For some people, when something traumatic has happened to them, the memory of their experience comes crashing back into their mind, forcing them to relive the event with the same intensity of feeling – like it’s taking place in the present moment.
These experiences may present as flashbacks or nightmares, and are thought to occur because the mind was simply too overwhelmed during the event to process what was going on.
As a result, these unprocessed memories and the accompanying sights, sounds, thoughts and feelings are stored in the brain in ‘raw’ form. Here, they can be accessed when something in everyday life triggers a recollection of the original event.
While it isn’t possible to erase these memories, the process of Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR) can alter the way these traumatic memories are stored within the brain – making them easier to manage.