Monday, May 20, 2013

Boston Marathon Healing

I ran a great race and I executed my plan. I had a ton of fun whiling away the miles with Marie. I dug deep and absolutely crushed the last miles of the race. I ran my race as I'd planned it. I finished in 4:00:57 which was not my sub 4 goal but, as my wife likes to point out, it was not 4:01:00.

I finished one minute and forty seconds before the explosion. I was at the finish line looking back down the course when I saw the first bomb go off.

I'm incredibly lucky. I thank God it wasn't my time and I wasn't hurt. I thank God my family was not in Boston. I thank God that I got word to them before all the cell communications were shut down. I thank God I did not witness any more of the carnage first hand. I thank God that I was able to come home and hug my family.

I've tried to write this blog post about a dozen times in my head or actually on the computer. The fact is that until now, I couldn't do it. My attempts to write immediately following would leave me basically curled up in the fetal position sobbing. My attempts after that would never get off the ground because I didn't want to relive the day. Even now as I type I can feel beads of sweat forming and my body temp rising. But it is much better than it has been.

In the weeks following the marathon, I saw a wonderful psychiatrist who has worked with me to untangle the events of the day. Dr. Brecher used EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing to do this untangling. EMDR was the therapy used to treat the first responders at Newtown immediately following the tragic events.

Wikipedia defines EMDR as:
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy developed by Francine Shapiro, which emphasizes disturbing memories as the cause of psychopathology [1][2] and alleviates the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EMDR is used for individuals who have experienced severe trauma which remains unresolved.[3] According to Shapiro, when a traumatic or distressing experience occurs, it may overwhelm normal cognitive and neurological coping mechanisms. The memory and associated stimuli are inadequately processed, and stored in an isolated memory network.[4] The goal of EMDR therapy is to process these distressing memories, reducing their lingering effects and allowing clients to develop more adaptive coping mechanisms. This is done by having clients recall traumas while following the therapist's hand movement.[5] The use of EMDR was originally developed to treat adults suffering from PTSD, however, it is also used to treat children.[6]

That's a whole lot of words and clinical mumbo-jumbo, but, basically, you focus on a negative thought while watching a light move back and forth across your field of vision. That's it. And it worked incredibly well for me. Within minutes, I was feeling calmer even though I was focusing on very painful images and thoughts. It was emotionally exhausting at first but after 3 sessions, Dr. Brecher was basically able to unwire most of the bad stuff in my brain from that day.

I'm normally very private and I don't like to show my vulnerable side despite what you may believe from my facebook posts. I have a hard time sharing my most intimate feelings even with my closest friends and family but I have seen so many people out there who were or are badly effected by the events of that day that I felt like I needed to open up and tell you that there is hope and there is help.

I am by no means an expert on this therapy but if you are interested or have any questions, please leave a comment or drop me a line through my email. durtyfeets at gmail dot com

Please feel free to share this with anyone who you think may benefit.



  1. Great post, Brad! I'm glad you put this up!

    1. Thanks Heather. Not my best work but I needed to get this out there because I'm sure there are people out there that need this type of help.

  2. A little over a minute before the explosion.. WOW!!! EMDR.. that is amazing!

  3. I hope you will share such type of impressive contents again with us so that we can utilize it and get more advantage.