Rita had been attending our Emergency Department due to severe anxiety without any known cause. Initially she tried tranquilizers and antidepressants without effect. She was unable to benefit from “talking therapies” due to her continuous inability to calm down and reflect upon her own behaviour. She was later put on a low dose of an atypical antipsychotic (quetiapine), just in order to reduce her severe anxiety and improve her sleep. She did respond, although slowly. During this stage she was extremely dependant of her family.
Rita’s parents were divorced and there was a history of her father physically abusing the mother. Following evidence given in court by both Rita and her mother, her father was convicted. Due to Rita’s illness the family re-joined after several years without contact. Tensions were obviously high, particularly between Rita’s mother and her father.
She had no history of illicit drug abuse, but she had tried to commit suicide on four occasions following a debut of anxiety at the age of 14. Rita was no living together with her boyfriend and she had plans to become pregnant. She was now eager to try hypnosis as an alternative and last resort.
Her REM (Rapid Eye Movements) were excellent and without any resistance she easily started her journey into the past. She went back to her age of 12. Suddenly she was standing strong and firm in front of her class mates and her teacher.
“I am the only one standing up and expressing support of my friend who has been bullied.”
Then she went further down to the age of 5.
“I am playing with a friend in our playhouse. We are planning for a sleep over but she is scared. I am not!”
She slipped further down to the age of 3.
“Dad hits mum. She is scared. He never hits me. One day I hit back when I am 19 years old. I punch him in his face with my fist and tell him that I want him to feel what it’s like for mum. He never hits her again. Now I am standing in front of my sleeping parents. They don’t notice me. I cry. Slowly I walk back through the hallway to my bedroom. I take my teddy bear and try to put myself to sleep. I feel sick and start throwing up. My mum comes and cleans me up.”
“Excellent Rita! Let us walk through your favourite garden Tell me what it looks like!”
“It’s full of plum- and apple trees, goose berry bushes and dog collars. There are two fields where I grow vegetables and strawberries. By the end of all this I notice an elderly woman. It’s my maternal grandmother. She’s been waiting for me. She looks after and protects me. I didn’t know that. She has even stopped me from committing suicide!”
“How is that possible?”
“She stopped me when I once tried to jump of my boyfriend’s car when he was driving 90 miles/h. I tried to open the door…”
“Is your grandmother still alive?”
“No, she died a year before I was born! She committed suicide….”
“I didn’t know that. Why?”
“My grandfather used to hit her just like my father hit my mother. Grandmother couldn’t stand it and she took an overdose and died.”
“How does she reflect upon that?”
“It wasn’t good for her to commit suicide. She tells me that there would have been so many positive things she still had to experience.”
By communicating with her maternal grandmother Rita seemed to reconfigure and re-establish her own inner true self. She was slowly coming to terms with her anxiety and the source of this repetitive trauma she was adamant to put to rest. My junior doctor was to say the least, surprised and shocked to see how quickly the anxiety faded away. When Rita left, she was calm and in full control. We were all convinced that she was finally on her way back to full recovery.
Rita came to see me one last time, Monday 15th February, 2013. Our nurses first couldn’t recognize her, because she was so completely changed. He face was smiling with a fresh and sparkling make up.
“It’s amazing Doc, suddenly I just understand how everything fits together. My fathers abuse of my mum, but also my maternal grandmother’s support and warning! I feel so happy now. I am planning to start reducing my medication. I don’t see why I should use them”, she said smilingly in my office.
We decided to gradually wean her off her tablets, particularly since she is now planning her first pregnancy.
Two days ago I received an email from Rita. She wanted all of you to know that she is now back working with a smile on her face!