Hypnotherapy

I started seeing Dr. Helen Williams 6 months ago. My childhood was… rough. I was diagnosed with PTSD and OCD a little over 4 years ago now and my psychologist, Dr. Rebecca Santos, thought hypnotic regression therapy could help in ways that drugs and traditional therapy could not.

I had tried talk therapy, group therapy, support groups, experimental drugs, but nothing seemed to help. Prozac dulled the pain and allowed me to get up in the morning but, as Rebecca explained, I had difficulty facing my childhood trauma and healing the wounds created by my father.

So, a few months ago, Rebecca referred me to Helen, a prominent and highly respected hypnotherapist in New York City. Rebecca spoke with Helen about my case and she agreed to lower her exorbitant fee substantially so that I could afford to see her once a month. Even then, one appointment with her cost more than four appointments with Rebecca. I was a pro bono case without being worth actual pro bono work. But Rebecca seemed to think it was one of the only options left for me. So I went.

I was desperate to get rid of the nightmares. Prazosin was supposed to quiet my PTSD night terrors and while it helped, I was still haunted by my father’s dark stoic face. Those nights I’d wake up, sobbing, drenched with sweat, tears, and more often than I’d like to admit, my own urine.

I couldn’t date or have a boyfriend, I couldn’t even have one night stands. Other than Rebecca, I was completely alone. I was unable to trust people enough to have friends. The only ones remotely close to me were a few co-workers who talked at me as I silently made my morning coffee.

I tried to live with a roommate once, since I don’t make a lot of money and it seemed like a fiscally responsible idea, but that only lasted a few months before neither of us could take the tension anymore. It had seemed like such a good idea at the time, but I was mentally kicking myself for such a dumb plan even before the first week was over. Of course no one could live with me.

I thought about adopting a cat once. Even Rebecca thought it could be a good idea: me taking care of another living creature. I went down to the pet store after my appointment and got to hold an adorable black kitten. His body was so small, so frail. His large wet eyes filled with innocence. It only took a few seconds before thoughts of his ultimate demise crept into my head. I began to tremble, tears welling, my breath shortening into painful gasps. I thrust the tiny kitten into the arms of the employee, who asked me if I was alright. I shook my head and ran out, the man’s confused gaze reminding me of the inescapable fact that I am irrevocably broken.

Helen’s office was in a beautiful brownstone in Brooklyn, right next to Prospect Park. I remember being overwhelmed by how fancy the area was and how much I didn’t belong. I walked briskly from the subway stop in the cool January air. The sun shone down on large brick buildings, expensive wine shops, and shiny playgrounds. I passed perfect cleancut families walking home from work and school. The children ran past their parents, their snow boots free from dirt and mud, their winter jackets much nicer than my own.

I rung the buzzer and a woman’s voice crackled through the small metal box.

“Hello?” She sounded surprised. Did I get the wrong day? Was I early? I’m often too early.

I hesitantly responded, “It’s Lisa.”

A loud mechanical buzzer sounded from inside the door and I entered. Her office was immaculate. It was like other doctor’s offices I’ve been in but the ambiance was much less forced. Instead of an awkward print of a still life hung crookedly on a stark wall stained with fingerprints, Helen had rich beautiful paintings of Greek figures and statues of animals made of wood and stone. Instead of a small dirty fish tank, Helen had a low mahogany table with large coffee table books from museums filled with images of art and architecture, all in pristine condition.

Helen greeted me with a warm smile and a firm handshake, “you must be Lisa. Hi, I’m Dr. Williams, but you can call me Helen.”

“It’s very nice to meet you.” I responded, returning her smile. Our hands fell apart and I stepped back to take a seat on the smooth leather couch. She sat opposite me in a tall backed chair and placed her cell phone face down on an end table beside her. She crossed her legs, sat back, and smiled.

“Why don’t we start with you telling me a little bit about yourself?”

I explained my symptoms and listed my current prescriptions and my past failed medical regimes before beginning to describe the abuse. It was a script now. My father was an angry hateful man who enjoyed torturing me both physically and emotionally. I did not blame myself for his anger. He was a sick man.

She nodded as she listened, her smile turning into a look of practiced concern and sympathy. Despite my familiarity with the events and my rehearsed descriptions, I could still hear my throat tighten over my words as I mentioned the twisted mental games my father would play. Helen grabbed a box of tissue strategically positioned at her side and handed them to me. By the end, even though I never went into great detail about what the abuse entailed, I was sobbing, a small pile of used tissues in my lap.

