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Lost the ability to visualize memories and images in my mind


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#1 Toast

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 10:06 PM

My dpdr has been the result of a traumatic experience, and last week I did an EMDR therapy session with my therapist. I was able to see the memory vividly and sit through it decently well. Problem is after the session i find it near impossible to conjure any image in my brain whatsoever. I became more numb and now dont feel any emotion when recollecting on past memories. I'm worried it'll never come back, although since i was able to do it before it must be reversible I hope. I think my brain went into overprotective mode and made me feel even more dp'd than i already do causing my mind to be visually blank. I think it's also trying to make it hard for me to visualize memories in fear of me reliving my trauma again. I'm completely lost and it seems to be getting worse by the day. What should I do? Has anyone lost the ability to visualize or it looks hazy and unclear? Has it came back? Please, I need answers, I want my life to go back to normal...please.


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#2 REB

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Posted 19 April 2019 - 07:17 AM

My condolences.



#3 Toast

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Posted 20 April 2019 - 12:02 AM

Well, now I know not to bother posting here anymore. Thanks for nothing I guess.

#4 FirstAid

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Posted 20 April 2019 - 02:43 AM

Well, now I know not to bother posting here anymore. Thanks for nothing I guess.


Ignore him, all I can say is this. Emdr should lessen the trauma but don't you initially have to relive it? Sometimes that can make yourself worse if you aren't ready to process the trauma, usually it's worse before you get better, have you told your therapist? Emdr sbould only be done by experienced practitioners not some noob who has just passed their exams or some shit. Anyway I wish you all the best, I do believe you can improve as you have thd exact cause of it and know where to start, and so should you.

#5 Broken

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Posted 20 April 2019 - 09:26 AM

I tried EMDR on the NHS with a proper therapist, I had about 5 sessions and said to myself "I feel as though it is starting to work"... then that was the end of my sessions lol it was free so I can't really complain but is false economy if it starts to help & they pull the plug. I have the same issue with DP and not being able to visualise or remember memories vividly. I'm not sure if I could ever do this that well though.

 

As above you probably should do this with an experienced therapist. Not that I know anything, but some use sounds/lights/vibrating balls in each hand, to 'stimulate each side of the brain'. If that theory is correct (and has been shown in trauma patients that each hemisphere doesn't communicate to each other as efficiently) then my guess would be you want to do it with as many stimuli as possible. Are you doing more EMDR? (ignore that guy btw, I don't know if he was being an arse or sincere but most people here aren't like that)



#6 Toast

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Posted 20 April 2019 - 01:08 PM

I did tell her, and she basically just agreed with my suspicions saying it's probably a defense mechanism deployed by my brain. She told me she has experience and has been doing it for a couple years, she also didn't just take one class then pass an exam to start doing it. She's going to be talking to a psychologist to maybe find out what's going on and where to go from here in regards to EMDR therapy. I'm a bit discouraged from doing any more sessions, but maybe it's the answer. When I think of my traumatic memory, I know it happened but I can't really picture it clearly anymore along with all my memories. We did no preparation and I blindly agreed because I'm naive and didn't know anything about EMDR. I sincerely regret ever doing it.

 

I'm worried something went wrong and i caused my brain irreparable harm. I looked up on google to find similar experiences which I know I shouldn't have done and came upon some people claiming it can cause brain damage, Of course that scared the ever living shit out of me and now I'm convinced it's brain damage or something else. I know trauma can cause actual damage to the hippocampus, but I believe it can be reversed. Sometimes when I'm less anxious my minds eye is more clear which gives me some hope it'll get better, but it overall seems to be getting worse by the day. I guess we'll see what my therapist says after talking to this guy, I'm not very hopeful though. 



#7 Al_pk

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Posted 20 April 2019 - 02:27 PM

Hi Toast,

 

yes this used to bother me a lot. I remember lying in bed, I had DPDR. when I tried to deliberately think of something the image was all grainy and fragmented, so I kind of stopped and said I'd work on it. I didn't work on it. I didn't do anything in fact. I was starting a new course and life was moving fast so I forgot about it. But I went about a year and a half without trying to think of anything like I did then, sort of gave up on visualisation. When I went back to it, there it was. crystal clear, fluid and perfect visualisation. DPDR aint forever, don't think like that, but the more you try in your current state the more you'll stress your brain out



#8 REB

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Posted 20 April 2019 - 03:07 PM

Uhm, well, i happen to be absolutely paralyzed by DP-induced blank mindedness, so i can assure you all that my condolences were sincere.

