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#513851 - 07/27/17 01:52 PM Virtual EMDR: my experience
fhorns Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 706
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.

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#513959 - 07/29/17 07:07 PM Re: Virtual EMDR: my experience [Re: fhorns]
fhorns Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 706
I'll give an update. I have been doing sessions daily, knowing I may face strong and scary emotions initially. The first 2 days I felt a ball in my stomach, like a resistance. I went on since, well, it is changed even while doing it. Each time I'd do a session, some resistance would fade away. Sometimes grief came, and one time anger came, which is good! I wasn't afraid of my own anger!

I read last night (in my 12 step group) how we learned to survive using fear. Fear had created a "false self" to protect me, and the resistance I felt days before was a survival instinct to hang on to it. During one session, it felt like my gut was holding on for dear life.

Yesterday morning, after I'd done my few days of facing fears (my emotional targets), something in me changed. While doing the EMDR, that false self fell aside. I felt vulnerable but safe. I was looking through my own eyes, seeing and feeling......without my guard up. I was seeing and feeling a "me" I'd tucked away a long time ago. I felt relaxed, peaceful, and unafraid. I'd not seen this coming.

EMDR works! Having the opportunity to do it alone at home has been a wonderful gift, for I'd been hiding behind my false self in front of therapists numerous times, but little change ever happened since....I was in "survival mode".

But having had small successes with EMDR therapists, plus knowing it is a proven tool, I tried VirtualEMDR. This is changing my life!

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#513960 - 07/29/17 07:40 PM Re: Virtual EMDR: my experience [Re: fhorns]
Ceremony Online   confused
Greeter

Registered: 09/15/16
Posts: 2117
Loc: Minnesota
I read into the website and looked around. I'm also into exploring where EMDR can help me. My current work is on hold regarding doing EMDR because I had some complex ptsd things come forward. I have parts that are resistant to EMDR and my hopes are that bringing my parts into a whole, hopefully like the "conference table" method or something akin to that, is that the EMDR will be as effective as you're describing.

I noticed the website noted to consult with our therapist when complex ptsd and dissociation are needing work. Two of the EMDR sessions I had created a very powerful physical response, but I didn't fear it. I was surprised by much force was tied to digging into the one specific part I focused on? My T helps by asking where the physical reaction is taking place, wanting me to recognize, to practice and learn, how my body is reacting. It's what I've read is a big part of rewiring the physical response to some part.

To state "part" is to be vague because it really is so specific. The way I have seen it work is to bring an emotional response to one specific part of an event, and note my physical reaction to that. Then to do the EMDR and see how my reaction goes.

Is that what works for you too?

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#513971 - 07/30/17 05:55 AM Re: Virtual EMDR: my experience [Re: fhorns]
fhorns Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 706
I'll let you know something I've not "had" to do to heal using EMDR:

Dig. I've not had to dig at all.

All I've done is name my emotional targets (feelings that were troubling me), and sometimes.......I have trouble focusing on something. I'll feel a lot, but denial is a real b****, causing me to duck, dodge, and just avoid truth of what I really feel. Again, anyone can say this: denial is a real b****.

But upon starting the software, I feel it. It is just there, uncomfortable, or not. I may not be able to vocalize it, but I definitely feel it. So, I focus on THAT.

And EMDR does not require any of the "understanding" I'd been led to believe I needed. No BSing myself, no lying to myself, due to fears of the unknown. I just run it. I let the software do its work. And I've been changing. A very simple tool, I'll say.

Were it a sellable line for it, I'd write:

"DO try this at home. Understanding not required."

T's may disagree. I'm not in competition with any though. This is healing ME when I use it.

JFK said "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." He spoke a profound truth in that statement. So almost every session my focus has been: fear (of practically anything). It's held onto me. And me doing EMDR is like surgery on it; sometimes pieces, sometimes whole pieces.

That's my side of the story. I'll stop now.

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#513972 - 07/30/17 07:31 AM Re: Virtual EMDR: my experience [Re: fhorns]
fhorns Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 706
Ceremony,

I was rude in my last response to you. I responded disrespectfully.

