How To REALLY Help Someone Who Has Depression

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This is an open letter to everyone who has a close friend or family member who is struggling with anxiety disorders and depression and who don’t know how to support and help them.

This is something that is very close to my heart because I am that person. The one with social anxiety disorder and depression. The one who developed agoraphobia as a result. The one behind closed doors who can’t leave the house or get up to do anything. I am slowly getting myself out of the hole I have been hiding in for the last eight months or so and I am here to help YOU to help your loved ones because some people cannot do it on their own. Yes, sometimes people do need help from others.

DO NOT! Think that it is okay to try the “tough love” card with someone who has depression. Believe me when I tell you that you are only making things worse for them. Tough love does not work on someone with anxiety disorders and/or depression. Someone in that situation needs love, respect and a lot of help. By ignoring the situation and hoping it goes away you are basically telling them that you don’t care. And when someone with depression thinks that you don’t care they are less likely to try to recover.

IF YOU LIVE FAR FROM YOUR LOVED ONE OR FRIEND WITH DEPRESSION:

One thing that I have noticed is that when you are having a really bad and dark episode of depression your friends and family who live far away tend to back off and not pay any attention to you and don’t bother to check up on you or to talk to you. I am guessing that this is because they think that if they ignore something it might go away. This is a very selfish thing to do if you really care about someone. This does not help them. This is a time when they need you the most. Obviously, there will be times when they don’t want to respond or talk to anyone but even knowing that you are always there for them makes them realise that when they are ready to talk to someone that you are there for them to turn to.

  • Keep in contact with them. If you don’t know what to say to them to make them feel better then just talk to them about how your day or week went. Tell them something funny that happened to you in the hopes that it will make them smile or laugh. Talk about the new puppy you got and how cute and cuddly he is. Tell them about the lovely flowers you are growing in your garden and how gorgeous they smell (appeal to their senses, it lets them know that there are wonderful things in the world that they could possibly be missing out on).
  • Send them a card on their birthday and Christmas (if they celebrate it). People with depression often feel the loneliness even more at these times of the year. This makes them feel loved and special. If they are struggling financialy then send them a grocery store gift card so that they can go and buy bread, milk and chocolates. (It also gives them a reason to get out of the house, and if they don’t want to do that they can order online, simple!)
  • Like and comment on their social media. This might not seem important to you but it can be to them. It shows your presence in their life and that is what they need. It means that you are showing support and that you care.
  • Send them an email or text every now and then rather than bombarding them with phone calls they will never answer. Obviously, if they prefer a phone call that is also okay!

IF YOU LIVE CLOSE TO YOUR LOVED ONE OR FRIEND WITH DEPRESSION:

This is very important and I honestly hope that I can get at least one person to understand how important these tips are. Please do not try to force them to go out to pubs and bars to try and drink away their sorrows. If they want to then let them, but do not force it because when they feel worse in the morning you are to blame, not them. If you are going to try to get them to go out it is best to get them to do something that will help their anxiety, not hurt it. Going for a long walk in the park in the open, getting fresh air, sitting next to the lake feeding the ducks. That kind of thing to start off with is helpful.

