Sarah Grayson

@serotonin-smilez | contributor
A broken record of happiness Aloha! My name is Sarah and I'm a 32-year-old island wahine living in the Midwest. I've struggled with PTSD, agoraphobia, depression, anxiety, panic disorder and anorexia nervosa my whole life. After many years of self-hatred and criticism, I am ready to learn to love and accept myself! It's a work in progress of course, but I hope that by documenting my journey through this process I can help others do the same. ​ I would love to hear from people who have questions or want to share their own personal experiences as well. Let's make this a welcoming and compassionate community! Instagram: @serotonin.smilez Wix: https://serotoninsmilez.wixsite.com/website Medium: https://medium.com/@serotonin.smilez Serotonin Smilez gear: https://www.bonfire.com/serotonin-smilez-gear/

What to Expect From EMDR Therapy

Have you ever watched a therapy session on a TV drama that involved blinking lights, moving your head from side to side or vibrating paddles in your hands? If you have, you more than likely were watching a simulated EMDR therapy session. This unique form of therapy stands for “eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.” Let’s break that down: The theory behind EMDR therapy is, by providing an external stimulus (eye movement) while simultaneously processing a traumatic memory, we can fully process the trauma and remove the emotional distress linked to that memory. The eye movement stimulation can be achieved in multiple different ways. When I had this form of treatment, I held a small paddle in each hand that vibrated in a pattern from right to left continuously and at different speeds. My therapist would speed up the pattern to allow for more intense processing and slow it down to relax my mind and ease me back down. It can also be achieved with blinking lights that direct the eyes back and forth laterally or even simply tracking the therapist’s hand in the same way. But what really happens in an EMDR therapy session? Well, there are several important steps involved. Initially, you and your therapist will go through your history and create a timeline to follow. You may have several memories you want to target or even just one, but they are processed one at a time and done in chronological order. Once you know what you want to work on, you will create your toolbox. The toolbox will be filled with several different methods to help you deal with the emotions that may be unleashed during processing. Now, don’t let this intimidate you — you are guided along gently and carefully by your therapist, but you are always in control. You are not being hypnotized! You may feel a wide array of emotions while processing, and this is a good thing because that means you have removed the mental blocks and it’s working! You have created a safe space for your mind to heal itself. OK, I’ve gotten a little ahead of myself. Let’s backtrack: After you put together your toolbox, you and your therapist will go through each memory you want to target one by one. For each of them, she will ask you to identify four things: 1. An image in your mind that relates to that memory. 2. The negative beliefs about yourself that you associate with that memory. 3. To describe how that memory makes you feel — both emotionally and physically. 4. And lastly, what positive belief about yourself you would rather have associated with that memory. Now, you’re ready to work! In order to fully benefit from this form of therapy, you have to be willing to open your mind. What this means is you have to trust that wherever your mind is taking you is where you’re supposed to be. Unlike a typical therapy session, your therapist isn’t interpreting what you’re saying and providing direct feedback — you are doing the majority of the work internally by following your own stream of consciousness. Your therapist will simply ask you to notice whatever spontaneously happens and follow it from there. It’s actually pretty remarkable. It can be intimidating to let your mind be free — believe me. At first, it was hard for me to trust the process, but once I did, my healing began. I was self-conscious and worried I was “doing it wrong,” or that what I was saying was “stupid” or nonsensical. On the contrary — you can’t do it wrong! You and your therapist will keep processing that memory, using your tools and insights to get to a point where that memory doesn’t trigger emotional distress anymore. When that happens, you have completely processed that trauma and can move on. This is a feeling of accomplishment I could never truly put into words. Let’s just say it’s extraordinarily empowering. If you’re interested in learning more about EMDR therapy, check out this website.

