A Brief, Sad Digression

My apologies to everyone who comes here looking for fun hypnosis stories and cheerful descriptions of The Joy Of Trance ™, but today’s entry is going to be a bit more on the somber side. I’ll try to make it poignant and interesting, and I do think it’s important stuff to know if you plan to play around with hypnosis (even recreational hypnosis), but be aware that it’s going to be a bit heavier than my normal fare, and if you’re not in the mood for that, you might want to skip it.

Yesterday, Lady Ru’etha called me in the middle of the afternoon, while I was still asleep, and (as She is sometimes wont to do) She tranced me before I could even wake up. I heard the phone ring, I managed to surface enough from sleep to answer it, but before I could get all the way through to a state of wakefulness, She started talking in those wonderful, hypnotic tones, and my brain just went sideways instead of up. She spent a long, happy while reinforcing my triggers and mantras with pleasure-conditioning, which is something both of us enjoy a lot, but this time, something a little different happened. I had a brief abreaction to something She said.

For those of you not familiar with the term, an abreaction is…basically, everyone’s minds are wired up with a lot of connections. Thinking of one thing leads you down through a path that is fairly unique to you, through the connections you’ve forged over the course of your life, leading you to the things you associate that thing with. Sometimes those things are good, but sometimes, well…they’re bad. Really bad. A lot of the times, you try to bury those things deep down in your subconscious and divert yourself from thinking about them–stopping your journey down that path before its destination, as it were. And human beings can get very good at that. But hypnosis is a fairly direct path to your subconscious mind, and it can sometimes get to those destinations quicker than you can choose not to go to them. And that’s an abreaction. Something in the hypnotist’s wording sparks a connection to a buried trauma of some sort, causing a strong emotional state that can sometimes bring the person out of trance, but almost always makes it less enjoyable. It’s important to note that triggering an abreaction has nothing to do with the skill of the hypnotist, or even the length of the hypnotic relationship; the whole point is that these traumas and their associations are unique to each individual person, and that they are deeply buried. There’s no way to know someone has one until you hit it. (Indeed, a big part of hypnotherapy is exploring to find those abreactions, triggering them, and then working through them until the buried trauma has no power over the client.)

In my particular case, Lady Ru’etha was reinforcing a comfort trigger, the sensation of being held safe and warm whenever She says, “I’ve got you.” It’s something She uses when I’m feeling tense, nervous or worried, just a nice way to help soothe me, but this time She said that I would know that She’s always got me. And that particular phrasing led me to picture, vividly and precisely, the last moment we would have together. I saw us in a hospital, a very old couple nearing the end of a long life, with one of us whispering those words to the other one last time before they died.

And I was suddenly experiencing all the grief and sorrow of seeing Her die, like I’d skipped over all the time we had together and was instantly mourning Her. I don’t think it was immediately obvious to Her; we were trancing over the phone, after all, so She didn’t have visual cues to go by, and my voice tends to sound pretty subdued in trance anyway. But She makes a point of checking in with me frequently, because She is a very very very good hypnotist, and so I was eventually able to articulate that I was sad. And She comforted me, helped me find my way out of that mental space, and concluded the trance in a highly enjoyable fashion…and then, once I was awake, She went back to that sad moment and helped me articulate exactly what I was afraid of.

In my case, I already know. The trauma’s not that deeply buried. I don’t talk about it much, because it’s kind of personal, but just over two years ago, I lost a niece to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (also known as “crib death” in America, or “cot death” in Britain.) Losing someone, especially losing someone you fully expect to outlive you and losing them almost literally in the space of a single breath, leaves scars, and for me, those scars are in the form of an irrational fear that the people I care about are going to die suddenly. It’s not continuous. I don’t spend my every waking moment worrying about my friends and family. But that specific phrasing, “I’ve always got you,” triggered my newfound and instinctive distrust of the word “always”, and that nasty fear that what you think is going to be a joyous future stretching out in front of you can suddenly twist into something treacherous. And my mind manifested it as an image of the death of a loved one.

Now, none of this means that Lady Ru’etha is going to avoid using that trigger, or that specific phrasing of it. That wouldn’t do any good, and in fact it might give the trauma more power by suggesting it’s something that needs to be steered clear of. Her role in that situation is to act as caregiver, helping me through that abreaction and out to the other side of it. (And, let me just stress for the benefit of those readers that happen to be Her, that She did an excellent job of exactly that.) But it’s important to remember that even in purely recreational hypnosis, there are times when the hypnotist might need to take on that role. Even in what seems like a purely “fun” situation, you are still dealing with the human mind, and that’s not something to play with lightly. Your subject is entrusting you with their mind, the most precious thing that they have in all the world. Play with it, have fun with it, but make sure to take care of it. It’s the only one they’re going to get.

For myself, I remain grateful every second of every day that I’ve entrusted Lady Ru’etha with mine.

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One Response to “A Brief, Sad Digression”

  1. Stormgale Says:

    I came here expecting something Lighthearted and fun.. but Got something Deep and meaningful and much more precious, I hope you feel better Jukebox

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