Do I have to put up with feeling anxious or low?
By Helen Lickerish – EMDR Therapist
Many people don’t feel as emotionally healthy, strong and in control as they would like to. There are times when they feel panicky, unable to cope with their feelings, depressed or constantly anxious and on edge.
Why does this happen? Why are some people confident and able to cope with whatever life throws at them, whilst others struggle? Well, there are many theories and many reasons, but a very important factor in the creation of our personality and coping mechanisms is our upbringing. The lessons we learned whilst growing up help to formulate our thinking, belief systems and attitudes. Even with the best parenting in the world, we will inevitably have encountered some troubling scenes and faced challenging situations. Much of this makes us stronger, providing us with valuable lessons from which we can grow. However, sometimes an experience overwhelms us. It might be a seemingly small or insignificant event such as being taken to the front of class when we were small and told off in front of our friends, or constantly being told we are stupid by parents. Or it might be more significant, such as living with a parent who is suffering from depression, or drinks heavily. To some the events will be a normal part of learning and won’t unduly affect them. To others the memories will remain with them, either consciously or unconsciously, influencing how they think, feel and behave now, even though they may not realise it.
When we experience trauma (which doesn’t have to be a major event such as being attacked - it can be the constant small stressful events we encountered whilst growing up) we don’t process the memories and feelings in the same way we normally do. They can get “stuck”, hidden and unprocessed, in the back part of the brain (the amygdala) rather than being made sense of, and “filed away” in the neocortex ready for access when needed.
There is an exciting and effective new way to get help with emotional problems called EMDR. EMDR stands for Eye Movement, Desensitisation and Reprocessing. Developed by psychologist, Dr. Francine Shapiro in the 1980’s whilst working with Vietnam War veterans, it has been proven to be safe, effective, and fast, in dealing with traumas and difficult-to-manage feelings.
The beauty of EMDR is that it works with the body as well as the mind. It is fast, and safe. It allows the client to release difficult emotional feelings, replacing them with positive emotions and bringing a sense of freedom, well-being, self-control and happiness.
EMDR is useful for:
It isn’t necessary to know or understand why you feel like you do. EMDR allows you to unearth the root of the problem and release the traumatic feelings.