Thursday, September 24, 2009

Why me?

A little while ago Rich left a comment saying how he often found himself asking, “Why me?” It gave me an idea for a post, because in all the years I’ve had ulcerative colitis I’ve never thought like that. And I think one of the reasons why I’ve never cried up at the heavens in despair, “Why me?” is because I’ve always kind of thought of myself as one of those sort of people that weird or strange or unfortunate things happen to. Of course I was never expecting to get ill, but let’s just say it didn’t come as a complete surprise. And the fact UC is a ridiculous bottom related disease, involving much embarrassment, well that’s just par for the course. Anyway, shortly after reading Rich’s comment I started jotting down a few thoughts on the subject of ‘Why me?’ I never finished writing the post, but on the right hand page below you can read as far as I got. (Click on the pictures to enlarge if you need to.)

Now this week I bought Paul McKenna’s book Control Stress. Which is very interesting and includes some great practical tips on how to reduce stress. One chapter in particular caught my interest. It’s called ‘What’s your story?’ and talks about the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. I think he means that self-narration or self-mythologising thing we all probably do a bit. This part really struck a nerve with me:
Remember, not all stories are negative. If you’ve spent your life telling yourself that you’re a gifted learner, a loyal friend and a ‘get it done’ kind of person, chances are that story has served you well.

But in our culture, the more common stories are imposed upon us from the outside. If you’ve ever been told you’re ‘just not good at maths’, or that you’re ‘shy’, or ‘you’ll never amount to anything’, chances are you’ve struggled in those areas. At some point, you probably took on the story as your own and began repeating it in your head and out loud to others, using the label as part of your identity and building further stories around it.

Now go back and reread those two pages from my notebook. Embarrassingly I’ve got myself down as some sort of freaky big eared, light bulb attracting hospitalaholic. Somehow in my head I’ve turned myself into a real life Gaylord Focker from Meet the Parents for whom life is just one long series of humiliating hurdles. And it’s true, if something not so great happens to me, I just shrug and think ‘typical, of all people it would have to happen to me.’ So all this has made me think I should probably start writing a different story for myself. In this one I won’t be so accident-prone and have strange illnesses. I’ll be lucky and healthy and confident instead. And light bulbs definitely won’t fall on me.

Wednesday's diary on a Thursday 7.6

On time and with two and half hours to spare, it's...WDOAT!
Wednesday 23rd September:
4.40am Change bag
7am Change bag
9am Empty bag
2.30pm Change bag
10.45pm Empty bag

Breakfast 6 x mesalazine 400mg
Dinner 4 x azathioprine 50mg
Bedtime 6 x mesalazine 400mg

Paul McKenna Control Stress relaxation therapy*

Noticeable improvements:
A very small amount of blood again. But on the whole I feel great, ticking along quite happily. Don't seem as tired perhaps as I used to.

Positive, more relaxed, more confident.

*Paul McKenna has a book and CD called Control Stress, which seems to dovetail quite nicely with Guy Cohen's stuff.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dead Babies

The bluish haze of cigarette smoke and insufficient light given off by the candles tucked away in the wine bar’s numerous nooks and crannies are forming an evil coalition to make it near impossible for me to decipher what it is exactly I’m eating. Apparently it’s called tapas, but in the 21 years leading up to this point in my life, nothing has prepared me for such a culinary concept. To my unsophisticated eyes it looks like we’re dining on leftovers. Before now exotic to me would have meant ordering the Hawaiian at Pizza Hut. I wash down something gristly with a big gulp of nasty red wine. I know I shouldn’t drink so fast, but I’m nervous. My stomach has tied itself into a knot so tight it would give Houdini trouble. It’s January 1994 and I find myself hopelessly out of my depth at a table with two advertising industry legends and a small group of junior wannabes like myself. The two admen steer the conversation from obscure European photographers to classical Greek literature to Renaissance art before somehow tying them all up in a fancy bow of unfathomable words. They may as well be speaking a foreign language – and often they do – thinking nothing of dropping French colloquialisms into an already incomprehensible sentence. Apart from to chuck wine down my neck, I’ve sensibly been keeping my mouth firmly shut. Then during a rare lull, one of the legends peers over his Andy Warhol glasses at me and asks, “So what do you read?” I get the feeling that ‘books’ isn’t quite the answer he’s looking for. Suddenly it feels like I’ve been plonked into one of those smoky late night arts debates you see on BBC2. All eyes are on me. My sphincter has tightened to the point it’s in danger of creating a black hole and sucking me into oblivion, which at this precise moment perhaps wouldn’t be such a bad thing. “I quite like James Herbert,” I say, before adding (and to this day I don’t know why) “And some of the stories you get in Readers Digest are alright.” “Hmmm,” sniffs the Warhol lookalike, sucking ponderously on a cigarette, “Hmmm.” He gives me a rather theatrically quizzical look and turns his attention on someone else. The spotlight moves further up the table leaving me in the dark fringes. I can feel my cheeks twitching and the blood rushing noisily through the veins in my temples. Everything becomes a bit fuzzy for a while, until I notice that like me, Mr Warhol–lite is no longer involved in the conversation, and without really thinking I ask him, “Is there a book you could recommend I read?” Leaning back in his chair he fixes me with a very long hard look, “Have you ever read any Martin Amis?” “No,” I reply. And then he turns his whole body towards me, and smiles, “Why don’t you try Dead Babies by Martin Amis, that’s a good place to start.”

