EMDR is Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.  It is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.  EMDR therapy requires you to briefly focus on the trauma/event/memory while simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation.  The stimulation is usually side to side eye movement, but it can also be hand tapping. 

With EMDR you are not hypnotized.  You are in control the whole time.  You are first asked to focus on the memory and a negative belief associated with it. Then you follow your providers finger.  You then work towards a positive belief associated with the memory and work your way, away from the negative belief.

The question is, does it work?  YES!!!!!  I was sceptic the first time I ever had an EMDR session.  I didn’t understand how it worked and had my doubts that it would work on me.  It worked! 

Here is my story…..

I was 15 when my uncle committed suicide.   Prior to his suicide, his last words to me were spoken in anger, maybe even rage.  The uncle that I loved and adored, broke my heart.  Then before we could make up, he took his own life.  I had so much guilt.  I felt that I was to blame.  I felt ashamed.  I felt unworthy. I even felt that my family blamed me in some ways.  That was so much for a 15-year-old to carry.  The pain would overwhelm me at times.  When I thought of my uncle, hate and anger surfaced. I felt cold inside. 

For 30 years I carried all those negative feelings with me. I would beat myself up. Can you image how all those negative feelings affected my life and my relationships with others? I never realized that at 15 I had no control over what a 38-year-old man did. 

I ended up seeing Skye at SkyeHelps. I was seeking guidance on how to help my son through a traumatic event that he had recently been through.  In one of my sessions the whole story of my uncle spilled out. At that time, I agreed to EMDR.  If it worked, awesome, if it didn’t, I wasn’t out anything.

When we started, I focused on my uncle and his death. The negative belief was it was all my fault. The positive belief was that he loved me. When I was asked where I felt it, I felt it in my heart.  It was crushing.  I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  I was crying so hard that I could not follow her finger, she tapped my legs for the side to side movement.  I honestly don’t know how long we checked in to see where I was on a scale of 1-7.  I have no idea how long it took for me to get to zero.  What I do know is the end results.

When we were done and I thought of my uncle, I felt warmth.  I felt love.  I smiled.  I felt like he was hugging my and I was happy.  I had no guilt.  I knew that I wasn’t to blame for his actions.  I knew that my family did not blame me.  I had no shame.  All I had was love and warmth. 

30 years of negative feelings are completely gone.  30 years of blaming myself for something that I had no control over, is gone.  If EMDR can do that for me, it can you it for you.

What do you have to lose? Nothing.  What do you have to gain? Everything.

Mental Health Tip #2

Meditation is a practice that can help you understand and clarify your emotions. Meditation can help you cope with negative emotions like anxiety, depression, anger, and sadness. The practice of meditation is when you focus your attention on a particular thought or activity to help provide mental clarity. An easy way to start meditating is in the shower. Begin by imagining yourself washing away the negative thoughts. Let the negative emotions wash down the drain, and leave you with a sense of peace.  Meditating just a few minutes each day will help improve your emotional well-being.

To schedule an appointment , visit https://skyehelps.com or Call 706-265-5681.

Therapy Myths #1

You are not crazy.

A common misconception about therapy is that it’s only for people who are weak or crazy. This is not true; it can help you with a range of difficulties life may throw at you. Anyone can benefit from therapy. When you are presented with struggles during your lifetime, and therapy can help you work through many different trials or life changes.  You are not weak for seeing a therapist. Being self-aware that seeking help may be the best case for you shows true strength. Life can bring waves of emotional destruction through career problems, school problems, relationship problems, and life transitions. Simply having someone to talk to and support you through these troubles can provide relief . Therapy can help bring you closer to emotional wellness.

To schedule an appointment , visit https://skyehelps.com or Call 706-265-5681.

Mental Health Tip – Journaling

Journaling helps you focus on internal thoughts and feelings. Sometimes it can be hard to express how or what you are feeling, but practicing writing therapy can help bring mental clarity. Journaling can help you gain control over your emotions and provide relief from day to day stressors. If you are struggling with overwhelming stress, anxiety, and depression, then writing therapy is a great way to help build your emotional wellbeing. An easy way to start is by making a bullet point list of events that you had positive and negative emotions towards. Journaling can gradually help you distinguish  daily stressors and recognize ways better ways handle them.

If you have any questions or would like to call to make an appointment, Call at: 706-265-5681


Response to Georgia Tech “Suicide by Cop”

The death of Georgia Tech engineering major and Pride Alliance president, Scout Schultz, last week at the hands of police was tragic and unnecessary.  Family, friends, and schoolmates reported that Scout was loved, respected, admired, good-natured, smart, and well-grounded.  What can we learn from Scout’s succumbing to suicide by cop?  Who is at risk of overwhelming depression or anxiety and how do we keep them safe?

I have worked with children and adolescents who suffer with overwhelming anxiety and depression for years, many of whom consider self-harm or thoughts of suicide as a coping mechanism for their negative symptoms.  In every case, the client did not want to die.  They wanted the pain, exhaustion, sadness, racing thoughts, and lack of support to stop.  They wanted to feel “not crazy” and feel like someone understood them without judging them.

The National Institute of Mental Health reported that in 2015 suicide was the third leading cause of death for children aged 10-14 and the second leading cause of death for young adults aged 15-24 and for those aged 25-34.  These numbers are staggering and bring unimaginable grief to the families of those affected.  NIMH also reported for that same year that 12.5% of adolescents aged 12-17 had at least one major depressive episode in 12 months.  For ages 18-25, the prevelence was 10.3%.

In our small-town high school, we had four teen suicides last year.  By all accounts, each of the students were loved in a way similar to Scout.  They were involved, had friends, passions, and their faith.  But my guess is that they did not feel like they could talk about depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts.  Our society has relegated these conditions to “crazy” people, and just the mere thought of mentioning a suicidal thought to someone fills those effected with fear of incarceration, involuntary commitment, social isolation, or exposure to ridicule or misunderstanding from family, friends, or the church.

Through Scout, we can learn that suicide is a coping mechanism to deal with depression.  We can learn that we should talk about suicidal thoughts more openly and with less judgement.  We can learn to listen to those who are in pain and help them feel understood and accepted.  We can be a rest stop for those whose journey is difficult and fraught with darkness.

We can also acknowledge that suicide is major killer of our youth and it is preventable.  Lets start talking about depression, anxiety, suicide, and self-harm in much the same way that we talk about diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.  Lets see these mental health issues as preventable, treatable, and manageable.  Lets keep our young people safe by keeping our young people heard.