Hey all! This is where I’ll be keeping notes and posts about my journey through EMDR therapy. For those of you who don’t know, EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a process that helps the brain heal from psychological trauma. If you want to learn more about it, you can visit this page. On any post, at any time, please feel free to ask me questions. I’m an open book, and I hope to help others realize they’re not alone and that there’s someone out there to talk to, and that there are so many reasons to keep hope alive.
Beginning in early 2016 I started going to a therapist and psychiatrist. Upon my initial visit I was diagnosed with anxiety, chronic depression, and PTSD. Most of my family, both on my mom’s and dad’s sides, deal with depression and anxiety. I had known for a long time that those were things I was dealing with also and had wanted to start therapy and medication long before I finally did. Why didn’t I start sooner if I wanted to? That would be where the PTSD comes in.
2016 was a bittersweet year for me. It brought to me some of the absolute lowest lows, but also some of the highest highs. January saw the last time I talked to the man with whom I had spent five and half years in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship. Shortly after that I lost my best friend and partner in crime when I found out she had been lying to me and using me to cover up her lies to other people. By March I had broken up with my boyfriend after a year of being with him. May was the month that tested every boundary of everything I’ve ever known. On the 17th of May the garage of my grandparents’ house in Northwest Arkansas caught fire due to an electrical short. My mom and I watched as we lost one of our dogs to the flames. I called 911 and took charge of getting everyone out of the house. My mom, my brother, and I did everything we could to get both of my grandparents out first, neither of whom could walk on their own. We were fortunate that a volunteer firefighter drove by as the black smoke busted out all of the glass windows on the garage doors. He helped my mom and brother get my grandparents across the street into the neighbor’s yard while I ran back in to save as many of our pets as I could. Smoke filled the house but the fire was contained to the garage. I managed to get both dogs, our bird, and two of five cats into my car after multiple trips back into the house. The fire department showed up and made me join my family across the street while they put the fire out. The brought a third cat out to us, covered in soot but safe. I knew one of the cats was safe under one of the beds, but the fifth cat was nowhere to be found. Several days later we found her. She had spent three days shut in the scorched remnants of the garage with no food or water, but she was fine. The garage and everything in it was a total loss.
Prior to and including all of this, my mom and I were at home caretakers for both of my grandparents, and had been for about two years prior. My grandma was experiencing the mid stages of familial amyloidosis. She and I had been taking part in clinical trials up in St. Louis at the university to research a potential treatment. At the same time that we were assisting my grandma physically, my grandpa was progressing through the stages of Lewy Body Dementia. We had our hands full. It was very difficult getting them out of the house during the fire, and it was a cold day. They both became too cold, too long before I could get them into a neighbor’s house. When they finally were able to settle in there for awhile, I took over making the insurance calls and trying to figure out where we would all stay until we could go back to the house.
Twelve days later, on May 29th, my grandma passed away from heart failure. It was a part of the amyloidosis, but the trauma of the fire was too much for her to handle. The decline was rapid. She and I were very, very close. It was a very co-dependent kind of relationship, not really anything resembling a healthy, normal family relationship. I was raised by my grandparents, mostly my grandma and her need to control everything. Don’t get me wrong, I loved her very deeply and still do, but we had many tough times throughout the years. I was very sheltered and had a large and strict set of rules I had to adhere to in order to maintain peace. As my therapy continues, I will likely elaborate on this in more specifics.
2016 did end with many positive notes including me finally making friends who I love very dearly, getting a job that I absolutely adore, and, most importantly, finding and marrying my sweet husband, Kyle. I owe many of my successes the past year to him and his help. 2017 has started off on a much stronger and better note than last year. I’m excited to begin this journey to recovery and growth, and I’m so thankful to have such an amazing support system of friends and family who I love more than I can possibly ever express. Thank you all for going on this journey with me!