No sleep at night following starting EMDR


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My therapist started EMDR. Last session was so overwhelming. I saw myself back in the classroom hands were holding my arms so tight to the point where I can feel his nails cutting into my skin. I am frozen then see his eyes. But suddenly hear…4,3,2,1.
Now I can’t get the memory out of my head. Why am I remembering this now?
I can’t sleep at night.


Welcome to the site @SpedTA!

If you are doing EMDR expect surprises. Especially after therapy. It's called therapy hangover but what is really going on is called reprocessing. You are changing how you feel about memories until they process normally.

As that happens there is lots of stuff that suddenly comes to the surface. When whatever it was happened, it created memories your brain couldn't handle. To save itself it wipes out a lot of other memories that lead to and from or have similarities to your trauma. Those will shake loose now, and they can be scary sometimes because they touch trauma memories in some way. Sometimes they lead to memories that were long locked away. My T and I dug out my original trauma from three little words.

While all that is going on realize that the reprocessing chews up brain power and some symptoms may be worse for a while as the reprocessing does its thing. Think of it like your computer doing too many things at once, it cant handle it and slows down. Same thing with your brain. Be good to yourself during this time. Make sure to take care of yourself - eat, sleep, (sometimes its just rest) exercise, try to do something social (there's part of the site to help with that*). Be sure you aren't adding physical stress to your mental stress because stress is stress is stress. It doesn't matter where it comes from.

Keep your T's number handy and if anything you feel like you can't handle pops up get in to see them quick. Don't get crapped on like I did for not calling.....

*It's really great when everyone is in the same boat and we can all understand each other.
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Yep - pretty normal for emdr. Make sure you tell your therapist about anything, no matter how small it seems, that happens afterwards because she should be able to adjust the treatment as she goes and maybe slow down if necessary

I call them the bubbles - those memories that seem to come out of nowhere and explode in my head. They suck, a lot, but when it works it's amazing. All those horrible memories just kind of dissolve into echos of your past that seem a long way away instead of right in front of you


I agree with @Freddyt and @Freida . EMDR is hard work and shakes loose so many things in your mind - the hangover is no joke and for me a lot of “it gets worse before it gets better” is going on. But, EMDR is amazing - it’s making big changes for me and my traumas. Definitely keep in contact with your T and reaching out here for support is great.