EMDR and Me: Adventures in Pyschotherapy

So, as some of you might recall, I made it part of my New Years Resolutions that I was going to seek help/get on some happy pills to help with the PTSD and other issues I have as a result of losing one infant daughter and having another daughter with a terminal illness.

I actually am doing it.

I started seeing a therapist a couple weeks ago, and she convinced me to try EMDR. It stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (therapy). Apparently it was created like 30 years ago to help vets returning home after the war, and it has a lot of studies backing up its effectiveness.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy developed by Francine Shapiro that emphasizes disturbing memories as the cause of psychopathology.[1][2] It is used to help with the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).[3] According to Shapiro, when a traumatic or distressing experience occurs, it may overwhelm normal coping mechanisms. The memory and associated stimuli are inadequately processed and stored in an isolated memory network.[1]

-from Wikipedia

Now, I had expressed, at my last meeting with her (she told me we’d need one prep session before we actually started it) some concerns about it because I didn’t want all these issues pulled to the forefront and left for me to deal with once I got home. So, she suggested that we do a ‘introductory session’, where we used a subject that only mildly bothered me, so she could walk me through how everything would go.

That poor woman. That poor, poor woman. She did not know what she was getting in to.

So, she has me sit back, relax, close my eyes, and she tries to talk me through concentrating/meditating or something. I was supposed to zone out and let her slowly help me imagine something. We hit an immediate snag. I fidget. I fidget a lot . Telling me to sit still and breathe and concentrate on one thing for any length of time is one thing. Having me actually do it is another. I tried. I really did try. Finally, though, after about five minutes, I popped open one eye and said “Look, I’m sorry, but I just can’t think as slow as you talk. Can we speed it up a bit?”

She sort of goggled at me, but said “Okay, we’ll try to speed it up. ” But its obvious that she’s not exactly used to doing things at anything other than a slow, gentle pace.

So I sigh, open my eyes again, and say “Okay, look, this isn’t working. I’m supposed to get in my happy spot and really concentrate on something, right?”


“You just sit back and let me handle this.” So, I start to describe a book to her. Wa-la, within minutes I’m in my happy spot, and we proceed with the introductory session.

Almost immediately, though, we hit another snag. This one was at least amusing. Now, I really, really try to keep my language under control on my blog, but ask anyone that actually knows me and they’ll tell you I have a mouth that’d make a sailor blush. The therapist had told me it was okay, that I didn’t have to filter. So…. I didn’t filter.

“So what is it about <xx> that drives you nuts?”

“They’re nuckfuts.” (Reverse the n and f.)

She stared at me in consternation, her mouth twitching at the corners. “Oookay.”

I grinned at her, but said quite seriously. “No, seriously, they’re nuckfuts. The lot of them. They couldn’t figure out how to piss if I didn’t walk them through it.”

She giggles. Its obvious she tries to stop herself, but she giggles. Then she goes all serious, and tries to do the whole psychobabble ‘talk to the clients on their level’ thing, and says “Okay, so, what we’re going to do for this exercise is we’re going to come up with a negative thing you would like to remove from the situation with <xx> to help you deal with them more effectively. What would you like that negative thing to be?”

I stared at her, batted my eyelashes, and answered sweetly. “For them to not be nuckfuts.” She lost it. Her mouth dropped open and she just started laughing, but again she gathers her dignity about her, and says,

“Okay, but how can we make them not be…be…be…nuckfuts.”

“By giving them common sense?! Seriously, they’re idiots!!”

I’m surprised at this point she wasn’t getting up and banging her head against a wall. I’m pretty sure she was doing it in her head. Now, mind you, I wasn’t trying to be difficult. I’m just very point a to point b, and not good at sorting out the details in between.

Eventually, we muddle through it, and she gets me focused on something other than the word nuckfut. So she has me focus on an image of something at the place where the people are that bother me. I settle on a certain machine. She has me repeat certain phrases  while I track my eyes swiftly back and forth, following her fingers.

It actually did kind of chill me out, which was cool. However we ended up having this conversation where I exclaimed rather passionately that if people would just BE LOGICAL I wouldn’t have a problem with them. Computers are logical. I like computers. Copiers are logical. I like copiers (when they’re not breaking down.) But people? People are effin’ weird.

I’m supposed to have a session every Friday. I wonder how long it’ll be before she gives up on my crazy mouth. LOL.






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