Why Use Trigger Warnings? Part 2 | Article

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So, in the first part of this article I explained the depths and fissures all about triggers and what they are versus what they are not, but I began that article more so because I wanted to talk about why we use trigger warnings at all and why we should be using them *more*.


Trigger warnings give the reader or the viewer the choice of backing out. If you are never presented with the *option* at all that is one thing, but if you are presented with the option, the heads up if you will, than it is up to you how you handle your own reaction to it. Because, maybe you will respond without much of a hitch or maybe you will tumble into the abyss of a crisis. It all depends on where you are in your recovery and your coping strategies and whether those strategies are, and whether you yourself are, at a point where that is enough to carry you through the rest of the day without significant destabilization.


That is why I vote that more things should come with a trigger warning. I think movies, you know those Netflix shows, books and online articles should come with a trigger warning. I think even, if the site is compatible with it (and if it isn’t, maybe that is something that can be introduced into the website) individual works of art should come with a trigger warning. For instance, on deviantART there exists a checkbox for if your work contains mature content, one of those being ideologically sensitive and it is graded on a spectrum from no mature content to heavy amount of mature content requiring being over the age of eighteen to view it.


In these circumstances, trigger warnings are helpful for all involved, there really is no downside to including one “just in case” versus how everything could go wrong if you do *not* include one when it was necessary. Trigger warnings can include anything from specific traumas like verbal abuse or sexual abuse, suicide, homicide, substance use, self-harm, the list could go on and on.


I do not think it is possible to cover every single possible trigger out there, but the hot potato one’s like suicidality and self-harm are pretty important to mention, especially if the content is very explicit and specific. Websites featuring online articles like “The Mighty Site” often have trigger warnings as far as I have read.


There is the possibility that something out of the ordinary may trigger a particular person more so than the hot potatoes, but I do not think that trigger warnings are meant to be a one size fits all. I think the broader a warning of topics that may arise in the work is important and necessary for the reader or viewer to allow control on their part as to whether or not they wish to view the material. I think trigger warnings are like a courtesy call. They are like saying, “Hey, I know you may be more vulnerable right now and this content contains X, Y and Z–just so you know. Okay, have fun.”


The argument against trigger warnings can often be: how do you place a trigger warning on life? Life situations that maybe are not avoidable include road rage from other people, words someone is speaking aloud, times of day, etc.


And those are definitely harder situations to handle carefully. And, I think, personally, that if you can put a trigger warning on something do it, and if it is a case of misuse in terms of life itself, no, there may not be a trigger warning and it is okay to voice that concern to people who are willing to listen and accommodate for you.


Essentially, where life can have a trigger warning, it should and where life cannot, we do our best to handle any ruckus that upsets our system and we know from our relapse prevention plan who to contact, where to go and how to handle it properly.


I think most people tend to be level-headed and aware of mental health conditions enough where they will take what you say into account. If you approach someone and they do their due diligence to accommodate you, great. Some people may not, unfortunately, and it’s important to know what your resources are and what you can do about it from there in dealing with this particular person or situation.


I think it’s just important to know your options. Because there are many of them and the more you practice your coping strategies, the more equipped you’ll be to handle upcoming and unpredictable triggers or situations.


Stay safe.

This piece was written February 27.2018

It’s pretty self-explanatory. I was working on a new article today and will have to finish it over the weekend. I got lost in Youtube for the evening, oops!

Let me know what you think! 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤

Defined By the Struggle | Article


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I have been seeing a family therapist we’ll name “June” for a handful of times, about four sessions, alongside my main therapist. As I wrote this article I had just met with June again and my Mom had come along with me. It is a funny thing having my parents involved in my treatment. I live with my parents still, I have for all of my almost twenty-five years of life, and I’m still largely dependent on them. I’m not an “adult” by most strokes–I barely do my own laundry and I certainly can’t hold down a job (or at least, I tell myself I can’t) long enough to be both stable and consistent.


No, instead my full-time job with almost no payment is working on myself and taking care of my mental health. It’s not exactly the most uplifting of work, either, but the payoff is supposed to be living a healthier and happier life.


But there are these thoughts and expectations that are strewn into the mix that just makes everything messy.


For instance, I find myself wondering now, “Who am I without the struggle?” I’ve defined instances of my life as different blocks of struggling. As a child I struggled with deep bouts of loneliness, a dark time in retrospect where I would be lightly bullied and wouldn’t say a thing about it. I used to bottle up my emotions back then and I can say with certainty that behaving in that way never truly helps.