Helen stared at me for a moment, studying my face while I silently looked from my hands to the bookcase behind her. Finally, she spoke. “I think Dr. Santos was right to refer you to me. You’re unable to truly face the pain your father put you through. A very understandable response to that type of abuse, especially at such a young age. This type of trauma is almost impossible for most to face alone.” She paused. “If you’re still comfortable with the idea, I think hypnotic regression therapy could help. I’ll be with you the entire time, so you won’t have to face him alone. Once I put you under I will direct you through the memory that surfaces. Together, we’ll attempt to resolve the trauma, walk away from the memory, and put it, as literally as possible, behind you. From there, hopefully we can move forward into a lighter, healthier future away from the memories of your father.” She smiled kindly at me.

I tried to muster a response, but all I could manage was a feeble smile and nod.

“Great, let’s begin then. Go ahead and lie down. Make sure you’re comfortable. At least as much as possible. I understand that it’ll be difficult since this will be your first experience with the procedure.”

I followed her instructions and laid back on the leather couch. The seat was wide, so it wasn’t too difficult to get into a somewhat comfortable position. I grabbed a pillow and placed it under my head.

“Good,” Helen’s maternal voice cooed, “now close your eyes.”

I did, shutting out the office around me.

“Focus on your breath. Concentrate on breathing in and out. Slowly pull the air deep into your lungs without forcing it. Draw it in, let it fill your chest. Now hold it, just for a moment, before releasing it and letting it spill from your mouth. Good. Realize how comforting it feels to breath.”

I focused on the sensation of breathing, of air entering and exiting my body, allowing the rhythm to lull me into a secure comfort.

“Follow the air as it travels through you. Watch its path with your mind’s eye, in and out. Good. Very Good, Lisa. Now focus on the room around you. No, don’t open your eyes, look without sight. Reach out without touch. Extend yourself physically without moving. Take up space while keeping your body as it is. What does the room sound like? How does the air feel against your skin? Can you sense my presence across from you? How about the couch underneath you? What is it like? What does its existence beneath you mean to your body?”

She grew silent and I listened. I listened to the hiss of an old radiator, felt the silence hovering between me and Helen. My skin and muscles sank into the couch and my body seemed large, much larger than it should. I could hear Helen speaking to me again, but the words were indistinguishable.

I became engulfed by the couch, the leather suffocating me, and I felt trapped. I tried to move my arms and legs, to escape from the unbreathable fabric, but they were unresponsive. My heart began to pound in my chest and my mouth opened and closed like a fish’s, searching desperately for air. Suddenly, I could hear Helen again, much louder than before, as if she were speaking right into my ear.

“Remember your father.” She said.

I gasped as air came back to me. I looked around, dazed. I was in my childhood home. In the kitchen. A bowl of soggy marshmallow cereal in front of me, and my small green backpack next to it on the counter. I looked in amazement at the detail of the bag, the pink beaded charm I had made hanging from one of the zippers in the front. Footsteps from behind startled me, and I whipped my head around to see him enter the room: my father.

I hadn’t seen the man for seventeen years, not since I ran away in high school. He wasn’t a particularly tall man but he seemed to be a giant standing behind my young frame. He was wearing jeans and a polo shirt. His beady brown eyes bored into me as he examined my face with a look of feigned interest. His dark hair was trimmed short and he was freshly shaved.

“Morning, starfish.” He said, looking at me without any affection. I said nothing in response. I just stared at him. He stood, unmoving for a few seconds, then slowly his gaze shifted towards my backpack. He reached out for it but I grabbed the bag before he could get it and hugged it to my body. He chuckled softly, “Oh, you don’t need that today, starfish.” His large hand engulfed half of the small bag within my grasp and he tugged lightly, “you’re not going to school today.”

I looked up at him, my voice strained with the effort of keeping my tears at bay and my bag to my stomach, “what do you mean? I want to go to school.” I softly added, “I like going to school.”

He chuckled. A chuckle that was much too deep. It sounded fake, like the laugh a bad actor in a soap opera would make. “But today’s your birthday! You don’t need to go to school on your birthday! Daddy’s going to take you to the zoo!” His voice rang out like a clown’s, overly happy, sickly sweet with disingenuous excitement.

