What are some triggers any of you discovered about yourselves? Which ones have been the most difficult to cope with? Comment below or message.
I awoke this morning to the familiar buzzing of a text message to my phone. Let’s be honest though, I was never really asleep to begin with. I don’t sleep much anymore.
Needless to say, the phone doesn’t help much with that. The military re-wired my mind in many ways. One of them, is the ability to awake in completely exhaustion, and my brain become fully hyper-alert in a minute or two. Unable to fall back asleep. Sometimes I remain awake for days at a time. My body pushed forward by endless amounts of energy and adrenaline, unregulated.
A difficult aspect of mental health is all the subtle nuances that come with learning your specific triggers. Triggers are a big part of PTSD and the road to healing. It takes a lot of work and concentration to identify every trigger you may have. Some of them, can be buried so subconsciously you aren’t even aware of the correlation between it, and your sudden onset of symptoms. A trigger can stem from a variety of things pertaining to your trauma. Be it; a sight, a smell, an anniversary, a sound, a place, a crowded space, etc. They can be hard to identify, and you learn through setting them off.
Triggers are hard for family and friends to understand. As people with mental health, we have to protect our environment. Only you know your triggers and your ability to cope with them. The world isn’t going to respect and facilitate all your needs. We must, in some ways, become selfish with our health. We must dawn our armor and protect our hearts and minds.
People will not understand. They might view you as cold, or uncaring. They see a callous heart. This is not true. What they are seeing is someone who must be very cautious, as to when and where these emotions are allowed to surface. We need a controlled environment. A safe place. We need to prepare for it, mentally. Before going to war with ourselves. It is not easy.
If we do not take care of this part of ourselves. We will crumble. We can slip so deeply back into a world we fight so hard to no longer be a slave to. A world of darkness. You will lose some of those close to you along the way. Unable to understand you. Incapable of giving you the delicate, caring, and understanding nature that is adherent to your needs. This can be hard on intimate relationships also. While I’m not saying to just become a recluse, there are stages to healing from PTSD. There will be times when you will have to distance yourself from people and activities. Times when you will need to lookout for yourself, even when society makes you feel obligated to show up.
Part of my triggers included things like being out in crowded spaces, sounds, and smells, and if I ever feel attacked or threatened. This has amplified my symptoms of social anxiety, avoidance, and isolation. I had to learn to say “no” to a lot of things I normally would do, for my mental health. Many people didn’t understand or respect that. I lost a lot of relationships due to it.
But they did not see. Sometimes it is a choice between them or the darkness. Be selfish with your health. For an illness that plagues the mind is a disease that spreads to your very soul. This is not a virus healed through tangible medication, or a strong immune system. Your own mind is your most valuable asset to combatting this. However, it is damaged. Broken. A double-edged sword that has fought in one too many battles. Bent and dulled. Like an old warrior, who must rely upon his cunning and experience to win, for your body is too weak for sheer brute force anymore. Too tired for a sprint.
This is not a sprint. This is a marathon. This is your entire life.