The sea, hypnotherapy & me...
Last July, I took a leap of faith and wrote a blog called The sea, anxiety & me.
For me, it was a brave notion to take on, but at the same time, it felt like the right thing to do.
Having run Retro-On-Sea for the last 6 years, I have brought my little business through highs and lows, good times and bad. Having spent at least 3 of those years with chronic anxiety, I did indeed feel like 'throwing in the towel' with the shop on more than one occasion. However, something told me 'no', cling on to the raft and fight!
I come from a family of strong women. My great grandfather perished on the Titanic having put my great grandmother in a lifeboat. She did not want to leave him, but he insisted that she had to return home to look after the children....which she did indeed do. One of those children was my grandfather, who in later years married my grandmother Agnes. During world war II she was severely injured when a bomb fell just outside the house. She fought to live for many years. Their four children, including my mother, miraculously survived, but that experience has I know always lived with her. She and her brothers and sister had to be looked after by their auntie & uncle and Titanic surviving grandmother during that war and she has special memories of both. Each generation has had to fight their own battles and in this one, my own dear sister has had to fight the battle of cancer and has miraculously won. I am one of three sisters and we have all at different times had to dig deep.
You too will have your own stories to tell. This I think shows us that none of us is perfect. You can put on a brave face and through words and pictures be selective about what you want to show to the wider world. I have met so many lovely customers over these past 6 years. Some at fairs and stalls, others at flea markets and boot sales. I have enjoyed chatting with them face to face but also through messages and emails! Honest conversations but also laughs.
There is one thing that I have found during this period though, 'honesty is the best policy'
as they say. When I opened up in that original blog last year I was really astounded at the response I had from people. Personal messages of encouragement and many that could also identify with what I was going through. They were truly thankful.
I love to sell from my little online shop, but at the same time love to feel that it is my very own community of simply lovely people. If I can help people to have a friendly and enjoyable shopping experience that is fantastic, but to add a real sense of community to that is even better. It is super to share our ups and downs of everyday life, how we are feeling in the morning and 'can anyone help me' how to sleep at night.
At 50 odd I am still fighting my way through the menopause, but I think, finally winning. The anxiety has been greatly helped by medication which has in turn ever so kindly provided me with extra weight gain. You can't win them all!
Or perhaps you can win them all. I don't want to be on the medication forever and my forward-thinking GP suggested that I may at this stage like to try some hypnotherapy.
I don't know about you but when I think of hypnotherapy I see a typical stage act with people being taken from the audience, put to sleep and told to do silly things. Much to the audience's delight! Doesn't everyone think that?
My GP explained that the hypnotherapy was clinical and 'solution-focused' and that you would be seen by a fully trained professional hypnotherapist. One who could help people with everything from anxiety to giving up smoking. My GP could not speak more highly of it.
Well, after 4 years of varying degrees of anxiety, I was prepared to try anything. I booked myself in. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but Michelle put me at total ease. Treatment rooms and I don't often fair very well together, but in all honesty, when I walked in and sat down, Michelle had a calmness that was completely relaxing. She talked about the parts of the brain and how everything works. All the diagrams and what was happening made total sense. It made me see how looking after our minds is as important as looking after our bodies. I for one had fought my own fair share of battles in my life to date and it wasn't surprising that my brain was exhausted! I had trained it to think the same things for years and I needed to re-train it to say, 'you don't need to be anxious, everything is OK'.
I wanted to share my experience of hypnotherapy with you because it has been a milestone on my anxious journey. In the following weeks you spent half an hour talking about the present and the future, rather than the past, followed by half an hour on the couch, with cushions and a cosy blanket, going into total relaxation and listening to beautiful life-affirming stories, tailored to your own needs. One week I would be by a lake, another week in a field of colourful flowers. Michelle would be taking me step by step through confirmations of what I could do now as well as the future. At the end of each session, you feel relaxed and the only way to describe it is 'incredibly well and energised'.
As a result of these sessions, I have gained confidence that I had lost for many years. I can now do things that I haven't done for ages and do them with confidence. I am looking forward to visiting one of our sons in Cornwall in a few weeks time. The sea is another form of therapy for me, as you already know!
So nearly a year on from that blog I am in a completely different place, thanks to the hypnotherapy. A burden has been lifted. If anyone out there is as bad as I have been, please do give it a try. If it helps just one person, then that is wonderful! I will give you Michelle's details at the bottom of this blog, so if anyone local here in the Wedmore / Winscombe area..or further afield, wants to get in touch with her to book a session then they can. Michelle did not ask me to advertise her practice, but she kindly agreed to let me share my very positive experience as a patient. Thank you, Michelle!
Life throws unexpected blows at us and that includes us all in different ways.
Seize the day. Listen more if that helps someone. Talk more if that helps you.
I look forward to talking to you all through my blog in the coming weeks and months. Do comment - that would be lovely.
Sharing is a wonderful thing.
I love to share my on-line shop with you and getting your feedback.
Each morning I start the day with 5 minutes of mindfulness meditation.
It gives my mind space to breathe before I start the day.
I sit at the kitchen table.
I use the 'Calm' app on my phone...do look them up.
I light a candle and breathe.
These are by far the most important 5 minutes of my day.
I have no idea who I am going to speak to or what is going to happen.
This time prepares me.
We have some exciting new additions to the shop on their way.
Who likes the idea of summer dresses?!
Michelle is Somerset-based. The hypnotherapy information is as follows :-
Michelle Louise Balson
Solution Focused Clinical Hypnotherapy