ANOTHER PART OF THE (VERY LONG) PROCESS

After coming out of shock, the fun was just beginning.  Believe me, I use the term ‘fun’ very sarcastically here.  As you will read in the next several entries from my journal, my initial conversation with the D.A. that precipitated my coming out of shock only served to confuse me further when I met with her the day before a scheduled hearing to see what was what and where everything stood at that point.  Really, I was a complete mess at this point in the process.

 

17 January 2012

I may have moved from shock to anger, but now I’m feeling a lot more depressed.  I am meeting with the D.A. today.  She needs to know who I am and that I am expecting her to do her absolute best to make sure cockroach boy pays for his crimes.  Oh, I definitely have mixed feelings about it all.  On the one hand, he violently attacked me and I KNOW he’ll do it again if he is not in jail.  I also know that in jail/prison he will just learn to be a better criminal and may do even worse things when he gets out.  So what’s the answer?  That I do NOT know.  And it turns out that cockroach boy apparently has bipolar disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome.  Oh well, doesn’t excuse his actions one little bit.

 

18 January 2012

Off to the fitness hearing.  Oh, joy.

 

20 January 2012

And more joy — the trial/case/whatever you want to call it is postponed/continued for another 8-10 weeks.  I don’t know the exact dates yet since the D.A. didn’t bother to call and let me know.

 

21 January 2012

6AM  Feeling very overwhelmed and depressed, like something very heavy is sitting on me. Mother’s suggestion – just don’t feel it.  Ah, okay.  If only it were that easy.  I’m feeling like I did when I was still in shock and had no control over what my body was doing.  All I could do was go along for the ride.  This is so much like when I came back from Spain and no one knew the true extent (hell, they didn’t have a clue) of how I was feeling.  No way am I telling Bill.  I feel like I have to ‘put on my happy face’ around him.  It’s not that he wouldn’t be supportive, but I’m not sure he’d understand, not really.  No one can.  I feel all alone.

 

23 January 2012

I actually feel like I am not going to make it, like this is all too much, that the ‘injury’ my brain has suffered is just one thing too many in a life full of one thing after the other, that it truly won’t get better in time, that all the EMDR is doing is stirring up all the old crap and nothing good will ever come from that.

We didn’t even get to the EMDR today.  Suzie gave me the brain assessment test again.  Turns out I’m depressed and I have excessive anxiety and I’m a little something else, which I forget.  Probably has something to do with memory.  I even saved getting my Sprinkles cupcake until this morning when I was leaving La Jolla to go to therapy.  Of course, I couldn’t eat it when I got it because I had an empty stomach and a cupcake on an empty stomach isn’t such a good idea.  So I waited until I got home and ate lunch.  Then I finally ate it.  It didn’t taste so good to me.  Maybe I’ve reached my cupcake limit.

I can feel my heart beating ad I can tell my breathing is not right.  Also, I think Emily is pretty close to dying.  I held her when I got home.  She did purr for me but she won’t eat.  I told her it’s okay if she leaves.  I also asked God to let her go to sleep and not wake up.  It’s not that I want her to die, it’s just that I cannot take her to the vet and have her put to sleep.  I don’t think she would want that.  I just need for her not to wake up.  I can just add that to my PTSD list.  Her death, I mean.

 

24 January 2012

6:30AM  I can feel myself sinking further and further into the hole.  It’s just like when I was feeling that my brain wasn’t working properly and there was nothing I could do about it.  It’s a terrible feeling.

 

25 January 2012

I knew Emily would not be alive this morning.

 

27 January 2012

Still keep looking out the window to see Emily in her chair and when I slept until 7:30 this morning, I thought, gotta get up to feed Emily.  Can’t believe she’s really gone.

 

28 January 2012

It is so weird to NOT have to get up to feed Emily.  She is my first thought each morning.

Today is my 5th day of taking SAMe.  Do I feel better?  No idea.  It’s probably too soon to have kicked in, anyway.  It is sunny today, which does help, and it’s supposed to be 80 degrees.  That really helps.

 

So as you can see, I had a lot going on.  Dealing with my 20-year-old cat dying was just another added thing I clearly did not need.  And even though it has been a year now since she died, every time I come through my back gate, I turn to look at her chair, expecting, I guess, to see her waiting there.  I did bury her in my backyard, so I can ‘visit’ her whenever I feel like it.  It’s not the same as having her here.  Not even close.