I don't analyze everything doing EMDR.

But I have in the past. For me (only speaking of me), if I were doing that now, I would simply be running from something which actually changes anything. Since I've been using it, I am much more aware of my long-standing habits of denial, dishonesty with myself, and more denial.

This showed up tonight playing a board game with 2 others, a Saturday night norm I've been doing almost 2 years now. Tonight I asked a simple question about one guy's business. It was very frustrating, for he never gave me a clear answer. My expectation of a simple response was met with was (in analogy form): "1 plus 1 equals 3, for when I add these I make 3, since without another factor you'd never understand, it comes to 3. Understand?"

No. It was so damn complex that I actually stopped him so I could dodge more confusion by claiming I needed to use the bathroom. I didn't confront him.....for things only bother me if I do or have done the same things myself. I've ducked and dodged before. I've BS'd myself, thinking others believed me too, so I think that's why I got impatient with him tonight.

And regarding EMDR, I know now I was absolutely scared s***less to walk into emotional areas if I believed I might not be in control. Control was life to me. That is so true, for me.

So, I apologize for being short with you. Control was life (or survival) for me, and using EMDR, like I did after writing that, showed me that.........I was wrong to you. I felt it during my session. I actually did it at least 15 minutes, as when I considered in my thinking that I could stop, I did a feelings check, and I felt like an old fear was being eaten away at, so I continued. I felt better the longer I did it. On the site, it even says we can do longer sessions if we'd like to.

Ceremony, I treated you wrongly.

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#513982 - 07/30/17 02:08 PM Re: Virtual EMDR: my experience [Re: fhorns]
Ceremony Online   confused
Greeter

Registered: 09/15/16
Posts: 2117
Loc: Minnesota
(((fhorns))) please know your words are wanted, needed and can bring the thoughts you need.

I've posted so much now, it seems I might have the words for how and why, yet my process is so far from easy and into progress that sometimes my words are taken over by parts of me.

That concept of parts is new for me, it's in my vocabulary since, I think May. My understanding of what's going on with my brain, is evolving from that same timeframe.

Here's a story of what I think goes on in some of my sharing here: I have a 6th grader inside me who had enormous difficulty grasping concepts presented by the teacher. When I thought I had some inkling, I would get very excited. I recall from that time, I went up to the teacher one day, and excitedly told her what I thought I might do for the assignment. It seemed to spring from me, as far as I can recollect. I went back to my desk, and thought I could then begin. I was shocked that I just froze. To this day, that's how I remember what I used to do when presented with some idea I don't understand.

Now into the present, and I have been working on that, without really knowing it, since about 1997. That's the internet age for me. I smile to remember dial-up. Ha, we had AOL for a short time too. A funny disc came in the mail, so we could get a message that would say, "You've got mail". Like the movie. I didn't like it, the computer slowed way down. Too much for the old processor. And... I digress, which I will often do.

I'm coping too, I want us to talk freely, openly, and needing to say what work is for us. I need to own where I was, and where I think or hope I'm going. I also know that some parts of me are quite nervous to interact, to think they're worthy to even speak. We come from a place of neglect, where there weren't people to listen, but most importantly, it was that I hadn't the words or knowledge to use any I had.

I'm Ok, and with all my heart want us to be Ok. Be with me to figure these hopes out. I listen to you fhorns, I've gotten hope that I might use that online tool some day. I really want to try it. I'll be mentioning it to my therapist this Tuesday for the first time.

Best wishes brother.

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#513986 - 07/30/17 02:33 PM Re: Virtual EMDR: my experience [Re: fhorns]
iaccus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/05/14
Posts: 660
Loc: Idaho
wow, thank you for this thread and sharing your experience on emdr with us! when I first began therapy several years ago the therapist suggested emdr was an option, then just a few sessions in, she told me it wouldn't be appropriate in my case, and she has never again mentioned it. I have always been interested in what it is and how it works. I hadn't heard about anything online before. I will look over the site with great interest. again, thank you for sharing!

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