I was having a day.
To be honest, it’s been quite a past couple of weeks.
To skin myself alive on the internet, it’s been a hell of a year.
Last March, after experiencing a first full-blown PTSD episode in an MRI tube (yes, I should’ve sold tickets), I engaged in EMDR (Eye Motioning Desensitization and Reprocessing) to go headfirst into my abusive childhood.
EMDR is a therapeutic process involving spearfishing an event (like the electric eel in the MRI tube) and following it back to a trauma. It is then reprocessed from how it was sorted in the amygdala (the memory gatekeeper of the brain), into a non-stress-producing memory.
For me, the MRI reaction went back to a frightening episode of a family member wrapping seven-year-old me head to toe in a wool blanket. Even though I was screaming and crying for release, he wouldn’t let me go. Since I couldn’t breathe, I thought I was going to die.
With EMDR, I am able to see the event and the connection to the present, including how an MRI isn’t a wool blanket, nor was I trapped at the time of the test. EMDR teased those experiences apart, making it possible to revisit the tube if necessary.
With the therapeutic approach of EMDR, one day (fingers crossed it’s before my 113th birthday) I’ll have a healthier and happier life.
But dog paddling in the muck of my history for nearly a year has made it difficult to see anything as kind or thoughtful.
Two minutes in silence with Sean Stephenson has shifted that for me. His mute expression of love through Post-it Notes reached into my childhood-weary soul and gave it a big hug.
What a guy. Born with a genetic disorder called osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease, he’s taken what is a considerably difficult experience and converted it into a way to help people through hardship. Sean became a therapist, author and motivational speaker to show that no matter what you’re dealt, you can still run the table.
When Sean lost his voice, he didn’t stop trying to get a positive message out into the world. In two minutes, on Post-its, Sean conveys what everyone needs to know: love yourself relentlessly.
Author: Deb Lecos
Editor: Toby Israel
Image: Bobby McKay/Flickr