Illustrative of the transformational power of the Eye Movement Desensitising and Reprocessing treatment (EMDR) is the undermentioned blogged reflections written by one of my recent clients.
“It took a long, and anxiety ridden six months before I finally admitted I needed some help following my son’s successful treatment of cancer. The relief was immediate when I admitted to my husband, my family and also my very understanding employers that I wasn’t doing so well. I was merely surviving, nowhere near close to thriving.
The reoccurring nightmares should have been a giveaway, or the vivid and intense flashbacks from the day my son was diagnosed. It took my counsellor only 30 minutes to suggest and qualify that I was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It made sense, from the moment I was told that my son had cancer, survival mode took over. I remember the consultant encouraging us to sit in the family room and have a cup of tea, in encouragement to digest the information that had just been shared. But it felt no time for such a luxury, the kettle didn’t even boil before I was already ushering us to his next set of X-rays, I’m not sure I even cried, there felt no time, it wouldn’t have helped. All I could focus on was getting us first over the finish line, cancer would not be winning this time.
My coping mechanism throughout the treatment, the operations, the scans, the emergency dashes to hospital, had been one of autopilot. All energy and focus was on making sure that my son was ok, and rightly so, he was our brave and beautiful soldier. On the rare moments when I allowed the emotions to take over it would tend to show itself as frustration, I think my husband may say anger…He is still slightly traumatised by my reaction to him making a wrong move on the drive to hospital!
Or perhaps the realisation point should have been following the days we received the amazing news that my son had successfully completed his treatment, the celebrations however felt so short lived. How could I ever truly let myself believe that it was all going to be ok? The brave me, the positive me, was fading fast.
And here I am today, truly believing that my son is going to be just fine, in fact more than just fine. I can now think much more logically and not allow the overwhelming anxiety to take over. It has all been as a result of a technique called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) a process which requires you to relive the traumatic event whilst moving your eyes from left to right. During this procedure my memories lost their intensity, they became less vibrant. I would walk away after each session feeling lighter (in-fact not to dissimilar to the feeling following a glass of wine, bonus).
The science behind EMDR is quite simple, the therapy focuses directly on your memory, and is intended to change the way that the memory is stored in the brain, reducing and eliminating the problematic symptoms associated to that event.
As the therapy continues I become less connected to the upsetting moments of the past and so much more focused and aware of the now.
Though even more importantly, I am now allowing myself to enjoy the now, and the future.
So if your days are feeling darker then they need to be never hesitate to ask for help. We will all be there to hold you up.”