This blog is becoming a report site for the success of my EMDR therapy, which I guess is a good thing because readers hear about yet one more way to heal from trauma. This method, EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is one of the most powerful I’ve encountered, but I imagine my grand success has, in part, to do with all the preparatory work I’ve done so far. It probably works wherever one starts in one’s process, but I have found it sensationally successful and in a very short time. (If you are new to the EMDR process, please see the previous post.)
Yesterday was my second session, and I woke up dreaming about skipping–a full-bodied skipping where my arms are pumping and my body is reaching great height. Very significant and totally connected to the EMDR.
In the session, I learned several things about my attempts as a baby to cope with the situation I was in–infant surgery without anesthesia for pyloric stenosis (a stomach blockage). One insight I gained was that as an infant in the operating room, I tried to use my eyes to control the situation. I tried to get the surgeons and nurses to stop by looking at them with alarm. The situation was confusing, for these people didn’t seem mean. So why did they bind me so that I couldn’t move and could do nothing to defend myself? These attempts did nothing to delay the scalpel.
When the scalpel hit, I coped by focusing on the overhead lights. I separated myself from my body–from unbearable pain and torture. But the psychological split was devastating because I never connected back to my body. In fact, I had disassociated; my body was other. And in this process, I became dislocated, unlocated. I felt lost and unrooted. I had no place in the world–not within or without.
At this point, the therapist suggested bringing in my adult self to help me. This adult self held my baby feet, rubbed my legs, and lay her warm hand over my incision site, bringing me safely back into my body. Since there was no pain, it was safe to re-connect with my corporeal self. As the therapist waved the wand back and forth, a new groundedness was put into place whereby I located myself safely in my body.
At certain points during the session, I felt huge rage. RAGE, RAGE, RAGE. I remembered myself at age thirteen and the fury I felt at everyone and everything in the world. I’m glad I didn’t have easy access to a gun back then because I might have used it. I did carry a knife for many years and was prepared to slice anyone who threatened me. In this part of the EMDR, my therapist had me bring in my adult self again. This self and my thirteen year old made a deal: I would text her when I felt the rage bubbling out of control; on her end, she would be available 24/7 to receive such a text so that I’d always feel I had the support to deal with these volcanic emotions.
At the end of the EMDR session, I lay on the couch feeling comfortable and calm while the wand waved back and forth. Apparently, this application supports and cements the new association. Lying down does not have to mean victimization, helplessness, and terror. Lying down can mean comfort, relief, renewal, and safety.
I have no doubt that the dream of me as a girl skipping along in joy came because of these new connections. I went outside and skipped today, not easy at age 62, but fun anyway. Life is changing with the wave of a wand.