Yesterday I had my second session of EMDR therapy. The biggest thing I learnt is that this therapy is exhausting. Considering I’m sitting down with my psychologist for an hour, at the end of those 60 minutes, I am physically, mentally and emotionally drained. My psychologist had told me that this would happen and has strongly advised that I go home to rest after each session.
Yesterday, we progressed from my ‘safe place’ to the very beginnings of reprocessing the trauma. The trauma for me is, of course, the sudden loss of my little boy Ned last year in a horrific car crash.
The therapy works with images. I needed an image I had of that day, before Ned left in the car.
As I recalled the image I began to cry and I became extremely agitated. My legs began shaking and I began to scratch at my skin. My breathing quickened. I felt physically sick. I had to make a statement to go with my image. It was simple. ‘It was my fault.’ I let Ned go. If I’d said ‘no’, my little boy would be here this very second being his usual bundle of energy and happiness.
With this image in my head, my psychologist began the reprocessing. This is when I follow her fingers from left to right for a set amount of time (45 seconds). No speaking is done during these sets. At the end of each set, I’m asked how I’m feeling physically and emotionally.
I am so amazed at the effect this therapy has on me. I feel physical changes. By the end of the session I no longer felt sick, I wasn’t agitated, I wasn’t crying. In my mind I had an image of Ned choosing his favourite clothes to go on his day trip – his purple jeans and a blue top with an orange dinosaur on the front. He was smiling. He was hopping from one foot to another. He wanted to go. And I let him go because I didn’t know what was going to happen. How could I?
The session ended with me returning to my ‘safe place’ where I don’t have to hide my grief. I don’t have to pretend. It’s ok to cry for the loss of my little boy. It’s ok to howl in pain there. It’s ok.
My psychologist explained that the reprocessing would continue during the next few days and that I would likely experience strong images. I have to practise being able to ‘go’ to my safe place, preferably when I’m calm and not anxious.
I’m no scientist. I have no real idea how the brain works. But I do know that when I’m sitting with my psychologist for that hour, something is happening in my brain and that something is hopefully going to help me to live day-to-day. That’s what my lovely psychologist has given me – the gift of hope. She is amazing and I will be eternally grateful to her.
During a very difficult weekend before yesterday’s session, my pain and anger was so all-consuming that I resorted to some of the self-harming behaviours that I have written about in the past. These behaviours give me temporary release. They in no way make it go away. They are not helpful and they are risky. They are behaviours that I want to stop.
I will never stop hurting for the loss of my precious son. Never. I will never stop crying for him, for the life he should have had. I will never not wish to feel his little arms wrapped around me again. But I do want to be here for my two other precious boys. I want to be their mam. And I want to do everything I can to keep Ned’s memory alive.
I will always have three sons; three beautiful, precious sons who I love more than I could ever put into words.