Life changes sometimes overwhelm me, and lately life changes are more common than things staying the same. In truth, I don’t handle anxiety and overwhelm all that well and I can be kind of prone to it. Usually I get really angry and annoyed. I get fed up with tiny things and my patience runs thin and my sensitivity to bullshit amps up. Other times I shut down completely regardless of whether or not that is the appropriate response.
Basically, anxiety and overwhelm do great at turning me into someone I’d rather not be.
As many of you know, last year I started EMDR therapy to treat my PTSD. When my therapist introduced me to EMDR, I was very skeptical. Despite years of therapy and trying everything, I had never heard of it. Surely if something worked on complex PTSD the way that EMDR supposedly did, everyone would know about it, right?
Well, not necessarily.
EMDR absolutely transformed my life. It is the most effective form of therapy I have ever tried. And that’s coming from someone who’s tried just about everything: talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), mindfulness, decluttering, float therapy, and various medications, to name a few.
Which is why I wanted to do a post on it.
I think I had what they call a breakthrough.
Since my breakdown two weeks ago… things have been eerily good. A few days after the PTSD flashback that sent me into the waves of grief that I had been avoiding, I felt lighter– calmer even. I’ve felt like more myself than I’ve felt in a while, as if my perspective went through a literal shift. It feels weird to feel so okay, so good that I was actually concerned that I’d have nothing to talk about in my therapy session.
I’m a little suspicious of it. But maybe that’s normal.
PTSD doesn’t go away in the same way that an anxiety attack can go away with a Xanax. PTSD likes to hide under layers of “I’m fine” and “Look at how good I’m doing now”, but underneath the surface, and perhaps far below that shield, it waits for an opportunity to remind you to deal with your shit.
That can sometimes take the form of a breakdown. And sometimes the things we do to breakthrough, like therapy and EMDR, make break us down further until we can begin to build ourselves back up.