You’ll see warnings about them on blog posts, Tumblr, and other portions of the Internet. In case you didn’t know, the warnings aren’t there just to be trendy.
Triggers are rooted in trauma. Be it trauma that affected a single evening or changed the course of an entire life, such things are very real, especially for the victims. Their effects can run deep and really shake the victim out of their comfort zone. And some triggers do not manifest until long after an inciting incident. In other words, the victim might not even know something is a trigger until an incident arises.
This was the case with me. I had an experience recently that I can say, without a shadow of irony or facetiousness, triggered me. There was a point at which I was curled up on the ground, as tightly as possible, facing away from every glowing screen, weeping. I won’t go into more details about it, but suffice it to say that not only was I disturbed by the incident in general, that specific reaction was absolutely terrifying. It felt beyond my control. It took a lot of time, breathing, and effort to pull myself back from that emotional brink and convince myself that the world was not, in fact, coming to an end. And even then, I’ve had trouble sleeping all week up until last night, when I finally took a Melatonin before bed. And while I did not have the sort of nightmare I’ve been having this week, I still dreamed pretty vividly.
It is undeniable that triggering incidents like this happen all of the time for some people. In fact, a few might go through something like this every day. Responsible people even peripherally aware of the devastating power of triggers mark their work with warnings to avoid causing pain and suffering. And yet, for some dudebros on the Internet, “trigger warning” is a laughable concept. Much in the same way that they mock people who are invested in changing the social order to better represent a diverse population, trolls are even more derisive of people who admit to being so sensitive to certain subjects and material. I’m not one to paint with broad brushes, as people as individuals are very different creatures who come from different backgrounds and operate under different circumstances. But in my opinion, those who act with willful ignorance and express their opinions in cutting, dismissive manners are some of the worst on the planet.
I’m not expecting any of my words to change the world, or anything. I’m just saying that my understanding of triggers is even more comprehensive. I’ve used trigger warnings on Tumblr before now. I’ll continue to do so, and I’m doing my utmost to take care of myself. What happened was extremely unfortunate, and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. But I am working to recover from it. It’ll take time. But I think it’s possible.
Also, and unrelated:
It feels good to be writing again.