Sunday, February 27, 2011

EMDR - part two

I started this as a reply to a comment on my last post and decided I may as well convert it to a post.

At this point, I am not going to include many details at this point, although I may in the future. At this point, I am still processing the sessions. The actual process for me is not what I imagined. I thought it would be more of an extended time of "free association" where you start with a target and stay with that for awhile. With this therapist, each "target" is for a minute. After the minute, you relate your images, feelings, body feelings, etc. and from that she picks a target for the next minute. That goes on 10-12 times. For example, after one interval I said something like "I don't want to go to bed" and that was my next target. After that it might have been "my body is so tense" and that would be the next target. And so on. Periodically, you go back to the initial scene/target to judge the intensity.

I'm not sure I have completely relaxed into it. I have not been able to use the eye tracking bar because my eyes are so dry that I have to blink a lot. I am using sound instead - the earphones are loose so I hear extraneous noises.

It is interesting that the continued shift of targets does lessen the intensity of the initial target during the session. Although, in my case, the intensity has gotten greater with the other associations.

There is a "grounding" exercise at the end of each session. It's funny - I am not into "woo woo" and tend to be a huge cynic about visualizing things and calming exercises. I realize this has probably been part of my hard protective shell. The grounding exercises are relaxing. Yesterday's session was intense and near the end when she asked where I went, I replied "I need my white light".

It's been an interesting experience. I haven't had new memories except perhaps sensations of something happening. It's also been interesting experiencing a second therapist. The EMDR T is much more direct and challenges what I say (outside of the EMDR part). My regular T is more reserved and less directly challenging. I'm realizing there is a place for both techniques.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Quick follow up to EMDR/Bill Zeller

So I have been off the internet for a few weeks and had missed the story and posts about Bill Zeller. How how sad. I read his note in its entirety yesterday, and was struck that some of the phrases are nearly identical to some I've spoken to my T. I am struck by how similar the effects of early childhood abuse are across the board. The responses are different though and I also wonder about that. I have never considered self injury - what makes us different in that respect? Perhaps because my memories are few and the visions are fleeting? So so sad. It does make me hope that someday I can be an advocate for kids speaking out earlier. Without the feelings locked inside for 23 or 40 years.

EMDR - had the first session. It was disappointing. I felt like a failure. I'm not sure I was able to relax into it. The therapist wasn't disappointed though - she found my response "interesting" - something she has seen a few times, but not often. My present day response to EMDR was apparently paralleling my past. We will have another go at it at the end of the week. And I see my T between. I've been resisting the urge to call her to confess my failure.

One last thing - sometimes it is amazing to me how the littlest of comments can set off a tidal wave of thoughts. I was out last night with a friend and two of her friends. One was talking about the movie Blue Valentine. She made the comment - "She had an abusive childhood and wasn't really able to have a real relationship. You know - she couldn't get close to someone." Wow... when you're least expecting it, out of the blue it comes.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


So - my T and I came to an agreement about this and she gave me the go ahead to call another T last week. Of course, I know I could have done this on my own without the blessing of my T. I mentioned this once and got a very defensive reaction from my T.

At any rate, I met with the EMDR doc last night for the first session. This was basically a session where I told her part of my story (not many details at this point). We talked about where I was in my talk therapy at this point. We talked a bit about what I wanted to accomplish with EMDR. This was easier to talk about than I thought it might be. The goals seem so broad - not like checklist items, but she seemed to think they were good ones.

So - I liked her. As we talked and as I processed things afterwards, I thought about why I liked her and compared some things to my current T. For one, she had more facial expressions - seemed less reserved. Second, she voiced some opinions or at least validations in a way I hadn't heard before. And she asked questions.

Now - I know this might not have been a "usual" therapy session. It was our first one and it was in preparation for use of a specific tool. She is the consultant not the primary T. I may ask her if she thinks her approach is different in this setting than in her "routine" therapy.

I think this will be tricky for me. I met with my T tonight - she didn't know about the appt because it came up unexpectantly due to a cancellation. I'm sure I was projecting some of my feelings on her, but there definitely seemed to be a change in her demeanor. I wonder if she will find it difficult to share my care. And it will be hard for me not to compare them - I just hope I don't say anything that my T finds insulting.

I also need to make a decision as to whether I want my T there for the actual EMDR sessions. At first I thought it would be important for her to be there and comforting for me. Now, I'm not so sure.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Eve ruminations - possibly triggering

So I couldn't sleep on Christmas Eve - should have taken an Ambien. Thoughts swirling around - making haikus and other thoughts - should have gotten up to write them down in the fresh state. Jotted down what I could remember the next morning.

Night falls, listening,
Fearful, waiting, barely breathing
Darkness, take my hand.

Decades locked inside
Little girl, shamed to silence
Please come out to play.

How much time is needed
To heal the wounds
Of a life unlived?

Violation, pain
Hope stolen, innocence lost
Trauma scars the core

I'm thinking that I'm taking a new step in therapy - I actually want to talk about these with my T. I usually bristle when she brings up the previous haikus. Perhaps it is time to let the little girl out.

Blog recap

I recently read all of my private online journal - searching for some dates to talk something over with T (actually more to prove a point). Yesterday I read the whole of this blog with comments - not that long as I'm not prolific. Interesting process to see where I've been and how many things get repeated over and over. I do think I've grown some over the years, but realize I have a long way to go before - what? Not sure if it's acceptance of who I am and where I've been. Realization that my past has shaped me into who I am today, but that with work, I can change my image of myself. Sometimes I wonder if I will be satisfied with a different outlook - do we become too comfortable with the person we are? Is change too scary?

Musings before the new year.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Story

So in order to battle some melancholy, I've started walking. This weekend "The Story" by Brandi Carlile came up in my random playlist. I've always liked this song and her raw voice. I've been dealing with some issues in the therapist relationship and the song made me think of my T and where I am in our relationship (I substituted "I depend on you" for "I was made for you").

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don't mean anything
When you've got no one to tell them to
It's true.... I depend on you

I climbed across the mountaintops
Swam all across the ocean blue
I crossed all the lines and I broke all the rules
But I broke them all for you
Because even when I was flat broke
You made me feel like a million bucks
You do.....I depend on you
You see the smile that's on my mouth
It's hiding the words that don't come out
And all of my friends who think that I'm blessed
They don't know my head is a mess
No they don't know who I really am
And they don't know what I've been through
Like you do..... I depend on you

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don't mean anything
When you've got no one to tell them to
It's true.... I depend on you

Well maybe the second paragraph doesn't resonate so much in the T relationship, but the others certainly do. If I was more technologically competent, I could insert a youtube link to the song, but alas, I am not.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


This one will be different - the first one without my mother. It seems odd already. Also, the date of her birth is this Sunday. And we are having a graveside service on Wednesday to inter her ashes. Lots of triggers in a short period of time.

I think I am still angry for everything that happened that she didn't stop at the time and swept under the rug after the fact. Angry that I can't confront her with it anymore. And sad - for the fact that I wasn't mothered in so many ways.

But - I am doing OK :) Tried to talk about some of this in therapy last night, but it's tough to express the emotions. I'm pretty sure my therapist doesn't realize how deeply I feel some things because my outward demeanor is so controlled.