EMDR do you always work a memory to completion?

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
I’m just wondering how other people have worked with EMDR. Do you work a memory until it’s calmed or do you move around and sometimes come back?

The memory I’m working with at the moment seems like it’s going nowhere except frustrating me. We’ve spent two sessions on it but I’m stuck with mini-me’s joy at seeing the abuser and I don’t seem to be able to get around it to do any real work with it.

I told T I feel like shaking child self because why the hell she finds joy in his visit I do not understand, especially since she knows how it ends. He advised I shake her, yeah she just fast forwarded the memory to when she isn’t happy and said fine here ya go. T asked me to ask her what she expected would happen, she thought he brought her something but hadn’t thought past that. I want to say, well you got your present live with your choices. I know that won’t help and I can feel her terror as much as her joy so while I’m angry, I’m not angry enough to do that.

Anyway I don’t want to revisit the memory because if I’m not getting anywhere what’s the point? I don’t actually think being angry at myself, more than normal is all that helpful. So I’m wondering how others handle when they aren’t getting anywhere? I’m inclined to try a different memory but honestly I’m not sure I have one that’s any easier.
 

Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
There are no rules of what has to happen in emdr. Your brain will chose where it wants to go and your t will help guide you thru it. So it's not like you must do A,B,C. Instead it's more like A, 46, purple 😁
👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍

It's a bit like archaeology. You gotta dig down but you have to deal with all the stuff you find on the way one layer at a time. That and PTSD suppresses memories too. So theres the jack-in-a-box effect where stuff just shows up out of no where.
 

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
Thanks @Freida and @Freddyt I was starting to freak out that it was a must in my future. My brain is always connecting A to apple to geometry to something else. So EMDR is not that different from how it normally works…or doesn’t..

@Freida. I think it’s odd I would have fear of him because I don’t think that’s something I’ve had any connection to. It also seems weird I fear confronting him in whatever state EMDR can be called because it isn’t reality, in reality he’s dead so if I had fear shouldn’t it have died with him? I’m not even sure how to put my finger on what it is, maybe fear, maybe some other feeling that of course doesn’t exist in my vocabulary because I suck at identifying what I’m feeling. The feelings wheel might as well be Arabic for how much I understand it.
 

Freida

MyPTSD Pro
I’ve had any connection to. It also seems weird I fear confronting him in whatever state EMDR can be called because it isn’t reality, in reality he’s dead so if I had fear shouldn’t it have died with him? I’m not even sure how to put my finger on what it is, maybe fear, maybe some other feeling that of course doesn’t exist in my vocabulary because I suck at identifying what I’m feeling. The feelings wheel might as well be Arabic for how much I understand it.
Yep.☺️

So even though he is dead today, in the present, the assumption is that you did fear him at the time of the events. and it's that forgotten fear that might be what's driving your ptsd. Remember - ptsd comes from events running in real time in your brain, even though they were years or decades ago. e

Just because you don't feel it now doesn't mean it's not real then. We are really, really good at burying that crap deep, deep away, but our brain still knows it's there and we have to release it to heal.

That's where EMDR comes in. The goal of EMDR is to help move those memories to the past where they belong - but it requires acknowledging those emotions that you felt then. (and ya...an inability to do tht is why I'm still doing emdr years later - sigh)

Clear as mud huh? 😃
 

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
@Freida. Actually I’d say it was very helpful! Thanks. I didn’t think fear was part of the issue but I’m rethinking that.

I guess I still struggle with willing participant versus afraid kid. I’m starting to accept that while I didn’t feel fear it at the time I maybe did in the background and I was too busy either dealing with the moment or stuffing it away after to really process any kind of emotions.

Even typing that the struggle is real to acknowledge that it’s a possibility.
 

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
EMDR is really screwing with my head of late. I can’t even seem to put my finger on just what the problem is. Which is definitely part of the problem.

I wonder if the reason working with the memories has been different is because I’ve figured out how to run the memory without tapping into the feelings that go with it. Like I’ve over corrected from being too activated to get anywhere to not being activated enough to do anything.

Certainly the body memories that accompanied the most recent experience was not me being totally closed off but also by trying to suppress that what else is going down?

Kind of like living my life emotionless has meant living without joy as much as tribulation.

I don’t know I can’t put my finger on what the problem is. Ideas?
 

Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
EMDR is really screwing with my head of late. I can’t even seem to put my finger on just what the problem is. Which is definitely part of the problem.
I don't know if I really want to say this but as "hidden" memories come to consciousness with EMDR, that's what it feels like.

The whole process is getting memories to process. Think of it like a filter, you clear (reprocess a memory) the filter and everything is fine until you come to the next memory that clogs the filter.....
 

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
@Freddyt
Hidden 🥹. I very much want for that not to be a thing. I remember soooooo much that I have to reprocess that I want for that to be all. I know it’s not likely and yet, I still wish for it. Especially the detail with which my head has held it. Not the feelings, those are very much hidden, but the events are in full living color like they happened yesterday.

So here’s hoping it’s not hidden memories.

Thanks for the feedback though, better prepared than caught off guard.
 

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
@Freddyt
you're killing me here. Mine is in the 30-35 years old range and yes sometimes it hits me like that but I’ve yet to have a memory be something I didn’t remember happening. Sometimes detail is added, and sometimes I realize that it was at the bottom of the pile but not new. Maybe it’s just the way my brain works or maybe it just hasn’t happened yet. There is comfort in remembering versus thinking where did that come from,

I think my T would lose his mind if I actually called. Not that he hasn’t given me permission and has even asked if I want to just call out of nowhere just to say hi so I could practice. He got laughed at, similar to when he said we should practice me walking out before the session was over so that if I ever wanted to I’d be able.

EMDR again tomorrow, here’s hoping it’s fruitful.
 

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
Good session today. Intense but good.

I do think I’m going to have to be more activated to be successful. I put today in the evidence column.

I’ve also realized that I need to really think about the memory before deciding my SUDS number at the end because I’m not examining how much I don’t want to look at it again and weighing that in the number. I’m thinking more in terms of progress made. You’d think those were synonymous but I’ve discovered they’re not.

My boxing and shelfing systems are in full working order which means that auto pilot puts it away as soon I’m done. A good thing for living life but not always helpful in trying to iron out and file the memory correctly.

Thanks @Freddyt and @Freida for helping me work through the problems.
 
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