How do you deal with triggers? How do you wish you could handle them?

Charbella

Confident
I’ve been panicking about something my T suggested with applying for therapy benefits through county offices and it made me think about my response to triggers and how others deal.

Since reporting some of my abuse 20 years ago I pretty much avoid that region of the county because it triggers things I’d rather not think about. This doesn’t mean I can’t go there I did have to go to jury duty…in the same courtroom and somehow I made it.

I tend to avoid things that will trigger me. I’m guessing that’s a common response. If I want something that will trigger me bad enough I can get through just about anything. I’ve also learned to shut some triggers out like it happens but it’s just a blip on my radar. No I am not as good at others and if a flashback happens then I’m pretty much powerless to stop it.

In some ways avoidance isn’t a bad thing it gives me permission to avoid some family, which I do think is a good thing. But it also means that I avoid things I might have enjoyed if I’d given it a chance.

How do you deal with triggers? Do you wish you could do it differently?
 

Givrali

MyPTSD Pro
I have several possibilities. Medication. Cold water. Hug my plushi. Talk to friend. Doing calming activities. Talking to myself about safe things of the present. Sending a message to my therapist.
When nothing works like last night I pretend what trigger me never happened focus on unimportant things in the past take my night med and go to sleep
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Noticing a trigger is a big thing. Noticing being triggered.
Had to work on all that.

Then: different ways.
My T talks about exposure therapy. But I only recommend that when in a fairly emotionally stable place.
Focusing in the here and now. Saying things out loud like what is in the room.
Recently, T suggested starting a journal just for the triggers and writing down just my thoughts in the trigger. She said that stimulates adult me to come in and give counter messages.
Reminding myself this is a feeling and feelings pass. (I forget that when overwhelmed).

It really depends how far triggered into a nother state I am.
Getting it before it gets overwhelming is key. As then it feels like I have lost and there is no way out.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
yes, mindful avoidance has its place in effective coping, but allowed to escalate freely, it makes the world a mighty small place. avoiding an actual abuser grows into avoiding anybody who looks, acts, or uses the same terminology as the abuser. in my own case, subconscious use of avoidance landed me in a proverbial hole with a rock over my head. catatonic dissociation. may i never **go there** again.

balance in all things. . .

since i started plying mindfulness exercises to my psychotic avoidance habits, avoiding stressful events allows me to process and heal whatever it is i am avoiding.

but that is me and i am not even sure i said that right. . .

steadying support while you sort your own case, charbella.
 

Charbella

Confident
I chip away at them, until they’re no longer triggers.
This sounds very interesting. How do you go about that?

It really depends how far triggered into a nother state I am.
Getting it before it gets overwhelming is key.
I totally understand that, if I catch it early I can bat it away, kind of like waving a fly away and it is about that much of a nuisance. I wish I could handle all of the, that way.

since i started plying mindfulness exercises to my psychotic avoidance habits, avoiding stressful events allows me to process and heal whatever it is i am avoiding.
Okay this is something I am sure I do not understand. Mindfull as in it comes up and you are perfectly comfortable sitting with it until it goes away?!?
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
Mindfull as in it comes up and you are perfectly comfortable sitting with it until it goes away?!?

the longer i contemplate "perfection," the more convinced i grow that perfection is a mythical concept. perhaps a spin-off of "happy ever after?" at best, it is a matter of opinion. one soul's perfection is another soul's horror.

mindful as in aware of what is happening and that i am affected.
no judgement.
no resistance.
no attempts to control.
no attempts to normalize.
no attempts to rewrite the facts.
simply aware and observant.

the comfort grows as i continue stretching my comfort zone.
 

Charbella

Confident
@arfie I am awed by your fortitude!

Sitting with it I find to be physically painful. So much so that my automatic response is to get rid of it as fast as humanly possible. I can’t honestly say I’m even in charge of that.

My T and I were talking about how I have some triggers that happen and are easily dismissed, they barely effect me, he asked why. Unfortunately the answer is that I’m triggered into them so frequently they’ve lost the power to suck me in.

