Today is the 20th of December 2018.
This afternoon I had an appointment with my psychologist.
I have been discharged from therapy.
In my last post about my therapy, I told you about how I was following fingers. I ended it with:
I feel lighter. Different.
I’m definitely holding onto this feeling…
The therapy, the EMDR session happened on November 26. My next appointment with her was on December 10, and when we made that appointment it was for a second round of EMDR. Today should have been the third session, which was the number of sessions she anticipated I would need, seeing the things I had been struggling with.
The ‘lighter feeling’ I had after the EMDR session never left me. I started questioning myself.
Was this it? Seriously?
When I saw the psychologist on 10 December, all I could say was that I was doing well. I told her that I didn’t understand what had happened. That I was (and still am) amazed at the effect of one EMDR session. She asked me whether there was some other memory that I needed to discuss; that was causing me distress.
We looked at the timeline I had drawn before the first EMDR session. I ran through them all and I could rationalize all of them. I looked up at her and said: “This is the first session that I am not crying.”
I also said: “I don’t understand.”
And I didn’t. I still don’t. I can’t wrap my head around the difference before and after that EMDR session. How can following her fingers have changed so much? How can I feel so light? Have I been pretending all this time? I knew I haven’t but human nature wanted me to find an explanation.
I couldn’t. I just had to accept that the EMDR has taken the burden from my shoulder and have finally allowed me to process my grief in a normal manner. My anger was gone. My jealousy was gone. The ‘thing’ that was there, from the moment we heard mom was ill until that session when I looked at her fingers, was gone. How? I couldn’t explain it. Still can’t.
Neither could she. EMDR is a young science and much of it can’t be explained. Yet.
I don’t care. All I care about is that it has worked.
Now I am not saying that everyone will need only one session and I am not saying that everyone will have success with EMDR (it didn’t help my son), but what I do want to say is that if you have a therapist who can do this, please consider it.
I will never regret doing it.
When I saw my psychologist last week, we spoke about future appointments and I told her I wanted to see her today, but I needed a last appointment in January 2019. I was afraid I might have a relapse and I needed to have that appointment so I had some kind of safety net. Today I realized I don’t need it.
I have my safety net in the form of my relapse prevention plan, where we identified symptoms, problems and solutions. I wrote all down and carry it with me. I shared it with Master T, because he always notices when I am not well mentally long before I do. He can help to identify the symptoms and then I can take action.
And, I also have another safety net, as I have an open door to the psych in the form of email or a call.
Looking back on the past months, only now that I am back to my ‘old self’, I realize how low I have been. It’s with shame that I think back to the night Master T and I sat in the car and I screamed: “I hate my life. I hate myself. I hate everything.” Just writing that, remembering my panic; remembering how much I felt that I was a failure, brings tears to my eyes. There were more moments like that. I also remember the thoughts about smashing my car into a tree; when I thought it didn’t matter if I was dead or alive. I hated myself because I was weak; because I didn’t know how to grief.
Thank god for my GP. In a consult of a mere 15 minutes he saw exactly what I needed. It was his suggestion to ask for EMDR. He was the one who mentioned trauma and PTSD. I am forever grateful to him, but also to my psychologist. I thanked her over and over again for what she has done for me.
As a last note, for those interested, this is more or less what my relapse prevention plan looks like:
- Signals that I am not doing well: grumpiness without any reason, tears without reason, not sleeping well, pain in my back, tightness in my shoulders and neck, frequent headaches.
- Risk factors are: stuff that happens at my work, worrying about Master T, worrying about my son, that I switch off my feeling because of outside factors, that I feel responsible for the worries/pain/whatever going on in someone else’s life.
- Measures to take to prevent a relapse: to look at the situation, decide whether it’s my ‘problem’ and if not, give it back to the ‘problem owner’, go to the gym, make time for myself (spa day, massage), retire to a quiet place to find time for myself, go out into nature with my camera.
Again, I am not saying this approach – EMDR and this relapse prevention plan – will work for everyone, but it is worth trying. My tears are not gone. They are different. I still cry about my mom, still grief for her. The Christmas days were especially difficult, and birthdays (hers and mine) are too. The tears are not gone, and they might never be, but something dark in me has lifted, and for that I will be forever grateful.
Life smiles at me again.
Life is beautiful again.
Life is beautiful!
© Rebel’s Notes