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I went to EMDR after an adult trauma that escalated to PTSD. But like many of us who developed PTSD, I had a background of substantial complex trauma and those memories started to come out after the events as an adult. I never forgot the trauma memories from my early years but they were very "disconnected" and floating, without any emotional reality at all. The feeling of being out of control, adrenalized at unpredictable times, and having flashbacks is truly disturbing, but once they started coming out a lot of things that had been present as long as I could remember made sense. PTSD in that sense represents freedom, because I don't think I would have dealt with the underlying issues without it.

For me a lot of my work required getting in touch with body experiences, exactly as Dr. van der Kolk discusses. The body often "knows" things before the conscious brain does. The relaxation and anxiety tolerance skills are absolutely necessary for my day to day existence, because I'm still triggered by things, primarily loud sounds, flashing lights, etc. The EMDR process itself seems to allow access to the "reptile" brain. When it works properly (i.e., goes fast enough to tax executive function) it's quite different than being ordinarily conscious.