EMDR three

Gloom gloom toil and doom….Once again, a negative and whining type of post. Please skip if you find gloom catching.

I went for more therapy yesterday, and once again subjected myself to some EMDR. This time we talked for more than half the session. I was reluctant to launch into EMDR, as is fairly natural IMO. Who wants to deliberately partake of a train wreck?

After the last session, I was unable to function for several days, and then immediately got sick. Part of the memory was of being sick to my stomach, and I got a stomach type of flu – suspiciously psycho somatic, but with virus like features, namely aching limbs and needing to sleep all the time. 
I am just getting better, and didn’t want to go back there thank you very much.

Also, my somatic memories got a lot worse. I was having them all the time in those two intervening weeks. Though no dissociation, which is good. And my sleep got a lot worse – I kept waking up every few hours, and taking a long time to go back to sleep.

However, talking, at least with Ms T, doesn’t yield a whole lot for me. I know my family was difficult and I know basically how, and she doesn’t know me well enough to be able to suggest anything new. I can’t remember any more about the trauma that we were working on last time to have anything new to say. 

So we talked a bit about my social difficulties. She suggested joining a book club. Wow. If I had a dollar for every person who has suggested joining a book club to make friends, I could buy myself a very fancy meal downtown. Joining a book club is pretty well useless as a way of combating social anxiety. First of all, you have to invest maybe 60 solitary hours reading a book that may or may not be to your taste. There is only one two hour meeting a month, where you then have to have an ‘intellectual’ type discussion about it – not easy if you’re scared to even say hello.

No, the way to overcome it is to make daily small steps. Not setting yourself a time consuming task before you can socialize, like reading a particular book. That’s too big a deal. I think what I should do is try to have daily small conversations with people I don’t know well. By having a daily small challenge, I’ll build confidence. To be fair, we did discuss that and she thought I should do it. Wasn’t her suggestion though.

So today, I drew out a bit of chit chat with a (married) guy I know slightly who is friends with the guy upstairs. I answered the door, and instead of leaving him to wait by himself, I stayed and chatted. He looked a little surprised, but hey, what the heck.

Yesterday I made a few remarks to the grumpy grocery check out lady. She continued on her grumpy way, but I didn’t take it personally. Good step for me.

We also discussed my tendency to be impatient with people when they are slow or ill-informed. Very bad quality of mine.

We did do a bit of EMDR towards the end of the session, with which I credit my current state of lethargy and lack of motivation. Really, today I have only been on a walk to the cheaper natural food store to buy supplements. Ouch, still expensive cause I bought in bulk. I napped. I watched the dreaded day time TV. Really, my life is going to hell in a hand basket.

The EMDR this time sent me ‘back in time’ to somewhere different, not the trauma. It was some vague scene to do with the old apartment we lived in when I was a child. I was angry (I’m always angry in these EMDR scenarios) and perhaps being punished for some misdeed. Nothing was really clear, except I had a sense of what I was wearing, and of my father’s presence. But I was nowhere near as upset as I was in the last session. I was so relieved (in the present) that I wasn’t plunged into some awful scenario. The EMDR seems to work a lot like hypnosis – it kind of makes me dopey and then sends me back in time. Like going down a tunnel, and then not seeing at all clearly, though things seem to be happening.

So now I feel flattened and down and unmotivated. No clear reason. Perhaps clarity will come with time.

  1. Have you tried EFT or Chinosis at all? That can be a "kinder" way of releasing traumatic emotions. It doesn't mean that you will forget what happened, it just means that you lose the negative emotions so they don't keep coming back to haunt you. I use EMDR but I tend to mix it with hypnosis because pure EMDR I find harsher than hypnosis and EFT (just my opinion!). There are lots of free resources for EFT but my recommendation would be to do some sessions with a professional because that way you will know you are doing it correctly. You can keep the number of sessions down to an affordable amount by then using EFT on your own. I've seen great results with it.

  2. Ellen said:

    No, I haven't tried those Sharon, and have never heard of Chinosis. I did think that EMDR was supposed to help make the negative emotions milder as well. I am finding it a difficult process though, and my therapist is pretty 'gung ho' to proceed with it. Currently I have financial constraints (I am getting a sliding scale with my current T, which is kind of her) so am limited in what I can try, but I'll keep EFT in mind for when I'm more solvent again. I've read good things about it. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Jane said:

    Thanks for sharing your experiences here. Ellen. I'm new to all things PTSD and it's been so helpful! I hope the EMDR starts having more obvious positive effects for you soon (and certainly fewer negative ones!). Could the listlessness afterwards actually be a sign that it's working? Muscles need downtime after a strenuous workout to recover and rebuild – maybe our psyches do, too!

  4. Ellen said:

    Welcome to my blog Jane! That's a great comment about psyches needing time to recover after a work-out. Maybe it is a good sign in the long-run. Makes me feel better about watching too much TV. :-)Cheers!

  5. Nechtan said:

    Hi Ellen,I think the hardest thing with anxiety related problems is that the solution always seems to be to put ourselves throug the very things we are wanting relief from. More often than not it feels like we are getting nothing from it other than the things we don't want and the person orchestrating this appears not to understand just how difficult it is for us.I can't speak for EMDR but I have personally found in my own case that when I make progress it is my own decision- pretty much like the suggestion for moving forward you mentioned in your post. And it makes you wonder. Who knows us better and knows whats best for us? In your current financial constraints I would guess you are now weighing up if the expense is worth the strife. Sorry if this sounds like I am trying to put you off what you are doing but I just get the genuine feeling that the cons outweight the pros. Once again I just wish there was one definitive path to recovery but it seems to me more and more that it is different for everyone and can only come from the individual who is understanding to their own problem and knows the best way forward which is usually small steps in the direction we want to go.All the best Nechtan

  6. Ellen said:

    Hi Nechtan,I always appreciate hearing your point of view Nechtan, thanks. It does seems that the solution to all kinds of anxiety problems is facing things we don't wish to face. So it makes sense that it is not a fun process. As with your walks and drives – you are challenging your fears, and it's probably not a fun thing for you to do.If I was seeing this therapist for social anxiety, I would take your advice and quit, because, frankly, she doesn't seem to have a good grasp of how to deal with that fear. However, she does have skills in healing trauma, which is why I was referred to her.I know that I am not able to heal PTSD on my own. If I was, I would have done it by now. I need help facing the memories and feeling them, so they can stop replaying themselves in my mind endlessly. Now is EMDR the method for me, and is this therapist the best one? That I don't know. I do know that a lot of PTSD sufferers first feel a good deal worse before they start to feel better. We've been keeping stuff down for the very good reason that we feel better like that and are better able to cope. However, we cannot heal while repressing things, so we get stuck in this no man's land of feeling unwell but not truly terrible. We get stuck and do not move from there – that's the problem. Getting unstuck hurts, but I'm betting it will be helpful in the end.So for a while longer, I'm going to stick with it. And financially – getting a grip on this stuff will improve my ability to earn a living, so I'm betting, it will pay off. If not, at least I tried.Thanks for being concerned for me Nechtan, much appreciated.

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