episode 70, EMDR-2.

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I saw Angela today.  She asked me how I was doing and I said, “ok.”  She asked, “What’s ok?”  I didn’t tell her, but I don’t know if I like EMDR.  I told her about the pain in my jaw — that took days to go away.  I asked her if it was going to work, and she said, “Yes.”  She told me about someone who was very skeptical and came back saying that she no longer has this problem and this other.  

She started going off about my soda, and how I should drink something else, and she finally said I was scowling at her.  She asked, why do all this stuff if you are going to be unhealthy in other ways?  That may be a point.  But don’t take away my pop.  If it is going to kill you, I would be dead by now.  She said something about it not being good for you and even cigarrettes take a while to kill you.  I told her therapists aren’t good for me.  I can’t remember exactly what her response and mine was, but then she asked, “Not me?” and I said “Yet.”  Then she handed me the buzzers and I went to my own personal Hell. 

We only spent half an hour on this today.  Which is good I guess.  She said we had a good session.  I experienced a lot of non-verbal stuff.  There was a lot of pain in my shoulders and my upper arms, my left arm in particular was all stiff and I could not move it at all.  I came away today with understanding that my brother was strong, I could not get away.  I know now how he went from grabbing me from behind to get my shorts of, and how he actually twisted me around and then held my arms.  It hurt to breathe.  Yeah, I felt like a wuss in there today.   I couldn’t feel my legs at all, and I have no idea what that means.  Most of what I felt was in my chest — breathing, and my arms.   The left one was just awful.  Angela asked me about being unconscious, maybe he dragged me out of the water with that arm.  

I don’t know.  I have thought a lot about this today, even so much as wondering if it really happened at all.  But I think that is just me trying to avoid going back through it all.  I do want to know.  I chose this to start on because this was the only incident where physical violence was used to make me comply.  If anything it is concreting for me that helplessness, the total inability to stop it from happening.   I think there is more shame in what my other brother did because of the manipulation makes me feel like I participated, I had a choice.  But there was no choice.  Not really.  Big kids can get little kids to do what they want.  And if I did hold out, he would have just used force.  I used to think if I was just smarter, I could have prevented it.  I don’t know what the problem is with accepting that I was totally powerless.  Being somehow to blame seems better than being powerless for me.  

Ah well.  I’ve been worried about having pissed Angela off today.  I didn’t.  I was being difficult, but it was more my sense of humor, I think we’re good.  I am anxious about disappointing her, or getting her mad, but that’s because of Karen, and because if I can put the focus on that, I won’t be going where I am going.  I don’t know if it was easier or not today.  I don’t think I was as nervous before hand as I was, hard to say.  It does seem like I felt and “saw” more today than I did last week.  Though I didn’t see anything at all.  Mostly we focused on my arm because it wasn’t moving.  Angela says that I have been carrying this event around with me in my body all these years.  Later today I got a few flashes/memories of what happened, but they are very, very short.   She said something about tickling parts of the brain last week.  I am not worried about that.  I don’t know what is normal though, and that is also hard for me.  Angela says there is no wrong way to do this.  This is frustrating for me, because I must be one of those people that likes to have a clear path, A causes B, simple, predictable.  When if fact, people are unpredictable and there are thousands of possibilities when it comes to how we respond to anything.  Dogs are easier.  


Join the Conversation


  1. Leximcclelland Volunteer

    Thank you for coming back to us Solongago, it’s good to hear an update. I’m proud of you for trying again and working on it more. In the long run it sounds like it’ll work and it’ll give you the help you deserve.
    Stay strong and keep going ????

  2. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,
    I’m glad you were less nervous beforehand and that you and Angela seem to be working well together. It makes sense that you want a clear path, yet you’re right. People are complicated, and we all cope with what happens to us in different ways. I don’t know much about EMDR, but based on what you’ve posted, it seems like you’re beginning to remember more. Being gentle with yourself may help you process the memories and feelings more easily. I agree with what Angela said about carrying events in our bodies, and I believe our physical and mental/emotional states are connected.
    You’re making progress, and I’m proud of you. Keep going – you’re doing great, and we’re here for you!

