You’re feeling very sleepy. Says my psychologist.

The first time was hypnotised, I didn’t know I was.

Wait hang on, what are we doing?

Feel your body getting heavier. Listen to my voice, I’ll guide you.

I had booked a psychologist appointment, yet it sounded like she was trying put me under hypnosis. I was not yet used to life with amnesia, frequently surprises everyday, when I forgot something was on. My memory loss gave me many moments like this.

I’d booked the appointment weeks ago, the thing about living with memory loss is the constant surprise at things I’d forgotten I’d done, I’d completely forgotten she was also a hypnotherapist.

Oh that’s right. I thought, remembering why I’d booked this session. I wanted to give my brain new good thoughts. I wanted to get away from this crazy-making, overexcited brain which freaked out at things like a flooded bathroom.

I was ready to take control. I decided to get as much help as I could to help my brain focus on the positive. With my brain in overdrive, scared and confused, this was a strategy to calm my frayed nerves and overactive nervous system.

Listen, focus, I sit up taller, the therapist is in the UK, so we are talking over ZOOM which makes this experience even more intense, her voice booms out of the computer.

With closed eyes, I listen, her accent I can’t help but imagine divination Professor Trelawney from Harry Potter, I giggle to myself. After a while, I let my mind wander. She sees me relax.

There that’s it, stay there.

She’s watching my every move on the video screen, even from 17,000 kms away she’s watching my body language and she’s good.

Did you have an imaginary friend as a child? She asked.

Well, yes, doesn’t everyone?

Not necessarily, you strike me as someone who would, and I imagine you will be easy to hypnotise as you seem like someone with a good imagination.   

I was not sure if a wild imagination was a good thing. Hypnotherapy was new to me and I was unsure what to expect. What did I have to lose?  I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and went down the rabbit hole.


Where are you? The hypnotherapist asked.

In a cave.

What are you?

A butterfly.

What is the butterfly doing?

She’s sad, crying.


She’s lost, stuck in the cave, it’s all dark and cold. Her wings are wet, so she cannot fly with wet wings and so she can’t get out. She’s scared she will be stuck in this cave forever.

What does the butterfly need to do to be free?

She needs to find the way out but she can’t see it. Everything is dark and there’s a scary monster stopping her from finding the way out.


When I emerged a forty minutes later, I felt strange. It was a lot of brain power. That experience was even weirder than anything I’ve experienced about this brain injury. I don’t know how to describe it.

The therapist explains: Over the next few days, the stories that I told you will weave together even more and you will notice positive changes that you hadn’t noticed before as you start to process things at the deepest of levels.

Hmmm, I’m not sure, this could take months, years to deconstruct.

It sounds like an Tony Robbins sales pitch.

Only if you believe that Sarah

What do you mean?

This could all change in an instant, your attitude can change in a minute, that’s all it takes.

I held my head in my hands, I’m exhausted

I can see that, Sarah, let me put this to you.

What you need is a new advertising campaign.

What do you mean?

A new campaign for your brain. For the last year, you’ve been telling people, oh my brain hurts, I have a headache

Yes, well I do have a headache, I’ve had a headache forEVER!

This may be true. Please start to be mindful of the words that you use. Every cell in your body is listening.

I am angry she’s telling me to stop talking about my headache. How will I get better if I can’t tell anyone about it?

She continued. Like underlying words, the ones we say the most, stand out. If you keep telling yourself you are exhausted then the body will think it is permanently exhausted. Try saying: “I have done well and I am going to take a rest, before I do my next task or maybe by doing the next task, my energy will be increased in new ways yet unknown to me”. So many variations.

I thought about this. The is truth in this. Every morning this year, I had woken with the thought of shit here’s another day in living hell, a nightmare, I’m exhausted. All before I even got out of bed. I had been telling myself that story over and over, it had become automatic, I didn’t even realise it.

I don’t want to be like this, I want to be like….I sigh. This injury is bullshit. I don’t want to be doing all this reprogramming, I want to go back to my old self, my old life, all this effort to reprogram my brain is not what I want to be doing with my life.

I know you will be a whizz at this as you work in the world of marketing, and you know the power of words in advertising. Talk to yourself like an advertising campaign.

We hang up. I stare at the computer screen. What do I do now? This nightmare seems never ending and I don’t know anyway out of it.I guess I have nothing to lose by trying something different.

I start writing my new advertising campaign:

I am resting

I am healing

I am connecting neurons I never knew I had

Every cell in my body is listening

I trust my brain and body to heal

I am improving everyday

Mermaid tail

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