Advice for Moving Past Big Triggers

JGirl

Confident
How do you move past triggers that are so big that they turn your life upside down?

I feel like I am getting swallowed by my traumas right now. I was managing pretty well and then an incident that involved police happened at the house where I had both childhood traumas and then the biggest trauma that involved my kids. Just seeing the police at the house triggered me so bad that everything I have ever gone through is looping through my head. It is unbearable right now. The big trauma was 10 years ago, I thought I was past it to the point that I could comfortably move on with my life. For a few years now, I have been able to go to the house with not triggers at all.

It has been 6 weeks. I had to take a leave from work. I still don't have my eating/sleeping back on track. I am struggling to get things done. I started seeing my T biweekly again. We will be doing EMDR soon.

Have you experienced a big trigger like this? How did you work past it? Is it more helpful to lean into it and allow the feelings to come up and work on moving past them? Or is it better to us distraction?

Right now I am just working on trying to be present. I am catching myself drifting off to nowhere and bringing myself back.
 

Teasel

MyPTSD Pro
I'm sorry this happened it sounds like it's really derailed you. First I would think about postponing EMDR until things are more stable.

And as for dealing with being triggered, I guess going nuts on using grounding techniques?

Like try them repeatedly every day, different ones, keep a note of which ones work in which situations, and even try them out when you don't feel triggered to make it more likely you'll remember to use them when you really need them.

I'd probably vote for leaning towards distraction rather than being flooded by the emotions and memories until you feel more stable.

Wellest wishes 🙂
 

JGirl

Confident
Thank you @Teasel. I know this wont last forever, it just sucks. I understand why you might advise against EMDR right now. I have been doing it on a off for several years now and personally find that while it does magnify things at first, it makes them better more quickly. I have a pretty good support system- would hold off if I didn't. I guess that I just want to rip the band-aid off as fast as I can.

Trying grounding when not triggered is great advice. It's one of those things I know I should do but haven't thought off while in distress. I appreciate the great advice.
 

Friday

Moderator
Have you experienced a big trigger like this? How did you work past it? Is it more helpful to lean into it and allow the feelings to come up and work on moving past them? Or is it better to us distraction?
Yep yep. Many times.

Most take a few days to a few weeks to sift/sort themselves out.
Some take a few months to a couple years.

It rare anything lasts longer than 2 years, and TBH I don’t think those really “count” as it has taken the situation itself to be set up in such a way that my life is spiraling… so whilst I might like to blame the big shiny loud thing at the beginning? ((Ah avoidance, always looking for that hot burner to DONT TOUCH!)) It has more to do with the timing of the situation, and the situation itself, than the first thing. Like, most of the time? Tripping and falling is no big deal. At worst a broken bone (6 weeks) or a sprain (12 weeks). But tripping and falling into traffic? It’s less the tripping that caused the resulting everything, and more getting hit by a car. Know what I mean? Yes, if I hadn’t tripped I wouldn’t have gotten hit by a car, but it’s not like we can ignore the 2,000 pound battering ram capable of speeds up to a couple of hundred miles per hour as “not a factor”! 🤣

***
As far as the good, better, best way of handling triggers tied to Pandora’s🪅Piñata*? Meh. The exact same thing can be best/worst, or better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick but not really up to the job, depending on both the trigger/stressor, and what else is going on in my life.

I wish there was a magic wand / one best way to always handle things… but in my experience the closest I come to that? Is simply knowing that, yes, I will handle things. Sometimes better, sometimes worse, but either way I’ll sort it.

***

* Pandora’s🪅Piñata

* Whack it and shit rains down.

* Also, as opposed to kicking Pandora’s Box wide open for a full on back to go do not collect $200, starting at square 1, trip into the PTSD badlands. Which I’ve “only” done twice, now. My first round of PTSD fun, and his time. As opposed to a symptom spike for a few hours, days, weeks, or months tied to a specific trigger/stressor.
 
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anthony

Founder
How do you move past triggers that are so big that they turn your life upside down?
You face them, head on. Its already screwing with you, so face it now and find the issues and then solutions and start implementing those in your daily life.

Avoidance has limited scope for acceptable use. Face the problem. What is real and what is in your head. Discard the irrational for the rational.

The latest data is in, and it clearly confirms that the CBT principles are still the most effective treatment for PTSD. Make them part of your life. If you need source material for that, see: Books | Feeling Good as being one of the best out there for basic CBT principles to change how you approach your thoughts which result in debilitating anxiety and depressive symptoms.
 

JGirl

Confident
I wish there was a magic wand / one best way to always handle things… but in my experience the closest I come to that? Is simply knowing that, yes, I will handle things. Sometimes better, sometimes worse, but either way I’ll sort it.
I love this mindset. I try to keep telling myself that this won't last forever.

You face them, head on. Its already screwing with you, so face it now and find the issues and then solutions and start implementing those in your daily life.

Avoidance has limited scope for acceptable use. Face the problem. What is real and what is in your head. Discard the irrational for the rational.

The latest data is in, and it clearly confirms that the CBT principles are still the most effective treatment for PTSD. Make them part of your life. If you need source material for that, see: Books | Feeling Good as being one of the best out there for basic CBT principles to change how you approach your thoughts which result in debilitating anxiety and depressive symptoms.
Great advice to face it head on. I will check out the book. Thank you.
 

Defaultxlovee

Confident
Im currently a few months from my last big trigger. I was screaming hysterical dissociative things at my mom and therapist sitting on the ground in the woods. My primary doc is concerned if I don't move away from the neighbors who keep causing this harassment and retraumatization I could have a heart attack.

Lots of self care. Being gentle. Working with my T several times a week.

Hugs @JGirl
 
Anthony is correct. A couple of years ago I was confronted with the fact that being around strange women triggered me. I couldn't really go through life trying to avoid all women, so I just had to work on exposure and remind myself over and over that no matter how I felt or how my body reacted, I was safe.

I also agree with Teasel in that it's probably a good idea to postpone EMDR until you're able to handle the triggers effectively, because EMDR will trigger the shit out of you.
 
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