What to Expect From EMDR Therapy

Have you ever watched a therapy session on a TV drama that involved blinking lights, moving your head from side to side or vibrating paddles in your hands? If you have, you more than likely were watching a simulated EMDR therapy session. This unique form of therapy stands for “eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.” Let’s break that down: The theory behind EMDR therapy is, by providing an external stimulus (eye movement) while simultaneously processing a traumatic memory, we can fully process the trauma and remove the emotional distress linked to that memory. The eye movement stimulation can be achieved in multiple different ways. When I had this form of treatment, I held a small paddle in each hand that vibrated in a pattern from right to left continuously and at different speeds. My therapist would speed up the pattern to allow for more intense processing and slow it down to relax my mind and ease me back down. It can also be achieved with blinking lights that direct the eyes back and forth laterally or even simply tracking the therapist’s hand in the same way. But what really happens in an EMDR therapy session? Well, there are several important steps involved. Initially, you and your therapist will go through your history and create a timeline to follow. You may have several memories you want to target or even just one, but they are processed one at a time and done in chronological order. Once you know what you want to work on, you will create your toolbox. The toolbox will be filled with several different methods to help you deal with the emotions that may be unleashed during processing. Now, don’t let this intimidate you — you are guided along gently and carefully by your therapist, but you are always in control. You are not being hypnotized! You may feel a wide array of emotions while processing, and this is a good thing because that means you have removed the mental blocks and it’s working! You have created a safe space for your mind to heal itself. OK, I’ve gotten a little ahead of myself. Let’s backtrack: After you put together your toolbox, you and your therapist will go through each memory you want to target one by one. For each of them, she will ask you to identify four things: 1. An image in your mind that relates to that memory. 2. The negative beliefs about yourself that you associate with that memory. 3. To describe how that memory makes you feel — both emotionally and physically. 4. And lastly, what positive belief about yourself you would rather have associated with that memory. Now, you’re ready to work! In order to fully benefit from this form of therapy, you have to be willing to open your mind. What this means is you have to trust that wherever your mind is taking you is where you’re supposed to be. Unlike a typical therapy session, your therapist isn’t interpreting what you’re saying and providing direct feedback — you are doing the majority of the work internally by following your own stream of consciousness. Your therapist will simply ask you to notice whatever spontaneously happens and follow it from there. It’s actually pretty remarkable. It can be intimidating to let your mind be free — believe me. At first, it was hard for me to trust the process, but once I did, my healing began. I was self-conscious and worried I was “doing it wrong,” or that what I was saying was “stupid” or nonsensical. On the contrary — you can’t do it wrong! You and your therapist will keep processing that memory, using your tools and insights to get to a point where that memory doesn’t trigger emotional distress anymore. When that happens, you have completely processed that trauma and can move on. This is a feeling of accomplishment I could never truly put into words. Let’s just say it’s extraordinarily empowering. If you’re interested in learning more about EMDR therapy, check out this website.

