Weird aftermath with EMDR



Hi guys! So, I'm very new to this whole Emdr thing, I've only had 2 sessions. I felt fine right after both of them, however last night(hours after my session) I had a really bad dream that only slightly involved what I am coping with, and today I noticed an extreme loss of appetite. Is this normal?


Hey, I'm glad you're starting EMDR. It has been the only thing that's really helped me process my trauma. Yes, what you're describing is normal. Processing trauma with EMDR causes all kinds of things to happen. I get very tired and often have nightmares and some flashbacks, but I work to keep the "stuff" in my container and that helps. It gets better after a day or so. It's different with each session. Not every session is the same and not every reaction is the same for me.

Please make sure to talk to your therapist about how you are and what you experience after each session. Mine always asks me how I did after the previous week. They can also help you with coping skills and often talking it out helps too.


i haven't done EMDR, but nightmares and loss of appetite are normal for me. it doesn't take much to ruin my appetite and the repressed memories and emotions i am uncovering in psychotherapy typically do invade my dreams in some of the more bizarre dreams in my dreamscape.


The sympathetic nervous system is short handed as Fight or Flight
The PARAsympathetic nervous system is Rest & Digest.

When one system turns on? The other turns off. It’s not quite binary, but it’s close, more like a dimmer switch. The more one system is on, the less the other is. It’s because we have finite energy resources.

A low level “on” of the sympathetic nervous system? Will cause lack of appetite as your digestive system starts to shut off, longer healing time / ease of infection, lack of sleep or disturbed sleep, feeling cold (as your blood moves from your limbs to your core), etc.

A high level “on” of the sympathetic nervous system will cause voiding of the digestive system (puking, pissing, and shitting yourself), your immune system to shut off entirely, being wide awake for days at a time, and no sensation of pain. Amongst other things. Like the ability to lift a car off of someone and to hold your breath for several minutes.


I’ve had a whole host of EMDR side effects - both of which you describe and lots more. I like the term “EMDR Hangover” 😂 .

For me, for the most part, it’s gotten worse before it’s gotten better and I feel like I’m riding an emotional roller coaster. It’s been hard, but it’s working and I see evidence of that in my day to day when things that were highly triggering aren’t so much anymore.

Keep your T updated with how you are doing each week. I write down each day how I’m feeling throughout the day so I have some data regarding the process between sessions - it lets us know if we need to slow the EMDR down and also how often I’m out of my window of tolerance during the week. It also keeps me mindful to practice good coping/grounding skills - which I am still really struggling with.

I work to keep the "stuff" in my container and that helps.
Also this. This is something that is so difficult for me…which is probably why I’m on such a roller coaster emotionally. I’m very actively trying to keep my stuff in my container and when I can, it helps immensely.


EMDR is a bit like shaking a tree and seeing what falls out. Sometimes its what you expected sometimes it's something unexpected. When it shows up is the other problem. Be aware lots of stuff can pop up suddenly between sessions which is why you keep your T's number handy.

When we got to where my original trauma was I had eating issues for a few months too. Just not hungry - until I started eating. I think one of the things I did during that time helped not just with eating but with function too and that was making breakfast. Cereal, pancakes, eggs, hash browns, waffles, breakfast sandwich, and more. It doesn't take hours. I can do eggs over easy, toast, and a hash brown patty in about 10 min. Of course that doesn't include five minutes you may spend in front of the fridge trying to remember what you wanted. Made it a game not to have the same two days in a row. It helped with eating well at least once a day and I had less of an excuse for not eating later in the day.