Much to the relief of mental health workers the stigma attached to depression is lessening as awareness increases. Times are changing and so are your options when it comes to seeking treatment for depression. EMDR can be an effective means to treat your depression when traditional options have not helped.
Most people are familiar with depression, or at least familiar with the fact that it exists and anyone can struggle with it. However, many people may not know where to start when it comes to how to treat it effectively. Traditional therapy and medication do help, without a doubt. But what happens when it’s just not enough or you aren’t feeling relief? If that question rings true for you, please know that you do have options for EMDR therapy for depression in Suffolk County, NY.
I’d like to bring to your attention a treatment option, which you may or may not have heard of, known as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). Are you familiar with this treatment? During EMDR treatment, bilateral stimulation activates the opposite sides of the brain allowing the brain to release and redefine emotional experiences that are “trapped” within the brain. This type of stimulation actually resembles REM sleep as our eyes move from one side to the other. It is during sleep that the brain naturally sorts out our experiences from the day, discarding useless information and transferring memories appropriately.
Sometimes when we experience a traumatic events, big or small (i.e. getting in trouble at school, bullying, or the emotional trauma experienced when dealing with infidelity), these negative experiences can get “trapped” or “frozen” in the brain and they are unable to resolve naturally which may result in nightmares, depression, anger, anxiety, or emotional disturbance.
Even locked away these negative emotions can still affect us greatly. We can be triggered by any number of things; a scent, a visual object, even being spoken to a certain way can trigger a memory or negative feeling, often without any understanding why. When a negative memory is triggered, the neurological response is protection and the result is a state of hyper-arousal commonly referred to as fight or flight. Stress hormones are released into the body and we find ourselves saying things without thinking or doing things that seem out of character. Unfortunately, the initial and untrue negative beliefs about oneself are reinforced.
During a typical EMDR session you would be asked to identify a disturbing target memory. That memory is then processed using bilateral stimulation, the negative feelings, beliefs, or experience become desensitized, meaning they simply become less bothersome. The feelings, beliefs, and/or experience is then reprocessed and a new meaning is attached to the experience or triggers. As your brain arrives at a new conclusion, the original trauma no longer contains the negative emotional charge originally associated with it. The triggers are now neutral, the interpretation of the experience is now intentional and the beliefs about oneself are more positive and present hope instead of powerlessness.
Should I do it? So you may be wondering, “Is EMDR right for me?” Well, if you feel like your traumas, or inner demons, have too much power over you; and if you have a strong desire to be liberated from the traumas of your past, then, yes, EMDR may be a good fit for you.
Reasons for choosing EMDR include a desire to let go of the rational, logical self and to be able to engage at a deeper level. If focusing solely on symptom management is not getting you the results you desire then you may benefit from EMDR, leading you to a deeper understanding of the root cause of the problem and allowing you to deal with it and find resolution.
If you have any thoughts or questions related to EMDR therapy for depression in Suffolk County, NY., or other mental health issues, please feel free to contact us. We would love to help you.
Flashbacks are our brain’s way of processing traumatic events that we’ve experienced. Our subconscious taps into those important memories but they are not contained- meaning they tend to spill out everything related to the traumatic event. For many individuals, this experience can be just as terrifying as the initial event.
Flashbacks usually happen without warning. Most result from a “triggering” that occurs by an external experience. Triggers are typically sensory-based experiences that manifest via smells, sounds, tastes, textures that remind the person of the traumatic event. The sound of fireworks or a car backfiring can remind a soldier of gunfire. I once had a patient who would have flashbacks around flower shops, as the overwhelming smell of flowers would bring him back to his sister’s funeral.
Living with flashbacks is very difficult, but with practice there are some ways you can work through these disturbing events:
Remind yourself that you are in a safe place and having a flashback. Use that self-talk and tell yourself, as many times as necessary, that these are only memories until you can feel yourself begin to calm.
Sometimes using your five senses can help you to be in the present moment. If one sense is causing the flashback use your other senses to place yourself in the actual current environment. The tactile experience of stamping your feet on the ground can remind yourself that you are free to get away from any situation that has become uncomfortable for you. See more here on mindfulness tips.
Fear and panic causes our breathing to become shallow and erratic. Shallow our erratic breathing exacerbates the stress we feel in that moment because our body is literally panicking from a lack of oxygen. In these fearful moments, when we slow our breathing and take deeper and deeper breaths, we actually signal to our brain and body that everything is okay. One of my favorite breathing tricks is to trace one hand with the opposite. When you go up a finger breathe in, then breathe out as you trace back to the palm of you hand. Repeat till you are calm and your breathing is regular.
No one wants to remember their trauma, let’s face it it’s not an easy experience and I understand you want to move on and forget it NOW. However, our bodies and our minds need time to process what has happened. It’s normal, expected, and honestly needed to experience a full range of emotions. Honor your experience and yourself for making it through and surviving.
Going through trauma alone is not really advisable. I understand there may be feelings of shame, guilt, fear that are preventing you from feeling comfortable opening up. However, it is important for you to have supports
It’s important that you let loved ones know about your to help you through this process. Opening up to trusted loved ones can allow for them to help you work through flashbacks and process what has happened. You may also want to open up to a mental health professional to gain a deeper understanding of what is happening to you, how to cope with flashbacks and triggers and work through those difficult memories and emotions.
If you or a loved one is suffering from flashbacks and would like to explore treatment options, please be in touch, we would be happy to discuss how we may be able to help.