Another strange thing is happening to me.  The other day I was talking with a friend I had not seen in something like 7 or 8 months and she was asking about the sentencing and all that had transpired since we last sat down and really talked.  I had trouble remembering the details, which, of course, at the time I thought I’d never forget.  I said to her that I hoped I had written about that experience.  Turns out I didn’t.  It is funny how our minds work, whether it is to protect us or to keep us safe in some way.  That’s why I think the retelling of what happened to me and how I felt at the time is so important.  What is also nice to know, is that I was able to completely heal from this.  I think I may have mentioned before that when I read or tell my story now, it seems like I am talking about someone else.  I feel a sense of sadness and empathy, but it doesn’t feel like it’s me.  I guess that’s good.  And my EMDR really worked the way it is meant to work.  (Thanks, Susie!)

EMDR

I keep referring to EMDR and haven’t yet really explained what that means.  The following information regarding Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is quoted from literature entitled “What is EMDR” published by the EMDR International Association in 2004:

HOW WAS EMDR DEVELOPED?

In 1987, psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro made the chance observation that eye movements can reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts, under certain conditions.  Dr. Shapiro studied this effect scientifically and in a 1989 issue of the Journal of Traumatic Stress, she reported success using EMDR to treat victims of trauma.  Since then, EMDR has developed and evolved through the contributions of therapists and researchers all over the world.  Today, EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches.

HOW DOES EMDR WORK?

No one knows how any form of psychotherapy work neurobiologically or in the brain.  However, we do know that when a person is very upset, their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily.  One moment becomes ‘frozen in time’ and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells and feelings haven’t changed.  Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.

EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the day the brain processes information.  Normal information processing is resumed, so following a successful EMDR session, a person no longer relives the images, sounds and feelings when the event is brought to mind.  You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting.  Many types of therapy have similar goals.  However, EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.  Therefore, EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way.

BUT DOES EMDR REALLY WORK?

Approximately 20 controlled studies have investigated the effects of EMDR.  These studies have consistently found that EMDR effectively decreased/eliminates the symptoms of PTSD for the majority of clients.  Clients often report improvement in other associated symptoms such as anxiety.  The current treatment guidelines of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies designate EMDR as an effective treatment for post traumatic stress, as have the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense, the United Kingdom Department of Health, the Israeli National Council for Mental Health, and many other international health and government agencies.  Research has shown that EMDR can be an efficient and rapid treatment.  For further references, a bibliography of research may be found through EMDR International Association’s web site, www.emdria.org.

WHAT IS THE ACTUAL EMDR SESSION LIKE?

During EMDR, the therapist works with the client to identify a specific problem as the focus of the treatment session.  The client calls to mind the disturbing issue or event, what was seen, felt, heard, thought, etc., and what thoughts an beliefs are currently held about that event.  The therapist facilitates the directional movement of the eyes or other bilateral stimulation of the brain, while the client focuses on the disturbing material, and the client just notices whatever comes to mind without making any effort to control direction or content.  Each person will process information uniquely, based on personal experiences and values.  Sets of eye movement are continued until the memory becomes less disturbing, and is associated with positive thoughts and beliefs about one’s self; for example, “I did the best I could.”  During EMDR, the client may experience intense emotions, but by the end of the session, most people report a great reduction in the level of disturbance.

HOW LONG DOES EMDR TAKE? 

One or more sessions are required for the therapist to understand the nature of the problem and to decide whether EMDR is an appropriate treatment.  The therapist will also discuss  EMDR more fully and provide the opportunity to answer questions about the method.  Once therapist and client have agreed that EMDR is appropriate for a specific problem, the actual EMDR therapy may begin.

 

WHAT KINDS OF PROBLEMS CAN EMDR TREAT?

Scientific research has established EMDR as effective for post traumatic stress disorder.  However, clinicians have also reported success using EMDR in treatment of the following conditions:

Panic attacks, Complicated grief, Dissociative disorders, Disturbing memories, Phobias, Pain disorders, Eating disorders, Performance anxiety, Stress reduction, Addictions, Sexual and/or physical abuse, Body dysmorphic disorders, Personality disorders”

 

As you can see, EMDR can be used for all kinds of ‘disorders,’ not just PTSD.  Most of what I’ve just shared with you here is fairly dry and clinical.  It is an overview more than anything else.  Even having been through EMDR treatment, I still have a hard time explaining it.  All I know is it WORKED.  In my next post I will go through each of the main points brought out and tell you what MY experience was.  All I’ll say right now is it was the most difficult and challenging thing I’ve ever had to do AND had I not done it, well, at the very least, I would not be sharing this with you.  I never felt that I had a choice in getting treatment for the PTSD I suffered as a result of my attack.  Okay, I did have a choice, but I felt like I didn’t. I KNEW I had to do it, however much I disliked it and no matter how hard it was and no matter what else it brought up.  The good thing, though, is that it cleared out ALL of the crap that I was still carrying around since childhood.