I’m having EMDR Therapy for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

One of the reasons I’ve been away from the blogosphere is because I’ve been having therapy. I’m currently half way through my treatment of EMDR for chronic PTSD.
Without going into too much detail, I went through a few traumatic events when I was 8 years old. I’ve had PTSD ever since. I don’t remember who I was without PTSD, it has become a part of who I am, and it affects me every single day of my life. The traumatic incidents, well, fully sane adults would struggle with it, it’s really not surprising that I, at 8 years old, couldn’t deal with it. I’m not going to mention the whys, or hows, I don’t feel it is important. The fact is, I have PTSD and right now, I’m working hard at EMDR to try and get a bit better and hopefully get to a place where this stuff doesn’t affect me everyday.

Instead of explaining what EMDR is, because that would take a heck of a long time, I’ll leave this link here for anyone who wants to find out what EMDR is, but very basically, it’s desensitisation of traumatic memories and has been proven quite effective in clinical trials.

Today, we focused on the feelings surrounding the incidents, like how I blamed myself for what went wrong, how I feel like I’m a failure because of what happened, how I feel weak because I couldn’t deal with it [despite the fact, as I mentioned earlier, I doubt anyone would have survived the incidents intact] and how I really struggle to let myself be happy because I’m always scared that things are going to go horribly wrong, that any happiness I experience will inevitably be taken away from me.

EMDR is hard. I doubt I would be able to cope with the side effects if I wasn’t taking my medication. I’m suddenly and very randomly remembering things that happened in between sessions, things that I never dealt with, scenes of absolute despair and I remember the most the feelings I had at the time, I feel feelings like the scene is happening right in front of my face, because it is. PTSD is very physical for me, I feel it in my chest, in my stomach and in my throat. I’ve been feeling pretty nauseous pretty much the entire time since the first session.

I’ve noticed some positives already though. I feel safe talking about what happened with my therapist and I’ve never really gone into this much detail with anyone. I’ve struggled to tell people that I have PTSD because I’ve had mostly negative reactions in the past. People usually say, “But that was YEARS ago, it’s over now, why do you still struggle with that, get over it”. It’s not that simple, obviously. It may seem like years ago to other people, but for me, it’s like this stuff is still happening right now and it doesn’t feel over and I NEVER feel safe. I have very real nightmares and I relive the experiences over and over and I have to be on the lookout for triggers that I actively avoid to make sure I don’t randomly start shaking or having panic attacks or being sick out of nowhere and of course, you cannot possibly avoid all triggers unless you live in a hermetically sealed box.

I have found that it’s almost completely pointless talking about PTSD offline unless the person you’re talking to also has PTSD, and not many people have been through something so traumatic that they’ve ended up with PTSD. Well, that’s not entirely what I mean, lots of people have PTSD I’m not saying that I’m a special little snowflake, because I’m really not, but offline, in my everyday life, I’ve never met anyone with it. When I tell people I have it offline, 99% of the people have no clue what it actually means only that they’ve heard combat veterans get it so they end up saying really unhelpful stuff like, “Get over it already”, which is absolutely the dumbest thing you can say to someone with PTSD. If people with PTSD could “get over it already” they would because trust me, online, people with PTSD are amongst the strongest people I’ve ever met despite the fact none of them, myself included, believe that they are. It’s a lot harder to even tell someone I have PTSD so it doesn’t feel worth the effort. I tell people I have Bipolar disorder and nothing really happens to me, they are just words, I tell people I have PTSD and the fact I just mentioned my PTSD makes me feel triggered and sick etc, even if I don’t go into why I have it. Also, they tend to put blame on me for having it, and by suggesting I could just “get over it” if I really wanted to, but I “chose” not to, so therefore it’s my own fault. I blame myself enough thank you very much without your ignorance blaming me too, I tell you what I don’t understand, why people can’t just be happy they don’t understand and never will, nope they HAVE to judge you for it.

I will say though, telling people online, they tend to already know a fair bit about PTSD so I’ve suffered less judgement and instead received compassion and empathy and they are the majority.

