All my life, triggers hit me hard! Talking about triggers helps diminish their impact on our lives. At one time, I just ignore the triggers and wished them away.
Triggers come in all shapes and sizes with some slapping me harder than others. I will list a few here, and some may resonate with you and others may not.
My number one trigger is having people act as if they don’t hear me or they don’t acknowledge my existence. Growing up, the silent treatment was a weapon used to bring you in line. It forced you to abide by how the family thought you should think. Silence from others worries me because my neuropathways automatically go to the experiences of my past.
Another primary trigger for me is sound. The specific sound that drives me nuts is a bass type of sound. Things like a car radio with the deep bass blasting in a car. It could sound where I hear people talking loudly, but I can’t make out what they are saying. Anything that connects me back to sounds that were horrifying for me growing up. I grew up in an abusive home, and to this day I cannot get the sounds of my pets being killed.
One trigger I struggle with that is more prevalent during the holidays is feeling like the isles and walls closing in when I’m in the store. At Christmas, stores love to pack the isles from floor to ceiling with merchandise. Stores feel they do not need isles to walk in for customers. It becomes a huge trigger when you mix that in with a crowd of people shopping. Often these triggers cause high anxiety for me.
Triggers take us back via our neural pathways into a moment we have experienced in life. It does not matter if the event is happening right now because, in my our mind, it feels as if it is. What we have to learn to do is acknowledge that triggers exist but when they happen, realize that it is not what is happening now.
Sometimes just shifting what you are doing or thinking about or saying can help shift what is happening by a trigger you are facing. It isn’t always easy to make that connection and change it at the moment, but the more we work on that, the more we will reclaim the power we hand over to our triggers. It is a process of learning and becoming more aware, but until we allow ourselves to see the triggers for what they are, it will be hard to change them.
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