Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Let's Talk About EMDR

Sorry to be away for a while. Busy with the new job search, dealing with PTSD symptoms and not letting my fears get to me. Hyper and hypoarousal are still big problems. I'm almost 3 weeks into the gluten free diet. It's helped some. But adrenalin surges are still a problem at the worst times.

But as promised a long time ago let's talk about EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). There's a lot of ignorance about this and lack of effort from those qualified to do this. So let's clear this up.

In basic terms, EMDR is a way to release trauma (energy) that is trapped in different parts of your brain and body. This can be misdiagnosed as many different things. Over many years I was labeled as having everything from Tourette's to MS to schitzophrenia and more. It can also cause problems because you can feel like you're losing control over your body. You literally can lose feeling in different parts and feel like you're body is disappearing. My therapist recently told me that he's amazed that despite my horrible PTSD and the symptoms I have I'm still here.

When EMDR is used the therapist uses a light strip (think a strip of runway lights) in stages to talk about different areas of your trauma. It's not a drug trip or sinister in any way. Instead your following the light patterns with your eyes can help to begin to release the trauma. Is it an instant cure? No. How long does EMDR therapy take? It depends on how severe the trauma is.

I've been using it and cognitive (talk) therapy for almost three months now. Has it helped? In some ways yes. I'm starting to have a better understanding of overall how horrible PTSD and being raped repeatedly was. But once you stop avoiding years of trauma and abuse then suddenly the opposite happens. Now it's terrifying to not feel like you want to punch out everyone you meet. Everyday it's hyperarousal, hypoarousal and constant fighting to not feel like you're losing control of your body. Will I ever get over this? At times I'm not sure.

It's really sad that there's still a big therapist bias against using EMDR in many places. In my area I had to go thru 5 or 6 different people before I finally found someone who's EMDR qualified AND who actually listens to you. The others don't have the certification and can't be bothered with insurance hassles. Meanwhile before I found my current therapist I was battling all this stuff every day. Here in the States the government and some therapists only connect PTSD with vets. While they have a real PTSD problem there are many others who have it too. One estimate says that up to 60% of the U.S. population has PTSD, but either doesn't know it or refuses to deal with it. Also, with all the holistic things I do for my health, I STILL can't get health insurance from the major carriers because of "pre-existing" conditions WHICH I NO LONGER HAVE. So I'm being punished for being pro-active in my health care. Which you WOULD think would help to save money and improve the system overall. But the opposite is true.

I'm scared to go to sleep at night. If I'm lucky to get any sleep at all the nightmares happen. The flashbacks of being raped again come back. And then the next day the cycle keeps on going.

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