Facing Feelings

CW: brief, non-explicit childhood memory description.

Yesterday, for the first time in three months, I was stable enough to do EMDR.

Although this blog is meant to focus on knitting my way through PTSD treatment, the actual treatment I am receiving is talk therapy (with lots of CBT) and EMDR. I’ll be talking about that sometimes here in addition to knitting.

EMDR is like talk therapy on fast forward: as you work on memories, the bilateral movement helps you to synthesize them. I also find it helps me to access my subconscious better, or access what emotion I was feeling better than with just talk. It puts me into a sort of dreamlike state (it’s NOT hypnosis). I often find myself leaping from one memory to another without understanding how they are connected until I finish processing.

Like knitting can be at times, I just need to trust the process and know that my subconscious knows what it’s doing (or the pattern does!).

So we started what we call a ‘floatback:’ thinking about a very distressing recent time of being trapped, and nearly immediately I was thinking of knocking on the basement door in the morning, where my parents routinely locked us, and remembering that I’d been extremely frightened and hurt in the first moment I realized it had happened.

All I remembered was our triumphant exit from the basement (we crawled out of the window well), and I thought I’d been very matter-of-fact about it.

Um, apparently not.

A lot of CBT is seeing things in a better light. In this case, I think I had to own that although I am ultimately triumphant when faced with getting out of a tight space, for some time there I was sad, and afraid, and felt completely unloved and unloveable.

Facing this and dealing with it can help me not to panic in adulthood when I’m cornered (it happens way more often than you think, if being trapped in a space or cornered somewhere isn’t a trigger for you. Trust me. It happens a lot. On the bus. When someone is standing in a doorway), which is necessary to live a modern life in a city with other people in my house.

RELATED KNITTING: It has come time to face the fact that I am screwing up double-pointed needles when I start on a purl. Can anyone tell me why I’m adding stitches when I purl while knitting in the round on double-pointed needles?

RELATED KNITTING EQUIPMENT: Despite my mother’s attempts at isolating me completely from others, and her genuine disgust and irritation with how friendly and open (read: vulnerable) I am, I have grown into a person who has such wonderful friends that when they read I am going to slowly add on nicer needles, they give me a ridiculously generous gift certificate to Knitpix. The photo today is some of them.

If you’d like to learn more in-depth stuff about EMDR, check out the EMDR Institute [link: http://www.emdr.com/].

One comment

  1. If you are moving from a knit stitch to a purl stitch, make sure you are not putting the needle under the yarn before putting it through the stitch. This will create a wrap which, if done intentionally, is called a yarnover. The yarn should stay beneath the needle until you’re ready to collect it for the stitch.


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