 

Your description matches my experience, Toast.

My brain just kind of shut off all higher cognitive functions to protect itself from my thoughts which has left me in a semi-vegetative state. 

Unable to perform the simplest of tasks.

This is always the way my body has reacted to prolonged periods of stress. Simply by just shutting off the intellectual circuits that is causing me harm.

 

There are a lot of people here who's experiencing blank mindedness to varying degrees of severity.



#9 Broken

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Posted 20 April 2019 - 03:23 PM

Often the way through trauma is uncomfortable and things can get worse before they improve. We are so pain/discomfort averse (which is understandable) but these experiences also make us change and grow, hopefully for the better. 

 

Yes hippocampus and other brain changes can heal via EMDR or anti-depressants. Even ecstasy and psilocybin are showing potential to heal and reverse such things as PTSD... evidence and studies atm are low but look optimistic. I would say continue with the EMDR if you can, and try to stay clear of googling negative things. You can find all sorts on the internet. Consider an antidepressant as well if you arent currently taking one



#10 Toast

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Posted 20 April 2019 - 05:17 PM

Uhm, well, i happen to be absolutely paralyzed by DP-induced blank mindedness, so i can assure you all that my condolences were sincere.

 

Your description matches my experience, Toast.

My brain just kind of shut off all higher cognitive functions to protect itself from my thoughts which has left me in a semi-vegetative state. 

Unable to perform the simplest of tasks.

This is always the way my body has reacted to prolonged periods of stress. Simply by just shutting off the intellectual circuits that is causing me harm.

 

There are a lot of people here who's experiencing blank mindedness to varying degrees of severity.

I'm sorry for the misunderstanding, I wasn't entirely sure whether it was sincere or not but those things are kinda hard to gauge online, so i apologize for my rude reaction, I've just been frustrated with this disorder as you probably know more than anyone. Thanks for you input in letting me know that I'm not alone in this which I know, but it's always nice to hear that there are people out there that can relate to me in any way.



#11 Toast

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Posted 20 April 2019 - 05:21 PM

Often the way through trauma is uncomfortable and things can get worse before they improve. We are so pain/discomfort averse (which is understandable) but these experiences also make us change and grow, hopefully for the better. 

 

Yes hippocampus and other brain changes can heal via EMDR or anti-depressants. Even ecstasy and psilocybin are showing potential to heal and reverse such things as PTSD... evidence and studies atm are low but look optimistic. I would say continue with the EMDR if you can, and try to stay clear of googling negative things. You can find all sorts on the internet. Consider an antidepressant as well if you arent currently taking one

 

I have taken an ssri numerous times before but I'm always scared to take them long enough for there to be any significant difference in my symptoms. I was taking Prozac about a year ago for about 3 weeks but it gave me horrible insomnia so I had to quit taking it because I couldn't afford to lose more sleep. I'd be up to try some different meds, but I'm in a tough situation right now. I have severe agoraphobia to the point where I can't even leave my house without having debilitating panic attacks, so it's really difficult for me to go see my psychiatrist right now. I didn't know that about anti-depressants, I'll have to look some stuff up about it maybe, could be beneficial. Thanks for sharing.



#12 Phantasm

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 03:10 AM

It's been a long time since I read the EMDR manual, but if I remember it's about releasing the emotional charge from traumatic memories and then reinterpreting them in a more adaptive way so that they don't trouble you any more. It's intended and expected for the nature of the way you recall these memories to change as they are processed. 

 

I wonder if it's actually normal to be able to clearly visualize these kinds of memories when fully awake and if that is not akin to a flashback, as in peaceful waking consciousness we perhaps should not be troubled by visuals etc, so it might not be anything to worry about if you find you cannot visualize it as well after the session. It may even be progress as it may have been at least partly defused and sunk back down. I also don't think you necessarily need to be able to see it that clearly, as processing is not always visual. It can just be a vague sense of the events that might be more bodily or involve other senses. Some people are more visual than others, and the way a memory is processed can change over the course of treatment.

 

I've never heard of anyone saying EMDR can cause brain damage but that sounds very much like fear mongering to me! So try not to worry. I can sympathise very much with how you are feeling, but I would be patient, try a few more sessions and see how it goes.  






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