The Fruit of Tribulation

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I had a rough week. I think it was a spin-off from Thanksgiving… or maybe it was just a bad week. My husband and I fought ALL. WEEK. LONG. My son struggled with listening. My daughter was refusing food and waking up more than once in the night (she later cut two teeth). My house was turned upside-down with chores left undone and take-out bags overflowing the trash can. My self-harm picked up a notch. I was refusing to pray and refusing to read my Bible, which are often the very things that pull me out of a spiral like this. I realized that I am still dissociating and losing time, I am just not recognizing it, and it spiraled me further still. And then, all of a sudden, the storm cleared and I was at peace.

That is often what I go through. I feel I have no control over my emotions. I can have a really good day or a really bad day, and I have no say in the matter. I was previously seeing a trauma therapist who was helping me recognize the very early signs of dissociation and spiraling, and helping me develop the skills to pull out of it before it becomes an issue. She was helping… I think. I had to stop seeing her because of finances and lack of time. One thing she taught me was that when I am doing well, I need to build up my resources so I have them at hand when I start to spiral.

A trusted friend is taking me through a discipleship book, where I read, pray, and apply, while simultaneously communicating with her regarding my thoughts on the material. Shortly after I quit therapy, I reached out to her for something trivial and she saw beyond it, and offered the discipleship. That’s how she became my trusted friend. The discipleship book (link here) explains that there are two ways to face emotional pain: 1. Avoidance and self-protection (using our own unhealthy coping techniques), which turns the issue right back to yourself, often exacerbating the issue; and 2. Accepting the circumstance and passing through it with Christ. This would include prayer, building yourself up in the Bible, and reaching out to others for godly support.

The better we are able to be built up before the spiral hits, I believe the better off we will be during the spiral, as my previous therapist explained. According to the discipleship book (and the Bible), the best resources are from the Bible.

Here are some of my best resources that I’ll share with you:

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, maybe found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. -1 Peter 1:6,7

We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. -2 Corinthians 4:8,9

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior… since you were precious in My sight, you have been honored, and I have loved you… Fear not, for I am with you. -Isaiah 43:1-5

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. -Isaiah 41:10

Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? -Isaiah 43:18,19

Count it all joy when you fall into various trials -James 1:2

After I read these treasures, I am able to be sincerely thankful for this past week.

-My son began reading easy readers fluently, where he had previously been reading only phonics books.

-My daughter cut two new teeth and is saying new words (including “amen” at the end of any conversation or song).

-My husband and I are reading the Bible together in the morning and at night, where previously we had not (except for brief stints); we do not get a lot of non-stress time together, as we run two businesses together. Progress. That’s godly progress.

-I have made progress in learning about the unconditional love of my Savior; nothing I do will make my Savior walk away. Also, when others are also walking in the unconditional love of the Savior, nothing I do will cause them to walk away from me either. Progress. That’s major progress. Towards healing and secure attachment.

Doesn’t the Bible say that trials cause us to make progress? I already quoted 1 Peter above, but what about this one:

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. -Romans 5:3,4

While it is difficult to take joy in my tribulation, I am thankful for the fruit that has come from it. I’ll take that little nugget into the next series of spirals, knowing that when I come out I will have an even greater understanding of my Savior, and I know I have a husband who will not walk away despite the trials of having a wife with PTSD and a lifetime of baggage. I also know that I have a trusted friend who will help me to lift my arms in prayer when I am too weak (as Moses did in Exodus 17:12).

May you also see the fruit of your tribulation as you look to your Savior.

Image credit: http://www.daydaypaint.com/blog/tag/fruit-paintings-by-famous-artists

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Why I dropped to the half marathon- I’M PREGNANT!

I’m pregnant!

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I have been very quiet on here lately because we’ve been keeping the pregnancy quiet- and that’s all I want to blog about! I am 12 weeks 5 days pregnant, and due at the end of March 2015. We were able to see the baby on ultrasound yesterday, and he (or she) was hanging upside down kicking his legs, completely oblivious to the outside world.