I struggle the most with new triggers especially more recently because things are morphing into body memories (flashbacks really) too frequently for my liking. I also think that I’m now easily panicked into thinking a trigger will end up there.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
My T and I were talking about how I have some triggers that happen and are easily dismissed, they barely effect me, he asked why. Unfortunately the answer is that I’m triggered into them so frequently they’ve lost the power to suck me in.

herein lives my "fortitude." in paying closer attention to the places i subconsciously "defused triggers," i found the mechanics by which to take away the power flashbacks use to suck me in every time, even after they have found new triggers by which to escape the prison of repression. i now believe the triggers are not the real problem. the new triggers show me there is more than one way to trigger an explosion. the problem is the volatile mixes the trigger sparks are hitting. processing those repressed memories proved the key to my freedom. no, i didn't WANT to, but the gain of being able to stay in the here and now when reminded of ancient herstory was worth the pain of processing.

I also think that I’m now easily panicked into thinking a trigger will end up there.

this was most definitely true for me. by the time i reached catatonic dissociation, the panic reflex had grown to self-fulfilling prophecy. avoiding that panic reflex had grown far more important than participating in life.
 

Friday

Moderator
This sounds very interesting. How do you go about that?
Initially, I just figured this was the way I was, now… so I was trying to figure out the edges/boundaries of things, so I could figure out ways to work around them… and was shocked to find that in doing so? The boundaries themselves mooooved. WTF?!? 😲

I have ADHD. Which is a very static disorder. (As opposed to PTSD which is both cyclic and reactive). I’m used to improvising & adapting, and turning the rubix cube inside out… to work around shit (above, over, under, whatever way works). I was NOT used to shit adapting around me, as I flirted around the edges of it.

I wrote about reinventing that particular wheel in a few other threads I’ll link below, if you’re curious, but the important bit? It. Really. Was. Reinventing. The. Wheel. Because the whole process has a name : Exposure Therapy.

Reinventing The Wheel
Crowds here
Oral sex Here

But there are some wicked cool articles that go into way better explanations than I do here >>>



 

Charbella

Confident
@Friday you sound a lot like my brother. If it pisses him off he will find a work around. Major ADHD poster child and adult.

Me if it still existed I’d be the ADD classification but since it’s lumped together we have the same diagnosis I just have a less volatile version, possibly because I grew up with him and went the opposite way.

Thanks for the readings, I hadn’t read the first few but the last one I had, I do journal including exposure therapy journaling, I wouldn’t say that I’ve found it to be helpful in the long run but it does help to get it out of my mind if something is cycling. I do EMDR so my T has me listen to bilateral tones if I’m journaling one of my traumas.

Trigger vs flashback, because I’m still unclear. Trigger promotes a response and is related to your trauma, flashback is re-experiencing. So if my T starts talking about an exercise he’d like me to try and I then have an intense feeling of being touched as well as imagery of hands all over my bare chest is that considered a flashback or a trigger? I would say Triggered to a flashback but that seems wrong according to the definition. I’m not sure why I’m hung up on this. Is it a question of whether it happened? If so, I’m not actually sure though my CSA was long and it’s certainly something that would’ve happened perhaps many times.
 

couragetogrow

Not Active
I'm still learning, but for now my modus operandi is that if it's a trigger that has an effect of me wanting to lie in bed for days/neglecting my work responsibilities or self care, etc..than I have to avoid. It's been a learning process...sometimes I don't know how something will affect me until I've done it and then I see that I pushed myself too far.

Last year, I pretty much avoided everything, but I started to see my life was becoming very limited and then if conflicts did arise as they normally do sometimes in work relationships, etc...I needed to know how to cope and regulate my emotions in a healthy manner. This is what incentivizes me to push myself to the edge of my triggers but not to the point where I go crazy.

And then of course, there's some triggers like my parents, where I currently feel there's no good reason to put myself through that, because there's more likelihood of an octopus performing a concerto at Carnegie Hall than there is of them changing their behavior. So...I suppose it's knowing what's worth it to you.

Hope this helps some.
 
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