Starting EMDR therapy | EMDR session #1
Mental health story about my first EMDR session.
In between last EMDR therapy session and this one.
I have been feeling a little bit better since my last therapy session. The breathing exercises I was given seem to be helping me be not so tense. I have been in a decent mood and got 6 solid hours of Art Therapy under my belt making borosilicate glass marbles which I plan on turning into jewelry for my wife.
Mental health story part 1
WHAT IT IS LIKE TO REPROCESS A MEMORY
Questions prior to starting my EMDR session
I thought it would be important to know if there were any side effects associated with EMDR, and from my understanding, they are pretty much the same as any other type of therapy session.
It is possible to feel much worse after the session, which means that you need to have some coping skills and a support network in place prior to starting the process.
My coping mechanism is going on long walks ( which I will be doing as soon as I finish this article ) and trying to be as present as possible while going on my walks.
There could also be the normal type of emotions popping up out of nowhere which I already experience all the time so from what I could tell, everything will pretty much be the same.
Mental health story part 2
The memory that was targeted for reprocessing
I was a small child and I was afraid to talk on the phone. That is as much as I could remember.
The reprocessing process.
My therapist had me try to remember the memory, and come up with the negative belief that was associated with this memory. This was INCREDIBLY difficult for me, and after some trial and error, we landed on a sense that I am not feeling safe which has some interesting associations to other experiences I have. ( I think that is the whole point ).
She also asked me to try to stay in my body, and describe what I was feeling while thinking about the memory, and the negative belief I had associated with it.
Looking back at this part of the process I was clearly feeling anxious and tense. I could tell that I was being fidgety which is a clear sign of being uncomfortable.
Mental health story part 3
Eye movement while thinking about the memory
The next part of the process was watching my therapist's hand and it moved back and forth while thinking about the memory and the positive belief that is to replace the negative belief.
This happened 3 times, but in the middle of the first attempt I must have been staring off into space because she asked me if I had noticed that I wasn't following her finger anymore.
I knew I wasn't because the feeling of not being able to think of the memory, the belief and follow her finger at the same time had busted its way into my head and I was unable to focus.
It felt like I was trying to pat my head and rub my belly the opposite direction at the same time.
After the initial hiccup, we did it two more times while asking me to tell her about anything memories or feelings that I noticed.
Mental health story part 4
Describing EMDR therapy
EMDR has been described as sort of like driving by billboards of memories, and it sort of was. More details of this memory came into my mind. I knew where I was standing in the house.
I could see the corded phone sitting on the small table where our phone was.
My mom wanted me to talk to a relative on the phone, and I was absolutely terrified of talking to this person because I had never talked to anyone other than my parents. I felt like I was forced to talk to this person, and I was really not happy about it.
Thoughts after this EMDR session
The realization, that I had just recalled the first time I had ever talked on a phone, and how traumatized I was at the time.
This caught me completely off guard. I must have had a funny look on my face because my therapist had to ask me what I was thinking, and admitted to not being able to read my facial expression.
I would have to say I was in AWE and completely and I am super excited about going to my next session.
On the way home I was flooded with other thoughts, memories, and worries about the things that EMDR will dig up.
I know that this isn't going to be easy, and it isn't going to feel good either. It will probably be harder than anything else I have to do, but the rewards of getting through all the pain, will be well worth it, and I plan on continuing to write what happens as soon as I am done with my sessions so if you want to follow what is going on, don't forget to subscribe to keep track.