I was no longer able to keep the tears from freely flowing down my cheeks, “but Daddy, today’s not my birthday.”

His face grew stern. He looked mean. It was a look I knew very well. He leaned close to my face, so close that I could no longer focus on him but had to shift my vision from one of his eyes to the other to hold his stare.

“Shut up.” He said without inflection. “Today’s your fucking birthday and we’re going to the goddamn zoo, got it?”

I nodded as a small whimper escaped my mouth. He pulled, hard, and my backpack came out of my hands so forcefully I could hear the fabric rip. I cried as my father walked to the kitchen trash can and dropped my bag into it.

“Get in the car.” He growled.

The mustang was hot and the leather seat stuck to the bottom of my thighs. I started to roll down the passenger window but a low growl from the driver seat stopped me. I put my hand back in my lap and sat there as still as physically possible, not wanting to make the day any worse than it was already going to be. We sat in the car in stifling silence.

I thought about the cake he bought, sitting in the back seat behind me. I imagined the fluffy white frosting melting in the sun. Large droplets of sweat rolled down my back and I grimaced. My bottom jaw shook with the effort of not crying, but at this point I knew for certain that we were not going to the zoo. I hadn’t ever believed we were, but as our home and the safety of school became further and further away, the bigger the pit in my stomach became. I could feel the little cereal I had eaten earlier in the day rise in my throat but I swallowed the sensation away.

My father drove for what felt like hours. The landscape gradually shifted from inner city to woods as I stared, dead eyed, out the window. We turned onto an empty dirt road surrounded by thick trees, which blocked the high noon sun. It was slightly cooler here than it was before, but my t-shirt was still soaked with sweat. I tried to wipe my brow, but my arm was so wet that it accomplished nothing.

We stopped in front of an old abandoned shack, the weight of age and neglect making the building look stooped, as if it was trying to join the ground beneath it. My father turned off the car.

I swallowed. I hadn’t been here before, which meant I didn’t know what to expect. That was more terrifying than anything else. My father got out of the car but I stayed seated. I learned a long time ago that it was best to wait and follow instructions.

He walked around the back of the car to the door behind me and opened it. My heart thudded in my chest as I listened to him grab the cake, closing the door behind him. He then opened my door and waited patiently, as if he were my driver and I had arrived at the ball. We remained like that for several seconds. The sounds of the world around me were drowned out by the roar of blood in my ears. But I still heard him clear his throat, his patience waning, and I reluctantly got out of the safety of the hot car. He began to walk to the shack and I followed.

The wood of the small structure was rotted. Insects crawled and squirmed across its surface and out from holes the spotted the planks. Inside was worse. Funguses of different colors and shapes spattered the walls, which shook and groaned in the slight summer breeze. My father pointed to a corner.

“Sit.”

I obeyed. He put the cake in front of me and knelt down so that we were eye to eye. He lifted a hand to my cheek and wiped away a tear gently.

“Now, starfish. You know how important your birthday is to me, don’t you?”

I nodded slowly as he removed the plastic cover from the store bought cake. “Happy Birthday, Lisa!” was written neatly in purple frosting, the loops and lines of the words perfect. The baker had adorned the phrase with tiny white flowers and three balloons, red, yellow, and blue, were painted to the side. I imagined her smiling as she wrote it, casting occasional glances up at my father who stood, watching her from behind the glass counter. Her heart melting at such a warm scene: a loving father, excitedly waiting for his little girl’s birthday cake to be finished so he could surprise her with it.

I wanted to vomit. I wanted to punch him. I wanted to die.

“Good. I’m so sorry to do this to you on your special day but daddy has to run a few errands, so you’re going to have to stay here for a little bit.”

My eyes widened with disbelief. He was going to leave me here in this old decrepit shack in the middle of nowhere. I began to shake my head as my sobs morphed into pained screams. I could hear the desperation and fear, the pleading in my small voice.

My father hushed me, “shhh, it’s ok starfish.” He leaned over and kissed me on the lips, holding his mouth against mine. I tried to pull away but he grabbed my head and pushed my face into his. My nostrils pressed into his flesh and I couldn’t breath. I squirmed and writhed beneath his hands as my lungs contracted painfully.

I gasped as he finally released me. My eyes were closed tightly as I shook, my body wrapped in fear and pain.

