Triggers vs fear

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helena

MyPTSD Pro
I don't want to hijack someone else's thread, but 2quilt mentioned that there is a difference between facing a fear (good thing) and going into a situation that would trigger a sufferer (bad thing)

How do you tell the difference?
 
Hmmm - good question.

OK - IMO - I have quite a bit of fears:
heights
escalators (go ahead and laugh - smile)
*These things I can slowly adjust to and try to deal with.

Triggers are completely different in my mind. First the body response and emotional feelings are nothing like a fear. In fact, I can't even figure out how to explain - it's like the worse kind of adrelinal (sp?) rush you could ever imagine - but nothing about it feels good. I literally will forget to breathe - it's far beyond the pounding heart etc. that comes from fears. In fact, often I will "leave my body" in a sense or "go inside myself" if triggered.

With my triggers - upon reflection, I can associate them with my trauma, where as my fear of heights has nothing to do with my trauma. (Does that make sense?)

Having said that - I don't believe we should avoid triggers. Now, if you are not feeling "safe" - then yes steer clear, but it would be impossible for me to live my life at all without ever being triggered. However, I would not intentially put myself in an unsafe situation to force a trigger.

I may go into a store and see a man that reminds me of my abuser. (The man in the store has not done anything to me or said anything to me - therefore, for the most part I am "safe"). Depending on how I feel, I may stay in the store (instead of running out), or if I were feeling very strong - I might even say a quick polite hello.

But, I wouldn't walk into a bar - full of men that look like my abuser, are drinking like my abuser, and more than likely have the potential to act like my abuser - because then I would be putting myself in an unsafe place.

I feel like I'm rambling - LOL. I hope I answered your question, if not - let me know and I'll try again (my brain is a bit "jumbled" today).
 
Hi Sunnybrook,

I think I've got it.... fear of heights is good to overcome if it is an irrational fear so go mountain climbing it will do you good.

but unwise/bad to do if the cptsd was caused by falling off a mountain/cliff and likely to cause a severe panic attack/trigger a relapse
 
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