We are a little overwhelmed at the prospect of having three babies to take care of, but excited- both at the very same time! I have quit therapy because of the new baby, though. I’m still not sure how I feel about it. My therapist is a trauma therapist, and I do not want to process my trauma while I am pregnant. It’s hard enough to keep my emotions in check with ginormous hormones and a big fat belly, so I think I’ll spend the next year focusing on what she has taught me. We will keep in contact, and perhaps in the future, if I need it, I will return to finish what we started.

Right now, I am focusing on meeting my children’s needs and trying to get food on the table regularly- meals is my Achilles heel. We are also now the proud owners of TWO businesses, one of which has been running for the past two generations. My husband is the third generation to take it over. We are excited but again, overwhelmed! 🙂

I am also strongly considering changing my blog url and my username. I am ready to move on from being identified with my mental illness. I still want to bring awareness to it, but I am not a victim. I am a survivor. I want my blog to reflect this. I am tired of dwelling on my struggles. I am ready to move forward and focus on my health, not my past.

I will post on my half marathon next. It was quite an experience!!!

 

One Tree At A Time

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For the past year and seven months since I’ve begun having regular flashbacks, I have been hell-bent on being heard, asking questions, and demanding answers. I went into therapy with “A” for the specific purpose of diving headlong into my past, willing myself to come through on the other side as a survivor. A continued to ask me to slow down, but listened and allowed me to process my past at the pace I deemed necessary, and the more I processed, the more trauma-focused I became. I couldn’t purge it fast enough; it was nice to be heard and validated. It was nice to feel safe.

A year later, I came through on the other side, and had quit seeing A for a month or two. Through a series of events over the past few months, not only did my PTSD symptoms return, they seemed to double in force. I returned to A, who stated my symptoms were beyond her expertise, and she recommended I be evaluated for some sort of intensive outpatient program. I jumped around to several therapists until I found a therapist who specializes in trauma, and who is a Christian.

I do not know exactly why my symptoms have slowed drastically since this change in therapists, and it is probably for several reasons. However, her technique is vastly different that even I have been trained in (including her asking so many questions I do not have the ability to think long enough to shut down in session). I have been seeing her weekly for over a month, and we have not delved into my past at all. She uses metaphors with me. The first one was of me running a marathon, and that me falling prey to my symptoms was like me veering off-course. She said her goal is to help me process the trauma while I stay on course, without me spiraling into what I had before. She also likened this process as me walking into the woods; if I look ahead at all the woods, I’d be terrified and overwhelmed. Our goal is to process one tree at a time, and though it is hard to walk into the woods, she would give me the tools to conquer just one tree at at time.

Finally, last session she told me I was ready to begin the slow process of approaching a tree. She recommended several books, including the two I chose, “On The Threshold of Hope” by Diane Langberg, and Not Marked by Mary DeMuth (I chose this one because Mary is writing from the perspective of a survivor and her husband is writing from the perspective of husband of survivor; I want my husband to be able to come alongside as best he can). “C” told me to read in very small increments, and if I started to feel any anxiety at all, I was to close the books immediately and distract myself. Not only would this build my tolerance and strengthen my ability to control symptoms, it would give me a sense of choice and control that I had lost in my trauma.

I am trying to take one page at a time, just as I am trying to take one day at a time. I have been fairly level, but extremely sensitive to triggers. However, if I can remove and isolate myself immediately, usually I can calm down again and will be fine the rest of the day. This is nearly impossible with a husband who is basically home this summer and two young kids. I am having more good days than bad, and my bad moments are not always lasting a day. I am feeling things that I have not felt in a while, like light anxiety (versus panic attack anxiety) and light sadness (versus the level of shame that drives my self-harm).

Slowly but surely, I am moving forward. When I have a full bad day, I am discouraged because I tasted freedom and it tasted like the best chocolate cake I have ever had. I would like to eat this chocolate cake every single day, and enjoy every taste in my mouth. After having chocolate cake, a bad day tastes like spoiled food that has been dumped into the trash. Even a bite of trash after chocolate cake drives me to self-harm more quickly than usual. My goal is to learn to sit with the trash in my mouth until the bad taste passes. I heard once that instead of self-harm, sit in a chair and grip it as hard as you can and force yourself to just sit. But that doesn’t work for me. Running helps immensely. Running hurts much worse than any self-harm I inflict, and it is healthy and shuts off my racing thoughts. My goal is to stop self-harming, but my first memory of self-harm was when I was about 4 years old. That is 24 years of bad coping to deal with. And slowly but surely, as I conquer one tree at a time, my desire to self-harm will diminish. When I make it through to the end of the forest, I know the shame and desire to harm myself will fade because the roots will be gone.