“Daddy is sorry Lisa, but there is nothing Daddy can do about this, ok? Stop being such a fucking brat.” Something wet pressed against my lips with the last syllable and for a horrible moment I thought he was kissing me again. I opened my eyes to see my father pressing something against my mouth hard. I cried out in protest but my mouth was instantly filled with the substance. It was sticky and sweet and as it force its way into my throat I realized it was my birthday cake. He took another handful of the spongy cake and shoved it into my mouth. I tried to cough it out but he was filling my small mouth too quickly. My attempted coughing turned into gagging but still the cake came.

Finally I vomited. Cake hit the dirt floor in front of my father’s feet with a dull thud, mixed with yellow bile and half digested marshmallows. He lept back in disgust before wiping his frosting covered hands on his jeans. I threw up again as he walked out without another word. My throat and mouth stung as I coughed the remaining cake from my lungs. I gulped in air as the slamming of the car door reverberated through the cool air towards me.

I stood, instinct yelling at my body to run to the car, to get in before he could get away, but my frail body was slow and clumsy and I was not yet recovered from my most recent ordeal. I pushed myself forward but my feet caught on rocks and ragged pieces of wood. I tripped as I reached the doorway and fell onto the road. My hands and knees stung from the fall and I looked up just in time to see the car roll out of view.

“Lisa, it’s ok, I’m here.” Helen’s soothing voice reached out to me. I looked around the woods, desperately searching for her. “Lisa, come back to me. It’s ok, I’m still with you. I’ve been here the whole time.” The world shifted and I felt sick again. I closed my eyes, allowing my stomach to settle. The sensation of someone stroking my hair back was comforting, and I opened my eyes to see Helen kneeling above me. She looked concerned. “Are you ok, Lisa?”

I took a deep breath in and exhaled. I was sweating profusely and my face and shirt were soaked. But I was surprised to find the awful feelings of the memory were quickly subsiding. Maybe it was that I was no longer alone, that Helen was here with me. Maybe it was the distance age and years allowed. But I felt… calm. I nodded.

Helen made me a cup of tea and I stayed for another hour, talking about the memory. I left that day feeling lighter than I had in my entire life. I went back to Helen five more times. Each time, I left a little lighter. Helen explained that, unlike talking about the memories, reliving them with her direction can help bury it. Like a funeral, a final goodbye to the past, one horrible memory at a time. The nightmares still came, but I felt like I could control them, at least a little. I could yell back at my father, I could leave, I could try to fight. It wasn’t as if I was suddenly cured, but I had control over myself and my life that I didn’t before. And even that little bit of control was world changing for me.

I went in this month, same as normal. I clicked the buzzer, waiting for Helen’s usual “Hello?” but instead was greeted immediately by the mechanical buzz of the door unlocking.

The feeling that something was very wrong grew heavy in my gut as I entered her office. She was sitting in her usual high backed chair, which wasn’t right. She normally greeted me at the door. I stopped dead in my tracks. There was a gag around her mouth. My eyes shifted down and I realized her hands were also bound behind her back. I started towards her when a sharp pain pinched my upper arm and the world went dark.

I blinked my eyes open. The room was a blinding white at first, but it slowly grew into focus with each blink. I was still in Helen’s office. I was on the couch and she was in front of me in her chair, her eyes wide. I tried to rub my sore arm but my hand wouldn’t move. I cried out but the sound stopped short, coming out muffled. My tongue pushed against cloth, dry and uncomfortable in my mouth, but it was stuck.

It was then that I noticed Helen and I were not alone. There was a tall slender man standing between us, but off to the side. I looked at him in shock and bewilderment as he smiled at me.

“Father?” The thought slipped in as fear and panic shot through my body. But it wasn’t my father. And for a second, I felt relieved.

The man was wearing a fitted black suit and a muted red tie. His blonde hair was combed back and his face was rectangular with high cheekbones. In any other situation, I’m sure I would have found him handsome. He bowed towards me, stiffly.

“Why, hello, my dear.” He said, straightening. His voice was sticky sweet like honey and made my stomach recoil. “My name is Alexander.” He walked towards Helen, who watched him with almost unnaturally wide eyes. She looked so frightened and I felt my body cringe, my muscles trying to twist in every direction simultaneously beneath my skin. My breathing became short and I felt my throat close. The gag was suffocating me. Alexander raised his eyebrow at me as he leaned his elbow on the back of Helen’s chair.

