February 24, 2017 by Courtney
This has been a really rough week. I did EMDR on Monday and it has affected me since (I’m assuming that’s what it is based on what people have said about it). This is going to be a very tough process.
Tuesday and Wednesday I felt terrible. I felt a huge weight on me. I was anxious and feeling depressed. I couldn’t get enough sleep. I slept several hours each morning (after I got the kids off to school) and just felt like I had been hit by a truck.
Finally Wednesday I texted my counselor. Sure enough, she said that I must have triggered something when we did EMDR on Monday and we will need to tackle that next Monday. Also, I found out that being exhausted is just part of the process (which I had been told, but I guess I didn’t believe it until I experienced it). Also, my feelings will be raw afterwards because we’re digging deep and bringing that stuff out. Eventually things won’t phase me over time.
So the first thing she did was get to know my history from the beginning. We did that our first appointment.
Then, we spent some time just talking, for me to feel comfortable with her, and for her to see more into my heart and mind. We did this for the second appointment.
Then, we worked on creating a “safe space” in my mind for me to go to when I’m anxious. For me this is the mountains. Also, I can hear the Serenity Spa music in the background in my mind for my safe space (I listened to this a lot when I got out of the hospital the first time).
Finally, we started the EMDR process.
She uses these vibrating hand held devices. They take turns vibrating. The point of this (from what I understand) is to activate both parts of the brain (the logical side and the emotional side). It goes back and forth, back and forth.
She had me close my eyes and focus in on one specific incident. For me, this was an event in which I was physically abused by classmates when I was little.
She would have me focus in on it, then we would take a break. Focus in on it in a different way, then I would take a break. I could hear the sounds of the events, feel how it felt physically, and with-in my body. Eventually she led me to how it made me feel emotionally and how it affects me now.
According to EMDR.com, these involve the client identifying three things:
1. The vivid visual image related to the memory
2. A negative belief about self
3. Related emotions and body sensations.
We only addressed one specific incident, and we have many more to address. I have more situations in which I was physically abused by classmates, a few other things that I don’t feel like sharing, then we will eventually address my brother’s death (gruesome suicide that I feel out of touch with).
I’m also learning a lot about how feelings aren’t facts, they are fleeting, and to use my “safe space” in my mind when I’m struggling with anxiety. This is what my counselor talked me through when I was struggling on Wednesday.
One other tidbit of information from my counselor is that she thinks I have been struggling with bipolar since I was little (and anxiety). Some of my behaviors are indicative of bipolar in a child. So I thought that was interesting. With bipolar 2, it’s often difficult to tell if it’s an illness or just behavioral issues.
This process will take time, but I see it really benefitting me in the long run. A lot of my anxiety and depression are there because of these events and how they made/make me feel. A lot of things have been going on with me since I was little, and a lot was triggered after Joey died. So I know it affects me. I’ve been stuffing a lot for many years.
I’m so glad I’m not working or homeschooling right now. I really do need this time to focus 100% on my healing and self care.