If you have been following me for a while then it will come as no surprise when I tell you that the appointments with my latest therapist have come to a dramatic end. Surprisingly though, I do not blame myself for my inability to sustain therapeutic relationships. I’m starting to hate what I am more than who I am, which is something the therapist couldn’t seem to do in our last appointment.
Our session started out just like the previous few. It seems the therapist doesn’t review her notes before appointments and coupled with her shockingly bad memory, makes every session feel like the first. I did my absolute best to tolerate this. It’s very hard not to snap when someone is asking the same questions they asked in previous sessions. Last time we had spent a while talking about a safe place and this week she had no memory of it. When she asked me to think of a safe place, I told her that I already had one. She hurriedly looked through her chicken scratch notes. “I think it would be best if you told me about it.”, she said. I told her I was happy to wait while she looked through the notes but either she hadn’t written it down or she couldn’t find what she was looking for. “How about you tell me?”, she said. So I told her.
“I just want to show you a video on PTSD.”, She said and she started to head towards her computer.
“Is it okay if we just get started with the EMDR? I am feeling too anxious to sit and watch a video right now.”, I said.
“But this will help you.”
“I’m sorry. Maybe if you give me the link I can watch it later when I am at home.”
No, you can’t. It’s only for members!”
She sat down at the computer and got angry. I told her once more that I didn’t want to look at the video. “Fine!”, she snapped. “Sit there!”, she gestured towards a cane chair about a metre in front of her and slightly to the left. I did as I was told but I shuffled the chair back a few centimetres as I sat. “No! It won’t work if you move far away!”, she said and I shifted the chair back to where it was.
“What would you like to work on?”,she asked. We had had this conversation many times before and I was starting to get annoyed by her attitude. “Oh, just what we talked about before. Where do you think we should start?”, I was testing her a little, I admit. “I can’t answer that. You’re supposed to be in control.”, she replied. “Just what we talked about last time, I guess.”, I didn’t give her enough information and once again she fumbled through her notes. She pulled out the tests she made me do in session one. “Your extreme depression and your extreme anxiety?” She asked.
Now as far as I know, EMDR isn’t suitable for multiple traumas, nor is it typically used to treat illnesses apart from PTSD. The therapist made no mention of any of the traumas we had talked about in previous sessions and instead started waving her hand around and told me to follow it with my eyes whilst thinking about anxiety and depression. I honestly really tried to do what she said but when she asked if any thoughts came up, I told her she looked like a puppet.
“It’s like you’re a puppet waving at me. It’s like it’s a movie. A horror movie! And you’re a puppet sitting there in a creepy house just waving at me. I tried though. I mean at least I am being honest, right?”
She didn’t like this. “You don’t think I am real?”, she asked. I told her I knew she was real but it just seemed like a movie. We tried a few more times. I had to think of things like being anxious as a baby and wanting to die. At one point she stopped the hand gestures and made me talk about self-harm and suicide. She wanted every detail even though I had already told her about this in earlier sessions. Actually, it was similar to when I told her about the friends I have lost to suicide. She didn’t care much about how I felt, she wanted to know the methods they used to kill themselves.
She kept looking at her watch. I might add now that she had seen me 10 minutes after our scheduled time and she had no patients before me. (After the appointment there was no one waiting either.) With about 10 minutes left she told me our session was over. She did nothing to help me get grounded (as I have read is a part of EMDR) and instead said she saw no point in us continuing our sessions. She told me I was uncooperative. I asked her how I was being uncooperative and she said, “You wouldn’t watch the video.” I apologised again but said that sometimes people have restrictions and if I were in a wheelchair, she wouldn’t expect me to be able to jump. She told me I should have compromised but I didn’t even think to do that. There seemed to be no other options. Watch the video or piss her off. Then she added that I have a bad attitude.
There I was looking like a “Twilight” vampire because I’d put on way too much highlighter and bronzer to try to avoid looking like an actual vampire. Tiny sparkles were running down my face as I started to cry. “How is my attitude bad?”, I asked.
“There’s just something about you…”, she replied and she stood up to signal I should leave.
“I try. I come here. I sit and I tried EMDR. I really did try. Now you’ve done something to my eyes and my brain and you’re just going to send me on my way?”, I said.
“Okay. Yes. Our time is up.”, she opened the door and I walked out sobbing. I stood near the exit of the building for a good ten minutes or so, frozen. I wasn’t sure what I should do. I heard her moving around but she never came to see if I was okay. When I had calmed down enough I got into my car, forgot to put it into reverse and almost ran into the fence.
So that’s the story of how I got rejected and crushed by another health professional. I’m interested to hear if anyone else has tried EMDR and what your experiences were like.