“Now now, dear. No need for a panic attack. I’m not here for you.” He elongated the last word. He looked down at Helen and blew her a kiss before looking back at me, “trust me, you are perfectly safe. You will leave here tonight completely unharmed.”

I breathed deeply through my nose and forced air out through the cloth in my mouth. My body calmed slightly, but not because of Alexander’s promise. I did it because I needed to keep my head. I couldn’t lose myself like I used to with my father. I needed to treat this as a nightmare and not lose control.

Alexander continued, “see, I didn’t know anyone else would be here tonight. Helen used to never take patients on Fridays. But I guess you’re… special.” He said, his eyes shining menacingly. I tried to ignore him, focusing instead on my breath. “See, I used to be Dr. Williams’ apprentice, but the bitch got rid of me.” He snarled at her and she shook in her seat. I watched her reaction with utter disgust. He looked at me, “Helen here, thought I wasn’t cut out for psychiatric work. She explained that I wasn’t… what was the word you used? Oh right, sympathetic.” His face twisted with rage. “But, I assure you, dear,” he said to me, “I can be quite sympathetic. That’s exactly why you have no reason to be afraid. I’m not here to hurt you.” Again, the word “you” came out of his mouth too long, taking too much time to leave his lips. I shuddered.

Alexander turned his back to me and faced Helen. He produced another strip of black cloth from his pocket and tied it around her face, covering those wide fear struck eyes. She began to squirm within her bonds, whimpering. He rubbed her arms, shushing her as if comforting a small child.

“Shhhh, Helen. Shhhh. Focus on your breath. Let yourself get lost in the gentle rhythm of breathing in and breathing out.” Helen shook her head, squirming harder against her bonds. Alexander groaned and reached into his chest pocket, “I had hoped it wouldn’t come to this.” I could see a syringe in his hand, filled with a thick milky liquid. He punched it into her upper arm and she screamed, the sound muffled. He pushed the plunger down, the liquid disappearing inside her. Her body immediately relaxed. Alexander removed the syringe and gently rubbed where he had punctured her, “Shhhh, Helen. There there. That’s much better, isn’t it.” He said, his tone flat. It was not a question but a fact. A disguised command. He was in control and we were powerless.

“Now focus on your breath, Helen. Concentrate your entire mind on it. Slowly breath in,” he inhaled loudly, “and out.” He exaggerated expelling the air out of his mouth.

Alexander began to pace between us as he continued putting Helen into a trance. “Feel the weight of your body as it sinks into the chair beneath you. Feel your muscles melt and become one with your environment. You and the room you exist in are no longer separate, but exist simultaneously together, as one.” I watched Helen’s chest rise and fall with each heavy breath.

He removed the blindfold and gag. Helen stared out into the room, her eyes unfocused. Alexander bent down behind her back and undid her bonds, yet she kept her hands behind her, even after he stepped away. “Very, very good. You can put your hands on your lap now, Helen.” She obeyed, emotionless. “Good, very good.” Alexander purred.

He turned and smiled at me. “What would you like to see her do?” I stared at him and he continued. “Would you like to see her cluck like a chicken?” I shook my head but he ignored the gesture. “Would you like to watch her touch herself?” I shook my head harder, tears streaming down my cheeks. “No? Oh, that’s such a shame.” He put his chin in his hand in a false gesture of consideration, “I’m sure we could find something we’d both enjoy.” Thick snot began to flow down my upper lip as I sobbed.

“Aha, I know! Something short and sweet. That way, I can have what I want and you can get out of here in time for supper.” He winked and my skin crawled. I tried to scream at him as he turned his attention back to Helen.

“Would you like to see her play the violin?” He asked over his shoulder, not turning away from her. He straightened and cleared his voice dramatically, “Helen,” he said, “you remember how to play, don’t you? I know you haven’t touched a violin in years, but… Let’s give it a try. First position!” He ordered. Helen lifted her arms out elegantly in front of her, her left arm straight, her hand cupped as if holding a physical instrument. Her right arm was above where the body of the violin would be, poised and ready. Like an old fashioned mechanical toy waiting to be wound up.

Alexander looked back at me and smiled a broad wicked smile. He walked to a small black briefcase in the corner and pulled something out. As he turned back towards Helen, I screamed. In his hand was a long, sharp kitchen knife. He placed the handle of the knife in Helen’s right hand, the hand that Helen thought was holding her bow.

