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How can I cope with triggers?

SophieBernstein

Confident
I recently started university, and it has been a really positive experience for me because I feel a sense of purpose, and I don't feel like I'm wasting my time. However, there is something I want to address. I'm majoring in pedagogy, and sometimes we discuss topics like CSA, CoCSA, suicide, and more. I avoid watching news on TV to steer clear of these subjects because they can be triggering for me. While I can usually manage these discussions, there are times when I struggle, and today was one of those days.

To give you an idea, just two minutes into the class, I started shaking, my eyes welled up with tears, and I felt somewhat paralyzed. I couldn't even articulate my thoughts. Last year, a similar situation triggered me, and I ended up cutting myself in the bathroom.

I approached my teacher and asked if she could give a heads-up when discussing such topics so that I can emotionally prepare myself, but she declined. Do you have any advice on how I can cope with this situation?
 
Triggers are ours to manage, and they can be obvious or not to obvious.

various things have worked for me:
counter messages
breathing (if I can cope with being in my body)
reminding myself I’m safe by having conversations in my head
acknowledging to myself the conversation is hard and maybe just being compassionate to myself.
reminding myself I have power and control now (I even got a tattoo that symbolises this for me on my arm and I can look at it)


what usually works for you?
 
I ask here because I have my
what usually works for you?
I also have a tattoo that symbolizes my willpower to overcome all my challenges :").

I don't know, honestly. I usually numb out, have panic attacks, or just dissociate. I just wait, but I go out so people can't see me struggling. However, in class, I can't go out without being seen.

I'll try some of those, thanks! :)
 
I don't know, honestly. I usually numb out, have panic attacks, or just dissociate. I just wait, but I go out so people can't see me struggling. However, in class, I can't go out without being seen
Does that matter? If you cant handle it - get out. When the teacher sees a pattern they may change their mind about warning or stopping so you can "opt out"
 
Does that matter? If you cant handle it - get out. When the teacher sees a pattern they may change their mind about warning or stopping so you can "opt out"
It does matter for me, I don't want them to see me like last year and feel sorry for me as if I were nothing but my problems.
 
Excusing yourself from class for a few minutes while you collect yourself is not a sign of weakness.

If you are in the USA, this is a reasonable accommodation that you can request if you have the support of the disabilities office on campus.
Of course it´s not but that´s seen like that. I´m in Spain but I will talk with my teacher again. Thanks for the advise.
 
I recently started university, and it has been a really positive experience for me because I feel a sense of purpose, and I don't feel like I'm wasting my time. However, there is something I want to address. I'm majoring in pedagogy, and sometimes we discuss topics like CSA, CoCSA, suicide, and more. I avoid watching news on TV to steer clear of these subjects because they can be triggering for me. While I can usually manage these discussions, there are times when I struggle, and today was one of those days.

To give you an idea, just two minutes into the class, I started shaking, my eyes welled up with tears, and I felt somewhat paralyzed. I couldn't even articulate my thoughts. Last year, a similar situation triggered me, and I ended up cutting myself in the bathroom.

I approached my teacher and asked if she could give a heads-up when discussing such topics so that I can emotionally prepare myself, but she declined. Do you have any advice on how I can cope with this situation?
You might want to talk to your dean of students, if you're really struggling. Or a school counselor. Just a thought. It seems like a reasonable request but I don't know the curriculum, etc.
 
It does matter for me, I don't want them to see me like last year and feel sorry for me as if I were nothing but my problems.
Then make sure they know why. Talk to a few that talk to lots of others. When the truth that the teacher should allow you to leave during those discussions and won't gets around there is little doubt other people will talk to her. On top of that - you are working to fix it.

Plus - it's a result of things others did to you not something you asked to happen.........and to bravely tell your part of the story about what happens after may be an opportunity to create understanding.
 
i used those triggers as mindfulness practice, up to and including the prideful dings of wanting to hide my weakness when i need a therapy break. an irony of challenging that pride which urges me to secrecy is that it has rather routinely resulted in deep and healing conversations with unexpected sibling-in-healing.

for what it's worth
i opine that these SHOULD be tough subjects. may i never treat a single one of them lightly.
just opining
 
I approached my teacher and asked if she could give a heads-up when discussing such topics so that I can emotionally prepare myself, but she declined. Do you have any advice on how I can cope with this situation?
Im surprised your teacher couldn't accommodate that. It sounds like a good idea to be able to prepare and maybe worth pursuing.

When we're triggered, we're usually responding as if the danger is right there in that moment, so to bring the response down is anything that brings awareness to what's actually going on in the present. I do things like talk to myself (not out loud) about what's there, like... I'm sitting in a lecture room, I'm 30 years old, there's a pen, book, teacher talking etc.

I know there's lots of different ways of grounding, that's just a way that helps me at uni. And also, it has taken a lot of practice and therapy to be able to do that and I sometimes I can't do it. I think what I'm trying to say is to be patient and gentle with yourself and keep trying until you find what works for you.
 
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