As you may or may not be aware, the most significant healing work I did in regards to my PTSD was via EMDR therapy.
It’s quite an amazing technique in that how it works exactly, is still unknown. Also, if it’s the right therapy for you, healing can be very swift. It is said that for more chronic/protracted types of trauma, the process can take much longer. In my case, I had about six sessions. That was enough to completely resolve my flashbacks, the unbidden terror I was living with and other related symptoms.
I’ve made a few attempts to explain EMDR to the best of my ability. But I’m not a therapist and I can only draw from my own experience, so of course any explanation I can provide is limited.
Recently, Dr. Kathleen Young (a licensed clinical psychologist, EMDR trained therapist and fellow blogger) has written a series of posts about EMDR. I think they provide some very useful information about the process and how it works.
You can check them out here:
If you or someone you know has developed PTSD, then it may be worthwhile considering EMDR.
I will say this however – the swiftness of my healing process left me feeling a little overwhelmed. All of the protection mechanisms and coping strategies I’d developed to handle the frequent onslaught of trauma symptoms were suddenly not required. Which is a good thing, right? Of course it is! But I still felt like my nervous symptom needed a moment or two to catch up.
Another issue I faced when realising I was suddenly flashback-free is something that Michele of Heal My PTSD has written about before:
- Treating PTSD: What’s Your Post-Trauma Identity?
- Treating PTSD: What’s Your Post-Trauma Identity?, Part 2
Most people with PTSD have lived with it every day for a very long time. As a result, it can become a part of your identity: “I am a person with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder”. Letting go of that identity can be just as scary as dealing with your trauma on a daily basis.
It is natural to want to cling on to what we know, even when those things are painful or damaging. And so if you do decide to try EMDR and find that it works for you, it’s important to prepare for a life free of the patterns of trauma that have haunted you relentlessly for so long.
Whatever path to healing you take, I wish you all the very best!