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Diagnosed with PTSD (& what’s EMDR?!)

(10 Posts)
WellThisIsShit Sat 04-Nov-17 00:21:23

After many false starts and upsetting experiences, I finally got a diagnosis of PTSD today. Yay!

It probably sounds crazy but I’m so relieved, it feels like a real milestone.

Everything the psychologist was saying felt spot on, describing what was going on in my head like she was actually in there!

For the first time in a very long time I feel hopeful that I’m not just a crazy old bag lady who’s too bonkers in the wrong bonkers way for anyone to help! She actually listened to me properly and didn’t just tell me what I felt. Said it was quite clear that I had PTSD. I got the impression I was very much standard stuff, which tbh was so nice to realise. Not weird and untreatable smile

And most importantly, she seemed to think there were ways to help me, and I’m daring to hope just a little bit (cross fingers, touch wood etc).

The psychologist mentioned that she thinks a combination of trauma focused CBT and something called EMDR would be good.

Anyone know anything about EMDR or bad experience of it? It sounds quite a different way to do things...

WellThisIsShit Sat 04-Nov-17 11:10:36


NolongerAnxiousCarer Sat 04-Nov-17 12:30:26


I am currently recovering from PTSD. I had something called IEMT ( integrated eye movement therapy ) privately which I believe is similar to EMDR (eye movement desensitisation reprograming ). It involved thinking about the trauma whilst following my therapists finger in certain patterns. It sounds really odd, but it worked like magic for me. My pannic attacks and flashbacks stopped after the first session.

alltheworld Sat 04-Nov-17 12:35:29

I had e m d r . Private so expensive but it worked in a few sessions. Agree with pp but it was great

WellThisIsShit Sat 04-Nov-17 22:47:35

Thank you for your replies flowers

Yeah, mine would be private too, so money is an issue. It’s interesting to know it works for some people though!

I can’t quite work it out, is it kind of ‘woo’ or scientifically advanced?!

When you’re doing it, I’m worried I’ll feel put on the spot and do it wrong! Sounds like you need to really concentrate on a single specific moment... what happens if you can’t make your brain focus on it properly? Mine tends to skitter off and run rings around me when I go near all the bad stuff! I have really vivid intrusive thoughts but only when I dont want to, I can’t seem to conjure them to order!

I’m pretty sure I’m over thinking it, but I really want to do everything I can to make it work due to the financial pressure as well as just pure hope maybe I can get these awful memories filed in the right place and fading nicely like they’re supposed to do. Hate keeping on reacting to them like they’re new and I’m expriencing it all fresh... its knackering, and I’m so drained from it all...

wowbutter Sat 04-Nov-17 22:53:05

I've had emdr. On the Nhs, I think I had twelve sessions all in, but honestly, I have no idea now.
I wondered how it would work, was sceptical, and had no expectations. But it did, it cured me, completely.
It's scientifically backed up, and does work. You can't do it wrong, and you have your therapist there to talk you through everything.
You spend a few sessions gearing up for the magic lights, before you have a go with them.

WellThisIsShit Sat 04-Nov-17 23:06:16

One thing the psych said that really has stuck with me, made me realise I did have resilience before, before the events that I’ve got PTSD from.

Was actually really surprising to realise that. Nice, but shocking.

She observed after asking lots of questions, that I have been through other bad stuff, before all this, and I managed to process it fine, with no lasting effects. She made the point that some of these things were exactly the type of experiences that can cause PTSD, and yet they hadn’t in me.

Really given me pause for thought, that has. I think of myself as an inherently fucked up and fragile person who can’t xooe with anything. But that’s not actually true. True now yes, but not always. It’s the series of awful traumas that happened, and I’m still going through, that have created me now, me with PTSD.

It’s silly isn’t it, that just one thing someone says can shift your whole brain a bit sideways. I feel so much more ‘me’.

I recognise me more now, after thinking like that ... daring to remember me not a terrible person. Me as a fighter, an explorer, an idiot sometimes too absolutely grin, but me as someone who actively grabs life because the world is full of wonderful things. And me who could tread lightly on the earth. Me as someone who laughed. I used to make other people laugh too. I think I did anyway, sometimes.

So far away from me now. Really fucking far! But at least I remember some good bits of me before my world collapsed. 48hrs ago I would have had no idea that I’d ever been anyone else than the mess I am now. It’s a really new idea and now I’m crying because I’ve lost it all.

But it’s better to know what I’ve lost. Than to have blanked it all out so much I would swear blind it never existed. Only better if there’s hope though, a chunk of light in the dark that maybe I can be that person again, even just a little bit.

WellThisIsShit Sun 05-Nov-17 00:03:40

That’s so encouraging thank you wowbutter, that makes 3 posters who’ve had good experiences with this technique smile

I’m glad you get to prepare before launching into it, so hopefully the psychologist can work on my annoying mind to get it able to do it as well as possible.

I should try and remember that she said showing really ‘normal’ symptoms for PTSD, so that means she’ll be used to working with brains that have tricks to avoid thinking about the worst things. Normal and standard. And breathe.... smile

NolongerAnxiousCarer Sun 05-Nov-17 07:09:57

Psychologists are good at helping us have small, but significant shifts in our thinking. Good to hear it's already helping you. My mind also did the tefflon slipping around thoughts of the trauma think. The therapy still worked and after the first session I was able to think clearly about what happened and acyually remember a lot more about what happened. I then took those new memories to the next session.

WellThisIsShit Mon 06-Nov-17 12:26:25

Yes exactly, small shifts can be seismic. I wasn’t expecting anything in the first appointment, beyond feeling upset about having to dredge it all up again.

I had a really bad experience with a psychologist a couple of years ago, which meant the most I was expecting in this appointment was a fervent hope that she would do no harm. Somewhat surprised that she surpassed that and went on to doing good within an hour smile

Also made me realise how very wrong that first appointment 2 yrs ago was. Because from as soon as I walked in, this new psychologist was so different. I don’t think it would have occurred to her to behave like the other one did.

Makes me more able to process it actually, now I’m convinced in my own mind that it wasnt just me being stupid or not agreeable enough, or my fault that I must have wound him up in some way. No, he was unprofessional and bullying, from the moment he saw me.

Instead of attempting to engage with me or actually listen to a word I said, or behave in any kind of professional manner, he was rude, confrontational, aggressive and completely focused on asserting his power and control over me.

Thinking back, he was like that as soon as I saw him so he was reacting to what I looked like, or moved like or whatever. And that’s not something I should feel responsible for.

I don’t know why he took against me or what justification he used in his head to behave in such an unprofessional and actually, really harmful way. But I came out utterly terrified and broken. I was physically scared too, not just that he’d upset me, I felt threatened by him.

There is no clever psych approach in the world that would make it ok to do that to someone.

And for 2 years I couldn’t get any help and he became one more trauma I couldn’t process.

But having spent time with another psychologist, a professional and kind person, I can sort of process it a bit more, because I see how bad it actually was and how my reaction was actually a reasonable response to his behaviour. Because his behaviour was extreme, and shocking.

I hope a next session is so constructive!

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