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Day after EMDR/Therepy is always rough?

Quassus

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So I'm finding since starting EMDR that I feel pretty good the rest of the day after therapy. New Insights and clarity...some peace. And then the next day all the stuff we worked on is in the front of my mind and it's horrible and I doubt everything we worked on. The " memories" we focused on are right before my eyes tauning me. It's so frustrating! Does this change? I feel like the good part of therapy won't last.
 
It's different for everyone.

Right after EMDR I usually felt like a wrung-out dishrag, and I felt especially emotionally sensitive for a day or two afterwards.

After EMDR, the "good part of therapy" is continuing to take place in your brain as you continue to process the trauma. This can feel pretty bad. But it's necessary - and it shows the treatment is working.
 
I feel like crap for about 24 hours afterwards.
But. Then things get easier so I've just learned to plan for it. Spend my day in pjs and do nothing that requires brain power.
It's worth it because when it works it's amazing. But it sucks.
 
Trauma Therapy Hangover.

REGULAR therapy? You’ll feel better, even IN office, and all sparkly by the time you leave.

Trauma Therapy? Is identical in every way I’ve ever experienced, to Physical Therapy. You’ll feel TERRIBLE afterwards… but? Not only learn better coping mechanisms make the terrible manageable -or even funny- in myriad different ways…, but move from nonfunctional, to chair, to crutches, to walking, to running, to no longer needing physical or trauma therapy… and are entirely on your own recognisance.

Trauma Therapy INCLUDES Regular Therapy days, just to pace shit out / deal with life as it comes. Similar to how physical therapists will give you a “fun” or “easy” day to keep your spirits up… as the actual therapy itself? Is. f*cking. Brutal.
 
So I'm finding since starting EMDR that I feel pretty good the rest of the day after therapy. New Insights and clarity...some peace. And then the next day all the stuff we worked on is in the front of my mind and it's horrible and I doubt everything we worked on. The " memories" we focused on are right before my eyes tauning me. It's so frustrating! Does this change? I feel like the good part of therapy won't last.
Happened to me too. It passed.
 
Happened to me too. It passed.
I like something I once heard - it has come to pass, it has not come to stay.

......and its relative to what you are working on and how effective therapy is. Sometimes it's a little hangover - sometimes its a whopper and it takes a bit to get past it. Sometimes it hits before I get out the T's door and sometimes it settles in later.

And there's no judging how it will be. Things I thought were meh....sure as heck were not and things I thought would lay me low didn't.

So just be prepared in case it isn't great afterwards, its all you can do. I usually make sure meal prep the next couple days can be easy and quick, I prepare for poor sleep, and just prepare to break up rumination with other things - games, reading, anything that takes up head space. I try to make things as easy as possible for myself for a couple days after therapy, just in case....
 
So just be prepared in case it isn't great afterwards, its all you can do. I usually make sure meal prep the next couple days can be easy and quick, I prepare for poor sleep, and just prepare to break up rumination with other things - games, reading, anything that takes up head space. I try to make things as easy as possible for myself for a couple days after therapy, just in case....
This is great advice thank you! I definitely will start putting in more prep work before. I realize lately as I'm dealing with all this, that I need to start working on making my life easier for the bad days, but doing it before therapy days would be so helpful.
 
This is great advice thank you! I definitely will start putting in more prep work before. I realize lately as I'm dealing with all this, that I need to start working on making my life easier for the bad days, but doing it before therapy days would be so helpful.
Yup. Don't know why but planning is really helpful for me that way. Food and eating is a biggie because it's easy to not feel hungry or just look at food and walk away.

Simple to prepare stuff like PB&J sandwiches, soup, leftover pizza, Clif Bars, whatever is simple to prepare.

AND...rumination busters.....whatever those are. Take up head space, focus on something, break up the thought tornado. The Social part of the forum is a HUGE help for me with that. So are computer games and reading.
 
things get easier so I've just learned to plan for it.

just be prepared in case it isn't great afterwards, its all you can do. I usually make sure meal prep the next couple days can be easy and quick

This, 100%.

Because of this:

After EMDR, the "good part of therapy" is continuing to take place in your brain as you continue to process the trauma. This can feel pretty bad. But it's necessary - and it shows the treatment is working.

It's different for everyone.

For me it's also different every single week. Sometimes the day of I am so out of it, sometimes it doesn't hit till a few days later. Sometimes the insights gained feel liberating and sometimes it's horrible without a break.

Because of this, it can be a little hard to plan for. The first time I did EMDR, on what I thought would be a small, 'practice' trauma- it laid me low for days (I missed work, it was a big problem). After that I tried to plan not to be working the day after (later on the same day as EMDR was fine). But it wasn't always like this. Sometimes the biggest events had the smallest recovery time, and sometimes not.

Eventually I learned that I HAVE to plan rest after EMDR at some point in the next few days. Its ok to do it and then work every day after, have a busy week but if I don't make sure to rest, journal and sleep relatively soon after EMDR I WILL crash and miss work/screw up my life in other ways.
 
[mods this is the right one sorry]
EDIT: I'm really sorry if this is wordy. My dominant hand is immobilized so I have to use voice to text lol.

It is normal to feel exhausted after EMDR. It can certainly be fatiguing and take a toll. Flashbacks as visceral is the ones you are describing though, please make sure you're talking to your therapist about! At the bare minimum, the amount of processing (regardless of the modality used) should never exceed side effects that you can, reasonably, safely tolerate.
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(Too much, too intensely, too fast, is when we say we are "flooding." Flooding is, at best, short-term harmful/unproductive and, at worst long-term retraumatizing. The original goal of designing EMDR (outside of it being more refined and highly targeted) is it is supposed to be slower or gentler or more controlled than other forms of processing. Especially because at the time of its inception, the only type of processing out there was pretty much just full trauma disclosure, which is obviously too much. But EMDR is still a huge amount of processing and also can cross a fine line of being too much. I I know many of us already know this stuff but just to clarify what I'm referring to when I say processing)
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If any of my therapy programs were resulting in major flashbacks like I think you are describing, myself and my therapist would definitely know that we need to ratchet it down and move more slowly. Trauma treatment moves at its own speed.

It's more commonly understood now than ever before that EMDR has a very fine line between healthy processing and too much processing. (This is true for all types of processing.) For example some people with CPTSD will never be able to do EMDR, especially those with DID. It has the potential to be re-traumatizing or make things worse In this case. I've had cases where a session is limited to a maximum of 10 minutes talking about a certain trauma, and that's the highest level of processing that is safe and the rest of the session is spent stabilizing. (Maybe reserving time in your session to plan for coping, mindfulness skills, and self-care would be helpful? If you are not doing that already of course)

In any case I can't tell you what your treatment should look like that's between you and your therapist so I'm just kind of giving you a pile of information to decide what to do with how you see fit. That being said, it definitely troubles me that you are experiencing such high levels of distress after your sessions. Treatments like EMDR need to feel safe to work, and I'm not sure if that feels very safe to me! It leaves me worrying about you experiencing such awful flashbacks!
 
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