What to Expect From EMDR Therapy

Have you ever watched a therapy session on a TV drama that involved blinking lights, moving your head from side to side or vibrating paddles in your hands? If you have, you more than likely were watching a simulated EMDR therapy session. This unique form of therapy stands for “eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.” Let’s break that down: The theory behind EMDR therapy is, by providing an external stimulus (eye movement) while simultaneously processing a traumatic memory, we can fully process the trauma and remove the emotional distress linked to that memory. The eye movement stimulation can be achieved in multiple different ways. When I had this form of treatment, I held a small paddle in each hand that vibrated in a pattern from right to left continuously and at different speeds. My therapist would speed up the pattern to allow for more intense processing and slow it down to relax my mind and ease me back down. It can also be achieved with blinking lights that direct the eyes back and forth laterally or even simply tracking the therapist’s hand in the same way. But what really happens in an EMDR therapy session? Well, there are several important steps involved. Initially, you and your therapist will go through your history and create a timeline to follow. You may have several memories you want to target or even just one, but they are processed one at a time and done in chronological order. Once you know what you want to work on, you will create your toolbox. The toolbox will be filled with several different methods to help you deal with the emotions that may be unleashed during processing. Now, don’t let this intimidate you — you are guided along gently and carefully by your therapist, but you are always in control. You are not being hypnotized! You may feel a wide array of emotions while processing, and this is a good thing because that means you have removed the mental blocks and it’s working! You have created a safe space for your mind to heal itself. OK, I’ve gotten a little ahead of myself. Let’s backtrack: After you put together your toolbox, you and your therapist will go through each memory you want to target one by one. For each of them, she will ask you to identify four things: 1. An image in your mind that relates to that memory. 2. The negative beliefs about yourself that you associate with that memory. 3. To describe how that memory makes you feel — both emotionally and physically. 4. And lastly, what positive belief about yourself you would rather have associated with that memory. Now, you’re ready to work! In order to fully benefit from this form of therapy, you have to be willing to open your mind. What this means is you have to trust that wherever your mind is taking you is where you’re supposed to be. Unlike a typical therapy session, your therapist isn’t interpreting what you’re saying and providing direct feedback — you are doing the majority of the work internally by following your own stream of consciousness. Your therapist will simply ask you to notice whatever spontaneously happens and follow it from there. It’s actually pretty remarkable. It can be intimidating to let your mind be free — believe me. At first, it was hard for me to trust the process, but once I did, my healing began. I was self-conscious and worried I was “doing it wrong,” or that what I was saying was “stupid” or nonsensical. On the contrary — you can’t do it wrong! You and your therapist will keep processing that memory, using your tools and insights to get to a point where that memory doesn’t trigger emotional distress anymore. When that happens, you have completely processed that trauma and can move on. This is a feeling of accomplishment I could never truly put into words. Let’s just say it’s extraordinarily empowering. If you’re interested in learning more about EMDR therapy, check out this website.

Remembering Child Abuse Through Nightmares

“Where are you going? We need to talk about how things went today.” It was odd that the nanny was already leaving when Barbara arrived home a few hours early from work one beautiful summer afternoon in 1989. The nanny brushed her off, said everything was fine and she would be back the next day. Finding this particularly unusual, she ran into the house quickly to check on her girls. Her oldest daughter, Paula, ran to her mother with fear in her eyes. Paula was almost 3 years old now but she was already wise beyond her years. “Sarah fell asleep,” Paula cried with distress. “Mommy will get hurt if I tell.” After reassuring Paula that everyone was safe, Barbara pressed for more information. “Mickey went wham on her head.” It was still unclear to Barbara what exactly happened, but something sinister had clearly taken place. Sarah wasn’t even 2 years old at the time, so she couldn’t provide any insight into what had happened to her. Barbara called the police immediately and a full investigation was soon underway. Child psychology experts and law enforcement officials used special interrogation techniques with Paula to help piece together the details. Based on her account, it was clear that the nanny had hit Sarah on the head at least once with the metal Mickey Mouse sprinkler, making her unconscious for an unknown period of time on the floor of the family’s garage. Unfortunately, due to her age, Paula’s testimony was considered “unreliable” and therefore no charges were filed against the nanny. The nanny tried to kill a child but there wasn’t enough proof. Paula’s word wasn’t enough. The nanny walked away with a slap on the wrist and no criminal charges were filed. If you haven’t put it together yet, the baby was me. I was about 12 years old when I actually started to somehow remember. It began as a recurring nightmare. I don’t even know exactly when I began having it, but it occurred regularly and it never changed. Little did I know I was replaying a trauma from my childhood in my dreams every night for years. In my dream, there was a baby lying in the middle of the yard unconscious. She was motionless next to a metal sprinkler in the shape of Mickey Mouse that I recognized from when I was little. I found it strange that I recognized the sprinkler but I didn’t recognize the baby. I just watched her from a few feet away hoping she would wake up but she never did. I felt overwhelming sadness and worry for this child that I didn’t even know. But it turns out I did know her – she was me. After some time, I finally decided to tell my mom about this recurring dream. When I told her about the sprinkler and the baby, she turned pale white. She thought she had been protecting me by never telling me about the incident. She couldn’t believe that I was dreaming about something that happened when I was so young. How could I possibly remember? In recent years, we have learned that children are much more reliable witnesses than previously thought and do have the ability to provide accurate and meaningful information to investigators in criminal cases. However, it is still debated whether or not children under the age of three can reliably remember and recount experiences. Although research on early childhood trauma and recovered memories has come a long way since the 1980s, we still have much to learn. Nowadays, I suspect my case would have been handled much differently.

