EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.  It is a therapy that is used for PTSD and other trauma-related therapy needs.  I first started EMDR at the end of 2014.  I had started the LifeStar Program to help me work through my ex-husband’s addiction and the yucky coping mechanisms that I started using during my marriage to him.  In LifeStar I started to understand and work through my trauma.  I discovered that I not only had trauma from the abuse and neglect I faced while married to him, but I had childhood trauma that I needed to work through.

Following Promptings

In the middle of the year 2014, I was introduced to an EMDR therapist, she ran some of the LifeStar groups and filled in occasionally.  One day as I was praying, I felt a feeling come over me.  I call it the spirit, others call it the holy ghost, some may even call it intuition, but in that moment I knew that I needed to make an appointment with this therapist.  The spirit just told me that it was time.  I made the appointment and that is where it all began.

EMDR

I can honestly say if I wouldn’t have felt so sure that EMDR was what God wanted me to try next, I may have quit after my first session.  It is not talk therapy, and some of the practices were foreign to me, but that feeling stayed with me that this was the next step for me.  I continued working EMDR for almost a year before I remarried and moved to Utah.

Attachment Trauma

My new marriage started bringing up some of the demons that I didn’t know existed.  I have deep attachments wounds and they all started appearing.  I would feel myself panic if I couldn’t get ahold of my new husband.  Relationship patterns were a trigger and there were many times when I was filled with anxiety and worry, a full on panic.  I would try to use the tools I used when I did EMDR before, but these wounds were too deep to handle on my own. In October of this year, I sought out and found a new EMDR therapist.  It was time to get back to work clearing out my trauma.

A Walk Through EMDR

On Tuesday of this week, I took the trauma response I had over my husband’s new female intern into the therapist.  (Read More about that trauma here)  The session went like this.  She had me bring up that memory of my panic on Tuesday.  She also had me pinpoint what the faulty belief is associated with the memory.  My belief is that I won’t’ be chosen (This is a deep recurring one for me)

Therapist:  Where do you feel that panic in your body?

Norma:  I am feeling nauseous, anxious.  I feel it in the pit of my stomach, heaviness in my shoulders and neck.

Therapist:  Feel it, now close your eyes, and go back to the earliest or most powerful memory that feels the same.

(Lots of memories started to surfacing……my brain was flipping around….kind of like if I was rewinding a movie from my past, moving backward.  A couple minutes later it stopped on a memory.)

Norma: I have one

(She turns on the EMDR machine.  It includes vibrations and lights….at the bottom of this post I will leave a link for a video that shows you how it works.)

The machine runs for about 30 seconds.  It stops

Therapist:  Take a deep breath, what came up?

Norma:  I remember about two years into our marriage we were separated for a little while.  I came over to the house on a Sunday morning.  I had a key, so I let myself in.  I noticed that our answering machine had a message.  It was new at the time, but the box was about 10 x10 inches square.  It was gray with a number 1 blinking in red analog.  I remember reluctantly reaching over to hit the play button.  I think I was reluctant because I am a rule follower and I wasn’t really living in the house at the time.  What happened next killed a part of me on that day.  A girls voice came over the answering machine.  They had met at a bar a couple days before and she was wondering if he wanted to hook up.  In that moment I was sick, I wanted to throw up. (Same feeling and emotions)

Therapist:  Go with that, just keep remembering.

(She turns on the EMDR machine. )

The machine runs for about 30 seconds.  It stops

Therapist:  Take a deep breath, what is coming up?

Norma:  I remember a time when he didn’t come home.  It was 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning.  I called him on his cell phone.  I heard his friends and girls voices in the background.  (That same sick feeling resurfacing) A girl yells into the phone for him to hang up on me.  Things are blurry after that.  I don’t remember what happened next other that I was alone.  I remember seeking out a confined area in my house, a corner that I could hide in and cry.  I was devastated.

Therapist:  Let’s go with that

(She turns on the EMDR machine. )

The machine runs for about 30 seconds.  It stops

Therapist:  Take a deep breath, what is coming up?

Norma:  I remember when I was little, I don’t remember how old, but I was in a mini baby crib that my mom had.  It was standing up o its end in the back of a closet.  I know that I broke one of the rails on the side and I was so scared.  I didn’t tell my parents it was me that broke it until I was an adult.  I remember breaking it, but I thought I broke it when we were playing hide and go seek.  I don’t think that it right.  I think I was hiding because I was scared.  I wanted a small confined place.

The session continued, I realized that even today when I feel a big threat I sometimes seek a small confined area because it feels safe.  If I have a corner with two walls, I can see everything in front of me.  It feels less threatening.

The key with EMDR is that the therapist has you contain the memories in her office before you leave, but sometimes you have to re-contain them.  Every time during the day when I would worry about my husband’s new intern, I would have to re-contain the memories.  The entire day I was so tired. That night I felt like I had been hit by a freight train.  I didn’t sleep well …my brain kept bringing up those yucky feelings, and It was a restless night.  I woke up and still didn’t feel well physically or emotionally.

EMDR is hard and Beautiful!  You relive painful things that bring so much hurt, but I won’t stop.  I am determined that trauma will not rule my life, and I know EMDR is my way through the trauma so it no longer controls me.  For all of you out there facing trauma, when the time is right….EMDR might be the right journey for you too.

Sending Love,

Norma

Posts to come:  More about the memories I touched on above. 

Video: EMDR Lights