Anyway… Hit a nerve. It’s just, out of all the stuff I’ve suffered with, PTSD has BY FAR the most negativity, blame and judgement attached to it when it comes to telling other people. Even more so than the eating disorder I recovered from, which by the way, was how I coped with all this PTSD stuff before I had meds or treatment.

So yes, it’s been kind of nice in a way to talk about it in a safe environment where I am not going to be judged and the focus is on fixing it, even though it causes my eyes to leak at every session. I say eye leakage and not crying, because I’m not crying, but my eyes are if that makes any sense. I think I’m scared of full on crying, and that’s something I need to work on too, because the whole point of these sessions is to actually process it and feel the things I was supposed to feel back then.

 

 

 

 

 

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Categories: mental health

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16 replies

  1. I hope the EMDR helps. Yes, I Googled it before I saw the link 😉 Still not 100% sure what it is or how it works, but it does sound like it is having a big effect on you already. Hope the bad side-effects lead you to a good outcome!

    Most people have a hard time talking about any mental illness. I never knew that PTSD was that much worse. I’m sorry people feel that way – I can’t see how anybody would be ignorant enough to think it would help at all! But then, we all do/say ignorant stuff. At least I do…. Hopefully this treatment will help quite a bit.

    It’s hard to know what to say, but, well, I am pulling for you and hoping for the best 🙂

    Like

    • I guess I kind of wish for a future where everyone offline are like everyone I’ve met online, especially here on WordPress.
      Unfortunately stigma is alive and well in real life. It’s a shame.
      I always really appreciate your comments and support and stuff Trent.
      I’m not sure I understand exactly how EMDR works, but after looking at the science it kind of makes sense.. I think. Haha.
      Apparently REM in sleep helps our brains heal, something that doesn’t happen to people to have PTSD, so the therapist tries to make that happen by making your eyes move rapidly, that’s what I think it means anyway! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow Rhio you are amazing! I don’t have PTSD but from what I know if it. It’s very difficult to cope with and people have no right to tell you to “get over it” if they went through what you went through i doubt they would be as strong as you ❤xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope you find EMDR helpful. I’ve been doing it off and on in therapy. I was really skeptical about doing it at first, but noticed after a while that I started feeling less anxiety over the events we covered. And it really is no joke. When the therapist told me to be able to take it easy on the days we covered it because I would feel exhausted later, I also thought that was a load, but it’s extremely taxing!

    Like

    • I’m glad you said that, I feel like I’ve run a marathon today. I’m so drained. I was sceptical too, I am by default I think, but I’m just at the point where I’m willing to give my all at anything to hope it makes even a little bit of difference! 🙂 I tried it before but I wasn’t stable enough at the time and I ended up having an episode of depression. This time has been a lot different 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing. It’s good to know I’m not alone when telling people offline. I’ve been having EMDR too. Really hope it’s helpful to you xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am new to blogging and enjoy your site. I am currently in EMDR therapy for my CPTSD and its hard to explain to others what it is. Its helping I know that much and its intense at times but also very cool

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Last Wednesday I had the second session of EMDR and I’m processing a memory that really doesn’t bother me. So, I’m not feeling any effects after these 2 sessions. My main traumas will be 200% embarrassing for both me and my T due to the content. So, I can’t decide when the time comes if I should describe it out loud or visualize it. This will be only the second time in my life that I will have told somebody about it. So, I guess we’ll see how it goes. I wouldn’t mind some feedback, Miss Babble 💋, I’m really torn.

    Like

    • Honesty is the way I always go in therapy. It’s harder than anything to be so honest, but it’s the only thing that has helped me get to where I am.
      Therapists have heard it all before, trust me. The stuff I came out with was pretty rough but my therapist helped me through it and EMDR is now the best thing I’ve ever had. Better than meds, better than anything.

      Like

  7. Your courage to share is admirable. I’ve just begun EMDR and I’m blogging my way through the journey. I hope you’ll visit my Road of Hope and travel with me: https://emdrjourney.wordpress.com/. Blessings, healing, and peace. – Renee

    Like

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