Updated: Jul 12
This post seeks to give some insight to what being triggered means, how triggers are activated, and how to cope with your triggers. Hopefully after reading this post you have a better understanding of how to identify your what can set you off and know how to deal with them better.
What does the word TRIGGER mean?
According to Psychcentral.org, a trigger is “something that sets off a memory or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma.” Triggers are different for everyone, but people who have experienced trauma tend to avoid situations that can trigger a flashback. For example, if someone was sexually assaulted at a relatives home, they would try to avoid going over there as not to be triggered so they don’t have to relive that trauma and all the intense emotions that come with having a flashback.
How are TRIGGERS activated?
Sight, sound, touch, taste and smell - the 5 senses are what activates a trigger. Sight and sound are the most common senses that cause someone to be triggered with touch, smell and taste follow behind.
Example of how Triggers are activated
Let’s go back to the sexual assault victim. They SEE the relative’s house where they were assaulted which causes them to have a flashback to where they were attacked. If our victim is at work and HEARS sounds that the attacker made, this can cause them to be triggered. Since this person was assaulted, they were TOUCHED and can be triggered by someone touching them, even in a non threatening way. Let’s say the attacker wore a common cologne or perfume, our victim could be in the supermarket and SMELL someone wearing the same fragrance, this can cause them to triggered too. If the attacker forced a kiss on our victim and they tasted alcohol, our victim could be triggered by the TASTE and SMELL of alcohol.
How to Cope with Triggers
Whether or not you know what your triggers are, make sure you are getting the proper treatment that will help you process all the emotions that you are feeling. Once you have help processing these feelings you might be able to use these coping skills as suggested byVeryWellMind.com:
Another way of coping with your triggers is to not avoid them, but face them, doing this can help boost your confidence!
My 2 Cents
1. When I’m triggered, the feelings I experience vary. There are times where I feel deeply angry, hurt, paranoid, shocked just to name a few. The other day, I felt triggered by a shirt I wore when I was going through a hard time. I had a very brief flashback of that moment, but the feelings of hopelessness and despair lingered - it freaked me out. What I’m saying is that being triggered and having flashbacks aren’t always like the movies make them out to be. They can range from mild to moderate to severe. No matter how intense they are, if you feel overwhelmed by them, please let your doctor know ASAP!
2. Before you learn how to apply coping skills, you need to get to a point where you can process your emotions and can identify your triggers.
3. Identifying your triggers can be a long process so be patient with yourself
I hope this post was helpful and that you feel better equip to face your challenges, remember Brown Girls, you got this and you are NOT alone.
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