Not too long ago, I shared on my Instagram story that traditional talk psychotherapy wasn’t working for me and that I needed to switch to a different modality. For anyone who hasn’t heard of the term “talk therapy”, it means that you go in and talk with your therapist about your thoughts/feelings and they will help guide you to finding a resolution. For the past 8 months, I have been utilizing talk therapy as an emotional outlet for processing my thoughts/feelings. It was working for that time period, but now I need try other types of therapy such as, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (aka EMDR). I tried EMDR in the past and found it to be very helpful!
EMDR is a type of therapy that helps people heal from their emotional stress and trauma symptoms. When I was participating EMDR therapy, my therapist would use little tapper that goes in my hands. I would hold them as they would buzz and then I would go through the steps of my trauma. Before I began processing my trauma, my therapist would have me establish a “safe place”.
Your safe place can be a real place or it can be a place that is made up. For myself, my safe place is a combination of a real place and some made up things to make me feel extra safe. When I was a little girl, my dad would take me to a dude ranch in Ennis, Montana. At the dude ranch there was a lake where you could fly fish for rainbow trout. I picture myself at that lake and now I have added my dog Cash with me. Thinking about that place with my dog makes me feel at peace and protected.
Once your safe place is established, it’s time to go through your trauma. I have experienced a lot of trauma in my life, so my therapist started with one of my smaller traumas and then we worked up to my attack from John Meehan. Part of EMDR is finding out your triggers and going through them. I went through and worked on many triggers, but did not get to all of them. It’s important to keep in mind that certain certain experiences can heighten your triggers.
The other day, I had a triggering experience at a bar. This may not affect many people, but for me it was traumatic. I was at the bar playing a game of pool with my friend and a drunk guy grabbed me by the waist to move over, so he could make a shot at the table beside me. He touched me by the waist, which is the same way that John grabbed me upon attacking me. It immediately triggered me and made me feel angry. I had made enough therapeutic progress that I didn’t physically react, but it sparked some strong emotions for me.
When I went to sleep that night I had a nightmare about John and my attack. It was horrible and I didn’t want to go sleep for the following week. Every night that week I would stay up til 5/6 AM. I was also extremely irritable, had low energy, and was feeling down. I really needed to go to therapy to discuss the way I was feeling and get help.
I met with my therapist for my regularly scheduled appointment, told her what happened and how I was feeling from the incident. My therapist was honest with me and told me she may not be able to help with this trigger and that it might be time to go back into EMDR. I really like my therapist, I knew in this moment of time I did need to re-visit the practices of EMDR. She found me a therapist that specializes in EMDR to call. I know that if I don’t deal with my trigger, it will only get worse. It will take time and dedication, but I am hopeful I will be given the right tools to heal and overcome this trigger.
xoxo Terra Newell