  3. mikaylaanne11 Volunteer

    Hi again solongago,

    It’s good to hear that you and Angela seem to have open communication. I can imagine that working on EMDR without being able to fully communicate with your therapist would make the process that much harder. I don’t think that you’re disappointing her, and you’re definitely not to blame for what you’re re-experiencing and what you did experience. Your brain is trying to heal at its own pace. I get what you’re saying about needing a clear path from A to B, especially with this new kind of treatment. Hopefully, it’ll become easier to let go of that feeling once you’ve become accustomed to experiencing EMDR.

    Dogs really are much easier to deal with than people! Hopefully you get some slobbery dog kisses today. You’re doing great, and keep being patient with yourself.

  4. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,

    Welcome back. Soda in moderation is totally fine, it’s important to make sure you have plenty of water as well though since soda is actually quite dehydrating. It sounds like the emdr while difficult is helping you process through things which is great! You are in no way to blame for what happened to you. I know feeling powerless is really hard but you don’t need to blame yourself for others bad actions. I’m sure you didn’t piss Angela off, sometimes you need to work through things that are difficult so there will be little bits of conflict. Dogs are nice and easy, they really help me destress too.

    Stay strong,


  5. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear Solongago,
    It is good to hear that your second EMDR session didn’t cause you as much anxiety as the first one. I think that your ability to joke with Angela and be a little grumpy with her shows that you at least feel comfortable being yourself around her. You aren’t hiding aspects that you are worried will push her away. As far as if the EMDR is working, it sounds like it is doing something. It may be too early to tell if it is what works for you, but it is brave of you to give it a try even though you are unsure. As Becca said, whatever it is doing, it is connecting all of the parts of your brain where the trauma is stored so that you are able to work through them and not continue to hold them in your body. An example would be a child who flinches every time an adult quickly raises their hand because the child is used to being hit. It is your body’s automatic response when it senses that same danger and unless you retrain your mind and body, it doesn’t go away and can begin to add to it. It sounds like the past couple of weeks have been stressful and I hope that is calming down for you. I still see progress in every post you make. You are doing this; you are pushing forward on your journey!
    Sending you love and strength,

  6. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,
    I’m sorry this session was harder. My aunt and I could drink Pepsi allll day too. My aunt also says the same thing about soda if it was going to kill her it would have already. It’s the only thing she drinks. I don’t think that Angela is mad at you. There are always going to be things that you disagree on. Everyone disagrees at one point, even best friends. Angela is different from Karen and she isn’t going to kick you out of therapy just because you either disagree with her or you need a little extra help. Angela seems like she wants to help you and make sure you are okay. I know a lot of people like EMDR, but it might not be for you. That’s okay. There are other types of therapy treatments you can try. I would talk to Angela about it, especially if you feel like it isn’t helping. I hope things get better next week. Continue to stay strong. Remember everything you are feeling is valid and you have every right to feel how you want to feel.

  7. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,

    Thanks for the update on your EMDR progress! It sounds pretty scary and a bit overwhelming, but I think it might be necessary to fully heal from what happened to you. Would it be possible to ask Angela to slow down a little on these sessions? I don’t know anything about EMDR, so I don’t know if they need to be in close succession or for certain amounts of time, but maybe going a little slower could help break things up and make it easier for you. Either way, I’m eager to hear how things progress from here. I’m rooting for you! Stay strong.


  8. Kayla Volunteer

    Thanks for updating us. The EMDR sounds pretty intense in a few ways for you. Angela sounds confident that it will work, and if you trust her I would continue trying. It must be painful to resurface new memories, and to feel them physically. I do believe we carry trauma within our bodies, and since you’ve carried it for so long perhaps you don’t even realize it. I sincerely hope you find more healing through this process.

    You may not have had power in what happened with your brother, but you have the power to heal and reclaim your life.

    Sending love,

  9. CarmenR Volunteer

    Hi there Solongago,

    Thank you for coming back and updating us. Dogs are much easier, I agree. I hope that all is well, and that we hear from you again soon. Stay strong.


