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EMDR giving me side effects? - June 27th 2017, 11:03 PM

My therapist is certified in EMDR and reiki healing.
Now I read online that the EMDR shouldn't be used for multiple traumas but I have multiple traumas (recently diagnosed with chronic ptsd) and my therapist didn't mention that she couldn't do it because of that. We don't really focus on past traumas. It is based on what bothered me in the last week. So it would be triggering situations and emotions that were brought up in the last week, upsetting situations, things that had been bothering me whether by a scenario or just internal negative self talk. I choose one negative thing to focus on. We also focus on positive things like visualizing a safe place and enhancing the positive thoughts and emotions.
Like today we focused on the thought that I have that I'm wasting my life, I'm not doing enough, that i uaed to have a rich imagination, and a rich inner life (stories, jokes, thoughts, ideas, always learning something new, greater sense of self directed learning) and nowadays i seem so empty, and lacking clarity, lost, confused and dont know where im going, what the bigger picture is and other frustrations I have of myself. It is something that's bothering me and sure is stressful in its own right but I thought of it as smaller magnitude trauma especially because it is one of the more consistent things on my mind and feels more familiar to my identity than something foreign like getting my foot run over by a car or having near drowning experiences or other rarer things that happened to me.

Ive done EMDR about 3 sessions i believe.I can't tell if it is from the EMDR or not but something feels off.

I am getting headaches more than usual, dizzyness more than usual and I feel like a blankness/numbness like my emotions had been dimmed. The emotions are still there but it feels further away. I barely know how I feel. When my therapist asks me how I feel I literally don't know. I laugh during the EMDR and then feel embarrassed for laughing. I'm sleeping a lot more and am spaced out. The headache seems like it is extended to around my eyes too. I feel like having to follow the fingers like I have to do in EMDR makes me tired from the inside, like my mind is tired but my eyes don't correspond to it. Like my eyes are paralyzed and can't rest. Kinda like....when you watch TV or use electronics, how your eyes just seem to have adjusted to the lights that it barely blinks but your mind is tired?
I feel a bit lethargic, a bit restless and a bit foggy.
I feel a bit on the hyper/energetic side but it is more like an energy burst that turns to nervous energy.

Now, I had these things before but I am wondering if EMDR induced or triggered me to go into a state of these things ocuring on a different timeline than it would have on my minds own cycle. (For example, when I'm not occupied I might wonder into negative self talk but EMDR is forcing me to think of it at that moment and I end up just having blankness rather than a thought process because I'm so focused on the moving fingers and following it with my eyes that my thoughts are like on hold but maybe because of the social anxiety I blank out with my thoughts from that too)
I can't tell if the EMDR is doing this. But the first time I had EMDR, I got dizzy and had a headache. Now I gave headaches, less dizzyness. I just don't know. I am worried I'm not getting better, that I'm just getting worse.

I guess I'm just interested in any of you been successful with EMDR and if you felt worse before better?
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Re: EMDR giving me side effects? - June 27th 2017, 11:11 PM

It could be giving you side effects. A lot of people struggle with feeling tired, foggy, or numb/distant emotionally after EMDR. It is actually recommended to do EMDR on a day that isn't super busy so you can recover from it.

EMDR is difficult in the beginning and it can get worse before it gets better; you just have to hang in there until the side effects fall away. Most people lose side effects within four to six sessions from what I understand.

Have you talked to your therapist about experiencing these side effects? It may help to let her know about the research you've done on EMDR as well.

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Re: EMDR giving me side effects? - June 28th 2017, 11:02 PM

I guess everyone has a different reaction to EMDR. Some people don't experience anything from it, but others can have a whole range of different effects from it. It would be a good idea to talk about how it makes you feel with your therapist? Maybe see if there's anything you can do before and after the sessions to prepare yourself and recover from it too.

Personally I found it really difficult, and gave up really quick. Just the first couple of sessions which barely even started the process had me feeling physically drained but mentally heightened. I did have headaches but like consistent dullness if that makes sense; and I didn't feel like me. The visualisation of a safe place screwed my head over itself lol but maybe I just wasn't ready for it at the time. I've never really gone back to it since either

Hope things improve for you <3

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Re: EMDR giving me side effects? - June 29th 2017, 07:19 AM

I have always been hesitant to try EMDR because I was worried about the intensity of it and the side effects I might experience. It is definitely possible that the things you are feeling are due to the EMDR. I would suggest that you notify your therapist so that she can either help you find ways to cope or determine if you should continue on with EMDR. Making her aware of the situation is a good idea even if you decide to continue on with EMDR. The more aware she is about what is going on the better able she will be at helping you and making sure you are safe.

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