Last night I had my second therapy session (if you haven’t read about the first one yet, you can find that post here). Now that the therapist had some information about me and things that have happened in my life etc. we were able to start on the ‘actual’ therapy. We’d spoken about a couple of options for things to try, but the main thing that she wanted to do with me was EMDR.
Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing – EMDR – is used to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD – and aims to simulate the way our brains process things whilst we’re asleep. So you know when people sleep and their eyelids flicker? That’s basically our brains processing what’s happened in the day and moving it over to our long-term memory. The problem I have is that there are some traumatic events that have stayed in my short-term memory store and so they’re easily triggered, causing symptoms of anxiety. The aim is to get them across to my long-term memory, enabling me to move on and lead a ‘normal’ life. Mind describe EMDR as ‘[a combination of] talking to your therapist about traumatic experiences with a technique where you make rapid rhythmic eye movements while recalling traumatic events to help you process them.’ Are you still following?
It all sounded a bit weird to me. My therapist had to give me a disclaimer before we started which was that physical injuries may present themselves again as you go through reprocessing – she told me about somebody she worked with before who developed PTSD after a car crash, and during the therapy, her seatbelt mark reappeared on her chest.
This is a risk I’m willing to take. It’s scary, but I have to face all this to get better.
I have to say, I was quite impressed with my first experience of EMDR. We started to work on a traumatic event, my eyes following my therapist’s hand movements as I reprocess the memory and gradually it became easier for me to deal with as the session went on, and I came away feeling quite positive. By the end of the hour we were laughing together and I went home feeling productive, positive and powerful. Since then, I had what I would call a pretty ‘normal’ day today and I’ve been doing ok, no longer feeling as positive, but I think that’s because I’m feeling absolutely exhausted. My therapist warned me that this could happen – your eyes work very hard during EMDR and it can be physically draining as well as emotionally – so my mind feels a bit foggy and I’m very tired. I’m ready for an early night and a good sleep.
More to follow,
P.S. There’s some info about EMDR therapy (and other types) on the Mind website here.