This post is about the efficacy of hypnosis for pre-surgery anxiety. It’s a common thing and it’s something that is often taken for granted. The logic being that it’s a serious thing so having serious thoughts about it is normal and feeling anxious about it must be normal too.
I write this article 6 days after a surgical procedure to repair an umbilical hernia, the procedure required a general anaesthetic and a full operating theatre intervention. It’s the second procedure in the last few years that I’ve had to repair physical parts of my body that had gone wrong so I can speak from a faily knowledgeable point of view.
Is it natural to have pre-surgery anxiety?
Well I suppose it is. It’s probably a straight forward procedure but the use of general anaesthetic brings it in to the sphere of being a serious procedure. Submitting to serious procedures takes serious thought and that’s where it can go badly wrong.
The things that tend to go through your head include the possibility of dying, the pain that you’ll have later and things around those areas. Not to mention the thought of being off work and no money coming in. When you start to get anxious these thoughts run around in your mind and take turns like tag wrestlers at making you face the downsides of everything. When you have a list of worries like this is there any wonder that you would feel anxious?
It gets worse too! The more you think about it the worse the outcomes, the bigger the catastrophes that loom in the near future and your impending doom.
OK Stop right there! You’ve hit the downward spiral and you can see no way out of this pre-surgery anxiety thought loop that you’ve created for yourself.
Yes you read that right. You created those catastrophic thoughts for yourself. And there are potential repercussions.
Let’s think about the knock on effects. You turn up for surgery, you meet the anaesthetist and the surgeon and no matter what they say to you you show your outright fear to them. It comes out in the words you use, your facial expression and your body language. That comes across as a lack of trust and will probably have no effect on the medical professionals. Probably! The anxiety may require that you need a bit more anaesthetic and your muscles take a few seconds longer to relax, I don’t profess to know what effect that might have.
You have the procedure, it works out and you wake up in recovery. All that pre-surgery anxiety came to nothing. But you’ve built up a bow wave and you start to think about the things that will go wrong now. It goes on and on and affects your recovery and pain levels. Let’s face it you have to be anxious about something, it’s what you do.
Step back a minute, let’s look at this another way.
If you weren’t anxious then you would assess things more calmly. If there are things that you are genuinely afraid of then deal with them. Make a will, make sure you make peace with family and things like that. If it’s not anxiety driven this will help clear your mind of things that should have been done a long time ago anyway. You can prepare yourself for what comes after surgery if you aren’t overly anxious before. Prepared is ready, ready means you have a plan to get better quicker.
If you’re calm then you go in to the theatre and there are less physical issues. As you open your eyes in recovery you have a planned pathway to follow.
Hypnosis can help you get that clarity of mind and make you prepare without the nausea of the catastrophe hanging over you.
It’s easy to learn to relax your mind and body so that you have calm thoughts.
I did this for myself. I already had a will and I talk to my family and if I die tomorrow then that’s tomorrow but I want to live my life today. It’s not stupid and it’s not negative thinking. It’s practical and it gives you a way forwards.
I researched the operation so I knew what to expect and I can be calm as I think about it. In some ways you get used to what’s coming up. What comes next is to plan for life after the op. Pre-surgery anxiety stops you thinking beyond your certain death on the operating table. When you open your eyes in recovery, if you have a plan, you can calmly set about it.
It’s not rocket science and the techniques are so easy to learn that you will wonder what you were worrying about.
If you’d like to know more then please call me to discuss how hypnotherapy can help you with pre-surgery anxiety. It may not make it the best experience of your life but it doesn’t have to be the worst either.
In my next article I’ll talk about post operative pain control. Although you get a full set of pills to control the pain and you may need them, it’s nice to know that there’s something that you can do to help yourself too.