Traumatic memories get stored in different areas of the brain than typical memories, such as a beautiful day at the beach. We usually remember regular memories in the form of vague flashes of mental pictures along with a bit of story. However, traumatic memories are experienced differently. They can be intense felt experiences with troubling beliefs, sensations, emotions, and images that feel like they are actually happening again, and overwhelm our ability to cope.
Trauma blocks the brain's natural way to recover from distressing events, and because it's stored in a different area of the brain than regular memory, lots of seemingly normal situations in your day-to-day life end up triggering intense reactions that seem out of place. This can lead us to avoiding situations and people, which in turn leads us to feeling isolated and trapped.
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It's a form of therapy that helps people heal from trauma, PTSD, and other distressing life experiences. EMDR therapy is designed to reactivate the body and brain's natural healing process through alternating eye movements, taps, or sounds similar to REM sleep. The theory is that reprocessing traumatic memories through bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements, eliminates or decreases the intense charge of these memories, and moves them to their proper storage places in the brain.
I have seen how amazing EMDR is for the folks I work with, and watching their healing process has been deeply rewarding. I have seen their symptoms reduce and their worlds expand. If you have experienced trauma, and your world is smaller because of it, please reach out for help. You don't have to go it alone.
I've provided a video courtesy of EMDR International Association https://www.emdria.org discussing EMDR therapy.
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