Just hearing the word used to make me uncomfortably anxious.
At last, I’m able to type those seven letters in sequence without becoming completely unhinged.
Before I get to the WHAT, I’d like to address the process of getting here.
The one “miracle” treatment that gave me emotional freedom took eight years of misery to even hear about yet it’s been around since before I was born.
Anxiety affects SO MANY people in this world.
What are all of them doing to maintain their sanity?
My first panic attack was the most foreign, AWFUL feeling I’d ever experienced.
After the first one they just kept on coming.
All. The. Time.
I was having panic attacks because I was so afraid of having panic attacks.
(More on that story in- Plagued with panic attacks ❤️)
“The floor keeps coming out from underneath me”
I confessed to my psychiatrist one day, anxiously awaiting my death sentence.
“It sounds like you are experiencing anxiety”
You mean I’m not dying?!?!
I was given a prescription for anxiety medication and left the office feeling relieved that this chaos would stop happening to me.
If you’ve dealt with crippling anxiety like myself, I’m sure you’re laughing with me at that last comment.
Boy did I have a lot to learn about anxiety.
Eight years later here is what I’ve got.
Anxiety medication is a double edged sword.
Unlike many other medications, benzodiazepines, or “anxiety meds”, are only short term treatment options that build tolerance with regular use.
Symptoms are decreased initially but before you know it, the dose is no longer effective.
In turn, your doctor bumps up the dose.
Again. Again. And again.
You will reach a point when the dose needed to treat your symptoms is more than a doctor can write for you.
I found this out the hard way when my daily 1mg of Ativan reached a whopping 3mg of Ativan AND 4mg of Xanax a day.
Clearly an insane amount of benzodiazepines for someone to be taking on a daily basis.
Most doctors would not even go that high today except in extreme cases- like mine.
My anxiety was so bad that even at that ridiculously high dose of “benzos” I was still in and out of the emergency room for “heart attacks” on a monthly basis.
So when the day eventually came that my doctor told me I’d have to make this ineffective dose effective, I panicked!
Surely there were many other options to treat people with anxiety after the inevitable medication cap…
It took a long time before I could find options for coping with this madness.
Eventually I was referred for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
Basically a therapist who you vent to and work through coping skills with.
CBT isn’t very effective in treating the panic attacks that you don’t see coming
In my case, exactly what I needed help with!!!
I wasn’t making any progress and after a couple months of it I decided the time and money spent going there just wasn’t worth it.
I was sentenced to a lifetime of panic attacks and there weren’t any options to cure me.
Over a year was spent in complete agony.
Every day was consumed with trying to stop my body from telling me I was dying.
Trying to find the right way to spread out my now ineffective medication to keep me from freaking out.
There were days when I dreaded waking up because I knew I’d have to try and manage my anxiety all day.
Eventually I ended up getting pregnant with my second child.
Benzodiazepines are not recommended during pregnancy
In total panic of hurting the baby I stopped taking all of my anxiety medications cold turkey.
Getting off benzodiazepines is absolute hell
Days were spent on the bathroom floor SCREAMING.
Stopping benzodiazepines gives you intense withdrawal symptoms including increased anxiety and panic attacks
At my wits end, popping Benadryl like candy to try and keep my head above water, I decided some crutch was better than no crutch.
Back to CBT I went.
This time around I had a new therapist who after reviewing my background recommended something called EMDR.
If you’ve never heard of it then join the crowd.
“Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing” is what it stands for.
Apparently it’s been around forever and has a ridiculously high success rate (as high as 100% success in some trials) in treating trauma.
Originally developed for veterans suffering from PTSD, EMDR works by filing traumatic memories PROPERLY into the brain.
My anxiety therapist said that the panic attacks that hit you like a bus stem from traumatic events shoved deep in our subconscious, resurfacing to be properly dealt with.
Traumatic events are well, traumatic.
It’s not uncommon to partially or completely blackout a traumatic event.
Even if you do remember most of what happened, you probably keep that memory far, faaaaar away!
That is our brains way of shielding us from the trauma.
A past trauma can cause a great deal of discomfort to revisit.
Successful completion of EMDR desensitizes such memories along with their symptoms.
So how does it work?!
Bilateral stimulation is used in a therapeutic setting while revisiting these horrific memories.
There are a variety of different mechanisms for the bilateral stimulation.
I use a light bar along with the hand buzzers, similar to the one pictured below- minus the headphones.
A buzzer gripped in each hand.
The light moves from side to side, on lightbulb at a time, coordinating vibrations with the side the light is on.
Sessions are very intense.
They always conclude with “containing” the disturbing memories and settling calmly in your self made “safe place”
This safety is reinforced in a few shorter sets of EMDR.
You leave the appointment calm.
Your brain does the rest of the work on its own.
After a couple sessions, the once cringeworthy event becomes nothing more than a memory.
It’s like magic.
While still currently undergoing therapy to cover my extensive trauma saturated past, I am 110% confident that once I’ve completed every target I will have COMPLETE control of my mind again.
The progress I have already made is absolutely mind blowing.
I HAVEN’T BEEN TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM FOR A PANIC ATTACK IN OVER A YEAR.
I have an emergency supply of 1mg Xanax that I rarely need to use.
This much progress with so much to still work through is absolutely incredible.
Once hopeless, now flooding with hope.
It should not have taken 8 years for me to hear about EMDR.
With such high success rates you’d think doctors would recommend EMDR over the short term solution of medication.
That wasn’t the case for me.
Let’s work together to get the word out and change the standard.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE and give a voice to those who need real long term help.
Use the hashtag #EXPOSEEMDR ❤️
SO MANY lives could be reclaimed if people KNOW THAT THIS IS OUT THERE and it works!
If you feel like your life has become prisoner to anxiety I encourage you to find a therapist who does EMDR asap!
Freedom from anxiety is possible.
I never thought I’d say this but I’m proof of it.
For more information on EMDR click the link below ⬇️❤️⬇️
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