Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Power of EMDR Treatment

Saturday, September 19, 2015

I started to write about a topic near and dear to my heart in my entry from yesterday evening. My entry today is meant to further explore this topic.

I found myself appreciating the impact that EMDR therapy has made on my life during my recent trip to Denver. I was in Denver to attend the Social Enterprise Alliance conference. When planning for my trip I perceived there was a distinct possibility that the trip could cause memories of earlier moments in my life to appear in my present awareness. And that indeed did happen. While visiting the area immediately around the Denver Center for the Performing Arts I found myself unintentionally remembering my visit to Denver in 2012. In the summer of 2012 I was living in Washington, DC. I was pursuing an internship with the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries in the hope of eventually launching a long-term career in the federal government. Though that has not (yet) happened I nonetheless do value the time I spent in Washington, DC.

One of the highlights of my time in DC was my participation as a singing member of the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, DC. The chorus traveled to Denver that summer to participate in a gathering of LGBT choruses that occurs once every four years. The occasion features days and days of concerts and  an opportunity to meet people from all over the country. I found myself walking through some of the very same streets while in Denver this past week. And I recognized many of the places I first encountered in 2012. My life has changed dramatically since 2012. And this dramatic difference has been facilitated in large measure by my decision to undergo EMDR treatment.

I have written about EMDR therapy in many entries in my blog. I now perceive the world with what sometimes seems to be an entirely new set of eyes. When I call to mind the memories of my trip to Denver from this past week I notice a qualitative difference in the visual aspect of my memories; my recent memories are more vivid. These recently created memories possess a sharp and vibrant quality that is lacking in my memories of these very same places in Denver that I created in 2012. In essence I, the perceiver, have undergone a fundamental transformation in how I experience the world around me.

When I first underwent EMDR treatment in 2013 I initially felt overwhelmed and awed much of the time. It was painful for me to realize I had effectively not been "correctly" perceiving the world for much of my life. I wasn't truly seeing the vibrant beauty of the world as it truly is. As time passed I wondered if I would ever not feel amazed by the change in how I perceive the world. Over two years has now passed since I was first introduced to EMDR therapy. And I still wake up and notice the beauty of the world around me. And I am aware of the fact that I notice the beauty of the world most every day.

We sometimes experience events in our lives that forever change who we are. Some changes we may seek to consciously bring about through the application of our own will. Other times events take place which we would rather not be impacted by but are nonetheless. These inescapable events may prove particularly painful or disruptive of our lives. If I had to assign two words to describe what the year of 2013 was for me those words would indeed be painful and disruptive.

And yet I have journeyed out of that painful abyss. And I have discovered myself to be a new man. I cannot be the person I once was. EMDR treatment was, for me, life changing.

Change is not always easy. Even changes that ultimately lead us to an improved quality of life can be difficult to accept and adapt to. I have many times found myself wondering if the change I have experienced these last two years ought to somehow inform what I choose to do for work in the remainder of my professional life. I have asked myself "Am I such a different person now that I can't be the same person both in a professional sense and personal sense?"

In traveling to Denver I once again appreciated the magnitude of how my perception of the world (and myself) has changed. I am now intent to learn if there currently exists an online forum for people who have underwent EMDR therapy and who, like me, found it to be life-changing. I sometimes feel quite alone in taking the journey of transformation I have taken these last two years. I would like to find others to chat with whose lives have been profoundly and positively impacted by the use of EMDR.

Call it a belated birthday wish for myself.

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I invite you to accompany me as I document my own journey of healing. My blog is designed to offer inspiration and solace to others. If you find it of value I welcome you to share it with others. Aloha!