One tree at a time.

Photo Credit: http://picslava.com/chocolate-cake/

Dear Family: I Am Listening…

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My goal has been to really, really listen to my family’s words and actions. That is what I posted about this morning. Here is what I have been hearing.

My family is jealous of my phone

My family needs a clean home

My family needs me to smile and dance

My family needs me to provide healthy meals and snacks

My family needs my undivided attention

Yesterday, I officially decided to homeschool my children. Yes, I know I am already teaching my son to read and am currently researching preschool science curricula for the fall. However, I have been on the fence due to my low opinions of my abilities (despite my early childhood education training) and my exhaustion level. But, I am quickly reaching my limit with worried parents bringing their children into therapy because they are falling behind in school. Sometimes it is bullying, and usually they have ADHD. These children are starved for healthy attention, to the point where they start destroying my office when I am conversing with a parent! They need me to get on the floor with them and play. They need undivided attention.

They do not need therapy. They need healthy attention. They need their teachers to sit with them and individualize their work so they can learn the material on their level. They need their parents to read to them and play with them (even if it means falling asleep on floor while the children drive cars over the parents’ backs), no matter the parents’ level of exhaustion. They need their parents to shut the television off and take away the iPads and video games. I am not judging their parenting, because the Lord knows I fall short. I yell at my son, I spank (yes, I do spank, and may write a blog at some point regarding using this method of discipline correctly and not harmfully) at times when a discussion and a hug is more appropriate, I fight with my husband in front of my kids, and I sit my son in front of the TV when I am exhausted (though he is the one who asks me to shut it off before the movie is over, because he’s bored and wants to play).

I have decided to delete my email off of my phone for now, except for when I am nursing. When I did this today, I felt a weight lift from my shoulders because I did not feel chained to my phone. I listened to my husband’s frustrations with me for replying to a text instead of focusing on whatever sports clip he was trying to show me, and I apologized for hurting his feelings. I let my son help me vacuum. I cleaned my kitchen- I mean really cleaned it, because my daughter’s new-found mobility seems to have her finding everything she cannot have and shoving it into her mouth before I can reach her. I opened my windows and breathed the fresh air. I danced with my husband and children. I engaged in silly banter with my husband. I noticed my husband’s change in mood when I began laughing with him. I decided to run regularly, both with friends and on my own.

I do not have it all together by any means. I have just decided that I need to stop complaining about how much I am struggling and I need to just do things differently. That means making a better choice in the moment. Do I fall apart in despair? Or do I realize that my husband’s comment was not trying to hurt me? Do I hide from my family? Or do I embrace them?

Though I am standing bold today, that does not mean I’ll be standing bold tomorrow. But it means that I recognize my ability to make choices. It means I am finally listening to my family.

Photo credit: http://www.iphixni.com/apple.html

Hard Decisions

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I have been spreading myself emotionally thin over the past few weeks. It has caught up to me in a series of almost continuous dissociation, hypomanic episodes, angry and physically violent outbursts, and self-harm. I have opened myself up to sharing an overview of my past with five new people in a matter of weeks, in the name of finding a therapist that is experienced enough to manage my level of trauma and my symptoms. I have finally found a trauma therapist I am very pleased with, and she happens to be Christian- which is important to me right now, as I cannot heal without God’s healing hand.

She is slowly working her way into my past through a very long intake process, and has not asked a single time about my trauma. She has stated that she primarily wants me to focus on staying present during session, and when I reported (she checks in regarding dizziness every few minutes) mild dizziness today, she had me stop the intake to share the tasks I had completed that morning. It took me several minutes to recall what I had done! It was clearly a rough morning full of dissociation.

