Anorexia nervosa is a very dangerous syndrome. It is characterized by a patient literally starving herself to death. The patient considers herself to be very much overweight even though, in reality, she is at her proper weight or slightly underweight. When she looks in the mirror, she fantasizes that she sees an overweight figure. I have observed this neurosis in women of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds. Most commonly, it affects young, single women of middle-class backgrounds.
There was a case that was reported to me not long ago about a 19-year-old girl who read an article in a leading magazine stating that one can never be too rich or too thin. Because this young woman was from a lower middle-class family with little chance of becoming wealthy, she decided that her only hope was to lose weight quickly by starving herself. This sudden weight loss nearly killed her. After a number of hospitalizations and psychotherapy, she realized the futility and danger of her actions and fortunately came to her senses. I do not treat many cases of anorexia nervous, but the number of patients calling me with this problem has definitely increased during the past five years. One warm spring afternoon,
I received a telephone call from a woman by the name of Gina. Gina was a photographer and she sounded in need of help. It seemed that for the past three months she had literally been afraid to eat. Gina couldn’t explain why, but she wanted to starve herself. Her appetite had all but disappeared, and it took a great deal of effort to eat any kind of food. She was 5 feet, 6 inches tall and now weighed only 92 pounds. Her weight had dropped from 120 pounds in just three months. Gina arrived at my office the following day, immaculately dressed and, except for a rather emaciated figure, very attractive. She spoke almost in a whisper. Gina described her problem, beginning when she started having a series of nightmares. At first, she couldn’t remember anything about her dreams, but then memories began to surface. Most of the time she would see a very obese man in his 30s. The look on his face and his mere presence would frighten her. Gina didn’t know what this meant, but she did know that she was afraid of this man. My work with past life regression was well-known to Gina, because two of her girlfriends had been regression patients of mine. She thought that these scenes could be indications of a past life. I agreed with her premise and began to explain the procedure involved in regressing to a past life. I informed Gina that it might be difficult at first to go back to this lifetime because she had many negative responses to the scenes she saw in her dream state. Because we are in the alpha state (natural hypnosis) when we dream, it is not uncommon for people to have their own past life regressions while they sleep. Unfortunately, most of the scenes that are relived during the dream state are forgotten immediately upon awakening. Gina was highly intelligent and, although she had little prior knowledge of karma or hypnosis, followed my explanations with ease. Yet when I asked her, out of trance, about past experiences with nightmares, she had a great deal of difficulty remembering the last time bad dreams had bothered her. She very rarely remembered her dreams, and when she did, they were usually meaningless to her. Before the episode that brought her to my office, she had occasional nightmares, but none of them affected her the way these recent dreams did.
During Gina’s second session, I used simple age regression to take her through various parts of her childhood. She reported scenes of little significance, but this was preparation for her past life regression. Gina was becoming more and more confident of her ability to relax with hypnosis and self-hypnosis. I always teach self-hypnosis to my patients for this very reason. The third and fourth sessions were spent taking Gina through
two past lives. The scenes and information that she reported to me were of little value as far as her anorexia nervosa was concerned. In one past life, Gina was the wife of a Massachusetts farmer in the 18th century. She lived a full life and had no significant weight problems. The second life we explored showed Gina as a seamstress in Philadelphia during the 1850s. Again no weight problems emerged. It seemed that her subconscious mind was
fighting me. I gave her some specific suggestions to allow her subconscious mind to relax any inhibitions concerning exploring past life scenes directly relating to her anorexia. We were both surprised by what Gina reported during her fifth session. I induced Gina into a medium-level trance and directed her back into a past life that would explain the origin of her anorexia.
Dr. G.: Can you tell me what you see?
Gina: I’m at the doctor’s.
Dr. G.: Why are you there? Are you ill?
Gina: No. I’m just getting weighed. My mom sent me here
because of my weight.
Dr. G.: What is wrong with your weight?
Gina: Well, it’s high. [Gina’s voice had become very deep and she spoke much slower than normal for her.]
Dr. G.: What does the doctor tell you?
Gina: He tells me I must lose 30 pounds.
Dr. G.: How do you feel about that?
Gina: I want to tell him what he can do with those 30 pounds. [Patient was very annoyed.]
Dr. G.: What is your name?
Gina: Edward. Edward Laslow.
Dr. G.: How old are you, Edward?
Gina: Call me Eddie. [Patient very demanding.] I’m 16.
Dr. G.: What year is this?
Dr. G.: Where do you live?
Gina: Chicago. When I asked about her weight, Gina (Edward) squirmed
in the recliner. It was as if seeing herself at that weight disgusted her. Further questioning revealed that Eddie had always been overweight, and his well-to-do parents had tried everything they could think of to help him lose weight. Eddie was rather spoiled and was used to getting what
he wanted. He was also quite cruel and got into many fights at school. He seemed to enjoy bullying other children, especially younger ones. As Gina described his activities, she would continue to squirm in my chair. I next progressed Eddie ahead five years in time. The following information was uncovered over two 45-minute sessions.
Dr. G.: Where are you now, Eddie?
Gina: I’m working in one of my father’s restaurants.
Dr. G.: What kind of work do you do?
Gina: I’m assistant manager.
Dr. G.: Do you like your job?
Gina: It’s okay. But I’m going to like it better when I get to be manager.
Dr. G.: Is that going to take long?
Gina: No. In fact, I’m going to see to it that I’m promoted real soon. [Gina had a very sinister look on her face.]
Dr. G.: How are you going to do that?
Gina: One of the waitresses, Mary, is a very good friend of mine. I am going to arrange for a little show for my father’s benefit.
Dr. G.: What kind of show?