  • Please do not constantly invite them over to your house because you feel that it is good to get them out of the house. The problem I have with this is that it is difficult for them to walk or drive over to your house in the first place. Then they go over there and spend an hour or two there and go home to feel the same again. From my own personal experience, this does not help.
  • People with depression are most likely not eating well or eating at all. How can you help? Take them a nice hearty home cooked meal (not take away), enough for them to have for the next day too. They will honestly be very grateful for this! And this is not something you have to do every day. But if you really care for this person then once a week should not be a problem for you.
  • Send them a text and ask them if there is anything that you can do for them that day. Maybe an errand you can help them with or maybe take them to any appointments they might have, take them to the store if they need to go shopping. If you don’t have a car them offer to go with them for moral support.
  • People with depression often go days without having a shower or bath, and it is not because they are being lazy, it is because they are simply just too exhausted to get into the shower or bath. It’s a good idea to go over to their place, run them a nice bubble bath. Sit there with them and talk or just be there. Help them wash their hair if need be. When they are done and in their bedroom getting dressed then give the bath a quick wash and tidy the bathroom for them.
  • If they are struggling financialy then bring them a few necessities such as bread, milk, tea, cheese, veggies, toilet paper. I can’t tell you how many times I have run out of toilet paper when I had no money.
  • Help them with household chores such as washing dishes or doing a load of laundry, washing their bedding, vacuuming and so on. People with depression often neglect cleaning their homes because they just cannot face it, are too exhausted to do anything or just don’t see the point in doing it. If their home is nice and clean it does make them feel a little better at least in the moment and it also motivates them to try to do it themselves. Like I have mentioned before people with depression are constantly exhausted and they sometimes need help with these things.
  • Often people with depression neglect their own grooming or taking care of themselves. If you are good with cutting hair, why not give them a haircut, even just a trim could help them to feel good. Help them to trim their nails or even give them a manicure or pedicure.
  • If they like to read then bring them a good book to read.
  • Ask them to join you for a walk once a week. They can choose not to do so but at least you are trying.

Honestly, if you can do any of these things even once a month it would help them more than you know. Don’t just get angry or upset when they don’t want to do something that you want them to do, rather do something for them that you know would help them rather than to be selfish. And if your loved one or friend with depression also has social anxiety disorder please do not constantly bombard them with phone calls, send them a text and they will text back when they feel comfortable enough to do so. Patience is key here. Please please be patient with them. I had a friend who, even after telling her to please stop calling me all the time because of my social anxiety and to sometimes send me a text she refused to do so and told me that I am being selfish. Someone like that is very toxic and that is not going to help someone it is going to hurt them.

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Insomnia: My Lifelong Struggle With SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder)

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Insomnia is a very dark force that is extremely difficult to break free from. Something that consumes you and sucks the life out of you until you are an empty shell of nothingness.

I have had mild insomnia for a very long time due to having jobs that involved mostly working night shifts. It’s something that you get used to over the years so when you eventually have a chance at a ”normal” and consistent lifestyle. I’ve always dreamed of getting up in the early morning, having a full day then sleeping at about ten at night, like most people I knew. I would always reminisce to my younger days to when I had so much life and energy, always slept so well, ate like a horse, spend all my spare time outdoors. Those were good times. And I had hoped to somehow feel that way again. Unfortunately, that day never came for me.

I ended up with a series of mental health issues on top of my social anxiety disorder such as PTSD, depression AND moderate insomnia due to a long and exhausting period of stress and trauma. At this point, I won’t go into details and I will save that for another blog post or podcast episode.

Fast forward to leaving South Africa and moving to the UK. At the time it was the best decision I could have made for myself because I was struggling so badly financially as well as emotionally. I had gotten my British passport a couple years back so there was no need for me to go through the process of getting a working visa and all of that malarkey. I had arranged a place to stay for the first two or three months while I sort myself out with a job and so on. I was so excited to start my new life. So within two weeks, I had got myself a job, I took any job just so that I could start making a life for myself. Subway, yes the sandwich franchise. It was not too bad and the minimum wage was great compared to what I had been paid in South Africa doing admin. A couple of weeks after that I started to rent a room in someone’s house, which was a lot cheaper than getting a flat, and I thought it would give me an opportunity to save money. It wasn’t a complete stranger though, it was someone recommended by my friend who I was staying with when I had arrived in the country. For this reason alone I had trusted them.

I worked really hard for two and a half years on my feet for ten hours a day hardly ever being allowed a lunch break due to being so busy all the time. I ended up over exhausted and stressed to the point where I was crying all the time and needed to find an alternative so that I could quite this horrible job and be happy. I know that working hard for that you want in life is a good thing but when it comes at the expense of your own happiness and physical wellbeing then something has to change. So, I started dropshipping vitamins on eBay. This is basically when someone orders the item from you and you have the warehouse send the item straight to the customer. I ended up making more than my salary at Subway for the first two months and thought that I would make a success of it and ended up leaving to work from home. Now, this is where it starts getting interesting (or not).

