MASSIVE difference between intentional & directed exposure to triggers and stressors in order to chip away at them, smooth them out, and eliminate them entirely… and random/ongoing/uncontrolled exposure to triggers and stressors. Which has the opposite effect.This is why, sometimes for me, even though I know it is good to get exposure to triggers, it is sometimes too much
It’s a bit like food… which is -generally speaking- good for you. Too much or too little, which has little to no effect in the short term, however has serious & often lethal consequences in the long term.
I basically make a fluid list with the most annoying & problematic at the top, and the least likely to run into & fewest problems at the bottom.In some ways I have to prioritise the triggers I know of to deal with them,
Great example of type?
1) My kid got spooked during a fireworks display a few years back and bolted into the woods. I ended up in a moving-flashback (picking my feet up for tripwires, running crouched & zigzagging between trees, countless other things… I’m lucky as hell I didn’t come across anyone I didn’t know, or I’d have killed them, in that moment / in that headspace) as I got triggered by
- running in the dark
- through the woods
- afraid for & after someone I loved
- the smell of cordite in the air
- disco lights flashing
- explosions in the distance
And then it really took a couple/few volatile as hell of weeks to back myself down. Symptomatic to my eyeballs.
GINOURMOUS trigger response.
Have I worked on it at all? Pfft. Nope! It’s near the very bottom of my list, because it’s just not something I have to deal with very often… if ever, really.
2) The lights being off where I live is a stressor 6 different ways, 2 really brutally. The effect? Mild irritation, edginess, general unease. THAT ONE? Right at the top of my list. Why? Because I live with other people, who keep shutting the motherf*cking lights off, and it’s their home / I’m just a guest.
So annoying things can be at the top of my list, whilst potentially lethal thins can be waaaaay down at the bottom, just because sense & practicality. One is very much a part of my day to day life, and the other is on alternate leap years.
There’s also quite a lot of vice-versa. With wicked hard things at the top and stupid easy at the bottom.
One of the many benefits of having a fluid list I work off of is that extremely difficult and super easy triggers & stressors being at the same “do this now” level? Gives me an ability to pace myself. I can work on easy things, or hard things as my life permits. If my stress cup is maxing out? I won’t be working on either; more middling or low, I can be working on a lot.
Taking StressCup/LifeStuff things into account? Is PART of working with triggers and stressors. It’s all about awareness & control, after all. Ignoring that it’s been a stressful day/week/time? Or that it’s about to be? Not managing my stress? Is the opposite of awareness & control.