Started EMDR therapy but haven't done EMDR yet

Biana

New Here
Hey

My parents wanted me to do EMDR since I've been in therapy for 3 years and I've only gone worse (I'm 19, still living at home) I'm really scared to start EMDR especially since I had to stop with my therapist because they say I can't have two therapists at the same time. I'm doing very bad now. I don't know how or who to tell about my eating disorder. My mum realized it but she just shouts at me to eat... I cut the whole time, and my PTSD is at its worst. It's really hard for me to start with a new T and I feel kind of betrayed that my old T "dumped" me, even though I know in my head that she's right and she had to stop with me. She said after I finish EMDR - we continue. But my new EMDR T said I have C-PTSD and I'm not connected to my emotions and it takes me a long time to trust new people, and I have to learn to trust myself, so it'll take a long time, like a few months or a year.

I always thought EMDR is max 12 sessions, and it's just the eye movement. I've had two first "get to kno you" sessions, I've been canceling my next appointments for 3 weeks already, because I don't feel I can be triggered any more than I am already. This week I'll have to go, but I don't think we'll start with the EMDR process yet. Can anybody please explain how the process works, what you feel, how long it takes, does it really work?

Thanks!
K
 

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
Your new T is correct you have to build trust before you’ll allow yourself to get anything out of EMDR. Most Ts will want you to stop cutting or at least see reduction before they’ll start EMDR as it tends to get worse before it gets better. I’m surprised your Old T thought it was a good idea. There is an article in that section of this website that helps as well as a google search for the process. Generally it starts with you having resources and practicing use of them before you start the eye movement part because as simple as it sounds, it is anything but.

The first time I tried any of my harder memories it was like opening the doorway to my personal hell. It gets better and it is worth it to stick with it but your going to need to trust your new T. Any chance of that happening?
 

Wendell_R

MyPTSD Pro
Hi, @Keefe. I'm sorry that you've had a hard time and that you've lost your old therapist and are being screamed at. That all sounds very hard.

It's important during the process that you can tell the therapist how you are doing and that you have some level of trust. I know that I have a lot of deep mistrust from many things that have gone wrong in my life, so establishing trust with your therapist is not like, "I trust you with everything." More like, "I can work with you to slowly tell you what is inside of me that I'm afraid of." Or, "When things don't go right in our sessions, I trust you enough that I can tell you why I got upset or what happened afterwards." Or, "I don't trust you yet, but I'm willing to talk to you and figure out what you can do so I can trust you more." Being honest with your therapist on how much you do or do not trust them is a good step.

I think it's important that your therapist know about the eating disorder and the cutting, and I know how hard that is to share. Maybe you can start with saying how uncomfortable or afraid you are with sharing some important things about you, or saying that you are having trouble trusting them enough to share important things. For things that are hard to say, it helps me to write it down (just a few words) on a card or paper I bring into the office.

EMDR works for many people, including myself. How long it takes varies a lot. For adult, single occurrence trauma, relief can happen very quickly. For CPTSD, it can be a much longer process. It's kind of like a guided conversation, with some kind of back-and-forth stimulation for your eyes, ears, or hands. That bilateral stimulation seems to open up the brain in some way to making new pathways that are healthier than the old pathways. The therapist will work with you to find a topic that is traumatic for you, but not too traumatic. That's called staying within the window of tolerance. A lot of people get very tired afterwards (it's like a hard workout for your brain). It the session is too overwhelming, then you can tell your therapist, and they will increase the amount of time on resources, or help you find a way that doesn't dive into the trauma as deeply. EMDR was very frightening for me at first, and we built up slowly getting used to the bilateral stimulation, getting used to sharing with my therapist, and learning that it was okay to speak up before we ever did EMDR on the trauma.

Good luck!
 

EveHarrington

MyPTSD Pro
Did your old T work with you on using coping skills? It’s very important to have a certain level of stability before you start any type of processing, and it’s worrisome that you engage in 2 different kinds of detrimental behavior. Healing takes time, and I’m wondering if you made any progress with your old T. At one point I realized it’s better to trust the process more than trusting your T, because she/he could sue/quit/etc tomorrow and then you have to start over? Try to trust in the process.
 

Warrior767

New Here
Hey

My parents wanted me to do EMDR since I've been in therapy for 3 years and I've only gone worse (I'm 19, still living at home) I'm really scared to start EMDR especially since I had to stop with my therapist because they say I can't have two therapists at the same time. I'm doing very bad now. I don't know how or who to tell about my eating disorder. My mum realized it but she just shouts at me to eat... I cut the whole time, and my PTSD is at its worst. It's really hard for me to start with a new T and I feel kind of betrayed that my old T "dumped" me, even though I know in my head that she's right and she had to stop with me. She said after I finish EMDR - we continue. But my new EMDR T said I have C-PTSD and I'm not connected to my emotions and it takes me a long time to trust new people, and I have to learn to trust myself, so it'll take a long time, like a few months or a year.

