Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Ranya
Ranya* grew up in a violent and abusive household which led to her developing PTSD. In this case study, she tells us how, despite her initial worries, EMDR has changed outlook her outlook on life and she’s now on the path to reclaiming her life.
“I’m 32 years old. I grew up in a household where my father was violent and abusive to my mother, to myself and my siblings. I had witnessed and experienced the abuse. There was always an atmosphere in the home and we were always on edge worrying about what my father would do next. We eventually managed to escape him and fled the home when I was 8 years old. All contact with him stopped. Around 10 years later, he died. I had all sorts of conflicting emotions. I shut them away and tried my best to carry on as normal, thinking that was the best way to cope.
A couple of years later, my sister had a mental breakdown and was sectioned which was yet another traumatic event. By this time, I knew I was suffering from depression and I had a very negative view about life.
I spoke to my GP and began taking anti-depressants. I was also referred into counselling. I’ve never been good at sharing or talking about my feelings. I didn’t find the counselling comfortable at all and gave up a few sessions in. I was 20 years old and in hindsight, young and immature.
My mental health for the following 10 years was up and down. I had some very low moments.
Once the pandemic came in 2020, my anxiety went through the roof. I felt suffocated during lockdown. I was always on edge, worrying about everything. I began to have nightmares about some of the trauma I had suffered in the past. I had always avoided talking about any of it to anyone. I would avoid reminders as I would have upsetting flashbacks.
I was having regular thoughts of taking my own life, coming close to it on at least 3 occasions. Thankfully I didn’t go through with it. I knew I needed help so I self-referred to psychological services via the NHS. I had an initial telephone consultation where I was told that my symptoms were akin to PTSD. I was shocked by this as to me, PTSD was related to war veterans or people who had experienced a single, traumatic event. I only ever thought I had anxiety and depression. PTSD had not crossed my mind. I read up on it and found that flashbacks, nightmares, feeling on edge and mood changes were all symptoms of PTSD that I had been suffering.
I was offered EMDR therapy. I had heard of it before in my professional life but never had a real understanding of it.
My therapist explained it to me. It felt daunting and also a strange type of therapy in terms of having to do rapid eye movements. One of the first things we discussed was what I wanted to achieve from the therapy. I wanted to reclaim my life and set myself up for a healthy future. The early sessions of the EMDR therapy involved learning grounding techniques and coming up with a safe space in my mind for when I have to face up to the trauma. I was able to use them not just in sessions but also in daily life. We worked through a timeline of the key traumatic events in my life that we needed to work on. This planning and preparation gave me a sense of control which was great considering my anxiety. I was motivated to engage in the therapy and I felt hopeful. I didn’t want to worry my family about my diagnosis or that I was having this therapy as I felt as though they had been through enough distress. I did however confide in a friend who supported me every step of the way, encouraging me and checking in on me after sessions. This was a great help and also kept me motivated.
My therapy was via the NHS. The first session with the rapid eye movements was tough. We talked first traumatic memory I could remember from my childhood. I felt very tired and overwhelmed afterwards and wasn’t sure I was able to go through all the traumatic events and carry on. I felt like giving up with the therapy but my friend reminded me how far I had come and that I was on the verge of getting the help I needed. I pushed myself to carry on. As the sessions went on, I began to find them easier as I knew what to expect and I had figured out what self-care I needed after sessions. I could slowly feel the burden on my mind lifting as each session went on. Some sessions would be harder than others depending on the traumatic event we would work on. But facing up to and working through the trauma helped me come to terms with it all. I’d finally been able to understand my feelings and face up to them.
At the moment I have completed 13 sessions and have just 3 more to go. My outlook on life has changed. I tend not to get caught up with insignificant issues and I try to have perspective on things. My nightmares have pretty much stopped and my anxiety is much more under control. My brain has managed to process the traumatic events. They will always be there in my mind but the feelings of not being in control, fear, guilt and anger at what happened have now been replaced with feelings of feeling in control, knowing that none of it was my fault, that it is over and that I am safe.
Engaging in therapy is daunting but you should stick with it. It will feel much better as each session goes on and you’ll start to feel better within yourself. It’s also really important to get the right therapy – the counselling I had when I was 20 was the wrong thing for me. I’m glad I eventually managed to get the right diagnosis and was able to get the right therapy. The hardest step is the first one – asking for help. But once you do that, you’re on the road to recovery and reclaiming your life.“
*The name has been changed to protect the identity of our case study.