  10. sfmbelle413 Day Captain

    Hey there Solongago,

    I hear you – dogs are way easier. You’re doing an amazing job navigating the world and working through everything. It makes sense that you might be one of those clear path people. It is comforting to have fewer options. I like hearing that you’re doing well. Please remember we’re always here for you.

    Keep on fighting,

  11. Megan Volunteer

    Hey Solongago,

    Thanks for the update! EMDR is definitely a different experience than most other therapies, so it can take some getting used to. I also am unsure how I feel about it still. But it has helped a lot of other people with trauma so I think it’s at least worth giving it a try for a while. I understand what you mean about your brother and how the manipulation makes you feel like you had some part in it. I have a similar feeling too, and that whole paragraph that you mentioned that in was very relatable to me. So I totally get the powerless part too. I guess the point I’m trying to make by saying this is that you’re not alone in your feelings and that your feelings may be normal considering what happened. If I had figured out things that help with getting over it than I would offer advice to you, but I’m still working through it myself too. That being said, I’m rooting for you as you continue on your journey of healing and I wish you all the best.

    You will get through this. I believe in you.

  12. Solongago Volunteer

    Thank you all. I am ok with Angela. It’s me if anything. But I don’t understand this EMDR stuff. She says it is science, and it works, and it works whether or not the therapist is any good or if there is a relationship with the therapist. She just thinks that with the duration of the trauma it makes it easier if we have a working relationship. Not sure if she said it that way.

    What I don’t get is the feeling of pain in my body, and stiffness and stuff. Just because of the buzzers? That’s odd. But if I sit and try to remember this stuff on my own, go through incidents I remember, I don’t feel the stuff in my body. I just remember it in my brain, and usually don’t have any emotions connected with them. I am not sure how this is going to help. I am doing a lot of trusting at a time when I still feel pretty raw about the last therapist.

    1. candyappleb Volunteer

      Hi Solongago,

      Good news: the physical pain associated with the EMDR means it’s working, even though it’s uncomfortable and confusing right now. I don’t remember the exact science behind it, but I do remember that basically by triggering both hemispheres of the brain by holding the buzzers as you recount the traumatic memory it helps rebuild the synapses that are severed when the brain experiences trauma.

      Angela might be able to better explain the exact science behind it all. I had to read several articles several times to really wrap my head around it too.

      If it helps think of an EMDR session as sort of a dose of medicine. It might not be an instant miracle cure, but overtime with practice and continued use things should improve.

      Remember, you’re in control of your healing. EMDR may not be right for you, and that’s okay. It’s entirely up to you if you choose to continue the treatment or not.

      All the best,

  13. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,

    I’m sorry that you hit a snag with Angela this week, although it sounds like you did quite well in your EMDR session. I understand it can be frustrating and confusing when re experiencing these memories that have been buried so deep for so long. It can also be exceptionally stressful on the body after “tickling” the different memory centers of the brain. I admire your courage to continue moving forward despite these challenges. It’s a testament to your strength and resolve to get better even when things are difficult. You’re doing great. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

    Look forward to hearing from you again soon,

  14. musicislove

    Just to reiterate what has already been said, disagreements are normal and they happen, if you’re still comfortable with her that’s great, if you don’t feel like you guys click that’s ok too. Its important to pay attention to your body and how you feel coming down from EMDR, with everything you remembered be sure to be kind to yourself and take care of yourself the best you can. That’s a lot of information to hold onto and have fresh in your mind. I understand blaming yourself might feel better than feeling powerless but it still wasn’t your fault and you have your power now that your not in that situation. Thank you for sharing with us and good luck.


  15. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    It is totally normal to have disagreements with your counselor. Like every relationship you don’t always have to agree with but know that it is a normal feeling to have that. I think it is important to keep checking in on yourself and she if she is the right fit for you. It is okay to change. We are here for you if you need anything.

  16. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Woops, I posted too early. I also wanted to say thanks for coming back to share, and it’s good to hear from you.


  17. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    It’s okay if you have disagreements with your therapist. Like every relationship, you’re not always going to agree, and that’s okay. I think what’s important is to keep checking back in with yourself on if she’s helpful for you and your recovery. If she it, great. If she’s not, it’s okay to change