Gina: My father is a real prude. When he finds out that Mary is having an affair with Stan [the manager], he will most certainly fire Stan and I’ll be made manager.
Dr. G.: Why are you so certain your father will fire Stan?
Gina: Because Stan is a married man and, like I told you, my father is a real prude. Eddie was a very shrewd operator. He had a great deal of influence on Mary because she owed him some money. It was not difficult for Eddie to talk her into staging an affair with Stan. One evening Mary was entertaining Stan at her apartment when they received an unexpected visitor—Eddie’s father. Eddie had one of the waiters inform his father about
the affair and the restaurateur went to question Mary about this accusation.
Upon entering Mary’s apartment, Eddie’s father became outraged at Stan and fired him immediately. The following day, Eddie was appointed manager of the restaurant. This type of underhanded dealing was to become a trademark for Eddie. During the next 10 years, Eddie developed quite a reputation. With his father dead, Eddie was now owner of four
restaurants in Chicago. At one time, he had a partner, but this partnership broke up after it became evident that Eddie had cheated his partner out of $50,000. Each time Gina described one of these unethical or illegal dealings, she wore a look of disgust. I next progressed Eddie to the year 1926.
Dr. G.: Eddie, where are you now?
Gina: I’m in my office counting the day’s receipts. It’s been a good day.
Dr. G.: I trust the restaurant business has been good to you.
Gina: It’s not just the restaurants. Ha, ha! [Patient was laughing now.]
Dr. G.: What do you mean?
Gina: I run a separate business on the side.
Dr. G.: What kind of business?
Gina: A speakeasy, what else?
Dr. G.: How long have you been involved with speakeasies?
Gina: Oh, about five years now.
Dr. G.: Who do you get your alcohol from?
Dr. G.: Who is Frankie?
Gina: He has connections with the Capone mob. I like Frankie. He’s my kind of guy.
Dr. G.: What is that?
Gina: Frankie kills people who get in his way. He is always straight with me and I like the way he handles his women.
Dr. G: How does he handle his women?
Gina: He beats them when they talk back to him. Now, that’s the way to treat a dame.
Dr. G.: Do you beat your women, Eddie?
Gina: Of course I do. I only hit my wife occasionally. But I beat my other women when they deserve it. Eddie had many affairs and most of them ended violently. He had two different apartments in the city, which
were inhabited by his two mistresses. A couple of his former girlfriends were killed by one of Frankie’s men. One of these girls had tried to blackmail Eddie while the other had been unfaithful to him. If there was one thing Eddie couldn’t tolerate, it was a woman going out on him. It seems, in addition, that Eddie always rewarded himself with food. He would gorge himself with food after sex, and after completing business deals or anything else he found pleasurable. He even bragged to me about a food orgy he had in 1924 after successfully arranging the killing of a federal agent who was investigating his speakeasies. Interestingly, Eddie would not allow his picture to be taken. He may have been afraid it would be used by the police to identify him, though he had no criminal record. My interpretation is that he didn’t like seeing his obese figure. All of Eddie’s girlfriends were thin and beautiful. His wife was also thin and very attractive. Eddie liked surrounding himself with beautiful objects and beautiful people.
I next progressed Eddie to the last day of his life.
Dr. G.: Eddie, where are you now?
Gina: I’m in my office putting money into my safe.
Dr. G.: What year is it?
Gina: It’s 1928. Where have you been? [Patient quite nervous.]
Dr. G.: Are you alone?
Gina: Of course, I’m alone. Quiet, can you hear that?
Dr. G.: No. What’s happening?
Gina: It’s Frankie. He came in through my private entrance.
Dr. G.: Why is he here?
Gina: He’s accusing me of skimming.
Dr. G.: Have you been skimming money from Frankie and the mob?
Gina: Yes. Wait a minute, he’s pulling a gun on me.
Dr. G.: Where is Frankie now?
Gina: He’s standing in front of my desk. He’s telling me that
he’ll never have to worry about me skimming again. [Patient now very excited and begins to stutter.]
Dr. G.: What’s happening now, Eddie?
Gina: Frankie, please don’t shoot! No, no, ohh! [Gina was
motionless for about one minute.] I progressed Gina forward after Eddie died to find out exactly what happened. Frankie shot Eddie for cheating the
mob out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Gina seemed to be relieved when death finally came to Eddie. It was obviously an end to a most degrading life. I brought Gina back to the present. We discussed this life in detail. She was very satisfied with her new found knowledge. I am happy to report that during the next six weeks, she gained 25 pounds and maintained
her weight at about 117 pounds. Her anorexia nervosa disappeared almost immediately and, to the best of my knowledge, has not recurred. There were many interesting principles that Gina’s life as Eddie illustrated. First, viewing scenes of her past life as Eddie in the dream state brought back the obesity and degeneracy of that incarnation. Gina couldn’t deal with this so
she decided to starve herself to prevent herself from becoming obese Eddie Laslow. It was not just Eddie’s obesity that horrified Gina. Eddie’s complete lack of ethics or morality, his infidelity to his wife, and his criminal involvements all disgusted Gina.
Secondly, Eddie never allowed his picture to be taken. In this life Gina is a photographer and loves having her own picture taken. In fact, she once worked as a model.
Thirdly, Gina had a fear of guns that she could never explain. Being shot to death by Frankie in her past life left Gina with this phobia, which disappeared shortly after this regression.
Finally, Gina’s voice was naturally very soft, but when she spoke as Eddie Laslow, it became deeper and slower. In addition, she showed many facial changes, and at times, developed an almost sinister appearance when she spoke as Eddie. Gina’s life was greatly affected by her reliving her existence
as Eddie Laslow. It may literally have saved her life.