That weekend I read Dead Babies. And then after Dead Babies I read Money and then Success, and from Martin Amis I moved onto Will Self and this led me to American authors like Philip Roth, Saul Bellow, John Updike and John Steinbeck, Henry Miller and Richard Yates, and Californian writers, Charles Bukowski and John Fante. Whenever a writer referenced another I would seek them out. The Americans pointed me back in the direction of Europe and Camus and Hamsun. George Orwell, Patrick Hamilton, Christopher Isherwood and Alan Silitoe brought me full circle to Britain. For the last 15 years I’ve been on a joyous never-ending journey through literature. An amazing journey that all started because I was curious and asked a question. I hope I never stop being curious and asking questions.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The delayed Wednesday’s diary on a Thursday 7.5

Apologies for the late running of this week’s WDOAT, this is due to my work suddenly going bat shit crazy.
Wednesday 16th September:
6.50am Change bag
8.15am Empty bag
9.30am Empty bag
2pm Empty bag
8pm Empty bag

Breakfast 6 x mesalazine 400mg
Dinner 4 x azathioprine 50mg
Bedtime 6 x mesalazine 400mg

Geoffrey Glasborow relaxation therapy

Noticeable improvements:
There was a small amount of blood, but these days I'm judging things very strictly - there's either blood or there isn't.

Beginning to creak a bit under the pressure of work, but definitely handling it better/more positively than I used to.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This is one of those posts I sometimes write where I leave big spaces between the lines in a feeble attempt to add meaningfulness and gravitas

The ‘Guy Cohen answers me pretending to be Paxman’ post seems to have stirred up a hornet’s nest, albeit a Lillipution one.

As the mysterious and Bond-esque sounding ‘G’ quite rightly points out, never in the long and illustrious history of Number Twos has a post provoked so many comments.

Finally after 294 posts I’ve discovered the secret to successful blogging.

Just get someone other than me to do most of the writing.

If only I had known earlier.

But back to Guygate.

Ever since the incident where I threw a Jammy Dodger at legendary Beatles producer Sir George Martin, I’ve made it my strict policy to steer clear of controversy.

(And too much champagne.)

So I don’t wish to fan the iddy-biddy flames of debate any further.

My aim here is not to antagonise or insult.

As Ray Davies sang, I’m a lover, not a fighter.

(Unless I’ve had too much champagne and I find myself within range of the ‘Fifth Beatle’ with a shortbread-and-jam based biscuit in my hand, in which case I’m terrifying.)

But I would just like to clarify – and I think we’re all grown up enough to appreciate this – Number Twos has always been about my experiences with ulcerative colitis.

Good and bad, funny and sad, everything on here is written from one point of view alone, and that is mine.

It’s not my place to recommend this drug or that therapy, I just write about my life with UC.

I understand that’s a very simplistic viewpoint, and I am aware there is a certain responsibility that comes with writing about a subject like this on the internet.

And from the beginning I’ve always taken care to be totally honest and not to mislead.

The Guy Cohen thing is no different to the time I wrote about trying Chinese tea.

(Incidentally the Chinese herbal doctors claimed they could cure my UC and unlike Guy, they did charge me a hefty sum for it – how come they don’t get any stick?)

I am trying Guy’s therapies and I will be writing about it.

And as far as my progress goes, rest assured you can expect the same in-depth, behind-the-scenes, impartial investigative reporting that brought you such journalistic gems as On your marks, get set, poo!

