Posts Tagged ‘EMDR’

Time Does NOT Erase

Kudos to PBS for honoring Memorial Day by broadcasting wonderful programming regarding soldiers, service, and PTSD.  Catching only some of it, and making a mental note to watch all of it at a later date, I was pleasantly surprised at the accuracy in the portrayal of PTSD.

As I have stated before, PTSD is not only a “soldier” issue.  However, soldiers and anyone else suffering with PTSD are often misunderstood, stigmatized, and not immediately privy to the help that they need and deserve.  This is truly unfortunate, as anyone who has suffered with this illness understands that time is the enemy.  PTSD only gets worse with time, and, being a disease that REQUIRES treatment to get through, too often it is struggled through without treatment, to continue to resurface throughout one’s lifetime.

Too often, I hear the refrain, “just give it time, you’ll get through it,” in regards to PTSD.  This thought was especially prominent during my own early struggles with PTSD.  Time does not erase PTSD, nor does it lessen the severity of PTSD.  If anything, time, without treatment, makes PTSD stronger, as more triggers develop and avoidance behaviors strengthen.

I know this diagnosis sounds particularly ominous, however, this is when we need to remember that mental illness is just that, an illness.  An illness requires treatment.  I doubt that many of us would look at a physical wound, such as a severely infected cut, and maintain the hope that “it will get better with time.”  Time without treatment, whether physical or mental is often ineffective.

I think, in looking at soldiers’ struggles throughout the years with this debilitating mental illness, we all can take note that PTSD does not go away merely with the passage of time.  It is very apparent that some soldiers who served many, many, years ago still are severely affected by PTSD.  It is not any different for other people, no matter what their profession, who suffer from PTSD.  It does not matter how many days, months, years, decades, have passed.  If you do not seek professional treatment, you will not be able to make your mind better.  Time does not erase PTSD, only treatment.

Thanks for Reading,

Lauren

 

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Automatic

When my PTSD was in full swing, I felt as if my life was on automatic.  Stumbling through the days in a zombie like fashion, I can recall the times between panic attacks as dull, scheduled, the same.  Keeping my routine while suffering with PTSD was very important to me.  Deviations from said routine were anxiety provoking, heart palpitating, sweat inducing experiences that I tried my best to avoid.

PTSD cannot turn on and off.  It’s always there, ready to pop out at any triggering moment.  I found it difficult to acquire new skills, capitalize on my old skills, and create new relationships.  I found it difficult to remember to fill my car with gas, drive new places, create a new recipe for dinner, make new friends, keep up with old friends, do housework, and many more.  In fact, I found it difficult to do anything but sit.  And even that was hard.  Sitting requires relaxing, and relaxing was something my mind could not do unless heavily medicated.

PTSD tears you apart, it tears your relationships apart, it knocks your skill level down, and it devastates your life.  It is not something you can have respite from.  It is something that is locked in your mind, waiting to pounce out when triggered.

Lots of family and friend support, and a competent EMDR therapist will help you emerge from the darkness of PTSD.  Time without therapy does nothing to cure  PTSD, in fact, it only makes it stronger.  Unless you want to be on automatic, with bouts of panic, I encourage you to seek the help you need.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

EMDR

EMDR are four letters that, for me, never were linked in a meaningful way prior to my trauma. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is the therapy that helped me climb out my PTSD.  At the risk of botching up the “official” explanation, check it  out here: http://www.emdr.com/general-information/what-is-emdr.html  

EMDR, to me, was a true lifesaver. It is a well suited therapy for trauma in the way that it does not employ just “talking” about the problem.  “Talking” about the problem is a trigger.  Talking along with moving my eyes in well defined, therapist directed way, allows for desentization and reprocessing of the trauma, as well as the triggers that are ever present in PTSD.

Recently, I was discharged from EMDR therapy.  I had exhausted all my triggers, and worked through the trauma.  Does this mean my memory of the trauma is gone?  Not at all.  It means my memory of the trauma no longer creates a panic type response.  Successful completion of EMDR means I can talk about the trauma without falling to pieces.  Successful completion of EMDR means I can spread the word about a therapy that works wonders for those suffering with PTSD.

Thanks for Reading,

Lauren