Sufferer CPTSD with EMDR therapy - One incident seems to link to several others. Has anyone else found this with EMDR?

Hi i am new to the site and stumbled across this site when trawling through the internet. The content on the site is really helpful and useful. It is good to see that we are not fighting the battle alone.
I had a mental breakdown 18 months ago and the proverbial cup overflowed with several traumatic incidents coming to the surface. I currently work in the police force a position i have held for over 19 years.

I was diagnosed with CPTSD 3 months ago and undergoing EMDR therapy at the moment. I have found the more I go deeper into the EMDR more and more memories and incidents I had forgotten about have come up. One incident seems to link to several others.
I have found this frustrating initially in my recovery process but now just accepted this and enjoying the ride.
Has anyone else found this with EMDR?
 

Wendell_R

MyPTSD Pro
Welcome to the forum, @One day at a time, and I hope you have a healing journey. Yes, I and many others here have found that EMDR brings up more memories. It can be like opening a door (or many, many doors in some cases). Or like peeling away the layers of an onion. It sounds like you are doing a good job of staying within your "window of tolerance."
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
hello one day. welcome to the forum. sorry for what brings you here but glad you are here.

i've never done emdr but i am all too familiar with the gush effect of breaking down memory blocks. one memory leading to another is top shelf entertainment during happy hour but not so much when dealing with the less comfortable memories of trauma. i started my own recovery in 1972 when combat ptsd was being called shell shock and rapid eye movements were still a sign of a shifty character. my first formal dx was "trauma induced amnesia" and i feel like an unwilling expert on memory blocks. it doesn't seem to matter how the memory block comes down. a mind ripping gush is guaranteed to follow the fall.

i haven't gotten to where i can enjoy the ride, but it definitely goes easier if i don't fight the flow, whether it is gushing or trickling. if i can catch and go with the flow at the trickle phases, the gushes are far less likely happen.

but that is me and every case is unique.
gentle support while you sort your own case. welcome aboard.
 

Friday

Moderator
The best ways I’ve learned to recognize that my traumas are actually being processed is that my traumas start a) UNlinking from each other, b) UNlinking from triggers/stressors, & c) become very linear.

The unlinking looks very different when it’s triggers/stressors or trauma.

…I’m gonna do this a bit backwards for a moment….

TRIGGERS/STRESSORS

- sort of EITHER chip away, smooth out, lessen, polish themselves right out of existence; OR just *poof* vanish altogether, and I don’t realize that’s the case until something I absolutely know should drop kick me into the stratosphere? Simply doesn’t. Which leaves me blinking and going… oh. That’s weird. (And then I usually attempt to trigger myself, because I’m an idiot, and sometimes they flare back into life, and other times crickets. The ones that flare back, though? It’s like writing in the sand. The connection is completely insubstantial and melts away.).

- The ones that are attached to unprocessed trauma WILL come back, especially if I’m surprised or under stress. The ones that were attached to processed trauma, however, do NOT come back even if I’m retraumatized in the exact same way. Like a new rape, or car accident. Those new traumas will have their own triggers and stressors, but the don’t attach to anything processed in my history. Nothing. Zip. Nada. Zilch. The ones still attached to unprocessed trauma, however, it’s like kicking over Pandora’s box, as everything from the past floods out; or waking up in the morning with all new spiderwebs covered in dew that I never even saw being spun the night before. Either an explosion or a trickle over time, but either way? Seeeeeriously f*cked.

TRAUMA

- Trauma connections, I’ve found however, are far more complex. Instead of being attached to other traumas in a single way? There are dozens of connections, linking them all together. Like a 3 dimensional snowflake made out of spiderweb. It’s not enough to “simply” disconnect them in one place, but in myriad places. So it ends up being something a lot more like a spiral… I’m going to be processing trauma over and over and over again. In big ways, in tiny ways, in directed ways, in unscripted moments of “oh, that makes sense!” as my heart and mind are just totally blown away, in whispers as things “settle”, or things I durn well know intellectually shift t from head to heart, and I “know” “know”. For real.

3 (of many) examples of type?

- (THEMES) During my divorce it took me a few zillion flashbacks to realize what was connecting all of the traumas I was being flooded with… we’re “transitions”. It’s NOT that transitions are traumatizing. It’s that transition was (one of the many) threads linking these traumas together.