It’s the very least I can do.

Now, before I get any more sanctimonious, for those of you who prefer Number Twos a little lighter in tone, below is a book on toilet paper origami.

It’s ten quid on Amazon!

Linda Wright, the author, should be hanged for peddling this kind rubbish to vulnerable people who spend way too much time on the loo.

It’s disgusting.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Guy Cohen answers me pretending to be Paxman

Obviously I’m a massive Guy Cohen fan now, but is it fair to say my initial “aggressively cynical” attitude is one often shared by the medical profession and even some Crohn’s & Colitis support groups?

Yes, the aggressively cynical attitude is commonplace, particularly with the old school medical profession. I didn’t bother with the support groups because I didn’t want to hang around with a bunch of ill people who felt a camaraderie in their illness. I wanted to be well. Years after I was well, remember from the book, I called the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) only to discover they’re only interested in treatment that involves drugs. Furthermore, my cousin in New York asked if I’d like to come to charity dinner and maybe say a few words. When I said I’d talk about how I’d got well, he basically said don’t come, they’re not going to want to hear that as it was a medical sponsored dinner event!

As you know I’ve been having some teething problems with the Rewind Technique (more of which I’ll write about later) – do you believe that literally anyone can succeed in curing their UC with your methods?

Yes, I do believe that everyone I’ve met so far could be cured if they follow what I and others have done. IE provided they really want it and are prepared to do what it takes. Fortunately with the Rewind Technique it’s not nearly as much effort as what I had to devote to it. But the sad thing is that there really aren’t that many sufferers out there who REALLY want to get well. They don’t want to put in the effort, or they make excuses like “I don’t want someone messing with my mind”, etc.

Ok, there’s the odd person who may have an allergy or intolerance but that’s a tiny minority. Like I say, I’ve never met anyone who has colitis/crohn’s/ibs who hasn’t had those negative thought patterns looping around continuously. From there it’s a question of honesty and then desire to get the job done and keep it going.

Before you contacted me I'd always been led to believe I’d have UC for life and I’d just have to learn to live with it. You’re the ONLY person who has ever told me I can beat it. That in itself is incredibly powerful. Do you think doctors are doing us a major disservice by not suggesting we might explore alternative therapies such as yours?

Yes, the medical community is doing a massive disservice by (a) not investigating and interviewing people like me – I'm totally willing to co-operate and help duplicate what I did in any way they suggest; (b) not suggesting people to at least explore relaxation techniques and hypno. I'm not the only one out there who’s conquered the problem and my goal is to make it commonplace.

But the truth is the medical profession, particularly in the US, is in the grip of the drugs companies. Let’s face it, if a charitable foundation like the CCFA are pretty much controlled by big pharma, what choice are people really being given?

But here’s the good news. Thanks to technology and the internet people like me can start to make a difference and give folks out there something to think about and try with zero risk. They can continue with their treatment and still try my methods. What I really need to do is find someone famous who has colitis (like Anastacia for example) and treat her successfully. That would be huge ...

Wednesday's diary on a Thursday 7.4

A very promising week and a little blip. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday there was no blood in my daily bowel movements, which can only be a good thing. And then today there was blood. It’s annoying and a bit disappointing, but I’m going to take encouragement from the three days without blood and keep on with the therapies. Talking of which, yesterday I stayed over at my girlfriend’s and stupidly forgot to take a copy of Guy’s recordings with me, so I missed a day. Could that be why the blood returned today? Hmmm.
Wednesday 9th September:
6.50am Change bag
2pm Empty bag
5.30pm Empty bag

Breakfast 6 x mesalazine 400mg
Dinner 4 x azathioprine 50mg
Bedtime 6 x mesalazine 400mg

Missed a day. (Naughty.)

Noticeable improvements:
Three days in a row without blood in my daily bowel movements. Emptied/changed my bag a lot less???

Pretty good. Generally more upbeat.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Guy Cohen answers Rich Mercy Seat

Rich of The Mercy Seat fame had a whole load of questions for Guy, which he is happy to share with us. I think you’ll find Guy’s answers interesting, entertaining, enlightening and, well, really quite blunt. But that’s the key with Guy’s therapies – you have to be totally honest with yourself. Not always that easy. Maybe you’ll recognise a bit of yourself in Rich? If so, don’t worry, you can’t possibly be more cynical than I was. According to Guy I was ‘aggressively cynical.’ Harrumph. Anyway, many thanks to Rich for his questions and also thanks to Guy for the character assassination, sorry, advice. I meant ADVICE.

