Apparently, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is pretty good at unlocking memories for me. The first several times I went through that with my therapist, I wasn’t able to actually finish processing anything. My unfiltered thoughts are not exactly my favorite thing, and I would leave exhausted. But it’s pretty cool the way it got my brain working.
At some point after coming home, I would spend some time alone with my thoughts and my journal. And my mind would just open up. Buried feelings would come to the surface. Pieces of memories I had forgotten. Digging out the dirt in an effort to clean it all out. Both the good and the bad, my head trying to fit everything together. It was equally very frustrating, and very helpful.
One of my most recent EMDR sessions, I left feeling really scared. I was in a pretty primal state of fear, barely able to think or talk or write. It was as if I was in imminent danger and I was helpless to do anything about it. Not exactly a fun place to be.
I was too afraid to fall asleep that night, and I ended up sitting in the corner of my bedroom with my headphones in, journaling everything I was thinking. It was then that I began to remember. Something that has had a huge effect on me. Something I had forgotten, or really, blocked out. Something a big part of me really didn’t want to know about.
Throughout the rest of the week, the puzzle was putting itself together in my mind. Bit by bit, I was getting a better picture of this memory. It came back in feelings, in images, and in my body. Complete with physiological responses, I even threw up at one point. I didn’t want to remember this.
When I was probably a pre-teen, I was sexually assaulted. I don’t remember all of the details. I don’t know who did it. But I know enough to say that much. And in this process of remembering, I have been confused, I have been angry, I have been sad, and I have been relieved. Because while I absolutely hate that this happened to me, remembering it now just explains so much about me.
Along with many other things that now have a reason behind them, I have always constantly felt like I was in danger. I was scared all the freaking time. And I never knew how much of a toll that was taking on me.
Now here is the cool part… Only one week from the time I started remembering, I actually finished processing in EMDR for the first time. And it was as magical as everyone makes it out to be.
All of a sudden, I was no longer afraid! I could feel the burden lifted from my body, and it was then that I realized the true weight of it all. That fear held me down for so long, and suddenly, I didn’t have to carry it anymore. It was gone. Just like that. I was finally free.
In the weeks since, I have been able to be more myself than ever before. I am not as easily worn out. I can do more, practically speaking. I am more present. More involved. And though removing this obstacle has brought other challenges to the surface, I am feeling better than I have in a long time. And I can’t wait to see where I am headed next.
I am beginning to get to know myself. What I like and don’t like. Who I am. What I want to do. It is a bit nerve wracking, stepping into the unknown. But I have so much hope now. Even when life is hard, it doesn’t destroy me as it has before. I can recover. I can continue. I can move. I can grow. I can change. And I can be, everything I was meant to be.