Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Finding Freedom


I suck at proof reading. It is 10:47 pm and I have no intention of proof reading now. As I go back and read this after I have posted it, I will shake my head and go back and edit it, as I do with every post. The thing is that I know what I meant to say and I can spell the wrong words correctly.

On with the Blog post!

So there have been many things that I have contemplated writing a post about since my last post. Life has had some interesting turns. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger or so they say. I don't know who they are but I would like them to know that I feel strong enough right now, and that they could lay off for a while.

This one thing though, this one really great thing, I started EMDR. What is EMDR, you ask? Well in short EMDR is a therapeutic approach proven to help people with PTSD. More information can be found here. They will explain it to you much better then I ever could.

So you have PTSD? 

Yes, I believe that I have made mention to it in a previous  post, but I am not going back through posts to tell you which one, nor am I going to leave that up to you. I have experienced 2 significant traumatic event is in my life. Now any of my family or friends who say there were more then that, don't remind me about them. I must have forgotten them with good reason. Which also implies that they were not so traumatic for me.

Trauma # 1

  • In the summer of 1999 I was in a car accident. The short story is that I rolled a car along side I-70 in South Canyon, between Glenwood Springs, Colorado and New Castle, Colorado. The sounds, the smells, almost every detail I remember vividly. The only thing that I have never been able to remember is how I managed to get out of my seat-belt and turned so that I could crawl out of the car, without falling on my head. (The car was upside down when it came to a stop.)
Trauma # 2
  • The summer of 2008 my youngest son had a near drowning experience. Don't worry, said kiddo is now 10.  Near drowning is defined by surviving, at least temporarily after suffocating in water. My son was unconscious and not breathing when I found him. Again, this is an event that I can remember in vivid detail, with only one missing piece. Also, this is the very short story of this accident. Before anyone jumps to any judgments about unsupervised children and pools, and as a word of caution to all parents, this pool was very supervised.  There were more adults then I can count with in an arms reach of my son. He was happily playing until, he simply was not.

It wasn't a decision that I made consciously. 

I walked away from these two events knowing that every choice I made was life and death. There was no in between. I hit the snooze button instead of getting up when my alarm clock went off the first time. I didn't turn around for life vests. A million half second decisions that I didn't think twice about in the moment, now effected eternity. 

I didn't say to myself "hey you sure did learn an important lesson you must now analyze and scrutinize the minutia of moment and every decision," but that is what happened. if only I had, if I had just, why didn't I...every detail of the most mundane decisions and conversations would live on instant replay in my brain for hours, sometimes days. I wished for an off switch. Heaven forbid I have an argument or disagreement with someone! Was I right or wrong, did I handle my self appropriately, what could I have said or done differently to have a different outcome? Always second guessing if I had handled things perfectly. I have feared even the smallest of mistakes. Driving in a construction zone, in unfamiliar places, at night...white knuckled. My husband and I have joked for years. While he drives he pays attention, but remembers to get some change back, enjoy the scenery. I just pay, never getting any change. 

How does EMDR work?

Scientifically I can't explain why or how EMDR works. EMDR is something that my counselor has spoken with me about for years. She wasn't trained in it though and she gave me a referral. Realistically she probably gave me 10 at least every year. Introverted, probably to a fault though, none of these referrals were people that I had let in to my inner circle and I was not stepping out of my circle. I was really happy when she finished training this summer. To this day I can't explain how it works or why it works. All I can tell you is how it feels.

One of the first things we did when I started EMDR is talk about a safe place. It was after this session that I came to the realization that EVERYONE should have at least this one session of EMDR in which you find this secret place. So that, when you are done, at the mention of a word you can visualize your safe place. Your blood pressure goes down, you heart stops racing, the tightness in your chest is gone and you are at peace! Despite whatever chaos you were just feeling, you are now calm and peaceful.

Similarly we would talk (yes more goes in to EMDR then talking but again I'm giving short stories) about my experiences and what they had taught me to believe about myself. I had been striving for some unobtainable standard, that I was unaware I had even set. I had to be perfect! Imperfection leads to death! Obviously I knew that we can't all be perfect. I knew that in any given moment and situation, we are all (well, I hope all) doing the best we can.  Knowing that in your head and feeling that in your heart are two different things.

Let Freedom ring!

As I said, there is a difference between knowing something in your head and feeling it in your heart. I walked out of my 3rd EMDR session feeling like a completely different person. I had an epiphany. These events, they were accidents! I know it sounds dumb. How could that have been an epiphany? In all of these years there was always something that I could have done differently. Something I could have or should have done that would have changed the tapestry of time. The thing is, I didn't have a crystal ball. Sure if I had gotten up when my alarm clock went off I wouldn't have been in that place at that time. What would have happened instead? Did hitting the snooze button save me from some other calamity? The fact is I don't know!  I wasn't somewhere I shouldn't have been when I took my daughter to the bathroom when my son nearly drown. I made decisions in the moment not knowing their ramifications. I made the best decisions for me in those moments. I felt like this incredible weight had been lifted from me. I felt FREE!

What I didn't expect.

The first thing I didn't expect, I will save for last. Although it was simple it was profound for me and I don't want to take away from it by moving on to the next thing. 

The 2nd thing I didn't expect, TEARS! I don't cry, or at least I didn't. In order for there to be tears my world had to have been in great turmoil and upheaval. Not so much now. Darn Hallmark commercials!

Next, I was driving down the interstate, in a construction zone, probably going a bit faster then the posted construction zone speed limit, talking on my phone hands free, during rush hour, when I had a stunning revelation. Only my left hand was on the steering wheel. My right hand relaxed in my lap! I was at peace! 

Occasion 3, I came across another person who was very upset. I bore the brunt of their frustration. With an audience! The scenario skipped instant replay! There was and has not been any dreadful longing for an off switch!

Before I get to number 1, I expect for the next while I will be shocked as I realize just how stuck I was and just how free I feel now. I know that everyone won't have the same experience with EMDR, If it is something that you have heard of, something that you have contemplated and just were uncertain of, I can't express the difference I feel. You should feel it too!

Now completely out of order, and almost out of place after that last paragraph, the first thing I didn't expect after session number 3. At the end of Session 3 as instantly as I felt free I realized that my unrealistic expectation of perfection, even if I hadn't been aware of it, had been holding others hostage. The I should have, if only I, why did I, they were all equally, you should have, if only you, why didn't you... for that all I can say is, I apologize, I humbly ask for your forgiveness. 

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