Posts tagged triggers.
“How to Deal with Triggers”
“ Being triggered does not mean “being upset” or “being offended” or “being angry,” or any other euphemism people who roll their eyes long-sufferingly in the direction of trigger warnings tend to imagine it to mean. Being triggered has a very specific meaning that relates to evoking a physical and/or emotional response to a survived trauma. To say, “I was triggered” is not to say, “I got my delicate fee-fees hurt.” It is to say, “I had a significantly mood-altering experience of anxiety.” Someone who is triggered may experience anything from a brief moment of dizziness, to a shortness of breath and a racing pulse, to a full-blown panic attack. A survivor of sexual violence who experiences a trigger is experiencing the same thing as a soldier who experiences a trigger, potentially even including flashbacks. Like many soldiers who return from war, many survivors of sexual violence are left with post-traumatic stress disorder. Unlike soldiers, however, they are not likely to receive much sympathy, or benefit from attempts to understand, when they are triggered. Instead, triggered survivors of sexual violence are dismissed as oversensitive, as hysterics, as humorless, as weak. Well. Trivializing the concerns of a person whose traumatic experience of sexual violence has been triggered is a legitimate response. But it’s not a very kind or decent one. I will never understand why anyone wants to be the total jerk who evokes someone’s memories of being assaulted by blindsiding hir with a rape joke (or image, or metaphor, or whatever), in the guise of “humor.” No “joke” is worth triggering someone. Not if you understand what triggering someone really means.
…This project spanned the borders of cat-calling and went into the micro-aggressions of my daily interactions, my work environment, documenting all things that triggered me. While they might be “different” in intent or verbage, they all lead back to the same idea, the same problems, the same old shit. While my experience can only offer a glimpse at a larger problem, I implore more women, of all different backgrounds, of all different experiences, to try this documenting if possible, to write down every trigger, every micro-aggression, every cat-call, everything that you experience that makes you on edge because of your body, of your identity, of your supposed “place.” In a way, it made the abstract real, and I even found myself doubting if I was recording this accurately. Was I too sensitive? Assuming too much? Making nothing into something? But that’s just it — the inherent doubt and fear that causes us to sometimes just not say anything. To not defend ourselves…