PTSD, ADHD, EMDR and self-worth… Part 1

I imagine there are many people, who like myself, were raped by their father each day, maybe many times a day, for many years, or many months, or many weeks, or many days. . . I imagine like myself, they struggled with self-worth, perhaps not even knowing such a thing existed, until very many years into therapy, after very many broken relationships, bouts with depression, one addiction after another (which fortunately for me, has not been my struggle,) walking through life in a haze, feet on the ground, head in the sky, total disconnection from their bodies; because to feel their bodies, to feel anything at all, would mean to remember what they have tried so hard to keep buried deep, deep, down below their feet that are walking on the ground!

For me, all of the above PTSD, ADHD, EMDR and self-worth became a part of my awareness in my late 50’s. I have a great doctor who mentioned to me quite often, “I think you are suffering from PTSD.” I blew him off for years, until one day I actually took the time to look on the web and realized very quickly that he was right.

I guess my resistance to acknowledging that I suffered (still suffer) from PTSD was tied into the “victim” role. If I acknowledged I suffered from it because of what my dad inflicted on me as a young girl, which is actually the truth, then it somehow sought sympathy, which I have never wanted and never been comfortable with.

So once I had read enough information to convince myself that it was okay to admit that all of what I was reading was actually my reality each day, my next step was to tell my doctor that I was ready to see this “friend of his, who is great,” that he had been talking to me about for years. I could never have been prepared for how this next step changed me, my life and my beliefs about myself…

See below for a very uninformed breakdown of what I randomly discovered online regarding all of the above…more to follow in Part 2

PTSD – short for Post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • A disorder in which a person has difficulty recovering after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event.
  • This condition may last months or years, with triggers that can bring back memories of the trauma accompanied by intense emotional and physical reactions.
  • More than 3 million US cases per year
  • Common symptoms:
    • Intrusive thoughts
    • Nightmares
    • Avoiding reminders of the event
    • Memory loss
    • Negative thoughts about self and the world
    • Self-isolation; feeling distant
    • Anger and irritability
    • Reduced interest in favorite activities
    • Hypervigilance
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Insomnia
    • Vivid flashbacks
    • Avoiding people, places and things related to the event
    • Casting blame
    • Difficulty feeling positive emotions
    • Exaggerated startle response
    • Risky behaviors

ADHD – short for Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

  • Is a behavioral and neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, which are pervasive, impairing and otherwise age inappropriate.
  • More than 3 million US cases per year
  • Common symptoms:
    • Aggression
    • Excitability
    • Fidgeting
    • Hyperactivity
    • Impulsivity
    • Irritability
    • Lack of restraint
    • Persistent repetition of words or actions
    • Absent-mindedness
    • Difficulty focusing
    • Forgetfulness
    • Problem paying attention
    • Short attention span
    • Anger
    • Anxiety
    • Boredom
    • Excitement
    • Mood swings
    • Depression
    • Learning disability

EMDR – short for Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing

  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is a form of psychotherapy in which the person being treated is asked to recall distressing images; the therapist then directs the patient in one type of bilateral stimulation, such as side-to-side eye movement or tapping either side of the body.
  • Developed in the late 1980’s by Francine Shapiro
  • Benefits of EMDR:
    • Enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress caused my traumatic experiences
    • Offers people the tools to deal with past, present and future trauma
    • Assists in building a positive response rather than negative
    • Helps to realize what happened to a person in the past, is not happening now
    • Changes the way memory is stored in the brain
    • Can lead to memories no longer producing high levels of distress but becoming just memories instead of recurring experiences
    • Some researchers assert that 20 minutes of EMDR is roughly the equivalent of five hours of talk therapy
    • Can benefit people with depression, anxiety and panic disorders
    • Success rate has been reported as high as 77% in some cases

SELF-WORTH – another word for self-esteem. Self-esteem is an individual’s subjective evaluation of their own worth. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs about oneself as well as emotional states, such as triumph, despair, pride and shame.

  • Examples of self-worth:
    • The belief that you are a good person who deserves good things
    • Ability to express your needs and opinions
    • Confidence in making decisions
    • Ability to form secure and honest relationships
    • Openness to criticism
    • Owning up to mistakes
    • Comfortable giving and receiving compliments
    • Being on your own team
    • Respecting yourself
    • Self-dignity
    • Welcomes both success and failure
    • Creates space for your emotions without feeling guilty about them
    • Not afraid to be alone
    • Set firm boundaries
    • Appreciate the challenging people in your life

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