain 10 pounds and take the herb Vitex. You will get preg asap. good luck and feel better.

    • LJS

      It is nice you want to help but be careful not to undermine the person, their feelings or the situation..

      • Laurie H

        Absolutely. Didn’t mean to be hurtful. I work in fashion industry and had a similar experience. In the end I got pregnant by relinquishing my adamancy of not putting on a bit of extra meat. I irrationally feared gaining 7 pounds would sabotage my career. It didn’t. No one even realized. My skin started glowing, I was happy, more energized. I realized it was how we are meant to feel. It was beautiful and I’m glad I realized how important fat cells are for proper hormonal function. You can lose the weight back after. Not a big deal. Cheers!

        • Laurie H

          Not worth it to let your fears and stubbornness make it unnecessarily difficult for yourself and make yourself suffer like that. And yes, she’s a young normal girl (as her bloodworm shows) who can get pregnant if she maintains a healthy body weight for at least 3 months before conceiving. BMI should be at least 20 which is optimal for conception. Good luck to all the beautiful women out there who fear gaining weight to conceive! You can do it! Hope this helps inspire someone!

          • Leandra Medine

            I love you all so much. Sometimes I don’t have words when I’m watching the interactions in the comments and that’s all I can spit out.

          • Laurie H

            I love you too. You’re an amazing, powerful, inspirational strong woman who can do anything you set your mind to. Very excited to see the beautiful babies you and Abie create. Also consider adding beet juice, lentils and cod liver oil, bone broth to your diet. They are miracle foods for fertility. Much love!

        • LJS

          Great to hear, and I also work in the fashion industry which I find much better, open minded and understanding than most would think(maybe it depends on the place/location)!

      • ESW

        This is what is so brave about Leandra’s post. She knew as soon as she posted that people would be all up in her business telling her to just take some turmeric or whatever, and she still posted. I think she is way brave to be going through it, and even more so to share her story.

  • BarbieBush

    I seriously seriously think you will get pregnant. I know I am just some idiot over here maniacally devouring birth control pills BUT I feel like it is in the cards for you. You are so young!!! You have like definitely at least 10 more years of solid trying until hopelessness is a soon to be possibility. Your baby is going to be awesome and smart and wear cool baby clothes.

    And even if it isn’t biological it is just a fact that you will have a child if you really want one. Sending *~good vibes~*.

    • Amy Mills

      +1

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  • Erika Galan

    <3 2 u.

  • Basil

    I haven’t had a miscarriage, but went through a few years of infertility and MAN it gets in your head. I’m obsessive by nature, but that just made me go into overdrive. I just couldn’t do light and breezy – it was all I could think about.
    It lifted when I fell pregnant (through IVF) and now I’m trying again, I’m trying as hard as I can not to freak out and get in that headspace again. It is tough

  • me

    I want to hug — and high-five — you so hard right now.

    Thanks for sharing your journey to find a way to keep negative, hurtful ruminations at bay …. your strength gives me hope.

    Take care, lil sis.

  • Alisa Klusner

    Hi Leandra, I highly recommend Dr. Cecilia Schmidt-Sarosi, she has a private practice on the upper east side. And believe me when I tell you, A MIRACLE WORKER. I had a lot of experience with fertility doctors and until I saw her I had absolutely no hope. She diagnosed me with something other doctors never considered. Good luck!

  • Olivia AP

    The human brain is a true treat. Being a nervous/anxious person it’s very difficult to let go the thoughts that are causing all that sadness and anxiety. And when you talk to people and they tell you that you WILL get pregnant you sometimes ask how do you know, what if I don’t? So even if we all don’t know you personally we wish you happiness and hopefully you will get what lead you to that. Stay strong

  • Isabel

    Dear Leandra,
    Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve been there and I believe I know what you’re going through. I had 2 miscarriages before getting pregnant and finally having a baby. It took years. I became obsessed, felt miserable, felt that nothing else mattered in the world. Felt I could not get out of bed or live with myself any longer.
    What helped me was forcing myself to step away and go back to what I was before wanting to have a child. I have always been involved with music so I formed a band, started rehearsals, became completely absorbed in that (a life saver) and finally recorded an album while pregnant. It was unbelievably hard but exactly as beautiful. You will make it Leandra! I know so many women who have struggled for years to have children- and all of them have finally succeeded. So you will make it too.
    Also… when I’m feeling down you are one of my favourite reads- so there…. X

  • S

    I know how you feel, I am dreading when my friends start announcing their pregnancies.. I know a couple of them are planning for this year and I haven’t been able to say that I’ve already been trying for a while. I’ve even scheduled a holiday because I’ve read countless articles that say that relaxing vacations are where babies are conceived..
    I’m charting my BBT, cervical mucus, even taking all the ovulation tests..

  • constance

    Love from France

  • Jaclyn

    I haven’t been on the site in some time if I’m being honest but I scrolled through today literally to check on you and see if you were doing okay. Loss is hard, its entirely normal to mourn so don’t think there’s an allotted amount of time to do that. We all ask ourselves a million questions but it’s important not to beat yourself up. I’ve has several friends going through the same thing and in aches in places you didn’t know could exist. Be good to yourself. Take care of yourself the best you can. Meditate. In time if it feels right look into your other options but don’t lose faith or positivity that good things can happen when you least expect it. Life is messy,complicated, and unpredictable- that’s not anything you did, it just is. Sending love, admiration, positive vibes, prayers, and the reminder that you’re stronger than you think you are your way.

  • Sarah

    I can’t pretend that I relate because I’m not married, nor have I tried to have kids, but I wrote this and whenever I think of how I’m not married and it gets me jammed up I read this and it helps.
    You’re gonna have one and he or she is gonna be amazing and fucking awesome and everything and more and less and more then you could ever dream but right now look at what you’ve built who you have become what you have created and inspired. Look what you did LOOK at it tell everyone about it make sure they know how you worked for it. Scream it at strangers. Think it believe it know it and hold it. You’re here, keep reaching peaks. You own the mountain. Look at you look at only you. Own your you. This is your time to shine; your time to keep pushing envelopes and growing. You got this you’re gonna rock it and everything is gonna be fucking awesome and I know it because you have to know it to keep going. It’s inside, all the way in you, know that one day you’ll be sitting in a room with a baby on your lap smiling at each other and saying with your eyes look, look what we did. Know that, know it just as naturally as you know you’ll breath even if you stop thinking about it.