Saturday, November 1, 2014


I am going to start my post about my EMDR session with a little explanation of how the brain works and I am going to do it like my therapist explained it to me...your brain works a lot like your digestive system. It takes info/food, sorts through it, keeps the stuff it needs and gets rid of the rest. Let's say you are a Mom and are thinking about the birth of your child. You can describe how you felt to hold your baby for the first time down to the tiniest emotion. No matter how clear the memory is, however, you don't reexperience the feelings you felt, just like you can talk about the pain but you can't feel it. In my case the memories are stuck like food in your throat if you choke. They can't get to part of the brain that sifts through our memories to take away the pain. Many parts of it are like it happened yesterday. Now we get to the EMDR and what it does. I am going to give you the basics and anyone that wants specifics let me know and I will give you the name of a great book on the process. Very basically, EMDR starts the brain into a left to right sorting motion while you relive certain memories in you mind. My therapist will pick up a trigger (something that makes me reexperience the pain) and ask me to think of the trigger while I hold little keychain size things in my hands that alternate vibrations from right to left over and over. Sometimes I say I am to the end of a memory and we stop and sometimes she stops me. Sometimes the triggers are very large in scope like the wreck up to the point they are about to put me in the helicopter and sometimes they are very specific, like the scream I heard but didn't know if it was me or Mom. Once done, she will ask me on a scale of 1-10 how the memory feels. Yes, I know this sounds like some crazy fad therapy but it has been proven over and over in cases of PTSD and the cases have shown the process permanently corrects the processing of the feelings. If I am at a one or two on the scale, we move on. Some memories like Mom's can't be expected to lower a lot until more feelings are processed. Some memories can be completely processed in one session. It is truly amazing! As far as my personal experiences go, after the first session, I am exited beyond words! I didn't leave completely exhausted like some people do but I did have physical and mental feelings. I was definitely tired and I felt like my blood was running ice cold. I wasn't cold but I was cold on the inside. I had to stop at Walmart and, while there, the cold wore off but the tiredness increased. I felt different but couldn't really put it into words. Since it has been almost a week, I can tell enormous changes in some areas. One of the most powerful changes has been my dreams about Mom. They used to all be about her not dying just leaving because she didn't love me anymore. Those have changed. I feel like I am moving through some of the grief process with her death. Another change was my desire to get back to my normal life. Instead of waiting another month to go back to work, I am going back as soon as my leave expires on the 9th. This will not be a popular decision with my therapist or psychiatrist but I feel that it is right for me. Other changes are spending more time out with friends and reconnecting with friends that I had lost contact with. I feel like I am fighting my way out of a box I built around myself. I am even exploring the area around my new apartment instead of waiting until I need something to get out. I am making better choices about the people in my circle of friends and have the desire to invest in myself. There many other small changes that are wreck specific which are allowing me to open up and be happy again! I still have a long way to go but the first step was huge and I can't wait to take the second!!! Thank you to everyone that is there for me even if only by text or Facebook. You don't know how much you all mean to me!