Remembering Child Abuse Through Nightmares

“Where are you going? We need to talk about how things went today.” It was odd that the nanny was already leaving when Barbara arrived home a few hours early from work one beautiful summer afternoon in 1989. The nanny brushed her off, said everything was fine and she would be back the next day. Finding this particularly unusual, she ran into the house quickly to check on her girls. Her oldest daughter, Paula, ran to her mother with fear in her eyes. Paula was almost 3 years old now but she was already wise beyond her years. “Sarah fell asleep,” Paula cried with distress. “Mommy will get hurt if I tell.” After reassuring Paula that everyone was safe, Barbara pressed for more information. “Mickey went wham on her head.” It was still unclear to Barbara what exactly happened, but something sinister had clearly taken place. Sarah wasn’t even 2 years old at the time, so she couldn’t provide any insight into what had happened to her. Barbara called the police immediately and a full investigation was soon underway. Child psychology experts and law enforcement officials used special interrogation techniques with Paula to help piece together the details. Based on her account, it was clear that the nanny had hit Sarah on the head at least once with the metal Mickey Mouse sprinkler, making her unconscious for an unknown period of time on the floor of the family’s garage. Unfortunately, due to her age, Paula’s testimony was considered “unreliable” and therefore no charges were filed against the nanny. The nanny tried to kill a child but there wasn’t enough proof. Paula’s word wasn’t enough. The nanny walked away with a slap on the wrist and no criminal charges were filed. If you haven’t put it together yet, the baby was me. I was about 12 years old when I actually started to somehow remember. It began as a recurring nightmare. I don’t even know exactly when I began having it, but it occurred regularly and it never changed. Little did I know I was replaying a trauma from my childhood in my dreams every night for years. In my dream, there was a baby lying in the middle of the yard unconscious. She was motionless next to a metal sprinkler in the shape of Mickey Mouse that I recognized from when I was little. I found it strange that I recognized the sprinkler but I didn’t recognize the baby. I just watched her from a few feet away hoping she would wake up but she never did. I felt overwhelming sadness and worry for this child that I didn’t even know. But it turns out I did know her – she was me. After some time, I finally decided to tell my mom about this recurring dream. When I told her about the sprinkler and the baby, she turned pale white. She thought she had been protecting me by never telling me about the incident. She couldn’t believe that I was dreaming about something that happened when I was so young. How could I possibly remember? In recent years, we have learned that children are much more reliable witnesses than previously thought and do have the ability to provide accurate and meaningful information to investigators in criminal cases. However, it is still debated whether or not children under the age of three can reliably remember and recount experiences. Although research on early childhood trauma and recovered memories has come a long way since the 1980s, we still have much to learn. Nowadays, I suspect my case would have been handled much differently.

