I am Linda Morabito Meyer, the astronomer who in 1979, discovered that another world, a moon of the planet Jupiter, called Io, was geologically alive. I made my discovery at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory working as a Navigation Engineer on NASA’s Voyager mission to Jupiter. My discovery has been described as the largest of NASA’s planetary exploration program. This was not the only discovery my life held for me. My memoir, Parallel Universes, A Memoir From the Edges of Space and Time
tells the story of my discovery in science and my other story that may both shock and inspire, and lead to a better understanding of the role that EMDR can play in the healing and restoration of a human life.
In 2003, when I was nearly 50 years old, my then terminally ill father-in-law showed me his very thin leg, where he had developed a rash. When I woke up the next morning to go to work, I was hyperventilating and had no idea why. Over time, I would come to know and understand a kind of mental pain that I never knew existed in this world. My memory began to surface of a time long ago in early childhood, when I had experienced horrific and unimaginable abuse.
The fact that my father-in-law had become so thin apparently reminded me of another person whose legs were very, very thin. That person was my brother, and the sight of my father-in-law’s leg had reminded me of a little boy, five years old, wearing shorts and a t-shirt, who went into seizure when our own mother tried to kill him in front of me.
When I began this journey of remembering childhood trauma at the age of 50, my marriage counselor ever so fortunately was also trained in the use of EMDR. If I had not been able to place a call to him that day I began to hyperventilate, I am not sure what would have become of me. I was an accomplished astronomer, world famous by this time, had a wonderful grown son, and had experienced many of the trials that we as adults face in our lives. But, nothing could have prepared me for the journey I was about to take. I thank God everyday that I had the knowledge and expertise of this professional therapist on this journey, in fact ultimately two such experts, after a move to a different town. Both were kind, both brilliant, and both trained in EMDR. They would ultimately pull me through a time of remembering to a rebirth of my life and my faith.
For me, EMDR was the most powerful tool that I could have brought to my pain, when I had no choice but to remember a past that was so painful that my mind could not process the memories at the time of the abuse. EMDR handled the second time I lived through these experiences, once that door to remembering opened. EMDR allowed me survival, healing, and integration of these experiences into my life. Through EMDR I was able to learn how these experiences affected my entire life, and how to handle unimaginable pain in a therapeutic way. When there were moments in the process I felt I would not survive, I nearly literally ran to my appointments with my therapist. I knew I would emerge with the level of psychological pain lessened, and one step closer to complete healing. Each time, the promise that treatment gives and the hope was realized.
There is no way I can put into words my gratitude to my therapists and my appreciation for the help that I received from this blessed treatment. I am out of pain, and I want people to know that the abuse that I remembered has been corroborated by a variety of sources. What I remembered would ultimately in my case lead to a police investigation. The police who are handling the investigation wanted to know the nature of the treatment I had received, because of the level of healing they could detect in me.
It took a great deal of courage for me to come forward and tell my story in my memoir. But, I realized that it was my sincerest desire to help others who may be experiencing something they cannot understand in adulthood, which emerges so unexpectedly. I feel richly blessed to be able to share the method that permitted my survival, and I cannot thank Dr. Francine Shapiro enough for her discovery of EMDR. It eased my pain, and moved the process along, until the day the memories had all been recovered and processed by my mind. I am well, and I am now free.
-Linda Morabito Meyer