Pop the top open

EMDR is kind of like taking a soda can and popping the top open, said Dr. L, my EMDR therapist. If you think of the soda can as the trauma you’re working on, EMDR allows you to release all the ‘fizz’ that’s embroiled in that event. In the end, the can may still be there, but the fizz is gone.

Today was my second session with Dr. L. It’s still fairly early in the morning, so I thought I might not be as emotional as I might be at a later time but I walk into her office, which is really a quaint house that’s been converted into therapist offices (and also next to this really good popsicle place). She has a homey, comfortable office, not like the one you might picture from ‘the Sopranos.’ . I sit on a large couch that takes up the side of the wall, and she sits in the leather chair in front of me. We talk about any changes since the last appointment and then we begin the EMDR process. As she waves her fingers in front of me (the little buzzing machine broke), I am told to focus on that suicide attempt in February 2003. Tears begin to stream down my cheek as I think about the event and what happened as a result of my action, how it affected others, etc. I first feel guilt and sorrow. How could I have done this to others? Why did I have to hurt my parents this way? But as the fingers keep moving, I begin to realize, it’s been seven years, and I still have my identity wrapped up around this single event as if I am locked up in a birdcage. Perhaps this will always be a part of me, but I start to see that there’s a difference between feeling sorry about what happened and shaming yourself all this time. I ask myself, is there any good reason to continue shaming myself for something that happened seven years ago? Slowly, I find myself begin to think that maybe it’s okay to move on. Maybe I’m causing more damage by hanging on.

So, will I be able to fly out of the birdcage? And where will I go? I have another appointment scheduled with Dr. L next week.

I hear the ‘fizz’ being released a little at a time.


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