Remembering Child Abuse Through Nightmares

“Where are you going? We need to talk about how things went today.” It was odd that the nanny was already leaving when Barbara arrived home a few hours early from work one beautiful summer afternoon in 1989. The nanny brushed her off, said everything was fine and she would be back the next day. Finding this particularly unusual, she ran into the house quickly to check on her girls. Her oldest daughter, Paula, ran to her mother with fear in her eyes. Paula was almost 3 years old now but she was already wise beyond her years. “Sarah fell asleep,” Paula cried with distress. “Mommy will get hurt if I tell.” After reassuring Paula that everyone was safe, Barbara pressed for more information. “Mickey went wham on her head.” It was still unclear to Barbara what exactly happened, but something sinister had clearly taken place. Sarah wasn’t even 2 years old at the time, so she couldn’t provide any insight into what had happened to her. Barbara called the police immediately and a full investigation was soon underway. Child psychology experts and law enforcement officials used special interrogation techniques with Paula to help piece together the details. Based on her account, it was clear that the nanny had hit Sarah on the head at least once with the metal Mickey Mouse sprinkler, making her unconscious for an unknown period of time on the floor of the family’s garage. Unfortunately, due to her age, Paula’s testimony was considered “unreliable” and therefore no charges were filed against the nanny. The nanny tried to kill a child but there wasn’t enough proof. Paula’s word wasn’t enough. The nanny walked away with a slap on the wrist and no criminal charges were filed. If you haven’t put it together yet, the baby was me. I was about 12 years old when I actually started to somehow remember. It began as a recurring nightmare. I don’t even know exactly when I began having it, but it occurred regularly and it never changed. Little did I know I was replaying a trauma from my childhood in my dreams every night for years. In my dream, there was a baby lying in the middle of the yard unconscious. She was motionless next to a metal sprinkler in the shape of Mickey Mouse that I recognized from when I was little. I found it strange that I recognized the sprinkler but I didn’t recognize the baby. I just watched her from a few feet away hoping she would wake up but she never did. I felt overwhelming sadness and worry for this child that I didn’t even know. But it turns out I did know her – she was me. After some time, I finally decided to tell my mom about this recurring dream. When I told her about the sprinkler and the baby, she turned pale white. She thought she had been protecting me by never telling me about the incident. She couldn’t believe that I was dreaming about something that happened when I was so young. How could I possibly remember? In recent years, we have learned that children are much more reliable witnesses than previously thought and do have the ability to provide accurate and meaningful information to investigators in criminal cases. However, it is still debated whether or not children under the age of three can reliably remember and recount experiences. Although research on early childhood trauma and recovered memories has come a long way since the 1980s, we still have much to learn. Nowadays, I suspect my case would have been handled much differently.

Remembering Child Abuse Through Nightmares

“Where are you going? We need to talk about how things went today.” It was odd that the nanny was already leaving when Barbara arrived home a few hours early from work one beautiful summer afternoon in 1989. The nanny brushed her off, said everything was fine and she would be back the next day. Finding this particularly unusual, she ran into the house quickly to check on her girls. Her oldest daughter, Paula, ran to her mother with fear in her eyes. Paula was almost 3 years old now but she was already wise beyond her years. “Sarah fell asleep,” Paula cried with distress. “Mommy will get hurt if I tell.” After reassuring Paula that everyone was safe, Barbara pressed for more information. “Mickey went wham on her head.” It was still unclear to Barbara what exactly happened, but something sinister had clearly taken place. Sarah wasn’t even 2 years old at the time, so she couldn’t provide any insight into what had happened to her. Barbara called the police immediately and a full investigation was soon underway. Child psychology experts and law enforcement officials used special interrogation techniques with Paula to help piece together the details. Based on her account, it was clear that the nanny had hit Sarah on the head at least once with the metal Mickey Mouse sprinkler, making her unconscious for an unknown period of time on the floor of the family’s garage. Unfortunately, due to her age, Paula’s testimony was considered “unreliable” and therefore no charges were filed against the nanny. The nanny tried to kill a child but there wasn’t enough proof. Paula’s word wasn’t enough. The nanny walked away with a slap on the wrist and no criminal charges were filed. If you haven’t put it together yet, the baby was me. I was about 12 years old when I actually started to somehow remember. It began as a recurring nightmare. I don’t even know exactly when I began having it, but it occurred regularly and it never changed. Little did I know I was replaying a trauma from my childhood in my dreams every night for years. In my dream, there was a baby lying in the middle of the yard unconscious. She was motionless next to a metal sprinkler in the shape of Mickey Mouse that I recognized from when I was little. I found it strange that I recognized the sprinkler but I didn’t recognize the baby. I just watched her from a few feet away hoping she would wake up but she never did. I felt overwhelming sadness and worry for this child that I didn’t even know. But it turns out I did know her – she was me. After some time, I finally decided to tell my mom about this recurring dream. When I told her about the sprinkler and the baby, she turned pale white. She thought she had been protecting me by never telling me about the incident. She couldn’t believe that I was dreaming about something that happened when I was so young. How could I possibly remember? In recent years, we have learned that children are much more reliable witnesses than previously thought and do have the ability to provide accurate and meaningful information to investigators in criminal cases. However, it is still debated whether or not children under the age of three can reliably remember and recount experiences. Although research on early childhood trauma and recovered memories has come a long way since the 1980s, we still have much to learn. Nowadays, I suspect my case would have been handled much differently.

