Triggers are a b****. There is no other way to put it to be honest. Especially when, like me, a trigger can bring back so many bad memories.
For me I think there are two different types of triggers. The obvious ones that you know are coming, and the ones that take you by surprise.
By obvious ones I mean, for me, liking going to a family event and knowing that the family member I avoid due to the past is going to be there. As much as I try my hardest to avoid family events at all costs, some of them can’t be avoided. Sometimes I get so anxious and worked up about these events before going. I just can’t help to be honest. And the moment when you’re there and you see that person….it’s the worst feeling. It’s feeling sick…it’s being frozen with fear….it’s just shaking uncontrollably but having to hide it so no one sees. The amount of times I have been in this situation and, without even knowing, have started to scratch away at my arm. I just needed something to help me calm down and that was all I could do. The worst thing about all of this was that no one around me had any idea of the battle of was having within myself. I had to hide it all and act normal. The same thing that I am going to have to do in this situation for the rest of my life.
The triggers that come by surprise are very different. For me they still remind me of the past, but in a very different and unexpected way. In my memory, which is very blurred of the past, I’ve only had one very bad occurrence of this. It was when I was on the train one day, and a normal man came and sat next to me. Sounds normal right? That’s what I thought. Suddenly I started to feel really uncomfortable and I couldn’t understand why. Then I realised something I could smell was familiar and not in a good way. The aftershave the man was wearing was the aftershave that my abuser used to wear and that I had smelt many a time. Suddenly why the smell was familiar clicked in my train and I started in panic mentally and get very uncomfortable. I ended up standing up pretty much straight away and moving to the door and getting off the train at the next stop, even though it was not my destination. I couldn’t bare to be around that smell as it triggered so many bad memories for me.
Thankfully these triggers don’t occur very often, as usually there are followed by phases of self harming.