My landlady had basically started working from home the same day that I did because her boss had moved office and they had a lot of building and fixing to do. She said it would be for about two weeks. I wasn’t too happy about it because it made me very comfortable to be around her too much. Obviously, I have to say in the matter and it is her house after all but had I known this was going to happen I would have stayed at Subway for another three months and then left. With both of us now working from home, things started to get a little hard and then very hard then extremely hard. She didn’t like me being at home all the time, and although I was always paying my rent and paying it on time she seemed to have a specific set of rules that I was meant to be following (after living there for two and a half years and not knowing about this until that time) such as me not being at home when she was there and always having my door closed if I was in my room, Not cooking food when she is there because she hates the smell (yes that is actually a thing). She started to get very mean and extremely nasty toward me. I wasn’t doing anything wrong and I wasn’t doing anything to upset her. I always cleaned up after myself and I never made any noise, I was very quiet all the time. After some more time, she even started getting jealous of the cat spending time with me. She started to get even nastier and started deliberately making noise early in the mornings singing at the top of her lungs and slamming doors. She would have it out with me if my bedroom door wasn’t closed when I was at home. I started to feel very isolated and like I was in prison. I started neglecting my business and went into a deep depression and my social anxiety came at me with a vengeance. I was feeling worse than ever mentally and emotionally and my sleeping patterns started to slip again. I’m going to fast forward now because this is a huge trigger for me but I am sure you understand that the worse it got the worse my mental health became.

I did manage to move out into a small little flat close to town. But the after effects of all of the drama and all that this woman had put me through have caused lasting negative effects on my mental and physical well-being. You would think that after all of that, that my insomnia would get a little better. But to be honest that’s not how it works. Trauma is something that can last a lifetime if not treated properly. I have been living in this flat for about 8 months now and I have had chronic (severe) insomnia for that long. It has got so bad to the point where I am actually scared for my physical health. I cannot sleep at night no matter how hard I try. I’ve tried not eating or drinking anything but water after 7pm, didn’t work. I’ve tried relaxing, didn’t work. I’ve tried reading before bed, didn’t work. I’ve tried staying off social media or tv after 7pm, didn’t work. I’ve tried staying off sugar, made things worse. I’ve tried not drinking caffeine after 2pm, didn’t work. I’ve tried going for walks every day and getting fresh air, didn’t work. I know for a fact that I need to see a proper psychotherapist regularly to work through all of my past trauma in order to heal and that is what IS going to work. I know that you have to work through the root cause in order to heal the symptoms.

Basically, what I go through with my insomnia is this. I don’t sleep at night, which causes me a lot of anxiety. I end up falling asleep at about 10am wake up every two hours for six hours because I keep having nightmares. Then I will get up at about 4pm and do what I need to do. It is absolutely horrible because I don’t even get a full six hours of sleep during the day. And when I do sleep for those couple of hours on and off I feel absolutely horrible after. It’s a never-ending cycle. And I honestly hate telling people about it because e they all think that they know the answers and keep telling me the same lame things over and over like just try to get some sleep or just go to sleep. I wish it were so easy lol…

 

 

My Lifelong Struggle With SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder) – Ongoing Blog Post (Daily Scribblings)

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Introduction

 