Community Voices

Overwhelmed with joy and sadness 😔

<p>Overwhelmed with joy and sadness 😔</p>
2 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Overwhelmed with joy and sadness 😔

<p>Overwhelmed with joy and sadness 😔</p>
2 people are talking about this

Remembering Child Abuse Through Nightmares

“Where are you going? We need to talk about how things went today.” It was odd that the nanny was already leaving when Barbara arrived home a few hours early from work one beautiful summer afternoon in 1989. The nanny brushed her off, said everything was fine and she would be back the next day. Finding this particularly unusual, she ran into the house quickly to check on her girls. Her oldest daughter, Paula, ran to her mother with fear in her eyes. Paula was almost 3 years old now but she was already wise beyond her years. “Sarah fell asleep,” Paula cried with distress. “Mommy will get hurt if I tell.” After reassuring Paula that everyone was safe, Barbara pressed for more information. “Mickey went wham on her head.” It was still unclear to Barbara what exactly happened, but something sinister had clearly taken place. Sarah wasn’t even 2 years old at the time, so she couldn’t provide any insight into what had happened to her. Barbara called the police immediately and a full investigation was soon underway. Child psychology experts and law enforcement officials used special interrogation techniques with Paula to help piece together the details. Based on her account, it was clear that the nanny had hit Sarah on the head at least once with the metal Mickey Mouse sprinkler, making her unconscious for an unknown period of time on the floor of the family’s garage. Unfortunately, due to her age, Paula’s testimony was considered “unreliable” and therefore no charges were filed against the nanny. The nanny tried to kill a child but there wasn’t enough proof. Paula’s word wasn’t enough. The nanny walked away with a slap on the wrist and no criminal charges were filed. If you haven’t put it together yet, the baby was me. I was about 12 years old when I actually started to somehow remember. It began as a recurring nightmare. I don’t even know exactly when I began having it, but it occurred regularly and it never changed. Little did I know I was replaying a trauma from my childhood in my dreams every night for years. In my dream, there was a baby lying in the middle of the yard unconscious. She was motionless next to a metal sprinkler in the shape of Mickey Mouse that I recognized from when I was little. I found it strange that I recognized the sprinkler but I didn’t recognize the baby. I just watched her from a few feet away hoping she would wake up but she never did. I felt overwhelming sadness and worry for this child that I didn’t even know. But it turns out I did know her – she was me. After some time, I finally decided to tell my mom about this recurring dream. When I told her about the sprinkler and the baby, she turned pale white. She thought she had been protecting me by never telling me about the incident. She couldn’t believe that I was dreaming about something that happened when I was so young. How could I possibly remember? In recent years, we have learned that children are much more reliable witnesses than previously thought and do have the ability to provide accurate and meaningful information to investigators in criminal cases. However, it is still debated whether or not children under the age of three can reliably remember and recount experiences. Although research on early childhood trauma and recovered memories has come a long way since the 1980s, we still have much to learn. Nowadays, I suspect my case would have been handled much differently.