If I consider myself to be relatively positive in a general sense, will the hypnotherapy still be beneficial to my UC?

Hi Rich...being serious(!) how can you say you’re “relatively positive in a general sense” at the same time as saying in the same email: “Will my naturally cynical nature limit the effects of the therapy?” and “I am a jaded, world-weary, world-wary old bugger”?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and tease you with the idea that you’re not as “relatively positive” as you suggest! Furthermore, I'm going to ask if you camouflage your natural cynicism with some sort of self-deprecating humour?

This is a chance to be brutally honest with yourself as my methods do rely on that.

In my first email exchanges with Martin we had similar discussions about his desire to be well versus his almost aggressive scepticism. It’s not uncommon, but consider this – and I said the same thing to Martin: something you truly desire (I hope) could have fallen right into your lap. Regardless of the salesy nature of some of my material, I'm a real guy who has (a) cured myself of UC and (b) helped others do the same. For the sake of a book and website you can read it and figure out how real it is and how real I am.

When I was ill I grasped at EVERYTHING until I would find a solution – that was my attitude. I wasn’t cynical or bitter about any of the ones that didn’t work – and of course none of them worked at all, until I stumbled upon Geoffrey. My attitude was that every failure was a step nearer success. Now, compare that to your “naturally cynical nature”! You say you wouldn’t have even looked at my website – in your position I would have been all over it in a flash.

How about replacing your “naturally cynical nature” with a “naturally curious and open-minded nature”, combined with a single-minded determination to get completely well again? For the purpose of achieving your goal here, you’ll find it’s much more constructive!

In every spiritual book (even the non-hypey ones) taking responsibility for your thoughts and actions is at the heart of the message. I'm not religious in any way, however, deep down I believe we all know the truth of this, and the moment you take responsibility for what’s going on in your life is the moment you can start to have more input over what happens in it. Two great books are “The Power of Now” and “The Power of a Single Thought”.

Is the therapy successful in breaking the tie between symptoms, mental response and behaviour; i.e. I feel a cramp, I think about it all day, anxiety sets in, symptoms apparently worsen... Could this be the root of negativity that will cause UC?

This is part of your issue. You have got into the habit of negative looping thinking. Now, of course it’s easy and understandable to get anxious about a nasty pain or cramp. However, as you start to understand how your mind works and how my method helps, you’ll find yourself in a virtuous cycle. As your thinking is clearer and healthier (having stopped or radically reduced the negative looping thoughts) your body will begin to feel more comfortable. In turn that gives you the encouragement to keep thinking in a healthier way. Try to become the observer of your thoughts a bit more ... it’s very instructive.

Or... is it all about other issues? Does you feel that my UC is as a result of historical negativity - I'm struggling to come to terms with the idea that there is much negativity in my life outside of the UC.

As above, it’s all part of the same thing really. Somehow, you’ve learnt to think in this self-destructive way. That doesn’t make you a bad person – it’s actually a form of survival mechanism for whatever reason. Often these habits are learned at a young age and in response to close relationships with family/partner, etc. That’s not to shift the blame anywhere else, not even yourself. But for some reason you got into a bad thinking habit. Listen to your thoughts and be honest about what kind of thinker you are. If nothing else, read your email to Martin! I realise you think you’ve seen all the cures that are possible but the fact is that you haven’t! And instead of being excited, your tone in the email is full of cynicism! Now, it’s time to get excited and curious.

What kind of time frame does the therapy work in? Is it really possible to see improvements rapidly? What is the rate of the disease returning after therapy?

If you use the Rewind Technique properly in conjunction with my relaxation recordings this can work very quickly indeed. I also want you to buy those two books I mentioned at the end of Question 1. You need to read my book too ... preferably more than once – particularly the Roadmap part. Tricia Best had Crohn’s for 20 years and was housebound for around 70% of the time. With her she was virtually better within a week or so. She was completely committed to the method and her breakthrough was doing the Rewind Technique with me. Read her review of my book for her account of what happened.

With Martin I think we’re making decent progress though not as spectacularly as Tricia, but that’s for a couple of reasons. Not only had Martin had the bag, but also he was highly sceptical – aggressive almost – with a stranger like me approaching him! Understandable perhaps, whereas Tricia’s husband knew me and what kind of guy I am, so she bought into the idea immediately without question.

