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EMDR therapy

I was admitted to ICU in Jan 2016 due to sepsis caused by a rare retropharyngeal abscess, having fully physically recovered I expected this traumatic ordeal to be over. However mentally I still struggle, I've recently been diagnosed with PTSD and currently having EMDR therapy to try and cope with what happened. It stands for Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing and involves my therapist using hand movements and distractions while I think about the traumatic experience. I was slightly skeptical about it at first however it has allowed me to work through my emotions and slowly separate the trauma from the details, making it easier to talk about and deal with. It's unearthed a lot of emotions and details that I haven't been able to deal with or thought about since the operation however it also feels like a weight has been lifted. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is struggling to come to terms with what has happened to them or still getting flashbacks, no matter how long it's been since the incident.

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EMDR can work really well. Glad you are feeling better.

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Hi Anna,

I also had a retropharyngeal abscess. In April 2015 I went from sore throat to life support within 24 hours as the abscess was stopping my ability to breathe. I physically recovered fully after a year, but 7 months ago I struggled with the trauma. Had particular problems dealing with the coma dreams. After 7 months of therapy and going to my local ICU steps group I feel so much better, I have ended up at a volunteer in the steps group. Its good to hear that you are winning the battle. Good luck.


Hi Anna, thanks for posting. You’ve inspired me to share my story too! following a diagnosis of gallstones & a stone in the bile duct, I had ERCP complications I spent 3 months in hospital with acute necrotising pancreatitis, bowel perforations, gastric artery aneurysm, Sepsis and the removal of a section of my colon & resulting ileostomy. I had 3 spells in ITU & more than a dozen surgeries & procedures to remove infection collections from my abdomen. All of this after surgery which should have been a day case!

Clearly the physical struggle was enormous, but after I came home I was completely taken over by the mental impacts of the trauma I had been through. Flashbacks, nightmares & constantly replaying what happened over & over again meant the trauma never left me.

Following a recommendation from my private healthcare I discovered EMDR & I can honestly say it has saved me, I dread to think what state I would be in now if I hadn’t experienced this type of therapy. What I found particularly helpful was being able to pick out certain aspects/themes within my experience rather than picking out every tiny little detail. The therapy helps with the acknowledgment that I have been to hell & back & experienced tremendous trauma but at the same time has helped me desensitise it so that I can process it & learn to live with it. I’ve also found the EMDR therapy really helpful in preparing & equipping me with the strength to deal with subsequent medical interventions.

I too cannot recommend this therapy enough! For me, it should be standard treatment available for those who had experienced serious & life threatening illness. Sadly, even my GP had no awareness of this therapy, recommending standard CBT (which I understand wouldn’t really help) so I make it my mission to share my positive experience with anyone who’ll listen! I’m pleased to say that 5 months after starting therapy I am in a MUCH better place & the flashbacks, nightmares & high emotions are nearly all gone 😊


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