Friday, October 30, 2009

The lingering past

Wow. This EMDR therapy is powerful. Again today the session was just incredible.

Trauma (whether it's capital "T" Trauma like rape or PTSD from war experiences, or the more subtle but long-term and pervasive small "t" trauma, as in my case) often doesn't get completely processed in the brain, probably because there's some kind of chemical release that interferes with normal processing at the time of the event. The neurons associated with those traumatic memories get stuck in the amygdala, part of the limbic system, and when a later event triggers that trauma-memory, it can come bursting out of the amygdala with a lot of power to influence feelings 20, 30, 50 years later.

I had processed so much of my growing-up years already, but this methodology helps me to re-experience episodic memories emotionally and thus "break them apart," as M said. I re-live the feeling of them, and then M helped me re-process them.

Amazing. I could almost feel the shift happening, the new perspective forming.

As I process the memories, I wear headphones in which I hear beaping, alternating between the right, and then the left, side of the brain... apparently the alternating beeps help the episodic memories arise.

I'm utterly exhausted this afternoon, and this will probably continue into the weekend, if last week was any indication.

Worth it, though. Totally worth it.


Gannet Girl said...

Fascinating, and explains a lot.

Jan said...

I am encouraged that it is helping you so much. I am happy for you.

Paula said...

This is super interesting. I've wondered why even some of the small traumas seem to com crashing back at odd moments. I can generally see that the event I'm experiencing is related to the event I'm remembering, but I wouldn't have known why.

I'm glad this is helping you!

Jennifer said...

like hard work, but well worth it.