This is such a difficult thing to talk about, especially to people who don’t know how this affects the people who have it rather than those around them. I am currently 39 years old and am struggling in life because this is the one thing that is and always has been holding me back from living a relatively normal life. I feel at this point that writing about it is a good outlet and I am hoping that I can find others who feel the same way who would like to join in on my journey of self-discovery and recovery and who I can hopefully support and help to do the same. I know from personal experience that people with our condition often feel like we have no support from those around us including family. They always say generic things like “it’s just a phase” or “just try to relax”. That doesn’t really help and isn’t very supportive, to say the least. They never understand why we can’t leave the house for weeks on end because we are struggling with agoraphobia and can’t just leave the house whenever we want to. It’s a real illness with real consequences and it is not something we can just get over or just get on with as some people would suggest. My social anxiety disorder is not a learned behaviour or caused by trauma, although certain trauma within my life has made it significantly worse, this is something I was born with because my amygdala was not formed properly and/or is overactive. I was not formally tested or diagnosed but I know this because I knew from as far back as I can remember that I was different and that I was not like other kids. I could not even ask my aunt at the beach if I could have an apple. I sat there trying to make the words come out and I just could not do it. I was kept back in my first year of school because I was too quiet and would not participate in anything and would not socialise with any of the other kids. I remember needing to go to the toilet and I could not get the courage to ask the teacher if I could go to the bathroom and I ended up weeing myself. That was a pivotal moment in my life because looking back on it now that was a huge sign for me that I definitely had this disorder from a very young age. I know that it wasn’t caused by trauma as I had not experienced any trauma yet at that age and my parents were very kind and loving. Throughout my school career, I struggled but it did get a bit easier when I started taking part in sports and athletics. This is when I learnt that cardio exercise helps tremendously with anxiety disorders and for my high school years I felt like I was semi-normal and that I was doing okay. I was an outdoors kid and spent most of my time outside playing, swimming, skateboarding, surfing and even climbing trees. In those days there was no such thing as iPhones or laptops and I hardly watched tv unless with my family like on a Sunday afternoon after Sunday lunch. When I really started to struggle again was after I graduated from high school and couldn’t get a job because I was too shy and struggled with authority. To all those who feel they are suffering in silence please know that you are not alone and you do not have to feel that no one cares. We need to stick up for each other and try to heal as a team! I am honest there for anyone who needs someone to talk to, vent to, relate to.

 

