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, how she needed to find the right therapist to help, what happened in her sessions, and how she feels EMDR ‘changed her life forever.’
“Before having EMDR I was literally living in an ongoing and never-ending nightmare. I was permanently in the situation that had caused it. Even blinking caused flashbacks and they were continual – the smell, sound etc. I couldn’t even listen to music for the first time in my life. Music had always been a huge part of my life and I listened to it every day before, but it took months to be able to listen again.
I couldn’t open my curtains let alone leave the house as the thought of there being a world and people and noise outside terrified me. Unfortunately, at the time I was also being stalked by a violent ex so my home didn’t feel safe either and this meant my PTSD and anxiety symptoms got 100 times worse, and lasted much longer too.
I was put on a waiting list for therapy with the NHS but I was told I could be waiting for a year or even up to 2 years for this to begin. In the mean time I was given between a small number of therapy sessions through the rape clinic.
It was at these sessions I was first told about EMDR. I know that those first few sessions definitely helped alot with the flashbacks and feeling like I was living too much in the moment continually. I had a safe place within EMDR sessions (in my mind) and could get to it when needed.
At the time, I was on strong medication, and due to the time pressure of limited sessions being available, things didn’t turn out too well. I often had to cancel appointments due to not wanting to leave my house, or getting in a state, but the therapist made me feel like I HAD to do the session even when I didn’t want. I felt very disappointed and let down.
I was just left trying to cope without any therapy while being passed back and forth, assessed then reassessed because someone always thought someone else would be better qualified to help me.
One year after the traumatic event, I tried to take my own life as I could not live like that anymore.
The crisis team placed me in a secure unit, which was the best thing that could have happened to me. A man on the crisis team asked if I’d heard of EMDR and I told him my experience – he apologised for how the sessions had been done before and how I’d been left feeling about it. He asked if I’d allow him to give me sessions and we would not stop the sessions until I felt it had achieved its goal.
It changed my life forever. I was very anxious at first as a big part of EMDR is to purposely put yourself back in the traumatic situation. However, I had so many moments of enlightenment. I would be absolutely shattered after each session and alot of processing went on between them. The flashbacks stopped, the trauma became like a faded old photo instead of an HD movie in replay.
Once I came home I was able to start leaving the house bit by bit. I could listen to music.
It took another year for art therapy to begin due to COVID restrictions. If it hadn’t been for EMDR I don’t believe art therapy would have been enough to help me however the mixture of the two, plus spending almost a year coming off the medication has made my head a very different space. I downloaded a meditation app and spend every day with a clear head, a positive outlook and I’m feeling stronger than I think I ever have.
I’m not saying PTSD and anxiety never affect me because once in a while a sound, a smell or situation can set off symptoms – but, I regain control alot faster and am in charge of my life. PTSD does not control me anymore.
My friends and family didn’t understand apart from one person (he is a veteran who has PTSD and kept telling me to do EMDR as it had helped him so much). I’m glad I listened to him because he was so right.
My advice would be, if you are offered EMDR, and can find a good fit with your therapist, and will keep going until the natural end of sessions, then you most definitely should do it. It really did change my life.”
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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.