Hello! Did you find this information useful?
Please consider supporting PTSD UK with a donation to enable us to provide more information & resources to help us to support everyone affected by PTSD, no matter the trauma that caused it
PTSD UK Blog
You’ll find up-to-date news, research and information here along with some great tips to ease your PTSD in our blog.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month June is PTSD Awareness Month. Together, we can make this PTSD Awareness Month a turning point – a time when we come together as a collective force to raise awareness of PTSD and Complex-PTSD.
Kieran Tompsett PTSD UK Ambassador
Reality Star Kieran Tompsett has been unveiled as PTSD UK’s newest celebrity ambassador PTSD UK is delighted to announce that we have a new inspiring celebrity ambassador on board – Businessman Kieran Tompsett from the hit BBC One series The
Alexithymia and PTSD
Alexithymia and PTSD “How are you feeling?” – for some people, this is a simple question to answer. However, if you suffer from alexithymia, a condition that impairs your ability to identify and describe your emotions, answering this question can
Maternal mental health Funding
Mums in the UK missing out on specialist mental health support due to insecure funding PTSD UK are proud members of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) a UK-wide charity and network of over 100 organisations, dedicated to ensuring everyone affected
Emotional numbness in PTSD & C-PTSD One of the most damaging assumptions about someone who has experienced trauma, or has a PTSD or C-PTSD diagnosis is that they don’t seem to be upset by it. In fact, their apparent disassociation
Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Rebecca
Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Rebecca PTSD UK Supporter Rebecca initially shared her EMDR experience on her own website, but has given us permission to share her story of her ‘long and confusing road towards rediscovering a traumatic experience so
PTSD UK Supporters Store
Treatments for PTSD
It is possible for PTSD to be successfully treated many years after the traumatic event occurred, which means it is never too late to seek help. For some, the first step may be watchful waiting, then exploring therapeutic options such as individual or group therapy – but the main treatment options in the UK are psychological treatments such as Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprogramming (EMDR) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
Traumatic events can be very difficult to come to terms with, but confronting and understanding your feelings and seeking professional help is often the only way of effectively treating PTSD. You can find out more in the links below, or here.
Case Study: EMDR Treatment for Children – AJ
Case Study: EMDR Treatment for Children – AJ After a humiliating experience at school, AJ developed PTSD. Following panic attacks and other symptoms he underwent
Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Chris
Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Chris Chris developed severe PTSD after being struck from behind by a lorry while on duty as a Police Officer.
Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Rachael
Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Rachael Rachael was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of the horrific symptoms she experienced following a surgery. Unfortunately, Rachael
Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Emily
Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Emily Emily underwent EMDR treatment over Zoom to treat her PTSD following a trauma in her job as a Police
Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Alani
Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Alani After her son was hit by a distracted driver, and in ICU for 6 weeks, Alani developed PTSD. She
Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Emma
Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Emma After witnessing her husband having a terrifying seizure, Emma was diagnosed with PTSD. She underwent EMDR treatment and in
Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Jenna
Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Jenna Jenna* was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of an ‘incomplete’ miscarriage and the inconsistent and traumatic care that
Case Study: Sam’s EMDR Treatment
Case Study: Sam’s EMDR Treatment Sam underwent EMDR treatment after being diagnosed with C-PTSD following multiple and sustained traumas in childhood. Here, Sam explains more
Case Study: Jasmine’s EMDR Treatment
Case Study: Jasmine’s EMDR Treatment Jasmine underwent EMDR treatment after being diagnosed with PTSD following a trauma. Here, Jasmine explains more about her EMDR treatment,
Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Sophie
Case Study: Sophie’s EMDR Treatment Sophie* underwent EMDR treatment after being diagnosed with PTSD following a trauma. Here, Sophie explains more about her EMDR treatment,
Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Darren
Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Darren Darren* was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of a medical emergency and underwent EMDR treatment which he says
Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Claudia
Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Claudia Claudia* was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of a number of traumatic events in her life and underwent
Case Study: EMDR treatment-Melissa
Case Study: Melissa’s EMDR Treatment Melissa* underwent EMDR treatment after being diagnosed with PTSD following a medical emergency which resulted in an induced coma. Here,