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Types Of Anxiety Disorders

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Most people think that anxiety is anxiety and don’t know that there are different types of anxiety disorders. I feel that people need to educate themselves as to what they are and how they differ.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder
GAD is common. The main symptom of GAD is over worrying about different activities and events. This may feel out of your control. You feel anxious a lot of the time if you have GAD. You might feel ‘on edge’ and alert to your surroundings.
This can affect your day-to-day life. You might find that it affects your ability to work, travel places or leave the house. You might also get tired easily or have trouble sleeping or concentrating. You might have physical symptoms, such as muscle tension and sweating. It is common to have other conditions such as depression or other anxiety disorders if you have GAD. GAD can be difficult to diagnose because it does not have some of the unique symptoms of other anxiety disorders. Your doctor is likely to say you have GAD if you have felt anxious for most days over six months and it has had a bad impact on areas of your life.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder is sometimes known as social phobia. Lots of people may worry about social situations but if you have social anxiety you will have an intense fear or dread of social or performance situations. This will happen before, during or after the event.
Some common situations where you may experience anxiety are the following:
· Speaking in public or in groups.
· Meeting new people or strangers.
· Dating.
· Eating or drinking in public.
You may be worried that you will do something or act in a way that is embarrassing.
You might feel aware of the physical signs of your anxiety. This can include sweating, a fast heartbeat, a shaky voice and blushing. You may worry that others will notice this or judge you. You might find that you try to avoid certain situations. You might realise that your fears are excessive, but you find it difficult to control them.
Your GP will ask you questions about your symptoms and might ask you to fill out a questionnaire. This will help them find out how anxious you feel in social situations. They may refer you to a mental health specialist for a full assessment.
You can ask for a telephone appointment with your GP if it would be too difficult for you to see them in person.
Specific Phobias
A phobia is an overwhelming fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal.
Phobias are stronger than fears. They develop when a person has increased feelings of danger about a situation or object. Someone with a phobia may arrange their daily routine to avoid the thing that’s causing them anxiety.
Common examples of phobias include the following:
· Animal phobias. Such spiders, snakes or rodents.
· Environmental phobias. Such as heights and germs.
· Situational phobias. Such as going to the dentist.
· Body phobias. Such as blood or being sick
Agoraphobia
Agoraphobia is a fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult. Or situations where help wouldn’t be available if things go wrong.
This could be the following:
· Leaving your home.
· Being in public spaces.
· Using public transport.
· Being in crowded spaces.
You might find that these situations make you feel distressed, panicked and anxious. You may avoid some situations altogether. This can affect day-to-day life.
Agoraphobia can make it difficult to make an appointment with your GP to talk about your symptoms. You might not feel able to leave your house or go to the GP surgery. You can arrange a telephone appointment if you have symptoms of agoraphobia. A GP will decide on the best treatment options for you depending on what you tell them.
Panic Disorder
You will have regular panic attacks with no particular trigger if you have panic disorder. They can happen suddenly and feel intense and frightening. You may also worry about having another panic attack.
Panic disorder symptoms can include the following:
· An overwhelming sense of dread or fear.
· Chest pain or a sensation that your heart is beating irregularly.
· Feeling that you might be dying or having a heart attack.
· Sweating and hot flushes or chills and shivering.
· A dry mouth, shortness of breath or choking sensation.
· Nausea, dizziness and feeling faint.
· Numbness, pins and needles or a tingling sensation in your fingers.
· A need to go to the toilet.
· A churning stomach.
· Ringing in your ears.
You may also dissociate during a panic attack. Such as feeling detached from yourself.
Certain situations can cause panic attacks. For example, you may have a panic attack if you don’t like small places but you have to use a lift. This doesn’t mean that you have panic disorder.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
You will have obsessions, compulsion or both if you have OCD.
· Obsession. An obsession is an unwelcome thought or image that you keep thinking about and is largely out of your control. These can be difficult to ignore. These thoughts can be disturbing, which can make you feel distressed and anxious.
· Compulsion. A compulsion is something you think about or do repeatedly to relieve anxiety. This can be hidden or obvious. Such as saying a phrase in your head to calm yourself. Or check that the front door is locked.
You might believe that something bad will happen if you do not do these things. You may realise that your thinking and behaviour is not logical but still find it very difficult to stop.
There are different types of OCD, which include:
· Contamination. A need to clean and wash because something or someone is contaminated.
· Checking. The constant need to check yourself or your environment to prevent damage, fire, leaks or harm.
· Intrusive thoughts. Thoughts which are repetitive, upsetting and often horrific.
· Hoarding. Not feeling able to throw away useless or worn out items.
Speak to your GP if you think you have OCD. They should discuss treatment options with you.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
You have PTSD if your anxiety symptoms were caused by a threatening life situation. Such as a train crash or fire. You can feel anxious for months or years after the event even if you weren’t physically harmed at the time. Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt. People who repeatedly experience traumatic situations such as severe neglect, abuse or violence may be diagnosed with complex PTSD. Complex PTSD can cause similar symptoms to PTSD and may not develop until years after the event. It’s often more severe if the trauma was experienced early in life as this can affect a child’s development.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), or body dysmorphia, is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance. These flaws are often unnoticeable to others. People of any age can have BDD, but it is most common in teenagers and young adults. It affects both men and women.
Having BDD does not mean you are vain or self-obsessed. It can be very upsetting and have a big impact on your life.
You might have BDD if you:
· worry a lot about a specific area of your body (particularly your face)
· spend a lot of time comparing your looks with other people’s
· look at yourself in mirrors a lot or avoid mirrors altogether
· go to a lot of effort to conceal flaws – for example, by spending a long time combing your hair, applying makeup or choosing clothes
· pick at your skin to make it “smooth”
BDD can seriously affect your daily life, including your work, social life and relationships.

It’s Okay To Have Setbacks!

