Finding comfort in triggering media

  • Thread starter Felysha Spaulding
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Felysha Spaulding

So I’ve noticed these last few years that I tend to gravitate towards media that make me dissociate. Originally it was an odd fascination with the show 13 reasons why, I knew it was bad and I knew how bad it triggered me but I became almost obsessed with watching it and experiencing the same feelings. Then it was Doki Doki literature club, it made me feel so awful but I couldn’t stop watching, it got the point that for 4 months that’s all that YouTube would recommend to me. Now it’s Bo Burnham’s inside. Especially the scenes where he’s breaking down. I’ve watched the special 11 times since it’s released. I find an odd comfort in these things that make me feel so awful. I sit down and feel heaviness in my chest but I can’t stop watching. Has anyone else experienced anything like this?
 

Mee

MyPTSD Pro
Yep.

I don’t necessarily think it’s ‘bad’ - it’s exposure therapy of a sort , no? I just try and time it and try to be interspersing it with other stuff otherwise I can definitely spiral and my trauma perspective becomes more entrenched .
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
I agree that it's pretty common, I'm unsure it's exposure therapy though, I think that's dependent on the person. For some people it can be helpful, for some it's not and everything in between. I guess people just gotta look at their own reactions and go from there.

The reason why I say it's not necessarily exposure therapy is that it's dependent on the effect triggering content has, is it making you look at your own experiences and think about them in a different way? Or is it just making you compare yourself to whatever you're watching that's triggering?

So many motivations for watching triggering things, none are abnormal, but some motivations are unhelpful IMO.
 

LuckiLee

MyPTSD Pro
Yep. My combat veteran watches war movies all the time. However, he can't watch the movies that pertain to his wars/conflicts. He talked with his T about it and she said it was ok. To just stick with movies about earlier wars. He tried to watch Blackhawk Down (J was there) and he was symptomatic for days.

He also watches end of days movies. Which is enough to make the happiest person depressed.

I wish he wouldn't watch any of them because he gets depressed and it doesn't help with nightmares. Doesn't stop him though.
 

triptych

Learning
My current theory is that this creates a distancing effect. You externalise your fear and anxiety into something else and it lets you feel more in control because the thoughts are no longer in your head.

I think there are definitely levels to this though. For me, high tension content that vaguely touches on my experiences with some reframing = great & relaxing. Gratuitous trauma that has no remove from the situation = spiralling & panic. Although I am drawn to both types of media at different times, some of it is definitely self destructive.

I agree with @Chris-duck that it’s helpful to monitor reactions and see what is good/bad for you!
 

Cmz

New Here
So I’ve noticed these last few years that I tend to gravitate towards media that make me dissociate. Originally it was an odd fascination with the show 13 reasons why, I knew it was bad and I knew how bad it triggered me but I became almost obsessed with watching it and experiencing the same feelings. Then it was Doki Doki literature club, it made me feel so awful but I couldn’t stop watching, it got the point that for 4 months that’s all that YouTube would recommend to me. Now it’s Bo Burnham’s inside. Especially the scenes where he’s breaking down. I’ve watched the special 11 times since it’s released. I find an odd comfort in these things that make me feel so awful. I sit down and feel heaviness in my chest but I can’t stop watching. Has anyone else experienced anything like this?
I definitely relate to this... I feel like for me it’s a way to kind of not feel so alone watching tv shows or documentaries involving SA... I always felt really embarrassed by that and felt like no one would understand
 
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