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Day after EMDR/Therepy is always rough?

This, 100%.

Because of this:

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.
Hearing everyone's experiences is so helpful! I knew this would be hard but had no idea how it would be. It's so helpful to hear ideas for coping..I have small kids to take care of so I'll have to get creative.

[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.
(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)

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!
Thank you for all this information! It's definitely something I'll think about and talk to my T about. I didn't really see them as flashbacks but you are right they are at very least emotional ones.
Thank you for all this information! It's definitely something I'll think about and talk to my T about. I didn't really see them as flashbacks but you are right they are at very least emotional ones.
The. Single. Biggest. Thing. Is to know when to say enough with EMDR.

Think of every time you do work as starting a computer filing job that sorts through a card file of all your memories - looking for memories related to what you worked on and changing the ones that match. It's called reprocessing.

So every time you do the EMDR thing, you start another job.

But once you have one running the computer slows down. Two, slows down more, three more yet - except you don't have ctrl-alt-del and reboot to speed it back up. You have to wait until its done the job. It just chugs along until it runs out of memories to change. And like your computer? Your brain struggles to have enough processing power to do basic tasks - eating sleeping........

So YOU need to hold your hand up and say no more for a bit....... Trust me, your T will be fine with it. Because you don't get through quicker by being so overloaded you can't function. Every reprocessing job takes its own time. It's only done when its done.

So do something else with your T in those sessions. I do talk therapy mostly because I have a hard time working things out sometimes, and there's so much to work on we gotta find whats next in the pile....
So YOU need to hold your hand up and say no more for a bit....
This! So much this.

emdr requires that you communicate with your t. Tell them about the rebounds and how you feel the next day and how you slept and if you feel like crap, and so on. They can tweak the process to make it less --- horrible 😊

Don't be afraid to say it's too much. It can get ugly, if you aren't communicating they don't know to slow down. You won't be losing any time towards the goal--it all fits in where it is supposed to