He walked to the couch where I sat, paralyzed with terrifying realization, and sat down next to me. He was so close I could feel his thigh against mine. I tried to move away but he put his arm around my shoulders as if we were a couple about to watch a movie. Helen sat there in front of us, frozen, the knife hovering above her pale inner arm. I screamed again, but all that emanated was a dull noise.

“Ok, Helen,” Alexander said, grinning, “play Bartok’s Violin Concerto No. 2.” He lowered his mouth and whispered, “that’s my favorite.” His breath was hot and moist against my ear.

I wanted to close my eyes, to block out the sight I knew was coming, but I couldn’t. I watched, bile tickling my throat as Helen brought the knife down to the fleshy part of her left arm, and began to play.

I looked on with horror as she drew her bow swiftly across her skin, red droplets forming where the silver blade touched her. She pushed the knife back across, briskly, completing the note, and started again. Her bow arm moved with smooth grace, quick but steady, back and forth. Blood began to fall more freely from her wounds as she moved her left fingers against invisible strings, playing notes only she could hear. Her body rocked forward and back with each movement of her arm, feeling music instead of pain. The tempo quickened and the knife lightly skidded across flesh with the more delicate notes. They grew fast and short, scratching shallow marks into her as the music swelled. She paused, the knife hovering back in first position as mute instruments joined her concerto, blossoming soundlessly as the room grew heavy with silence and the stench of fresh blood. Her eyes were focused in front of her in intense concentration as she listened, but all I could hear was the dripping of blood onto the wooden floor and my heart pounding in my ears.

She slowly brought the knife back down and dragged it, shaking her left hand to create a dark and haunting vibrato. Her whole body moved with the slower, drawn out notes, the knife sinking deep into flesh, blood gushing from her arm and falling in small waterfalls onto her lap. She closed her eyes, allowing the music to flow through her body, feeling the chords, the wood of the instrument in her arms, the movement of the bow across waxy strings. Her arm was raw with deep red cuts, but still she played. Her dress wet with crimson, the blood pooling and dripping off her lap, flowing down her bare legs and joining as one growing puddle on the floor beneath her.

The stench of iron filled my nostrils. The room was muggy with the thick air, heavy with bits and pieces of Helen. She cut the knife deep, her bow arm moving with blinding speed as she built, heavy handedly, to the concerto’s crescendo. At this point, she had cut the tendons hidden within her muscles and bone. Her left fingers no longer played along but hung uselessly outward, dead to the music. The knife weaved and danced, cutting deep into the muscle beneath. A chunk of flesh was cut loose from her arm and fell in front of her with a dull thud. I could see the white of bones from within the tangle of red mess.

Helen straightened, drawing her bow back one last time before finally falling forward. Her torso bent onto her thighs in a perverse bow to her audience. Her right hand reached out towards us from between her chest and her wet, bloodsoaked lap, completely undamaged. The knife fell from her dead fingers, landing in front of my feet. Her violin arm dangled down by her side, her hand resting on the floor in the pool of blood. The reminder of her concerto permanently etched deep into her arm, and in my memory.

Alexander clapped loudly beside me. “Bravo, bravo!” He yelled, standing to continue his macabre applause. He stopped and turned to me, patting me on the shoulder. “Good show, no?” I was shaking uncontrollably, my face slimy with tears, snot, and drool. “Well, I guess Bartoks not for everyone. Sorry I can’t stay any longer but I should probably head out. Don’t want to stay out too late!” He grabbed his briefcase from the corner and walked to the door. He took a long black umbrella from the hook beside the door frame, turned to me one last time, and bowed low before leaving into the night.

The police arrived forty minutes later. They had received an anonymous call about screaming coming from the building. It is unlikely someone heard us over our gags, so I assume Alexander made the call. He made sure I left unharmed after all. Though I guess “unharmed” is subjective.

The police are still looking for him. In the meantime, I have police protection around the clock. But I know he’s not coming back for me. Sure, I can’t rule out the possibility that he may have hypnotized me too. That he could have programmed me to do anything while he had me under. There’s no way to know if he did, and if he had, I have no idea what would trigger it. But I think he’s had his fun with me. That I’m to remain “unharmed.”

My PTSD nightmares have come back in full force, but thanks to hypnotherapy I no longer dream about my father.

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