EMDR ((Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a technique used by some therapists to help us overcome traumatic situations, images, thoughts, or things affecting us from our past. This is something many PTSD patients find useful. I will explain it to you how I understand and interpret it but you should of course speak with your therapist and specifically one who does study EMDR for additional details.

I had never heard this term before the passing of my husband. Just something else new to learn and understand. My friend brought it to my attention as an effective technique for trauma patients either before or with talk therapy. It is “Tapping” into your left and right brain while you imagine a stressful, traumatic experience. When you go through something traumatic (finding your spouse deceased or combat where a fellow soldier is killed) that image is in the forefront of your mind. You cannot move past it or file it away in your memory bank. It is ALL encompassing. It is all you see.

Ways you can do EMDR:

  • Tapping on the body left and right by a therapist (bilateral stimulation)
  • Music playing in your ears left and right switching
  • Movement of the therapists finger left and right while you follow the finger

I personally chose the physical tapping. I felt that this would be most effective for me and following the finger seemed the most annoying for me. We did try all three techniques out.

I went into the office and we began with thinking of finding my husband passed away in the darkness of night. As I replayed the movie of the October 23rd experience I cried and cried like it was just happening again because for me it felt exactly like it was still happening. Everyday after he died and until the experience of EMDR I replayed the same movie repeatedly and experienced the same fear/shock/paralysis. In the evenings if I was lucky to close my eyes for a brief time I would find myself replaying again and I would be unable to move, get up out of bed, grab a glass of water, etc.

For me this treatment just worked. It worked fast. It blew my mind. It changed my mind. I was so in need of something to work. Everything was so new and raw and I had no preconceived notions on any of this. I replayed the torture of finding him and when that went away it was onto working through the words and statements he made in the few weeks before he passed away, the way he seemed distant and odd and dark. He made a few comments that I would not stop replaying over and over in my head. They killed every chance of me feeling remotely OK, even though there was no chance of that. Things like “you need a husband who goes out more” which was said to me while I was in the shower being happy. Then while we laid in bed with our dogs he said once “you all would be fine without me”.

It is not something that works immediately for everyone and also the degree and length of the experience, and how long ago the experience occurred all factor into how many times you need to replay the scene and go through EMDR.

When it works… you get your mind BACK. It is YOURS again. Now when you want to draw up the traumatic experience it is you recalling this from your memory. It is not sitting there hanging out in front of your face where you cannot push it away.

Please consider trying this. It is by far and away the best thing I did for myself in the early stages. I would still be laying in bed imagining him dead and unable to move if this was not something I did.

This image was posted by https://innerhealingresources.com/emdr/ and I thought you may find it helpful. 






Brain Scans before and after EMDR (this is something my therapist showed me to help explain what is going on up in the mind. Saved from


Where do you put your warmth, kindness, and affection now?

Where should all the affection and warmth and kindness go now?  I keep putting it in a bottle. The bottle may burst soon. When is the right time to move forward and pursue more than a friendship?  From what I read there is No answer to this. We should do what we feel and not worry about what others think.

I am reading Second Firsts by Christina Rasmussen and it is wonderful. She is so inspirational when she speaks about life re-entry. She explains that you had a life you lived with your spouse, a life you live while your waiting and this is something we should keep to a short term. Then there is your new life when you embrace re-entry. When she said that grabbing your new life is hard because you are afraid to get hurt and experience more grief, that resonated.

I want nothing more than to take a leap into life and love but doing so means putting my fragile and vulnerable self out there.

I am forever changed. I am trying new things and new experiences. I am independent and strong. While I do not need a man, I do want to share my time with someone wonderful.  One amazing man came around unexpectedly and on paper I’m sure it seems ridiculous to consider me as anything more than a friend. But I do want to get to know more about him. Grief and fear hold me back. But really what else is there to lose? I have so much warmth, love, kindness and affection and nowhere to put it. It is more than lonely it is painful. More uncertainty and doubt in myself. My heart is ready to try but how do I proceed without knowing?