I was told that EMDR would be tough. That getting through to the other side would be a struggle, like going through a dark tunnel. Now I’m experiencing it… it’s hard to explain the journey it takes you on.
After the last few sessions my therapist felt that I was approaching the bilateral stimulation tasks too logically, meaning I would be able to think memories through but without releasing any emotion.
It seems I have all my emotions in relation to the trauma and PTSD locked up nice and tight in a super-padlocked-reinforced-bullet-proof-box that I don’t know how to open, or rather, too afraid to re-experience.
After consideration we decided to take a tougher approach to focus me on fully reliving some of my memories and the emotions attached to them with the aim, of course, to reprocess those memories properly.
So It’s safe to say that session 5 was damn hard work, it took a lot of mental perseverance to really get inside that box and open it up. I started bawling out tears of fear, confusion, guilt and betrayal that really hurt to get out. It’s a really bizarre feeling to cry pitifully with someone watching, analysing, with a buzzer in each hand (I chose to use a buzzer in each hand rather than eye movements, I feel a lot more comfortable that way).
Talking through your memories and actually feeling the emotions you had at the time is a really hard thing to do when every fibre in your being is telling you not to.
The 6th session I arrived mentally prepared to have another go. We talked a lot and I cried a lot until, for the first time since the event, I had a full-body flashback. I felt like my body was completely frozen, even paralysed, and I couldn’t relax parts of my arms and legs for the best part of an hour. I must have looked like a poorly drawn stick figure with a hint of possessed! To get it to stop I really had to cry it out, tell myself that I’m safe, and dance around the room to shake the frozen limbs back into action.
My therapist told me that people often forget that during a trauma your body was there too and carries the strain of it much like your mind and emotions.
I know it sounds like a lot, and it really really is, but the EMDR process needs you to relive these memories and know that you are safe and in control so the brain can file those memories away as they should be. The end result: a less active memory with less triggers and side effects.
It’s safe to say the last couple of weeks has been draining and I feel really really tired, especially as I started a new job as well!
EMDR is well known to get super tough before the going gets smoother so wish me luck, I need it!
I’d love to hear your thoughts!