If anyone knows what it’s like to have setbacks it’s me. This is unfortunately one thing that someone with social anxiety disorder has to deal with on top of everything else that it comes with. It’s also something that is very difficult for other people to understand because they make the assumption that if you look like you are doing better they feel as though you are now cured and when you go back to feeling like shit they can’t understand why. This is also something that is prominent in people with depression. You might have a few days where you actually feel like you can function and then all of a sudden you back to feeling shit again. There is never any reason for it and it is not necessarily brought on by something, it just happens. Depression and anxiety don’t just go away because you have one or two good days. But, that being said, it is okay to have setbacks and don’t ever let anyone tell you any different. I have gone through so many in this lifetime that I feel like I was cursed at birth. Sometimes you will go through certain stages where you are doing everything you can to feel better, you get a job, you start paying bills on time, you make a friend here and there. And this is such a wonderful feeling and it may last for months or years even. But, then one day your anxiety and depression get the better of you for no reason and you quit your job because you can’t cope, your bills pile up, you can’t buy food, and you are back at the bottom again. What I would like to say to you today is to be kind to yourself in this process. It’s not a very easy position to be in but use this time to work on yourself. Get up at whatever time you get up, go and have a nice warm shower, have a cup of coffee or tea, something to eat. Don’t beat up on yourself for feeling the feelings and emotions that you feel. Let yourself feel them. Cry if you want to. Write your feelings down if you want to. Put your phone on silent if you want to. It is my opinion (and it is just an opinion based on my own life) that when people keep relapsing it is because there are a lot of things that they have gone through in life that they might not have dealt with properly and this is their body’s way of telling them that. This is definitely the case with me. I know that I need to see a psychologist and sort through all the trauma I have endured over the years but at the moment I can’t afford to see one so that does play a big role in my recovery or lack thereof. I like to do this little thing called self-talk. Yes, I talk to myself. I say kind things to myself. I tell myself that I am going to be okay and this is just temporary and I will be back on my feet in no time. I stand in front of my bathroom mirror and I tell myself that I can do this and that I am okay. Being kind to yourself is a real game changer here, it keeps your head above the water and makes you want to fight for yourself. Without it, I would have given up a long time ago. Do a lot of EFT tapping in this time. Emotional freedom technique (EFT) is an alternative treatment for physical pain and emotional distress. It’s also referred to as tapping or psychological acupressure. People who use this technique believe tapping the body can create a balance in your energy system and treat pain and anxiety. Some also believe it can boost your self-esteem. Have a look on YouTube for some EFT videos. It might seem silly to you but it does work if you keep doing it for at least 20 minutes every day. Brad Yates is my favourite so go and check out his channel. Do 20 minutes of meditation a day in this time. When you wake up whether it’s in the morning or whatever time of the day, drink a glass of water to boost your brain and to flush out toxins. All these little things could boost your self-esteem and in a couple of weeks, you could take another step to do something more like leaving the house or making a phone call. In this time just use it as “me” time even if you don’t want to communicate with anybody else, if they love you they will understand. Please don’t feel like you have to heal in a certain time frame just to please everybody else. Listen to your heart, body and soul and do what is best for YOU!

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Mental Health Q & A

As a part of the #BellLetsTaIk initiative I will be a doing a YouTube video Q & A! Please reblog this AND reply with your mental health questions #MentalHealthIsImportant #MentalHealthAtWork #MentalHealthWeek #Depression #Anxiety #GeneralAnxiety #BPD #Bipolar #SocialAnxiety

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mixer.com/LagaerysGaming

I am going to start streaming soon. I am just getting my channel ready so it should start somewhere around next week or so. I’m not doing this to make money it’s more for fun than anything else. I will be streaming Skyrim mainly and maybe some others on the side. I’m not very good but would appreciate all the support I can get!

What Is EMDR?

Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of psychotherapy that was developed by psychologist Francine Shapiro in 1987 to help people deal with and heal from experiences that have caused emotional trauma. Unlike most forms of talk therapy, EMDR focuses less on the traumatic event itself and more on the disturbing emotions and symptoms that result from the event. Treatment includes a hand motion technique used by the therapist to guide the client’s eye movements from side to side, similar to watching a pendulum swing. EMDR is a controversial intervention, because it is unclear exactly how it works, with some psychologists claiming it does not work. Some studies have shown, however, that EMDR is useful for treating certain mental-health conditions. EMDR is thought to be effective because recalling distressing events is often less emotionally upsetting when your attention is diverted. This allows you to be exposed to the memories or thoughts without having a strong psychological response. Over time, this technique is believed to lessen the impact that the memories or thoughts have on you.

 

How It Works

No one knows how any form of psychotherapy works neurobiologically or in the brain. However, we do know that when a person is troubled, their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes “frozen in time,” and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings have not changed. Such memories have a lasting adverse effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people. EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. Normal information processing is resumed, so following a successful EMDR session, a person no longer relives the images, sounds, and feelings when the event is brought to mind. You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting. Many types of therapy have similar goals. However, EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Therefore, EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way.