She also stated that she strongly encourages me to have a psychiatric evaluation completed and most likely go on meds, because we cannot delve into trauma work until my symptoms are managed much better than they are now. This is a difficult step for me because I am breastfeeding and I do not want to wean. It is my daughter’s reference point for everything when I am around; she uses it to connect, feed, play, and for comfort. Weaning would change our entire relationship. I am not against formula feeding, as I formula fed my first, but I fought very hard to establish a breastfeeding relationship with my daughter and I am agonizing over the possibility of having to give it up.

And… she told me it would be best if I chose just one therapist. Friday is my termination session for the therapist I have been seeing for over a year. I trust her. I like her. I work well with her. I am attached to her. I do not want to say goodbye. New therapists are sometimes necessary steps to take towards healing, but it is going to be very difficult to say goodbye without shutting down.

Photo credit: http://yellowgazelle13.blogspot.com/2011/03/getting-closer.html

Rapid Cycling

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I am unsure what exactly is causing this, but I have been rapid cycling the past few days… and not quite in a bipolar way; I do not have bipolar or any form of a mood disorder! I am going from bouncing off the walls and screaming with joy (which my son is quite enjoying), to being curled up in a ball afraid of the world, to crying as hard as I can, to yelling, to crying, to bouncing off the walls… mostly partially dissociated. All in a matter of an hour! I’ve had several triggers this week, both personal and professional, and I wonder if my mind has just reached a sort of max. Or maybe it’s simply trying to cope with the news that I’ve agreed to stop seeing Therapist #1 for a few months. She is a major safety, where my transference goes. My inner child needs to be on her couch- I need to sit and cry (crying is a quite recent symptom for me too) and become dizzy and go mute, and then pull out of it in the hour and a half I see her. I have never left her office in a daze because I feel safe. I always leave with a smile and a juice box- sometimes she gives me two juice boxes! Any anxiety left over on the drive is taken out on the straw that is chewed unrecognizable by the time I pull into my driveway. Then I am fine for a few days.

Therapist #1 has recommended that I begin an intensive outpatient therapy of sorts, with therapy 3x a week (which she cannot accommodate), a DBT support group, and a psychiatrist. She wants me to go on the waiting list at a nearby hospital’s mental health program. This is what I would recommend for a client going through what I am attempting to manage. My husband and I have discussed this at length and we just cannot afford to do this. We have decided to try an unconventional route… I am hating the Christian counseling center; it triggers me to no end, and renders me incapacitated to drive home. The only reason I made it home after session last week was because I was clutching my son’s Lego as hard as I could into the steering wheel (a grounding technique I learned with Therapist #2- whom I am not seeing regularly either- that I’ve taken to a whole different level).

But this is why my husband feels it is important for me to push through, and I quite agree with his reasoning. Driving into the parking lot alone is causing a resistance like none I have ever experienced. I do not want to be there. And that is precisely why my husband feels I need to be there. We will try this for a few months, but we cannot afford weekly therapy. We’ve done weekly for a year and just cannot afford it anymore. We will do every other week at this place, and see where my mental health is afterwards. If I deteriorate further (not sure how much more deterioration I must endure in order for a potential hospitalization, which will undoubtedly affect my career), we will then do everything in our power to get me into a psychiatrist and into a more intensive therapy.

After these sessions, I will do what I need to do to drive home. If I need to sit in the parking lot for a bit, that’s fine. If I need to bring my own juice boxes, I will. If I need to bring a snack to break the dissociation, I will. If I need to cry or call my husband, I will. It’s an hour drive so I will do what I need to do to make it home safely.

Therapist #1 is still available by scheduled phone calls. She is still there. I am not walking away myself, nor am I being abandoned. And yet I am still rapid cycling to an extent I can barely control. It’s time for me to cry a little before I teach my son to do front flips on his bed, or jump from his bed into a pile of blankets and pillows. This is better than being incapacitated, but my goodness. I am not a mother, I am a child! I am 7. I am 7.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12

Photo credit: http://hypnobeast.com/all/swag/hypnosis-spirals/

Stranded

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Two weeks ago Thursday, I went to an intake (for Therapist #3) at a nationally recognized Christian counseling center. This was the first time I’ve ever shared my trauma out loud in one lump.

