Mental Health: Veterans Yoga Project Healing PTSD
I wanted to share with my readers a very positive effort full of positive energy taking place in the world.
In 2017 in Hoboken, New Jersey, I first came into contact with the Veterans Yoga Project (VYP) organization. Tam Terry and Helene Graff, residents of Hoboken, arranged a fundraiser. Stevens Institute of Technology graciously offered the use of the university’s Walker gymnasium. Dr. Nariman Farvardin, the President of Stevens, gave the opening remarks. One hundred and twenty people from the Hoboken community came together to practice mindfulness and yoga in an effort to raise money and to support our veterans in getting back feelings of wholeness in everyday civilian life.
Clara had an accident about two years ago. She had slipped on the ice in her driveway, fallen and as a result, gotten a concussion. She then struggled with post-concussion syndrome, enduring neck pain, headaches and awful vertigo spells. She took lots of time and effort in going to multiple doctors trying to get help, including a neurologist.
One day, Dave was having a quiet day in his workshop. He was working on his model trains, his favorite hobby. He was looking at the tracks, the way the lines interweave all around the room. And he started to think about what he had seen a few months ago in his work as a police officer. He remembered what it was like to be the first responder to the scene of a suicide. The image of the suicide scene was riveting; it seemed burned into his brain and into his retina. In his workshop, he became very distressed and started to sweat. His stomach hurt, and felt nauseated. Tunnel vision occurred and he felt all consumed by this one moment in time. He couldn’t get out of himself. Suddenly there was a flood of intense emotions, his heart started to pound, his breathing was shallow and erratic thoughts overwhelmed him.
He stood up, trying to shake the swirl of emotions and intense body feelings, that seemed all mixed together. It was like his stomach hurt but it was all tied into his emotions, too. There was no line between the physical pain and the emotional pain; his emotions and his body feelings were all tied together. He pulled into himself and felt like no one could possibly understand what was happening to him. Intense fear gripped him and he felt like he was leaving his body.
When is it a good time for you to try EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a mindbody approach to therapy that’s effective with trauma and moving stuck emotional places. EMDR as a treatment modality, is best used with someone who is stable in his or her mental health treatment. For example, someone with untreated clinical depression needs to address the depression before beginning EMDR treatment. Or someone with bipolar disorder needs to be stable on their medication for at least six months prior to beginning EMDR treatment or a person struggling with addiction needs to be stable in recovery for at least a year before beginning EMDR treatment. Persons with complex trauma, such as persons subjected to ongoing childhood sexual abuse, should have a good understanding of their abuse before undertaking EMDR. EMDR is appropriate for persons who suffered a single incident trauma.
Why use EMDR?
Heather Barson’s featured article today is extraordinary. Heather writes about her recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder after childbirth. She talks about a healthcare system that doesn’t take care of women. She shares her dark walk through PTSD. She shares her long multi-pronged approach to healing. Her story is moving and healing. I admire her immensely. Please welcome Heather Barson with me.