<<< Themes am incrediably useful thing to know when processing trauma, as instead of attempting to target the traumas themselves? Target the THEME. Start snipping those threads. So that any attempt to process any of those linked traumas doesn’t pile everything else on. <cough> Everything else will still pile on, as they’ll still be linked in other ways, until I’ve snipped enough threads linking them that there simply aren’t anymore links. <<< It’s one of those exponential processes, as in the beginning everything is so incrediably linked to everything else, but those bonds start weakening as I break more and more connections in different ways. So what might first link to dozens/hundreds/thousands of things in the beginning? Are 5% less. 25% less. 42% less. Whole great bigs swaths of trauma falling away, until there are so few links to other traumas that I can easily conceptualise exactly what is grouping these 4 or 5 traumas together, and predict what handful of traumas will be linked to those traumas. Which allows for amaaaaazing control towards the end. It’s like the difference between all the meals I can cook with all the items in a grocery store (thousands), versus the dozen or things I can cook with the 4-5 ingredients on my counter.

- (ASPECT). A theme is a myriad and complex thing, An aspect? Much less so. Like the time of day, or facial expression, a crowd, or an emotion. A pretty straightforward “thing” that I can cheat with to find, by looking at what my triggers & stressors are.

- (TRAUMA TYPE). Pretty straightforward… Ish. Since a lot of events have more than one type of trauma during them. One of the awesome things about types is that linked types (like rape, rape & assault, assault) Once ANY of the types is processed? It makes any trauma that shares that type infinitely easier to deal with. Like little islands of calm in the middle of a storm.
 
The best ways I’ve learned to recognize that my traumas are actually being processed is that my traumas start a) UNlinking from each other, b) UNlinking from triggers/stressors, & c) become very linear.

The unlinking looks very different when it’s triggers/stressors or trauma.

…I’m gonna do this a bit backwards for a moment….

TRIGGERS/STRESSORS

- sort of EITHER chip away, smooth out, lessen, polish themselves right out of existence; OR just *poof* vanish altogether, and I don’t realize that’s the case until something I absolutely know should drop kick me into the stratosphere? Simply doesn’t. Which leaves me blinking and going… oh. That’s weird. (And then I usually attempt to trigger myself, because I’m an idiot, and sometimes they flare back into life, and other times crickets. The ones that flare back, though? It’s like writing in the sand. The connection is completely insubstantial and melts away.).

- The ones that are attached to unprocessed trauma WILL come back, especially if I’m surprised or under stress. The ones that were attached to processed trauma, however, do NOT come back even if I’m retraumatized in the exact same way. Like a new rape, or car accident. Those new traumas will have their own triggers and stressors, but the don’t attach to anything processed in my history. Nothing. Zip. Nada. Zilch. The ones still attached to unprocessed trauma, however, it’s like kicking over Pandora’s box, as everything from the past floods out; or waking up in the morning with all new spiderwebs covered in dew that I never even saw being spun the night before. Either an explosion or a trickle over time, but either way? Seeeeeriously f*cked.

TRAUMA

- Trauma connections, I’ve found however, are far more complex. Instead of being attached to other traumas in a single way? There are dozens of connections, linking them all together. Like a 3 dimensional snowflake made out of spiderweb. It’s not enough to “simply” disconnect them in one place, but in myriad places. So it ends up being something a lot more like a spiral… I’m going to be processing trauma over and over and over again. In big ways, in tiny ways, in directed ways, in unscripted moments of “oh, that makes sense!” as my heart and mind are just totally blown away, in whispers as things “settle”, or things I durn well know intellectually shift t from head to heart, and I “know” “know”. For real.

3 (of many) examples of type?

- (THEMES) During my divorce it took me a few zillion flashbacks to realize what was connecting all of the traumas I was being flooded with… we’re “transitions”. It’s NOT that transitions are traumatizing. It’s that transition was (one of the many) threads linking these traumas together.

