Home » Joseph Keogh: I Witnessed A Suicide at TEDxPSUBehrend (Transcript)

Joseph Keogh: I Witnessed A Suicide at TEDxPSUBehrend (Transcript)

The second was that I felt like I could have helped Jason. I don’t know what I could have done but I just wish I would have done something better for him.

What EMDR helped me do was realize that I could have done nothing better and that situation went the way it was going to happen.

Now with traditional talk therapy, you can say oh I’m fine; it wasn’t my fault; I’m okay. But you can lie; you can lie to the therapist and you can lie to yourself. What EMDR does is it really forces you to believe what you’re saying and thinking. Now one way to show this is when I’ve been researching EMDR, I found that people would start crying out of nowhere during the swiping. And I thought, no, no, that doesn’t happen to me. It happens to me.

We would be sitting there swiping back and forth and I would just start crying uncontrollably. It was like someone had taken a champagne bottle and pop the cork and all of that was coming out was everything that I had bottled away on June 15th. And now it was finally escaping.

Luckily, I only needed two EMDR sessions. Part of this is due to the fact of the neural pathways that I mentioned earlier and how when one gets used more it gets easier to follow. Now in my brain, the trauma only had time to set up a walking path through the woods that my brain could follow. But in other trauma victims, like someone who’s been to war or someone who’s in an abusive relationship, they might have a highway that’s been formed. For me all we had to do is take a rake and brush the leaves back over and my brain would forget it was there. But for someone else you may need to take a jackhammer to it and plant trees and wait for them to grow and that takes time.

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Now, a little statistic on EMDR to show that I’m not just like a poster child. After on average of six 50-minute sessions, 100% of single trauma victims and 77% of multi trauma victims had zero signs of PTSD after. Now EMDR is just one of the ways that we’re learning about trauma and the way our brains process it. And who knows what science is going to bring us in five, 10 or 20 years. What I do know is that before this event happened to me I thought that trauma was just something you need to get over, just accept it and move on.

But what I realize now is that we have to help ourselves if we truly want to get past something. For months I was wanting to know why this happened? Why did Jason take his life? Why those two girls? And what I’ve learned is that some events in life just feel like a crappy movie, one where the last scene ends with more questions than answers. And do we want those answers?

But we can find peace even though we know we will never get those answers. I hope that you think about trauma differently than you did before and have a better understanding about how your brain process the world around you. And just remember that sometimes it needs a little help.

Thank you.


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