In simple terms what is the minimum therapy you would recommend? Read the book? Do the free download? (Are you making money out of this? - I can't quite work it out on your website, but when you have seen so many of these miracle cure sites it is difficult not to be cynical...)

Well, this is going to be a wholesale change in your view of the world, so in some ways it’s ongoing. But to get results you need to get the package. Read the book, even listen to the audio if you like too, so you can hear it with my voice. Listen to one of the relaxations at least once per day for the first month. When you’ve read the book and understand the method, do the Rewind Technique. Really get into it and go for it ... you should be pretty zoned out by the end as it’s an intense exercise.

If you’re still hyper-cynical just get the book. Then you’ll know for sure that I'm real. Regarding the Rewind Technique, Martin had a couple of issues at what to point it at. Follow the instructions in my book. You point it at the representation of yourself having the negative destructive thoughts. In your case it you could point it at your cynicism for one! But you can do it multiple times at different areas until you start to notice tangible physical results. When you point it in the right place, results happen remarkably fast.

Am I making money out of this? Not yet! I’ve spent $24,000 on this project so far. When it becomes profitable, then Geoffrey will get the lion’s share as he’s in his mid 80s and my gratitude to him is immense even after all these years and the fact that I’ve significantly improved on what I did with him to get better myself.

Do you ever think that, perhaps, you’re just in a lengthy period of remission? Would you totally refute this as a possibility?

I never think in terms of remission – it’s a dirty word to me. You’re either well or you’re not. When you’re well, it’s just a question of staying well. If you were to lurch back into bad thinking habits, that would be unhelpful of course. But if you adopt what I'm saying and it works for you, then you create a new habit. If you were to have any kind of setback having got well, you would know exactly what to do to get back on track.

What I do is a formula, and it works. Use the formula to get well. Then retain the good habits that the formula creates for you.

Again, your question is incredibly negative, however, let me elaborate. First, I’ve been well for over 13 years, which was also the last time I saw a doctor about it. Once in a very occasional while (perhaps 3 times in 13 years), I’ve had “warning signs” where all was not completely well down there (though by no means full blown or too terrible). Each time that happened, at the heart of it for some reason I’d re-started the negative looping thoughts for one reason or another that was pretty easy to identify. In one occasion, something was happening in my life that was akin to a bullying kind of episode I’d grown up with. We literally identified it, rewound it and trivialized it in a relaxed state and literally within 24 hours I was 100% fine again.

It was because of these episodes that I began to realize how fast one can make massive changes physically. In a way they were a kind of gift and without them I probably wouldn’t have connected the Rewind Technique to a solution to all this. The Rewind Technique was created for phobias. However, what I discovered is that a phobia has the identical thought structure to what people with Crohn’s, colitis and IBS are doing. Bad thinking habit = physical reaction. Eliminate the bad thinking habit = no more physical reaction. That’s the formula.

The trick is how to eliminate the bad thinking habit. Well, you can do it with cognitive methods and hypnosis, which is how I got well, but that can take time and requires immense discipline and commitment. Or you can do that AND the Rewind Technique and suddenly the results are massively accelerated provided you point the Rewind at the appropriate area.

Will my naturally cynical nature limit the effects of the therapy?

If you insist! It’s really up to you ... an attitude change is preferable. Here’s my question to you ... Do you really want to get better? If you do, you’ll get on with it now and stop the cynicism. If you’re not serious about this you’ll (continue to) make excuses!

Thanks to Martin, something amazing has fallen into your lap here. Grasp the opportunity and only think about the result you want.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A big hand for my surgeon

