I noticed recently that sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between a processed memory and an unprocessed memory, so wanted to write this article to help explain what the differences are. Most importantly, if you are experiencing negative and distressing effects of an unprocessed memory, you don't deserve to suffer and EMDR can help.
Our body and brain have the ability to process the things that happen to us in our life, but sometimes if the incident was too overwhelming, we lacked support, or are operating on a negative core belief that we don't deserve to heal, the event will turn into trauma.
A processed memory will generally be something that you know has happened, don't regularly think about, and when you do, it doesn't have any emotional charge associated with it, and you feel no need to bring it up regularly or think about it for a prolonged time. When memories are processed through EMDR, this will be the end result.
An unprocessed memory and a good candidate for EMDR can be identified by all of the following things:
-The event is something that has already happened and is not ongoing.
-The event was upsetting and stressful and causes you to either think of it often without being prompted, have nightmares about it, or see it in your minds' eye and experience the distress over and over again, either when you are alone, such as when you close your eyes or when prompted; an example of this would be that you hear about something similar happening to a friend or in the news, and all of a sudden start thinking about what happened to you or perhaps reliving it like it's happening again.
-When thinking about the event, it causes emotional distress or a "flooding" of negative emotions or memories.
-You tend to avoid things, people and places that remind you of the distressing memory
These are all symptoms that the memory has not processed on its own and that EMDR can help.