I recently completed several months of EMDR therapy. All I can say is “Wow!” I’ve had many types of therapy/therapists over the years and they’ve all been great, but this is exactly what I needed at this time in my life. It was intense and there was A LOT of ugly crying, especially in the beginning; however, as my trauma brain began to heal (which is how my therapist described the process) there was less ugly crying and more “aha” moments.
The thing that stuck out most for me is that not one, not a single one, of the ideas I had in my head about what I thought other people were thinking was right. Let me say that again, not a single one. How do I know? Because I did the hard work of talking to these people about what I thought they thought. It was super scary sometimes. There were weeks when I’d go back to my therapist without having done my “homework” aka having a hard conversation with someone. So, we’d EMDR the heck out of it again and I’d go home with the same homework and finally do it.
Here are some of the things I accomplished with EMDR:
1. I learned how to not freak out when I get lost. I still have to stop and consciously get hold of myself but now I have the tools and the re-framed thought processes to successfully handle situations when I find myself geographically challenged
2. I learned that I could have made a different choice about a life-changing event but it doesn’t mean that I would have. It gave me control of a decision that at the time felt out of my control.
3. I talked to my dad about a secret I’d been keeping from him for 30 years. It turns out he already knew about it from the beginning. I carried that around for 30 years – 30 years! It feels good to be rid of that weight and to know that how I thought he would react to it was not even close to his reaction.
4. I confronted the elephant in the living room with one of my friends and discovered – yes, you are right – that what I thought he had been thinking all these years was not what he’d been thinking at all!
Ridding myself of carrying around the baggage of thoughts that nobody ever thought in the first place was amazingly healing, and it set a precedent for future ways of dealing with situations where I think someone is thinking something. I know now that it’s likely they were never thinking it – never!
What are you thinking that someone else is thinking? Could it be that they were never thinking it in the first place? There is only one way to find out – ask!
I know it may seem I’m oversimplifying it, but I’m not. It may take therapy – EMDR or another type – to help create a space for you to address it but the effort is worth it. My challenge to you is to “Be brave little Piglet” (Winnie the Pooh) and move forward toward your healing.
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