My surgeon is making notes in my hospital records folder. I make a half-hearted attempt at reading them, but from this angle they're upside-down and without the benefit of a team of code-cracking Bletchley boffins at my disposal, my chances of understanding his scrawl are hopeless. My attention drifts to my surgeon’s hands. They’re quite small, neat and pinkishly clean. They look exactly as you'd expect surgeons' hands to look. If there was a Stars In Their Eyes for hands, and these were to come on and announce, “Tonight Matthew, we’re going to be surgeons’ hands,” then once the famous doors had slid open and the dry ice had cleared, viewers at home would be nudging each other and saying, “Ooh, they really look like surgeons’ hands as well.” Watching my surgeon guide the nib of his Mont Blanc across the page it occurs to me that these fingers have actually been inside my body. And as small, neat and pinkishly clean as they are, it’s still unnerving to think they’ve been under my flesh. I barely know the man, yet it feels like we’ve shared some kind of intimacy. I’m just considering whether it’s enough of a bond to warrant sending each other Christmas cards or not, when his voice jerks me from my dopey daydream, “When would you like to have the reversal? We could possibly do it within the next two months.” His dextrous little fingers screw the lid back on his pen and he smiles in that way that indicates he’s finished talking and now it’s my turn. “Oh, that’s good, but I was sort of thinking if maybe we could do it early next year? I’ve had a lot of time off work this year already and I’d just rather enjoy Christmas.” There’s something about being an NHS patient that always makes me think I should be grateful that there’s even a chair to sit on in the waiting room and I wonder if I’m pushing my luck by asking to have the operation in the new year. “That’s fine, come back in three months and I’ll put you on the waiting list then.” Since starting my treatment with Guy I’ve thought a lot about how fortunate I am that during my operation the surgeon made an on-the-spot decision to only take a small section of my colon out, rather than the whole shebang as he had intended. A younger, more inexperienced surgeon may not have had the confidence to go off script. His actions mean I don’t have a permanent ileostomy, and now with Guy’s help it gives me a fighting chance of clearing up the disease in the remaining colon. As I stand to leave something compels me to express this to my surgeon, “I just want you to know I’m really grateful to you for only taking out a bit of my colon, I think it’s turned out better this way.” It was worth telling him for his smile alone. Offering me one of those quite small, neat, pinkishly clean hands he says, “You know at the time I took a lot of stick for doing what I did. A lot of people weren’t happy with me about it. But I think it was the right thing for you.” I note his cool, relaxed, just-the-right-side-of-arrogant manner, and I know for sure that I’m in safe hands.

Ask away

Guy Cohen said he would be more than happy to answer any questions you have about the methods he uses for curing ulcerative colitis. So if you want to leave a question in the comments section or email me, then I’ll pass them on to Guy and post up his answers shortly.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wednesday's diary on a Thursday 7.3

You may notice one or two changes to this week’s WDOAT. From now on there’ll be a slight shift in focus. Rather than just recording the same old stuff week in week out, I hope to now use WDOAT to chart any significant progress I’m making with my new goal, which quite simply is to be fully healthy again – UC free in other words. Since having surgery I no longer have any of the obvious symptoms of ulcerative colitis. But it’s still there. The colonoscopy I had back in June revealed I have mild disease in my remaining section of colon and in the bit near my rectum. Now there’s no way I can tell what’s going on inside my colon week by week. A tribe of nomadic shit mining pixies could have set up camp in there and I wouldn’t know a thing about it. But there is one way I think I’ll be able to see if things are improving. Most days I still have one normalish bowel movement. This produces a putty-mucus-milky-Weetabix type substance. Over the months since the op, blood has crept into these bowel movements. At first it was just a pale pink blush on the toilet paper, but more recently it’s been a definite crimson. This I believe is caused by the UC still in my rectum area. If the blood from my back passage reduces, then I think it’s fair to assume I’m heading in the right direction. So I’ll be keeping an eye on that. Also I’m going to try and comment on my general mental wellbeing, my mood, vibe, spirit, whatever you want to call it. This then, is the new and improved WDOAT.
Wednesday 2nd September:
7am Change bag
8.15am Empty bag
1040am Empty bag
2pm Change bag
6.15pm Empty bag
9.30pm Empty bag

Breakfast 6 x mesalazine 400mg
Dinner 4 x azathioprine 50mg
Bedtime 6 x mesalazine 400mg

Geoffrey Glasborow* relaxation download

Noticeable improvements:
Consistently healthier thinking. Less dwelling on negatives. More energy.

Positive. Bit excited really.

*Guy Cohen's original recording of a session with Geoffrey Glasborow in 1995.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hypnotherapy session number 1

