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December 30, 2019

Complex PTSD triggers and EMDR healing

I want to explain to you all what it is like on a daily basis living with PTSD:

So recently an old friend betrayed my trust. It hurt absolutely,  but far more than I ever anticipated. I thought I would be angry, which can be a catalyst for change sometimes,  but I just felt VOID.

When one lives with trauma, even normal human emotions can feel like a complete and utter violation!That trust broken once again.

Then it rushes back – EVERY TIME you were berated or hurt or abused or bullied or witnessed a hortific event or raped – whatever it was- it comes back. It returns to remind you that YOU ARE NOT SAFE!

The primitive brain senses DANGER…
The amygdala sends an urgent signal to the hypothalamus and adrenal glands to release adrenalin, cortisol, increased heart rate, pupils dilate, your GI track slows etc  etc so that you can fight or flee or freeze or fawn the danger.

The body is trying to survive a perceived threat even though there is NOT one imminently present!  It doesn’t know it.The body responds in survival mode.

To stop this cycle one must be able to engage the prefrontal cortex or the cognitive, rational brain. But rational thinking is not a part of survival! One is automatic and the other adaptive.

In order to engage cognitively,  you must be in the window of tolerance of your emotions.

EMDR gets you there, to where your feelings are not controlled based on survival mode but rather processed trauma!

I spent decades trying to treat my PTSD . I tried everything available for 30 years. In less than 10 EMDR sessions I can rationalize with the tiger standing right  in my midst, greet him and leave that room because he is on MY LEASH.

Fear is not running lose. I HOLD the lead!

Yes those terrible flashbacks still came, as did the nightmares, panic attacks and they impending sense of doom in my belly but it also left me… open to connect the dots between my present circumstance feelings and times in the past I felt the same. And when you can see the connection – a light comes on and  THINGS CHANGE.

Before EMDR there was just information sensory overload, shame and sadness, and no way to reason or understanding. I would obsess, become angry with myself mostly, burn out and end up ashamed or depressed or both.

If you have Complex PTSD or am unresolved trauma, please seek out EMDR in your area. I wouldn’t be here without it and I want you to be here as well!

I’m not cured but I AM healing and that’s all we can do but our best and hold hands with those doing the same.

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