Living alone with a dachshund and EMDR

I have been experimenting with a brain smoothing technique : no, not great sex! A technique used to heal post traumatic stress and commonly applied in therapy with war veterans. It is a really interesting technique and one that may change how one reacts to stressful situations or to loss or grief. I heard about this technique  ten years ago but it sounded more frightening than dealing with the stress so I didn’t pursue it. This year I began to think about all the money I had spent on therapy in my life and all the time as well and, as a result, I began to take a new look at EMDR.

I found a therapist who practices the technique near to me and made an appointment, having no idea of what to expect. The first session was two hours long and the therapist placed a vibrating disc under each of my knees and a set of headphones on my head. These devices emitted a series of tones spaced at regular intervals and the discs vibrated simultaneously under my knees. I was prompted to recall an upsetting situation while this was happening. Interestingly enough, once I had recounted the situation under the sensation of the vibration and the sounds, the incident lost its sense of power to me. In other words,  the memory had lost its sting. I was able to recall the specific situation without any sense of trauma or pain. The first time this happend I kept testing the theory by recalling the incident many times over to see if the sting was really out of the memory.It seemed almost impossible the technique could work this easily but it did.

I have since had about six sessions of EMDR and hae found it has dramatically changed the way my mind functions . I am less likely to suffer from obsessive thoughts and constant anxiety and more likely to move on from a situation causing these feelings. Instead of thinking about something obsessively, I will let it go and recognize it for what it is. My sister recently told me I was “unnaturally calm” and I should think about not doing any more treatments. This was my favorite comment as she has known me all of my life!

There is something in some of us that creates an underlying fear or anxiety in our daily lives. We may be perfectly safe, have a good job, live within our means, have a great relationship, yet still suffer from moments of anxiety we cannot identify. These moments paralyse us and make us a prisoner of our own brain chemistry often forcing us to live with people we know don’t love us or stay in jobs we hate because we are so fearful. I used to think years of therapy would help with this problem. I am beginning to see therapy is a good thing , at times,but not so useful over the long term. Some of us are just stuck with these very sensitive brains. You know if you have one. You know about the times when you have paranoid thoughts about someone or something and later realize how paranoid your thoughts are. Many of us take antidepressant drugs for this reason. While these drugs are effective , they cannot change things for all of us. I didn’t want to take drugs and struggled for many years with feelings of anxiety and sadness. I feel now as if I am living in a different world: one which is satisfying and happy.

Friends have told me I am such a happy person and a delight to be with because of my positive nature. Few realize how I struggled to keep up the public presence of good cheer. In my family there is a genetic predisposition towards anxiety and to having sensitive brain chemistry. This can be stimulated by a lack of soothing parenting or by an unpredictable household. EMDR helps with changing the way a brain handles emotion as the technique somehow makes past situations which created enormous anxiety lose impact in the brain. As the brain lets go of these memories, there is less emotional impact felt in daily life. 

During my first session my therapist asked me why I was coming to her at this point in my life. I commented on my lack of a healthy relationship with a significant other and described my desire to have a good relationship at this point in my life. I didn’t have much hope at the time of finding this but I clearly knew I wanted to try.  The interesting thing to me about EMDR is one learns to detach from what may be stressful and better reflect on the nature of the communication and the reality of it. This is a wonderful practice. I recommend this technique to everyone out there who suffers from anxiety and is in search of a more peaceful life.

I’ll let you know about the relationship.

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