I recently shared this with another survivor here, and I know I needed to give more exposure. We have more choice than we thought we did (I'm learning this now).
I began with MS back in 2002. I had been in 12 step rooms in college ('96-00), but something big stuck with me. My brother's one-time sexual violation had really crippled me, though I'd not remembered it. Also, and more visible, was my mother's emotional incest of me. I felt bound to please and fix her, which I could never do--either of them.
Well, during my time in MS, I began with different T's. One did EMDR with me, and I liked the feel. I mainly did not continue because I felt and thought I was poor. But I have never regretted doing the EMDR.
Roughly 10 years later, I began with another T, specifically to use EMDR on emotional scars and memories. He is one of the best locally, and I was only with him since he agreed on no less than $75 a session, and anyone here would say that is a good rate. It was. However, fear of many things (financial, emotional, physical) ruled me, and I only stayed with him about 4 months.
Well, I'm still in recovery, and while doing a memories inventory lately, I remembered my last EMDR T. I remembered a time when I let myself feel like an 8 year old, even imagining (seeing in my mind) like I was jumping from building to building! No kidding. It felt weird and exciting, for I just "allowed it".
Something I never told my T about was my own exploration online of EMDR possibilities. Anyone, right now, can google "EMDR online", and you'll see an EMDR video. I did the same things, and I found some emotional relief at times. However, I carried a "should", meaning I "should not do EMDR outside of a T's office". I never told him. And I didn't tell anyone else. I only wanted acceptance, and violating such "standards" meant possible abandonment, a no-no for me.
While thinking about this recently, I plugged in "EMDR online". I saw the video. But.....I wanted and needed more. I needed guidance this time, some direction. I needed even some accountability.
I saw a link under the video for www.virtualemdr.com
, so....after a minute I clicked on it. I explored the site. It was fully educational, fully open to acknowledge people's hesitations. I kept on it, going back to check answers. The many videos encouraged me. So, after posting about it in another support forum, I signed up.
I did so for a very big reason: cost. The first week is free, but it's only $50 for 3 months, unlimited use. $150 will cover an entire year. They have a sister site too: EMDR for addiction, which is $20 per month, $40 per 3 months, or $90 per year.
I also did it for ease. I can do it anytime, anywhere I feel I'll be uninterrupted for 20 minutes or so.
And I did it for safety, my own. I don't need to expose my deepest fears yet to anyone but myself. And what I'm learning is .......... I'm doing it for me anyway. Have I feared myself? Many, many times. I'm learning self trust using it.
Now, I'm not a socialite, at all. I am an introvert, so whether you're a stranger or a T, it'll take some time for my walls to come down. And as far as cost (with a T), it costs a bit in both time and money to get to that point.
But I began using virtualEMDR right away, alone in my room. I followed the instructions: find and name your targets (emotional targets to focus on), record them on downloadable PDF's, run the software at least 10 minutes, stop, run it again 5 minutes or so to focus on positive beliefs, stop, and record results. It can be done as often as needed.
Note: I emailed support the 2nd day. I'd done 3 sessions the second day, and I wanted to know if it was "too much". I got an honest, personable reply. One can do sessions as long as they feel ok physically, but when I begin to feel emotionally or physically tired, stop to allow for the physical processing to take place. EMDR actually rewires the brain, so anytime we are healing, allow for the body to adjust, similar to body-building.
My emotional experience: I've done over a dozen sessions in the last 5 days. I've woke up, had a little quiet time, and lingering fear of emotions has crept in, as I think "what if...and then...and what if...?" Like an emotional norm, I've hung to fear for years.
So, I've focused on fear a lot lately. Has anything changed? :-) Yes. Some has. I'm walking into it better than I thought I would. For example, last night in my 12 step study, I CHOSE to go first. I've never (?) done this, at least without my usual self-guarding fear. We're in emotional questions in our 4th step, the digging part, and I WANTED to share. I usually fall into some "I'm not important enough to stand up for me, I'm a worm" spot, my old "norm", but not last night. I shared twice, and I felt good about it (which is new :-) )
I also wrote about this to acknowledge many are slowly trained to believe the memories will END you---I was. For years, I was a victim of "I had a bad thing happen..........and it's bigger than anything I have to deal with it". I did this for YEARS. I respected my fear more than I acknowledged anything I could do about it. Feeling helpless, after a while, was comfortable for me. I'll repeat: it was comfortable. And desired. I awaited a "savior" constantly (my brother was my savior growing up, and he abandoned me).
So, I've not LOOKED for memories before or during using it. I focus on my FEELINGS coming up: fear, a tightness in my chest and stomach, sadness, more fear. I never have to look much. In fact, as soon as I start the software, emotions begin surfacing. Mostly it's a combination of fear and grief. Last night, some anger came up (which is GOOD). Clear, honest anger. Not rage. Just anger, which I've disallowed in myself for decades. I am not kidding there. It was not overwhelming. It was relatively brief, and I'm unafraid of it returning.
I'll also note that numerous places on the website it warns that if emotions begin to flood you, back off. It's advised that if emotions are that strong, to take a day off. I'd advise that myself, from both reading and knowing different survivors here. Go easy. A little is better than overwhelm anyday.
But, my expeiences: I'm still finding them. Denial has guarded me my whole life. Without denial, I'd not have done many things or relationships. I survived by it.
So.........I'm finally considering being gentle with myself. I'll run the software after I post this, examining my motives. I'll record stuff for me. And I may even grieve some.
I've lost a lot of life experiences being afraid. I'm using EMDR to challenge and reprogram me. I am worth it.