000 days

since the NMC committed to investigate its ‘established procedures’. We’re still watching!

The right therapy – the positive impact of EMDR

Mar 19, 2021 | Reflection | 0 comments

One of our members shared this and on World Mental Health Awareness Day in 2019 – it’s a powerful piece and still very relevant.

The Right Therapy.

I have been reading about your feelings and thoughts and recognise in many of your posts exactly my situation.

From my resignation in Dec 2017 right up to April 2019 I was exactly the same, tearful, found it hard to talk about my experiences, feeling worthless and hopeless. Depressed and on ever-increasing doses of antidepressants.

BUT in November 2018 something amazing happened. I had referred myself to Bedfordshire Wellbeing Service in October 2017, following my referral I had, had an hour-long assessment, now over a year later the phone rang.

On the phone was Nick, an extremely apologetic therapist. He apologised for the delay, he apologised that there were not enough people like him, but he was delighted to tell me that I had finally arrived at the top of the list and was going to meet him the following Wednesday.

Wednesday came and a very nervous and tearful me arrived at the Wellbeing service. I was met by Nick, I am sure he will not mind me sharing, Nick immediately put me at my ease, he said ‘hey, have a cry, it’s fine, in fact, if you were not crying, I would be asking why you’re here!!‘

He told me that I had been selected for E.M.D.R. Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing, due to my diagnosis of PTSD and the way that it was clear that my memories were still very real and still very current.

So, please forgive me all you AMAZING experts, this is in laywoman’s terms. Nick explained things to me brilliantly.

In normal dream sleep, the brain picks up from the ‘INBOX’ the memories of the day, it processes them and wipes them clear of emotions / learns from them then stores them away as pictorial memories. HOWEVER, if you have a memory that is too traumatic, instead of being able to process it properly, the sleeping brain goes into fight or flight mode and drops the memory back into the ‘INBOX’!! Hence, every time you try to talk about or recall your experiences, you cry and have physical symptoms. This is because your memory has not been processed, to all intents and purposes, your memory is still lying in your inbox and is current.

The purpose of EMDR is to force the brain to process the memories that it does not want to touch, sounds harsh? Yes, it is. Sounds challenging? Yes, it is. Sounds emotional? Yes, it is. I am not going to pretend to you that the process is easy, in fact, it is incredibly hard going. Some weeks I simply could not face it, some weeks it caused immense distress and horrific nightmares. I was convinced though, that it was what I needed to do.

Week after week Nick carefully guided me through my memories whilst mimicking Rapid Eye Movement, either through a light bar to follow or through tapping the back of my hands alternately. As the weeks went by the memories gradually became easier and easier to relate, and yes, it was the same awful memories over and over and over again, the goal being that I could relate the entire experience to Nick, not without sadness, but without the extreme traumatic emotions I had had.

On week 20, following two extensions to my sessions, an amazing thing happened, I was able to remain completely in control of my emotions whilst relating my memories to Nick. I knew a change had happened within me, I felt a regaining of control and with advice, three months later was able to be drug-free.

Nick is still there at the end of the phone if I get wobbly, or if I have good news, like getting my first job in two years.

Therapy is certainly well worth exploring, but if you know and feel, like me that your distress feels real and current as if it happened just today, then maybe EMDR could help you too.

I wish the very best of luck to all of you struggling mentally but want you to know, never ever give up on yourself or what you are capable of. There is always the chance for change. Whilst you wait, lean on your friends and people like this group, none of you is alone x

___

Samaritans – 116 123
Mind – 0300 123 3393
The CALMzone – 0800 58 58 58
PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide – 0800 068 41 41
Childline – 0800 1111

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