Trigger happy.

“One day you will tell your story of how you’ve overcome what you are going through now, and it will become part of someone else’s survival guide.”

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So in a previous post, I talked about a TV show about emotional abuse and how I was lovingly warned against watching it out of concern for it to ‘trigger’ me. It really got me thinking about triggers. So here’s my follow-up…

I fear that we are overusing a few terms like ‘triggered.’ More and more often, I hear people talk about being triggered. Anxiety. Depression. Trauma. These are all valid and concerning things. And one of the more positive things the past few years have brought is mental health awareness. Which is great. It needs to be talked about and brought to the surface.

And maybe I am way off base when I say ‘overusing’, but I am getting a little sick of hearing about getting ‘triggered’. And before you get all huffy on me, let me first say that there are a lot of people suffering from trauma and PTSD that legitimately and tragically get triggered. It is a horrible thing and can affect your ability to live a happy and successful life. It’s brutal and unforgiving so please don’t think I am brushing this off. I am not.

But for the past few years I have noticed something. Suddenly I seem to be hearing about everyone’s anxiety every time I turn around. Or how something triggered them. And how they just had to ‘take a break’ for awhile. How they were realizing that an incident on their second birthday with brother Johnny throwing their cake on the ground was causing them to get fat. (I’m making that one up so don’t start asking me who has a brother named Johnny).

My concern is this. Is this taking away the validity of the young girl who has a mental breakdown almost every morning because going to school is just too scary for her, causing eating disorders and serious physical health problems? It is taking away from the guy who can’t or won’t go to sleep at night because he knows the nightmares from trauma are waiting for him, and the lack of sleep and fear is causing him to sink into a depression with suicidal tendencies?

I could go on and on and on and on… mental health is a real issue. PTSD is a real issue. Anxiety, depression, and yes, triggers… real issues. But to what extent? How debilitating are they? Are you fighting through them or using them? Be honest.

I have suffered trauma. I went through 24 years of being in a toxic situation. And I recovered from it. But not because I sat at home and let it win. I pushed through it so I could become part of the solution. Not the problem. I know it is not easy. BELIEVE me, I know. I’ve had that morning where I couldn’t get out of bed. I hit my low. But I eventually got out of bed because, more than anything, I wanted to win.

I never used my trauma as an excuse to not face a challenge. I never used it to get attention or cause drama. It was a part of me but not something I would ever allow to hold me back. And now, I live a happy, full, thoughtful life free from anxiety and triggers because I created that. I want that for everyone.

I know this can be a sensitive subject, but I am writing this because I think people with real issues are being thrown into an overpopulated pool and getting even more lost. And the more lost they get, the further away they are from the help they need.

So, if you can, please don’t use your triggers as an excuse. Use them as a strength. Think about how you can overcome them and be stronger. Climb out. Get out of the overpopulated pool and give others, that can’t overcome them on their own, more room to be thrown a life preserver.

Just something to think about.

2 thoughts on “Trigger happy.

  1. Good thoughts Shelley. I would have to agree that being “triggered” or traumatized “ are phrases that have become overused and thus; watered down. I would venture to guess that almost everyone has experienced trauma in one form or another (some much much more than others) It is part of the human experience and for most people, it should not be used as an excuse for bad behaviour or for your failings in life. There is always a choice for most of us. Don’t be afraid to dig deeper and help yourself whenever possible. It will make you who you were meant to be

    Liked by 1 person

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