EMDR Therapy For Postpartum Depression

I have a friend, she listens, she says my emotion is validated even the negative. She tells me what I’m feeling isn’t how a happy person should feel. She knows my smiles are ways of escape. She knows people’s comments may kill me. When I say there are people going through worse and I’m being silly, she comforts me and tells me that what I’m feeling isn’t any less important, because I’m important.

My friend is a therapist and works for the NHS postnatal team.

I wanted to die 7 months ago, I even had a plan on how I would do it. But I went to get help and told them I couldn’t do it anymore,  I was exhausted but my little girl needed me. My first therapy session I didn’t talk, but my therapist has a clever way of gaining trust and now I trust her with all my heart. I’m doing something called EMDR with her, I thought it was strange at first and I was totally out of my comfort zone. EMDR means eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing.

When we experience traumatic events the thoughts, feelings and memories we have about those events can get stuck. It can be hard to move on from them. 

The aim of EMDR is to help the brain to process distressing memories. This reduces their influence and allows patients to develop ways to more effectively get on with their lives.

During therapy sessions, you are supported to recall a traumatic event and at the same time receive bilateral stimulation. This means receiving stimuli in a rhythmic left-right pattern. The stimuli can be something you hear, see or feel. 

For example, bilateral stimulation could involve:

  • moving your eyes from side to side
  • tapping movements on different sides of your body
  • tones you hear through one ear then the other wearing headphones 

I have to bring up emotional disturbing material in brief sequential doses while simultaneously focusing on an external stimulus, which in my case is a light that moves side to side. I don’t speak some things aloud as I’m too ashamed, but after all, when you talk in your head it’s just as effective as talking out loud, so it still works even if you don’t want to say something. I didn’t trust it at all and felt so stupid! But what was there to lose? For years I suffered from intrusive thoughts but since having my first child, those thoughts happened daily and we’re more violent. I would imagine myself jumping off a cliff, or dropping my baby off a high place, and this made me feel horrible, these terrifying thoughts manifested my everyday life. I just didn’t want to live anymore, because how could I imagine such awful things? It’s like a constant horror film playing in my head no matter where or what I was doing.

My baby is now 7 months old I’m still doing EMDR  and still suffering but it’s less intense! Hurray!  Breakthrough. The reason for writing this is I’m passionate about getting this message out to new mums or mums going through similar because I couldn’t find anything on this topic and I felt very alone and silly but let me tell you, EMDR  DOES WORK, I didn’t believe it myself but it really does. Trust me when I say this but my thoughts were that bad I thought I would get taken away by two men in white coats. I know I’m not crazy and I’m not silly for doing therapy because it’s saved my life and continues to do so on my bad days, In fact, it saved me again today. Feel what you’re feeling and accept you’re not crazy because your not.  Please take my advice and do it when you feel determined, even if it’s a tiny bit because this kind of therapy is hard work, you have to be brave and determined to get through the really difficult stuff, without doing so you won’t succeed and only you can succeed at getting better so

Go and seek support because you’re not alone. You are brave.

~ Naomi (@therealdealmum)

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