<<< Themes am incrediably useful thing to know when processing trauma, as instead of attempting to target the traumas themselves? Target the THEME. Start snipping those threads. So that any attempt to process any of those linked traumas doesn’t pile everything else on. <cough> Everything else will still pile on, as they’ll still be linked in other ways, until I’ve snipped enough threads linking them that there simply aren’t anymore links. <<< It’s one of those exponential processes, as in the beginning everything is so incrediably linked to everything else, but those bonds start weakening as I break more and more connections in different ways. So what might first link to dozens/hundreds/thousands of things in the beginning? Are 5% less. 25% less. 42% less. Whole great bigs swaths of trauma falling away, until there are so few links to other traumas that I can easily conceptualise exactly what is grouping these 4 or 5 traumas together, and predict what handful of traumas will be linked to those traumas. Which allows for amaaaaazing control towards the end. It’s like the difference between all the meals I can cook with all the items in a grocery store (thousands), versus the dozen or things I can cook with the 4-5 ingredients on my counter.

- (ASPECT). A theme is a myriad and complex thing, An aspect? Much less so. Like the time of day, or facial expression, a crowd, or an emotion. A pretty straightforward “thing” that I can cheat with to find, by looking at what my triggers & stressors are.

- (TRAUMA TYPE). Pretty straightforward… Ish. Since a lot of events have more than one type of trauma during them. One of the awesome things about types is that linked types (like rape, rape & assault, assault) Once ANY of the types is processed? It makes any trauma that shares that type infinitely easier to deal with. Like little islands of calm in the middle of a storm.
Wow i have just read that 4 times and i have never had it explained so clear and straightforward. Thanks for that.

I fully understand what you are saying the thing which really shoke me to the core was one incident for example would be 'blood' during my work. This has led to several other incidents with this specific 'theme' even though at the time the incidents ( I thought how naive of me) i didnt think it had really affected me. From one trigger has unravelled into as you call it the web of linked. This took a long time to sink in but hearing the description is peace in my soul that I am not any different to other sufferers.

I have tried the same thing testing the trigger to see if i would react and done the same thing, sometimes nothing, other times on ended on my ass!! My wife warned me but i did it anyway.

I thought I would only need a small amount of EMDR but here I am several months later.

It took me along time to accept during my own journey that i cant fight it, resist it, push it away because it is powerful!

How long where you in therapy for?
 
C

Chrystle

Hi i am new to the site and stumbled across this site when trawling through the internet. The content on the site is really helpful and useful. It is good to see that we are not fighting the battle alone.
I had a mental breakdown 18 months ago and the proverbial cup overflowed with several traumatic incidents coming to the surface. I currently work in the police force a position i have held for over 19 years.

I was diagnosed with CPTSD 3 months ago and undergoing EMDR therapy at the moment. I have found the more I go deeper into the EMDR more and more memories and incidents I had forgotten about have come up. One incident seems to link to several others.
I have found this frustrating initially in my recovery process but now just accepted this and enjoying the ride.
Has anyone else found this with EMDR?
Yes, I'm in EMDR therapy too for a few months. Diagnosed with CPTSD last year. EMDR is to help with anxiety which is awful lately. I'm noticing patterns to my anxiety in EMDR. Praying it will help resolve past trauma and make me calmer. Hope it helps you.
 

helbredelse

New Here
I did EMDR therapy for seven years. I fully believe it saved my life. It is wonderful and completely sucky at the same time. I am amazed every time how some traumatic events are linked together that I never thought were. For me, it really is like peeling back the layers of an onion but I never know what's going to be under the next layer. Sometimes it's surprising and sometimes it's not. Since COVID, I haven't been able to continue with EMDR because of health concerns. I really do miss it since it helped me tremendously in my healing journey. I am hoping to continue it again one day. It sounds like it may be helping you and I really hope that is the case.
 

Wendell_R

MyPTSD Pro
It is wonderful and completely sucky at the same time.
Yes, that's for sure! I never would have guessed how many "onion layers" I have been carrying around.

Since COVID, I haven't been able to continue with EMDR because of health concerns.
Have you considered doing EMDR virtually? I have been doing it online during COVID and after some initial hiccups have found that it still works for me.
 

helbredelse

New Here
Have you considered doing EMDR virtually? I have been doing it online during COVID and after some initial hiccups have found that it still works for me.
Virtually? That never occurred to me. It sounds like a great idea, though. I'll definitely ask my therapist about it during our next session. Thanks!
 
Yes, I'm in EMDR therapy too for a few months. Diagnosed with CPTSD last year. EMDR is to help with anxiety which is awful lately. I'm noticing patterns to my anxiety in EMDR. Praying it will help resolve past trauma and make me calmer. Hope it helps you.
Yes my trauma is quite complex but keep at it, it will help in the long run I am definitely seeing the benefits
 
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