SHE asked me to lie back in a red leather recliner and ''relax'' - a word truly no person with anxiety fully comprehends.

''Do you trust me?'' she asked.
''Yes, but I'm worried about hypnosis won't work on me. Or that this some kind of fake every thing.''
''I get it,'' she said. ''But in a few sessions you'll believe in it.''

Soon enough, musical chimes rang in my ears as my eyes fluttered shut. For 20 minutes, my mind floated in darkness as Joanne read a nonsensical script full of ''suggestions'' - straightforward statements that create a hypnotic state - for my overworked thoughts.

As she recited a slew of jumbled words, it felt as if magic wand was sprinkling tranquility around me like glitter. A tingling overcame my body as the chimes circled my brain like waves. And with that, a small part of unease was sucked out of my body.

By the end, she counted to five and my eyes struggled to open from what felt like a deep meditation. My mind didn't feel controlled but slightly calmer.

Joanne told me I'd notice the changes in two or three days; they would be small, but the anxiety and depression would begin gradually lifting, and sleeping wouldn't be as much chore.

I was to visit her two to three times a week and listen to a 30-minute hypnosis recording nightly before I went to bed.

Despite having done reiki and meditation, the stigma of hypnosis stuck with me at first.  But I listened to Joanne and followed the simple instructions given to me.

The first night I listened to the recording, my body tightened at the mere sound of the woman's voice. The words filling my ear felt like a 30-minute prison sentence.

I forced myself to keep my eyes shut while trying to quiet the stifling anxiety in my body. Weeks went by, and I didn't feel anything, but Joanne encouraged me to keep with it.

After two months of doing so, I felt something shift. As if a string of yearn was slowly spinning off  spool, I became slightly more at ease.

I was militant in my regimen - a combination of my O.C.D. and a willingness to do whatever it took to get better, I became a master of self-hypnosis, all the while traveling to Long Island more than I ever had before.

It became harder to pinpoint what had changed and when it had, but it had.

Just six weeks in, i began sleeping through the night and found myself wanting to escape the walls of my apartment; nearly three months later, my constantly quivering foot stopped tapping.

I gained a new found optimism that fed as me my body coped with the trauma it had been through. I believed in hypnosis like people believed in God.

For six months I stuck to that routine until one day I was back in my body again: no longer crying, no longer wearing the same distressed tee; I was sleeping without the aid of medication again.

What I learned was that people who are struggling with phobias, trauma other mental health problems can see results with hypnosis if they're open to it, as I had seen.

But I would be lying if I said I don't find myself spiraling from time to time.

Hypnosis isn't necessarily a ''cure''. It's a tool.

Sometimes when I find myself stuck in a ''cycle'', I take a breath and remember that I know what to do. I play my recording, shut my eyes and find comfort in the monotonous audio that has saved me so many times before.

Some people might unwind with a meditation apps, but I have my own personalized one that will put me - and my body - to sleep.

The World Students Society thanks author, Rana Kaplan, a Brooklyn based music and culture critic and writer.


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