2/23, I finally started integrating EMDR with my TMS treatments. The perfectionist in me says I failed. The clinician in me says I took a step.
I have 20 years of different types of traumas. All have shaped my life in different ways. Some have effected me and my identity while some have severely effected me in how I view people and situations.
I have literally never worked through my traumas. I have never verbally expressed details of things that have had power over my life for so many years. I can speak the vague overview of my story like I am reading from a book with no problems. I can throw in some details here and there but just a liiiiiitle bit to not get in too deep.
Here is a description of EMDR from the EMDR Institute-
EMDR therapy is an eight-phase treatment. Eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) are used during one part of the session. After the clinician has determined which memory to target first, he asks the client to hold different aspects of that event or thought in mind and to use his eyes to track the therapist’s hand as it moves back and forth across the client’s field of vision. As this happens, for reasons believed by a Harvard researcher to be connected with the biological mechanisms involved in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, internal associations arise and the clients begin to process the memory and disturbing feelings. In successful EMDR therapy, the meaning of painful events is transformed on an emotional level. For instance, a rape victim shifts from feeling horror and self-disgust to holding the firm belief that, “I survived it and I am strong.” Unlike talk therapy, the insights clients gain in EMDR therapy result not so much from clinician interpretation, but from the client’s own accelerated intellectual and emotional processes. The net effect is that clients conclude EMDR therapy feeling empowered by the very experiences that once debased them. Their wounds have not just closed, they have transformed. As a natural outcome of the EMDR therapeutic process, the clients’ thoughts, feelings and behavior are all robust indicators of emotional health and resolution—all without speaking in detail or doing homework used in other therapies.
So, one would ask “how did you “fail” at EMDR?” as it doesn’t seem possible. My therapist got 2 sets of eye movements with the light before she stated, “I believe it’s best we stop. You’re not ready.”
While speaking about my event, my chest got extremely tight, my muscles in my entire body tensed, breaths were getting shallow, my heart rapidly started beating…. I was panicking. Then all of a sudden I start dissociating. I could feel the pull of being “gone”. I have functioned in various states of dissociation for many years.
Dissociation can be described as a detachment from reality. It can become difficult for an individual to function in the “real” world.
Dissociation is one of the many defense mechanisms the brain can use to cope with trauma. It’s often described as an “out of body” experience where someone feels detached from reality. It may be upsetting for someone to realize that they have dissociated, but it is a natural reaction to trauma.
So when I noticed myself drifting away from reality, pulling myself back, and repeat…… I tell my therapist how hard it was to control not slipping into dissociation. She obviously knew how much it was affecting me and had me stop.
Since then, things have been a little off I feel. I’m chronically finding my body tensed, mind wandering into those memories, overall more agitated, etc.
I see her again Friday and will attempt again. I have faith in it working, I just understand how deep it’s been buried it is no wonder my body innately tries to protect.