How EMDR and God Helped Me Endure

My son Tyler was 32 when he passed away. His car slid off the road and rolled over. He was thrown from the car and the hit to his head killed him immediately. I don’t know how long he lay in the snowy ditch until someone (who?) came along and found him. I don’t know this but I have imagined it over and over. In fact, I imagined it until I thought what I imagined was real.

Afterwards, I spent session after session with a Psychologist that specializes in PTSD and treats this malady with EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing). Week after week, I watched a light move right to left, left to right in front of my eyes and told the story over and over – the ditch, the car, the snow, the hit on the head- until I convinced myself that I had never seen this and really am not aware of what exactly happened.
PTSD can develop after a major traumatic event, either emotional or physical. About 10% of the US population has symptoms of PSTD. It is mostly a female event, in fact, my stepdaughter had it after finding her stepfather dead on his bed. She also went through EMDR therapy.

She, like I, came to hate going through it- the scene in our minds, time after time- but it really helped. My therapist used a penlight in front of my eyes which caused my eyes to find a right/left eye movement. I have also heard that a therapist can use sound. My therapist explained that the movement repeatedly activates the opposite sides of the brain releasing emotional experiences that are “trapped” in the nervous system. Can you believe it? It’s so amazing to me how just retelling the story with this penlight helps the neurophysiological system to free itself of blockages and reconnect itself!

Sometimes I still do think about how my son died- you can understand how that would be, but I feel like if I do some investigating and obtain the documents from the highway patrol and coroner and local police then I would worry over the story and ultimately have a whole new scenario in my head.

It is enough; right now, I think it is enough, to know that my son died and lives in Heaven with Jesus and my Mom and Dad, as well as his father’s Mom and Dad and the two babies I miscarried. I am a believer. I also believe that our dogs are there too. Even our precious dachshund puppy who died too young.

EMDR helped me to realize that my imagination had built that scene of his death. Afterward, plenty of DBT (Dialectic Behavior Therapy) classes helped me to look at his death as a FACT. He is dead. And all the things I had meant to say to him are left unsaid. That is true. But it is my faith in God that has helped me to understand my feelings. It is DBT that has given me the coping skills to move forward.

Moving forward is HUGE for me because I just couldn’t get past this strategy. One of the things I hope to do in this blog is to help others who can’t move forward- and to show how God plays the BIGGEST part in getting us to move forward.

If you are like me you know the verse that says that God doesn’t give us more than we can bear. I believed that whole-heartedly until Tyler died. How could I possible bear this? This verse is 1 Corinthians 10:13. The rest of the verse says that God will provide a way for us to handle it. I believe my way to handle it is with my doctors and therapists and through DBT counseling.

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

No. God did not make it all go away. And he used men and women of great knowledge to show me how to handle it. He showed me that I can endure.  I hope that through these posts you can apply this therapy to your life to help you endure.

I am not sure what your burden is today but I am living proof that our God is faithful. That He will indeed show us a way to handle it- If we simply believe that He will.


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