Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My First EMDR Session

This morning was my third visit to the new therapist, but our first time actually giving EMDR a shot.  We started with what I had rated the least emotionally disturbing of my past traumas.  I started out with a lot of trepidation about the therapy, anxiety and stress about the trauma, and a whole big ball of negative emotions in the pit of my stomach.

Now, somehow, after only an hour, I feel empowered.  I feel like I rewrote the ending to that disaster, like I told the *** what I felt about him and what he did, and like I walked away and never looked back.  None of those things actually happened, but we tricked my mind and body into believing they did, and now I'm breathing easier and can think about the experience without reliving it or experiencing profound anxiety.  It has no more power over me than any other memory now...  It's not an ongoing trauma that lives on in my brain.  It's over, it's been resolved, and I can move on now.  After six years.  /whew!

The most interesting thing for me was that, at times, watching the therapist's fingers move back and forth, my mind would actually start to play back memories like a movie between the two ends of his finger movements.  His fingers would slide across my visual field, and I'd get a flash of a black-and-white movie image, and it would slowly move and change with each pass of his fingers.  It wasn't frightening or anxiety-provoking; it was like watching everything from a safe distance, through a protective lens, where I was in control and could change the outcome, or just blink twice really quickly and shut off the film altogether.  It was truly fascinating!

When it was over, my body was relaxed, and I felt exhausted.  Like, go home and take a 3-hour nap without the need for a sleeping pill exhausted.  I also felt like crying, but part of my PTSD prevents me from crying in front of anyone but my husband and daughter (it feels too vulnerable and opens me up for attack), so I just swallowed back the tears and smiled my way out of the office.  When C gets off the bus in twenty minutes and goes down for her nap, I'll probably sit down on the couch under my electric blanket, take a few deep breaths, and have a nice, cleansing cry.  It's still welling up in me, just below the surface, but I can't risk a teary meltdown before I get C off the bus, so I'll just keep pushing it down until she's in bed.

The doctor assured me that he's doing the paperwork to get my future visits approved and that I will qualify for more than 3 visits, so I'm a little less stressed about that now.  It will all get sorted out, and I *WILL* get better!  I just wonder how long it will take...

This first one was the tip of the iceberg, the very least upsetting in a fairly long list of traumas.  It took an hour to sort out.  How long will the harder ones take?  How difficult will it be to trick my brain with those?  How much longer will they have so much power over me and my every thought, move, and breath?  There are a lot of questions...  But today gave me a lot of hope.  I turned one tragedy into a meaningless, powerless memory, so who's to say I can't do that with the rest of them?

I'm feeling positive.  Like I said earlier, I feel empowered.  I can do this.

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