I always thought EMDR is max 12 sessions, and it's just the eye movement. I've had two first "get to kno you" sessions, I've been canceling my next appointments for 3 weeks already, because I don't feel I can be triggered any more than I am already. This week I'll have to go, but I don't think we'll start with the EMDR process yet. Can anybody please explain how the process works, what you feel, how long it takes, does it really work?

Thanmonths ks!
K
K,

EMDR saved my life. It is not easy. I was more triggered in the beginning. Anxiety was worse. I have C-PTSD as well along with dissociative symptoms and stress/trauma induced restrictive eating habits. The symptoms are a direct result of stress and trauma. After completing several months of weekly EMDR sessions, I am doing 1000X better. I also started a new drug (Vraylar, not FDA approved for PTSD) that has been short of a miracle and has reduced my anxiety to zero. The side benefits are increased energy, immense gratitude and overall happiness. My appetite is very good. A clinical pharmacist chose this drug based on my genetics. I cannot take SSRIs or regular antidepressants. Genetically, I am a very high metabolizer which causes severe and rare side effects. I highly recommend genetic drug testing!

I can not do the eye movements or tapping devices. We had to utilize headphones with a signal I chose (it reminds me of Atari Pong sound lol). Choose what works best for you. Building trust with new people is difficult for us. Sometimes we must give the professionals a chance to get past our fortress. It does take time. Your only responsibility is to show up and talk about what you've been through. They just need to listen.

Good luck!! I wish you all the best.

M
 
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Freida

MyPTSD Pro
Agreeing with the rest - gotta get your brain in a good place before you can start the process, so building that trust is super important.

EMDR works because it changes how you think about things. Instead of thinking of a trauma and wanting to puke, you will think about the memory as "wow that sucked" and that's it. It puts the memories into a different place in your brain so it becomes your past instead of your today. Moving that memory can be pretty brutal sometimes, because you have to look at it to let it go. But when it's clicks it's an amazing feeling. You just....won't really care about it anymore.

The 8 to 10 thing is a generalization. I've been doing emdr for several years, because for me it has been a lot of individual traumas to work thru, one at a time. Not everyone runs into that but I'm tossing it out so you don't get caught up in the "why isn't it working faster?" mindset. Some memories have clicked in two or three appointments, some I'm still working on.

If you have a good emdr t she will start with creating a safe place in your brain you can retreat to if it gets to be too much, then start with lesser traumas to get you used to the process. And to give you some wins so you can see why it's so popular!

Always, ALWAYS tell your t how you feel afterwards. EMDR can be tweaked to slow down if it becomes too much. Don't try to just tough if out or rush it. That's going to just make you miserable. Your brain will let go of things on it's schedule, not yours, so there is no need to be miserable trying to get thru it.

Whew!
 

Biana

New Here
Thanks for all of your replies!

@EveHarrington she didn't teach me any coping tools. Do you have some good ones?

@Charbella it does worry me that I'm so unstable and feeling so depressed and suicidal all the time. But they all seem to think it'd be best for me to start EMDR. It's very hard for me to even accept that this was abuse and this was trauma. I'm not in denial anymore, but from time to time I will state that this can't be happening and it wasn't abuse. I don't know what would be triggered when I start EMDR, I can't think of any way I'd react, or what I would feel because I barely feel stuff. Oh, and about that... My therapist said I have to learn to trust myself more than trusting her. I have to let myself feel my emotions. But I never let myself do that. Whenever I feel like I need to feel pain just to prove that I DO have emotions - I either cut (oh btw, is it dangerous, to just cut your skin? It's turning black... Hurting a LOT) or I only let myself think about others' problems. I don't feel a thing when it comes to my own issues, but when I think of one of my friends with a really f*cked up life - it's only then that I allow myself to feel. I know this is weird, not sure how to explain it....

It's very hard for me to reach out and tell people what's going on, I don't think anyone actually realises how suicidal I am, and how unstable and out of control I am. I don't know what to tell them... They wouldn't take me seriously.
 

Wendell_R

MyPTSD Pro
Lots of us here have had those experiences of denial and numbness. I know exactly what you mean that you can only feel when you see one of your friends in trouble. And lots of us struggle with admitting how we feel to our therapists. You're not alone.