On my way back to my car after session, my heart was broken because of all I had talked about. Therapist #1 called me in the parking lot and I cried on the phone with her as I quickly processed the session. I had called her in the morning because I could not stop dissociating, and she was just returning my call.

I drove for about 10 minutes and felt a great need to pull over because I was dissociating. I floated in and out for 2.5 hours, barely remembering to reschedule my clients for the day. There was no way I was going to make it into work. I called my husband, but only because he left a voicemail telling me he was calling around to find out where I was.

When I was finally coherent enough to drive home, I saw that the car was off but out of gear. Was I really so incoherent that I couldn’t even park correctly? I somehow made it home with just enough time to pump (7 hours is a long time to go without nursing or pumping!) before heading out to my emergency session with Therapist #2.

It took nearly the entire session to ground me, but finally, a combination of a containment exercise and stomping my feet and hitting my hands on the sofa did the trick. That night, I emailed Therapist #1 to fill her in.

I do not understand why the Christian place struck such a sharp nerve for me, but nearly the same thing happened the following week when I attended my first session. It seems to me that I am in the depths of spiritual warfare, because I don’t dissociate like that with Therapist #1… but we rarely talk about faith, and she is not Christian. We have done a lot of work together, and I consider her to be safe. I love sessions with her, and always leave in a great mood, despite the difficult things we discuss in session.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12

photo credit: http://www.travelblog.org/Photos/6426542

Containment Skills

During an emergency therapy session last week, therapist #2 had me work on containment in order to ground me. She had me write out trigger words and items that are triggers around my home, and how I feel when I am triggered. Then, I folded them as many times as I could and placed them into an envelope, and then sealed the envelope. She asked me what I wanted to do with the envelope. I told her to keep it. She said that the point of the exercise is to give me control. I am putting these triggers and feelings away until I choose to pull them out one at a time, and I get to control how long they are out (ie, for a therapy session only). I mostly felt better after session. Then, yesterday I had supervision at work (speaking with a licensed therapist to share and collaborate on my cases, which is a requirement for me as I seek licensure), where I shared some of my problems containing my own “issues,” especially regarding a specific client. She again shared the concept of containing the issues in either an imaginary box or a real box. I told her the words keep escaping from their imaginary box, and that my box continued to explode. She told me to stop making up excuses and to practice what I preach.

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Once I returned to my office, I had a no-show, so I decided to use my art therapy supplies to contain my feelings and triggers again.

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I folded them up and placed them in my work bag, for lack of a better place at work.

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On an afterthought, I wrote something else to place in my pocket to help ground me when I needed, along with this Lego. The Lego has been in my pocket since my session on Thursday. She gave me a polished rock for my pocket as a tangible grounder, and I replaced it with the Lego because it reminds me that I’m fighting for my children. The paper reminds me that no matter how dirty I feel, my body is white as snow.

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A Lot Like Jonah

The following story is taken from this book, with a few changes.

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God had a job for me. But I didn’t want it. “Go to Nineveh,” God said, “and tell your worst enemies that I love them.”

“NO” I said. “Those are bad people doing bad things!”

“Exactly,” said God. “They have run far away from me. But I can’t stop loving them. I will give them a new start. I will forgive them.”

“NO!” I said. “They don’t deserve it!”

I’ll run away! I said to myself. Far away- so far away that God won’t be able to find me. Then I won’t have to do what God says! It’s a good plan! I said, because, as far as I knew, it was a good plan.

But, of course, it wasn’t a good plan at all. It was a silly plan. (Because you can run away from God, but he will always come and find you.)

I went ahead with my not-very-good plan. “One ticket to NOT Nineveh, please!” I said and boarded a plane flying in the very opposite direction to Nineveh.

Well, it wasn’t long before a fierce wind blew, and my home started to lurch and pitch and roll – and everyone started turning green. I sat bolt upright in my bed. You see, the first thing that went wrong with my not-very-good plan was that God had sent a big storm after me.

My family couldn’t function properly. “We’re sinking!” they screamed, and started trying everything they could to calm the storm.

