Case Study: EMDR Treatment - Darren
Darren* was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of a medical emergency and underwent EMDR treatment which he says has ‘undoubtedly changed his life’.
(*Please note, names have been changed for the privacy of our contributors).
In 2009 I was a fit 54 year old, but I suffered a ruptured aortic artery. This life-threatening situation and emergency surgery resulting in my PTSD.
Having always considered myself as quite strong minded I easily convinced myself that my disturbed state of mind would be something I could control. I spent the following 8 years avoiding discussing my worsening state of mind and trying to escape reliving the trauma on an a daily and sometimes hourly basis – it was getting unbearable.
One day, my PTSD came to a shocking and terrifying head. While walking into town I heard sirens from an ambulance approaching as it got next to me, I froze on the spot, wet myself and trembled from head to foot.
With encouragement from my wife and son I referred myself to Steps To Wellbeing (an initiative by Southampton and Dorset NHS trust) and was diagnosed with PTSD (2017). I had 10 weeks of treatment involving reliving my trauma, my trigger issues (mainly sirens) and health services (doctors/hospital appointments etc). Having had the chance to offload my fears and the coping strategies I had learnt I felt in a better state of mind to start enjoying life again.
Within a few months I unfortunately had more panic attacks and very disturbed sleep patterns. I signed myself up for group counselling sessions which were excellent and although I had reservations beforehand, I felt comfortable in a small group discussing other people’s coping strategies and the information I obtained was indeed very useful.
At the end of the sessions at a meeting with the counsellors it was suggested that EMDR would be suitable for my condition.
In the short time I waited for my EMDR to begin I researched the procedure and totally believed in its effectiveness and that it was suitable for me. At my first session I felt comfortable with my therapist and they explained how the sessions would proceed, what to expect and the aim of how it may help me.
Before my third session I forced myself to relive one of my most uncomfortable trauma memories. Later whist following her sideways finger movements I experienced quite violent body jerks and trembling legs, immediately afterwards I had a slight headache and slept for many hours when I got home. This happened for the following 5 or 6 sessions until I realised my panic attack triggers were noticeably diminishing.
The EMDR treatment has undoubtedly changed my life, I am now only slightly wary of my past triggers and to this date have not experienced another panic attack.
I would highly recommend EMDR as an effective treatment for PTSD sufferers, I think the more in depth I relived my trauma the more beneficial my outcome has been.
I finished EMDR at the end of 2018 (I think). Since then, I have managed to ‘repay’ the NHS by donating some of my artwork which is now permanently on display in Dorchester Hospital.
Before EMDR I honestly believed I would live the rest of my days in an ‘on edge’ state of mind, I’m relieved to say that this is now not the case.
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