I was walking home (in the pouring rain) after my first productive day in what seems like a long while; now I don’t know if anyone else does this but I was mid-rant in my head – I always seem to be arguing or ranting in my head – but yeah, this time I was thinking (ranting) about triggers… plotting a blog post as I was walking down the road.
Triggers – triggers in my opinion is a buzzword (yet, one that logically should be a buzzword). I’ve often had people ask me what my triggers are – and then tell me that the logical thing to do would be to avoid them. Well guess what? Everything is a trigger. Of course I understand and accept that certain things are -in an obvious sense – a trigger, yet I could pick up a paperclip and find someway to relate it to events that have left me feeling like a broken little human. Admittedly I do have key things that trigger negative emotions, panic and all that jazz – most of the time though I’m thinking negatively anyway, so avoiding them probably wouldn’t make that much of a difference. However, here’s some examples:
- Places – there’s two particular places that are undoubtedly a trigger for an unwanted stream of thoughts, feelings, physical reactions etc. yet I think this is understandable – when I return back to a place that was the scene of a life-threatening situation I think I have every right to freak out / react. Even if people talk about these places in makes me feel weird – intrusive thoughts, anger, physical reactions etc. (I won’t bore ya with the details.)
- Music – okay, one particular song. There’s one song that destroys me every time I hear it, or every time it pops up in conversation, and I must admit that at times I’ve listened to the song on repeat and forced myself to feel emotion, or to stop the ‘numbness.’ The song just creates a massive ball of emotion in my stomach, in my throat, in my head – just everywhere – and I feel sick yet I also have no idea how I’m feeling. The most annoying part is that it’s a bloody brilliant song.
- Weather – this one is the most annoying, expected trigger for me. (By expected I mean that its the main thing that others who know about my PTSD anticipate will affect me the most.) So – yes rain, thunder and black clouds do scare the crap out of me – but at the same time I don’t run and hide every time there’s a rain cloud in the sky – if I did I’d never leave my flat, it rains a lot in England.
What do these things trigger? – I think considering what certain things trigger is a different matter – the things I’ve listed above certainly aren’t all my triggers – there just the blindingly obvious ones. Most of the time though it seems to be general random things that make me ‘spiral’ out of control (or just make me live inside my head – in a messed up, panicky, frustrating, terrifying, negative, horrible, dark, crappy place.)
I also freak out a lot at noises – the amount of times I’ve gone into full fight or flight mode as the result of someone sneezing is hilarious – yet nobody has ever threatened me in the past by sneezing (I think.) What I’m saying is I’m very hyper-vigilant, I do expect the worse out of every situation – even if it’s turning taps off (I’m terrible with taps) and checking that doors are shut. Today a car reversed near me and immediately I anticipated the worse, then standing in the pouring rain at a busy junction when two fire engines drove past – basically it was the end of the world. (In my head.)
General conversation seems to be what triggers me the most, I’m sure we’ve all had points where we think that people are making digs at us, or mocking us – I have that 24/7. Life is stressful – and I think at times it’s tricky to decipher whether its the past or the present that’s stressing me out, if I’m being over-dramatic, or if how I’m feeling is a perfectly normal response to a perfectly normal situation.
But – intrusive thoughts SUCK, they absolutely 100% suck, and they 100% never leave me alone – and times its like experiencing an electric shock – these thoughts will appear in my head and it feels like I’ve been hit with a boulder, and I want to hide or cover my head, or just curl up and succumb to the craziness that lives in my head. My mind is my best friend and my MORTAL ENEMY.
(Dramatic, but true…) And most of the time I can guarantee that people have no idea that this is happening ha! And let me tell you… if you mention food to me – there is a whole landslide in my head. (Fun times).
I've written a lot - and in detail, and I know a lot of people experience stuff like this, but the question here is - how many times can you reach breaking point? And, how many times can you be reminded of this (in a five minute period?) Blaaaaaaaaaaaah.