By now I knew that the storm was my doing. “Throw me in, instead!” I shouted to my family (for it seemed we were now on a feeble boat in a tumultuous storm). “And the storm will stop!” My family wasn’t sure. It’s the only way you can be saved!” I cried.

And so, one… two… three… SPLASH! No sooner had I hit the water than the waves grew calm, the wind died down, and the storm stopped.

Just then, when I thought it was all over, when I was sure I was going to drown, God sent a big fish to rescue me. The fish swallowed me whole- with one big gulp.

I must have thought I’d died, it was so dark in there, like a tomb. But then I smelled the rotting food and felt the slimy seaweed and knew I wasn’t dead. I was in the belly of the fish!

And here I sit, waiting to watch God’s plan unfold. Tonight, I have my first session with my new therapist, a Christian who will openly bring faith into the counseling room. We will see where the fish spits me out.

Is EMDR Helpful?

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Last year, I attended a trauma training and the trainer touched on eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). He stated something like, “It’s very simple, the client moves his eyes back and forth several times and then the feelings associated with the trauma are no longer triggered! For the deeper traumas, they may have to have the process repeated. It’s a very effective and very interesting therapy!” This tends to be how many mental health therapists view EMDR. It is an intriguing enigma because, after years of working to evolve therapy into something that is always helpful, there is finally a method that is shown to be consistently effective.

Francine Shapiro, “discoverer” of EMDR, has stated that EMDR is effective in all traumas, but that “it takes longer when you have multiple traumatic experiences because there are more memories that need to be processed.” Studies upon studies have shown the effectiveness of EMDR because it uses the brain’s natural abilities to heal itself. It is effective, but is it always beneficial?

As I’ve written previously (About PTSD), EMDR pulls the traumas that are stored in the limbic system and brings them into conscious memory, in order to be stored correctly in the cortex. This tends to be a fairly straightforward process for those who have experienced a one-time trauma in adulthood. However, because the childhood brain is so malleable, when children experience a significant trauma, their brains are forced to veer from normal development in order to process the trauma and protect the brain.

One of the very common ways children manage trauma is through dissociation. It is common for these previously dissociated memories to surface in adulthood, mostly because the brain is finally fully developed around age 25 (the topic of recalled memories is quite debated, but it is indeed common). This is a normal process as the brain attempts to bring the memories into consciousness in order to be stored correctly. Some memories become conscious, and some do not; it depends on what the brain feels it can manage at a conscious level. EMDR fast tracks this process and does not allow the brain to pick and choose which memories it is ready for. Therefore, those who have experienced complex trauma (continual trauma during childhood) may become flooded with very intense memories. The complex trauma survivors’ brains have spent years adapting to the trauma and building up walls of protection so the person can survive. EMDR reverses these protections and breaks down the very protective walls they have spent years building.

Many complex trauma survivors who have attempted EMDR have reported that it makes them feel worse and that they are unable to manage the overwhelming feelings. Recalled memories return at such a quick rate that leaves the survivors flooded. The brain is not prepared for an onslaught of memories because naturally, it unfolds trauma at a far slower process. This seems to be what the non-EMDR trained therapist does not understand; I have found myself considering referring clients with complex trauma for EMDR in the past, simply because it is known as an effective therapy for trauma survivors. Now, I realize that in the case of complex trauma, it may be more beneficial to allow the survivors’ brains to unfold the memories at the rate their brains can manage (however slow and exhausting the process may be).

While many mental health therapists are intrigued by EMDR, and rightly so, not every trauma survivor is well-suited for EMDR. Because EMDR fast tracks processing, the processing could take less time, but the process could leave the client in a heap. EMDR therapists understand this and are able to filter their clients accordingly. However, even the smallest safety-building EMDR session may send their complex trauma survivors into a spiral of the past that their minds have worked so hard to forget (I therefore recommend great caution in reading Francine Shapiro’s book, Getting Past Your Past, because it immediately teaches the basic concept of bilateral stimulation to improve safe place).

If you are interested in reading more about a personal account, I invite you to click on the EMDR tag at the bottom of this post.