Guy Cohen’s voice is clear, self-assured and not unpleasant on the ears. Behind the mellifluous tone is a hint of playfulness, which brings to mind a bright-eyed head boy. Guy fizzes with optimism and can occasionally come across as cheesy – but it’s only optimism in the same sense most Hollywood films are optimistic; E.T. goes home, Rocky wins, Jaws dies and Bill Murray learns not to be such a dickhead. There’s nothing wrong with that and it’s actually quite refreshing. Guy is talking to me through my Mac using Skype, so I can be hands free and not have a hot headachy mobile pressed to my ear for the whole session. I am lying on my sofa in my spare room cum office. The blinds are drawn, shutting out the early evening light and the geese, which fly low past my window about this time every night on their way to Walthamstow marshes. After a few minutes small talk, it’s time to get down to business. Much like an airline pilot’s pre-takeoff preamble – we’ll be flying at 30,000ft, approximate journey time should be a little under 3hrs etc – Guy starts by outlining exactly what we’ll be doing during the session. Then we’re clear for take-off. Guy tells me to relax and concentrate on breathing more deeply. I begin to inhale and exhale more slowly, trying to find a steady controlled rhythm. Then Guy’s voice takes my mind on a journey around my body, and I’m asked to imagine my various limbs going limp and relaxing; my right foot going limp and relaxing, my left foot going limp and relaxing, my right leg going limp and relaxing, my left leg going limp and relaxing. When it comes to my hands going limp I have to suppress all thoughts of John Inman, and stay focused. Then Guy tells me to imagine I’m floating on thin air, floating and drifting, drifting and floating. At no point do I feel ‘under’ or at all like I’m in a trance. I think the purpose of these first exercises is to put me in the right frame of mind and set the mood. It’s mental foreplay. After which Guy begins to count upwards. All the while I’m encouraged to relax and smile and enjoy myself, whilst continuing to breathe nice and deeply. Now Guy asks me to remember a time in my life when I felt supremely confident. I have to picture it in my mind, make it really vivid, relive how it made me feel, what was in front of me, behind me, recreate the scene in detail, the colours, the smells, the sounds, making it feel as intense and bright as I can. Then just when I think I can’t push it any further Guy tells me to pinch my thumbnail against my middle finger, take a deep breath and relax. I’m a little concerned that I’m not doing this part right, but Guy reassures me that if I’m trying then I’m doing it right. Next I have to remember a time when I felt really curious, totally fascinated and absorbed in something. And again I have to picture it in my head in as much detail as possible, making it 3D and giving it surround sound. Then as before, when it gets to its most intense I pinch my thumbnail against my middle finger, and relax. Now Guy tells me to think of a time where I had the giggles. Proper uncontrollable giggles. I have to make it real in my head, adding layer upon layer of detail, until it can’t get any more vibrant, then I pinch my thumbnail against my middle finger, before relaxing. Now it gets a little harder. Guy tells me to remember all three scenarios all at the same time. Mix them all up, confidence, curiosity and the giggles. Guy gets very excited at this point and I’m guessing by his yelling and hollering that what we’re doing is kind of like crossing the streams in Ghostbusters and we’re going to unleash some God Almighty power. I half expect cupboard drawers to start opening and closing and gas bills and takeaway menus to begin swirling around the room in a vortex. I can report that none of this happens, although I do find myself smiling, which Guy tells me is a good thing. I pinch my thumbnail against my middle finger and we both take a deep breath and relax. Now we move on to the final part of the session and something called the Rewind Technique. Here Guy asks me to imagine I’m sitting in a big cinema. It’s just me, on my own, looking up at an old crackly, black and white film. And the film I’m watching is of a time when I felt anxious or was feeling particularly negative. I have to play the film from start to finish, 20 seconds or so. Then I have to imagine I float up out of myself right up to the ceiling where I can look down on myself looking up at the film of myself on the screen. In effect there are now three of me, four if you include the real me. Fortunately I’ve always had something of a split personality, so I feel quite comfortable in a roomful of Martins. Guy tells me to continue floating back into the projection room, where I can look down on the back of myself watching the film. Now I have to play the film in reverse. All the action moves backwards. Then when I reach the start, I have to rewind it again. And again, and again, and again, getting faster and faster each time. Guy suddenly starts playing the Benny Hill theme tune and everything in my head is careering backwards. Guy is yelling faster! Faster! Faster! He can’t get his words out quick enough. Benny Hill becomes fairground music. Clown music. Faster! Faster! Guy’s tripping over his words now. He wants me to laugh. I don’t know what’s going on. I struggle to keep up with it all. It feels like my eyes are spinning around in their sockets like a couple of Lotto balls about to be released. Then it’s all over. Quiet. Calm. Still. Relaxed, soothing Guy returns, taking over from manic, speed-freak Guy and he tells me that what we have just done is incredibly powerful and I should start to feel different very soon. There’s not a trace of doubt in Guy’s voice. It’s too early to say how I feel, but I know one thing. I believe him.