I don't know what to tell them... They wouldn't take me seriously.
You can print out your post and give it to them in your session? I know it's really hard thing to do. It's worth it to keep trying to tell them. If you fear they wouldn't take you seriously, then you start with that.

For coping skills, some people have success imagining a safe place, or if no place is safe, then a place that is "safer". It seems like a simple thing, but it can be very helpful.

Another coping skill is C.A.R.E.S.S.:
C.A.: communicate alternatively. That means don't write or talk, but express how you feel by smashing clay, or drawing with marker and crayons, or something like that.
R.E.: release endorphins. Vigorous exercise of any kind, so that your natural endorphins will kick in.
S.S.: self-soothe. Curl up in a blanket, have something yummy to eat or drink, find your favorite pet or stuffed animal.

Best wishes.
 

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
@Keefe
I don’t care what your therapist says, you have to be able to trust him/her with the effects EMDR is having. If you can’t tell them how suicidal you are now or how much cutting you’re doing PLEASE write it down and give them a note. It is vital they understand where your at.

Black from cuts, see a doctor! Are you from African or Asian or some other heritage with darker skin? That’s the only reason I can think of that it would maybe be healing in a darker color, like mine is red, or if you’ve nicked a blood vessel and then it’s healed I have spots of dark purple that one might say is black.

All I can say is that even my T who is pretty willing to follow my lead needed to know I cut, he checks in and monitors how the EMDR is affecting it. He checks in on suicidal ideation too because it is irresponsible of him not to. Also because he cares.

I get you on feelings, I don’t have them either but I can connect with mini me in EMDR and feel what she is feeling even if naming that feeling is not yet in my repertoire.

The deal is who cares if they don’t believe you or think you’re attention seeking or whatever else your giving as an excuse if they don’t know they can’t do anything and a responsible T will at the very least monitor how his therapy is affecting it.

Please tell someone in real life that it’s happening, preferably the T that is about to do EMDR. Find someone you trust or call a hotline!
 

Friday

Moderator
I either cut (oh btw, is it dangerous, to just cut your skin? It's turning black... Hurting a LOT)
Seriously?

You don’t strike me as a stupid person, so I’m currently debating between whether or not you’re trolling or just playing games. Unless you have another explanation?


It's very hard for me to reach out and tell people what's going on, I don't think anyone actually realises how suicidal I am, and how unstable and out of control I am. I don't know what to tell them... They wouldn't take me seriously.
What would being taken seriously look like, to you?
 

Biana

New Here
Seriously?

You don’t strike me as a stupid person, so I’m currently debating between whether or not you’re trolling or just playing games. Unless you have another explanation?
Hey, back the t-rex up! I didn't mean is it dangerous to cut, obvs I know it is! I just meant can I leave it like that, will it heal at some point, or is it vital for me to see someone about it? Usually cuts heal by themselves, but I cut layers of skin off so I'm not sure whether I should just wait for it to heal, or i gotta do the hard thing and tell someone.... I'm white btw.

What would being taken seriously look like, to you?
I don't know... I'm that hyperactive clowny person with loads of energy so I could never cry or be sad because it's just not "me". So I've been stuck pretending my whole life (and I'm not 30 or 40, I'm still in my teenage years....) So I'm always nervous nobody will ever take me seriously....
 

Biana

New Here
I don’t care what your therapist says, you have to be able to trust him/her with the effects EMDR is having. If you can’t tell them how suicidal you are now or how much cutting you’re doing PLEASE write it down and give them a note. It is vital they understand where your at.
I just started seeing her. I've been with my old T for a few years. It took me 3 years to start trusting her... I don't think she took me seriously either, but at least I could talk to her and tell her something. Though saying these things is impossible for me. I'm scared they'll think it's just teenage drama, or it's fake, or just attention... I'm embarrassed and uncomfortable saying it... My t thought EMDR would be the best option for me, so she just handed me over to a new T, whom I can't stand, she's totally not my type (yes, I have a type) and I hate those typical movie therapists who just f*cking annoy you. I've seen her twice. I don't trust her enough to say this....
All I can say is that even my T who is pretty willing to follow my lead needed to know I cut, he checks in and monitors how the EMDR is affecting it. He checks in on suicidal ideation too because it is irresponsible of him not to. Also because he cares.
<Removed link to what is shared copyrighted works online>
And I dunno. Besides for that she sometimes mentioned it, but she didn't try to stop me.
What do you mean he checks in?
I get you on feelings, I don’t have them either but I can connect with mini me in EMDR and feel what she is feeling even if naming that feeling is not yet in my repertoire.
What does that mean? Everybody says in EMDR you gotta connect to your feelings, how does that go?
 
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