Is an awful experience preventing you from enjoying life and connecting with others?
Sometimes things happen that feel completely outside of your control. Cancer, rape, an accident, a death . . . it’s such a shock to your body and your mind. Burying the memories with work, sleep, food, drugs, etc. works for a while, but the edges start to fray and it begins to feel like you are going crazy. A gulf opens up between you and the people in your life, and you feel disconnected and lonely. You want a magic wand to wave and make it all disappear.
Symptoms you might have:
- You don't sleep well, maybe even having intense dreams or nightmares.
- You worry about everything and never get a chance to relax or enjoy life.
- You avoid people, places, and things that bring up painful memories.
- You have strong reactions to things that never used to bother you.
- You isolate yourself from friends and family members.
- You feel like you are pretending most of the time and can't share your true feelings with others.
- You might even try to cope in ways you don't think are healthy like working too much, sleeping too much, taking unusual risks, overeating, undereating, using drugs, harming yourself, etc.
As treatment starts to work you may:
- Sleep better
- Enjoy yourself more often
- Feel more connected to those around you
- Feel more in control of your reactions
You can tell treatment is working when:
- Old, painful memories lose some of their emotional impact
- Strong reactions that feel like they come from nowhere are replaced by more controlled responses
- You feel more safe and relaxed
- You start to use more healthy ways to cope
Eventually treatment can help you:
- Feel that the experience is part of your history and not your everyday life
- Feel less controlled and limited by your past.
- Understand yourself better
- Have healthier, stronger relationships
- Find new joy and passion in life
We are living in a time of amazing expansion in our understanding of how our brains work when under duress. Medical advances have made possible detailed studies of the neurobiology of trauma, which has led to, and provided a theoretical basis for, many new techniques that can be used to resolve memories and feelings that stick around long after they are useful. I am trained and experienced in providing EMDR Therapy, one of the most well studied, respected, and widely used of those techniques.