In an interview last month with Oprah for their jointly produced docuseries about mental health, The Me You Can’t See, Prince Harry made a deeply personal disclosure. Harry said he sought a special therapy program, EMDR, to process the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. He described how living with the trauma of her death makes him feel “helpless”, “hunted”, and as if “there is no escape”.
Before I was officially diagnosed with PTSD, painful childhood memories consumed my daily life, sometimes rendering me incapable of completing daily tasks. My PTSD was caused by a tumultuous childhood in a home with an alcoholic father and a rage-filled mother who lashed out at everything around her, including her children.
I am a writer and teacher and I’m often on tight deadlines; my flashbacks, which could strike at any given moment, wrought havoc on my ability to work. I sometimes had to decline major assignments and other opportunities in the name of self-care. I was completely unable to focus, and unconvinced of my own capabilities and worth. In the best-case scenario, traumatic memories would leave me drained and numb. In darker moments, the emotional pain was incapacitating and unbearable. I’d crouch in the corner of my dark living room and wish for a different brain, a brain not mired in chaos and dysfunction.
Last year, under the care of a therapist who specializes in trauma, I began eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy to…