I SAT in the audience watching the man on stage, he had told us to lace our fingers together, those of us who couldn’t get them apart were to stand up.
I pulled at my fingers and found to my horror that I couldn’t separate them.
‘Over here’ shouted my then boyfriend (now my husband).
‘Shut up!’ I hissed, but it was too late, the man beckoned me up on stage, I was mortified, not just because I was being dragged on stage but because for some reason unknown to me I had chosen to wear a pair of bright blue dungarees tied with a rope in the middle.
I was an awkward teenager, being onstage was bad enough but to also be dressed as one of Dexy’s Midnight Runners was a double whammy in the humiliation stakes. The year was 1984 and I was sat in the now defunct Arts Theatre in Botanic Avenue watching hypnotist Edwin Heath.
This was my first brush with hypnotism, before I knew it I was the star turn fondling bald men’s heads in the audience, doing the can-can and generally making a complete eejit of myself. If anyone had told this shy teenager she would have been parading around on stage I’d have never believed them, I was aware of what I was doing but I didn’t really care.
After that I became a legend in my own lunchtime amongst my family and friends who couldn’t imagine introvert me jumping on baldy men and dancing in front of a packed audience. They had been disappointed they hadn’t witnessed the performance for themselves so my sister booked for us and some friends to go and see another cabaret hypnotist, Barry Sinclair, some time later. Sure enough there I was again up on stage strutting my stuff; it appears I am highly susceptible to the powers of hypnotic persuasion so I decided to try hypnotherapy to help overcome my fear of driving, unfortunately, it all went pear shaped. The therapist, after having a conversation about my fears, decided he wanted to regress me, he was convinced I had been Marilyn Monroe in a former life! I was a little alarmed and refused. We finally got to work with the driving issue instead. Before he began putting suggestions into my mind about how I confident I would feel behind the wheel, he had to relax me first. He started telling me that my toes where relaxed, then my calves, my knees, my thighs, I’m sure you get the picture, by the time he got to the top of my head I was bored to tears and frozen solid, his consulting room was Arctic! I left the session no nearer to driving but for some bizarre reason I had an overpowering urge to sing, ‘Boop-boop-de-doop’ in a breathy voice.
Not surprisingly I was a bit sceptical about hypnotherapy after that, but as fate would have it, whilst being interviewed for a radio show about my celebrity charity book for Alzheimer’s, I met a lady called Ana Isabel. Ana is a hypnotherapist and as we got talking I told her about my driving phobia. Ana was adamant that she could help me, I couldn’t see how it would be possible as she resides in England but she said it wasn’t a problem as she also conducts sessions via Skype.
Many think of hypnotherapy as it was portrayed in the old movies, watching a round card with black and white circles revolving around and being told you are getting very sleepy. Many people fear being put into a trance-like state but it’s not like that at all. You are fully aware the whole time but very relaxed. Ana explains that the word hypnosis comes from the Greek God of Sleep and this often leads to confusion as to what to expect from hypnosis. You do not relinquish control to the hypnotist, you are fully aware the whole time. The way hypnosis works is, your conscious mind is invited to sit back and allow the subconscious mind to be communicated with, this way you can find out what’s really going on where fears and phobias are concerned.
I cannot believe how effective hypnotherapy has been for me. I have discussed many things with Ana and one of my worries was my health. Last year I had a very high cholesterol reading and as much as it scared me I could not overcome my addiction for chocolate and Chinese takeaways. There wasn’t a day passed when I wasn’t thinking about these foods, I was constantly planning what I was going to order from the Chinese and what chocolate bar I would choose to eat while I watched Coronation Street. I told Ana I would love to be able to stamp these foods out of my diet. After just one session I have never touched chocolate or Chinese food again. That was last October and even over Christmas not a chocolate passed my lips. We received lots of boxes of sweets as Christmas gifts and part of me wanted to be pigging out in front of the telly in traditional Christmas fashion so I actually attempted twice to eat some chocolate, but each time I was so disgusted by its taste that I had to spit it out, I kid you not! I doubt I will ever eat chocolate or Chinese food again such is my newfound disgust for it, I have also booked a refresher driving course! I’m really pleased with the way Ana has helped me overcome fears, addictions and anxieties through hypnotherapy, if only I’d known her in my life as Marilyn!
Ana Isabel can be contacted via www.lifehypnosis.net