Cue Jhene Aiko’s “Triggered”
During life changes and after loss our bodies get shocked by these overwhelming emotional piercing thoughts or associations that take over our mind and body called triggers.
For those who have experienced PTSD - these come more frequently, at random ( in the shower, driving, out with friends, mid conversation, at work etc.) and intensely. It was a complete loss of control and something I had never been able to predict or prepare for. But I knew that they weren’t going away. Anxiety was attached to me like my body depended on it. Over time, I felt how greatly it was impacting my life and everything in it. Triggers actually led my stubborn butt to taking baby steps backward and forward to searching for a therapist and going to therapy regularly where I then found out that I suffer from PTSD. As painful and emotionally draining the triggers were, they were loud signs telling me that I had a lot more healing to do than I thought.
Common triggers for me within the first few months included family gatherings, weddings, watching old couples, world news, sleepless nights, movies and shows that had deaths within them, others who are experiencing illness and loss, conversations where people mentioned their parents, complaints about their finances and talk about the future. It was very hard for me to see that everyone went on in their lives and I was emotionally frozen in April 2010 for years.
Common trigger reactions for me included completely withdrawing, wanting to be alone, redirecting conversations, feeling overwhelmed with sadness, wanting to sleep, making myself busy and creating more work for myself. I know that this isn't the same for everyone. For me, this is how I thought I would stay protected. I thank myself for doing this during these times. I’ve found better ways to take care, but it would take me a while and a lot of work to get there.
Our bodies are incredible when we aren’t in tune with them. All of the work that we do when we are in tune gets cashed out during the times we go in survival mode. Triggers have made me realize how much I have my own back. I have done so much over the years to protect myself and continue to share my feelings more often with my closest safest relationships, not ignoring when things aren’t feeling right and going to therapy regularly. Having that awareness that you are being triggered is your first step in finding ways to support yourself through them. It’s so important to be able to share those feelings ( friends, family, therapist), journaling (if verbal expression when in a high emotional state is tough for you like it is for me) and healthy outlets (creative expression, physical outlets, being outdoors etc.). Triggers tell us that we are still processing that emotional shift and loss in our life. No matter how hard we try to fight it, if it’s needing healing it will find a way to let you know. We gotta feel it to heal it sis.