Rescripting Life: EMDR Leads the Way

Yesterday morning I rode in a convertible in a ticker tape parade down Fifth Avenue. I was a baby, naked from the waist up, pumping my fists into the air. Ticker tape, streamers, confetti, and popcorn rained down. I was a success and the world was acknowledging that I had not only survived infant stomach surgery without anesthesia but also triumphed by recovering completely.  Victorious, I struggled through isolation and unimaginable pain and discomfort. The world celebrated my accomplishment and supported me to feel the greatest joy of my life.

Later that same hour in EMDR therapy after the ticker tape parade, my mother and I charged on horses out of a fort and across the grasslands, our banners streaming behind us–warriors ready to battle the world of NO HELP. We’d confront society with its profound lack of understanding of parents and children who’ve survived infant surgery without anesthesia or pain control. My mother and I took up arms and rode together to spread awareness about the plight of these babies and their families. No longer could society be inept and heartless, dismissive and apathetic. No longer could they ignore us, ill treat us, or misunderstand us. No more avoid us and misrepresent us. Families would no longer implode from stress. Together, my mother and I would change the world!

These are the images that emerged in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). They appeared in my experience spontaneously as I confronted old terror, loss, helplessness, excruciating pain, numbness, and immobilization, watching  the wand travel back and forth, left to right and back again. The wonderful thing though about EMDR is that I don’t stay stuck in the past pain. Focusing on a trigger,  an inner movie starts and my imagination actively reprocesses past experience. I move quickly through many emotional and body states. My brain wiring changes; as a result, my body unfreezes and opens to new patterns.

The night of EMDR therapy, I sleep a lot. It’s exhausting racing across the plains and confronting society in every town and city in America. It’s emotionally draining to receive all the love and adoration in one fell swoop–an hour’s ride down Fifth Avenue–that one never received after surviving a cut in the gut at 26 days old without pain relief. My mind and heart are astounded by the amount of life relived in such a short session and the immense psychic distances traveled.

Rest is welcome. Dreams of empowerment emerge in which, in one scenario, my screams for help cause an attacker to back off in shame as others look on and another in which an enormous, dark-haired man crashes my party and when I confront him, he gives me good news: I can attend an important conference I hadn’t been able to afford.

When I wake, I’m not quite sure who I am. But when I sit in meditation, I am given this word–autonomous.


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12 Responses to Rescripting Life: EMDR Leads the Way

  1. Whee! I’m watching your parade,so glad to see you write about transforming the old,tapping into the creative side.These strengths are real,just as real as the trauma that caused the pain.So happy for you!

    And you give me hope that I will breakthrough in my own process.Right now,doing lots of reading,writing,art,creating support-coming out of isolation..yummy good stuff,

    yay us,yay emdr,yay freedom,


    • Yay freedom! Yay us! I love your comment about “[t]hese strengths are . . . just as real as the trauma that caused the pain.” Yes! Sounds like you are doing everything it takes to break through. It also sounds as if you’ve had many break throughs. So you are hoping for a new level of freedom? EMDR is providing this for me. It’s like, wow, where will I be this time next year? I’m excited to find out! Thanks for your encouragement and support. Keep us the “yummy” stuff.

  2. So appreciative of your sharing,since I know no one who has worked with EMDR nor who is actively dealing with their preverbal trauma..instead,those who live in it,something that has become clear to me,the more I read Bessel’s book.I’m still uncovering as the BLS stirs it up,very much in the early phases of the EMDR journey,but I feel encouraged to read stories of successes,such as yours :))

  3. So, so glad my stories are meaningful and encouraging. Interesting that you are beginning to discern those living in trauma and those not. Forgive me, but what is BLS? The bilateral [eye] stimulation? (just a guess) btw, in my previous reply, I meant “Keep up the ‘yummy’ stuff.” Be well and keep growing!

  4. yep,bilateral stimulation =bls.

    I can’t thank you enough for blogging about this,it gives me so much hope.I wish so many others could see your blog and have easy access to emdr to ameliorate their suffering-their “implosion from stress” as you say.I notice changes already from doing the emdr for a very short time and that feels very hopeful.You’re helping me to find courage to continue.It’s spendy..a big sacrifice,I want so much for it to pay off.

  5. Let’s keep supporting each other! Let’s keep changing and moving toward freedom. Yes, it’s a sacrifice and yes, it’s sometimes painful, but the payoff is big.

  6. What a wonderful, celebratory, triumphal post! I’m so glad you are relishing EMDR, and there’s a supportive cheer squad totally with you and trusting you find this therapy sends you on from one victory to the next… and the next. Go Wendy! It’s all about a growing sense of freedom and autonomy.

  7. Thanks, Fred! It’s an even more exciting and meaningful journey knowing others–like you– are ‘taking’ it with me.

  8. Hi Wendy,I thought of you again,as I’ve completed some more EMDR.I am absolutely stunned by this modality!It’s unbelievable! I almost feel “stoned” as my brain makes connections between this,that and the other thing.Ah,yes,the AUTONOMY! the FREEDOM!

    and a little poem as I celebrate the flow:

    Water on Windshield
    Wipers brush gently,it’s all right.
    I can see clearly now.

    (substitute wand,light bar,pulsers for wipers):))



    can’t wait to see another entry Wendy! (no pressure):)

  9. I relate!! Yes, wipers clearing the windshield. Yes, feeling new, refreshed as if a more pure version of ourselves is brought forward. I’ve had some scheduling snafus with my therapist lately and so haven’t wanded for a bit. So looking forward to this coming Wed. In the meantime, will post a pic. Keep driving in the rain!

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