I remember that I spilled all my secrets out one night to my parents, accidentally mostly, and then the world grew brighter and I recognized how many friends I had and my utmost worth.


Only for the next struggle to come in my teens where the scoliosis I was living with reared its ugly head and I became consumed by the shame and baggy clothing that wouldn’t hug my imbalanced waist and took a damper on my self-esteem. I crawled further into myself and refused to talk about the issue with anyone. I thought if I just pretended everything was okay than maybe they would be. I thought in black and white, if my spine could never be straight than I didn’t want to try any of the meager options of treatment. I used to hate showering because it was the time I had to be the most intimate with myself and I avoided the reflections in the mirror so I wouldn’t stand there and point out my every flaw.


But then there was surgery and gradual self-acceptance, self-love and then college. College was great the first couple of years, even as my mind were slowly starting to show symptoms of things far more sinister.


And then, eventually, the next struggle came: OCD and its friend depression and suicidality and self-harm. I was sucked up in a whirlwind that I could not control and whose flight took off faster than I would have thought it would. Then came chronic suicidality with most of my time spent being actively suicidal. There were rounds of psychiatric hospitalizations, different medications, therapy weekly (even twice a week for a year), advocacy and inspiration and hope to recover.


And now, I’m here. Right in this moment, I’m here. Maybe, after all, the reason I struggle so much is because I’ve always defined myself by the struggle. June suggested I look at who I would be if I could take out the puzzle piece of struggling with mental health conditions.


And, I’m pretty sure that I’ve gotten so used to being defined by those struggles that I don’t know who I would be at all without them. I guess, after all, I still have my identity to figure out.


Like, it’s actually really rather terrifying to think that I can be someone without a struggle. Maybe I don’t have to always be struggling; maybe I can achieve my own form of homeostasis where things are just okay. Life isn’t always about life and death, death and life, over and over again. Life is the little moments of smiles, laughter, rebirth, growth and change.


Life is ever evolving, ever moving and ever changing. Life, sometimes, just happens. And sometimes in life we struggle and, at the same time, a lot of the time we just live and find meaning and reasons to live so that we can try to encapsulate our best life.


Because struggling is just a small part of the big picture and there’s more to life than just struggling. It doesn’t make the struggle go away completely, it just gives us room to embrace our own meaning and make the struggle a little less difficult to bear. So, let us share our burdens to the night sky and maybe the twinkling stars can remind us of all that we have yet to experience.


Stay safe.

This piece was written around 5:30-6:15p March 15.2018. I’ll probably be making another blog post tomorrow regarding some thinking and processing thoughts about the session with June from today, too. I took notes 😀

I think I’m starting to find the root of these issues of mine. I suppose there’s something liberating about that even though it’s gonna take a lot more work to really, really be free of it. Ah well, I suppose we’ll enjoy part of the ride. 🙂

❤ ❤ ❤ Thank you for reading!!

UPDATE: Added a photo to this article. It’s an old black&white that I snagged from my deviantART account probably circa 2012. Which reminds me that I need to update my About Me section of my blog and update my art stuff on DA. One of these days, I suppose… I’m hoping to have an additional update to the blog before the end of the weekend. That’s enough of me for now. 🙂 3.24.18

Why Use Trigger Warnings? Part 1 | Article

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What are these things we call “trigger warnings?” And what does it *really* mean to be triggered by something? These are the two questions that I would like to explore the explanation of in this article.


Firstly, to be triggered by some form of stimulus is *not* synonymous with being offended. The Internet, especially, tends to confuse these two terms as the term “triggered” became equivalent to being offended by something online and, as a result, was turned into a meme.


But really, being triggered by some either external or internal stimulus is a term most often related to mental health issues. Triggers can be literally anything. Our amygdala’s are the center house for associations, as in, if I experienced some form of trauma by someone in a yellow jacket, my amygdala may form an association between yellow and being harmed and therefore make me very uncertain and triggered by seeing yellow again in the future (because I would be gearing up to being injured again). Triggers, like mental health conditions, do not have to make sense. I may be able to logically understand that the color yellow was coincidental in my experience of being harmed, and I could still get incredibly triggered by it.


Triggers can be words, phrases, objects, colors, experiences, topics, and the whole shebang. Triggers elicit some type of response; for a while I associated snow to my crises, so when I saw the snow falling outside I would be mentally transported back in time to crises I had that just so happened to involve snowfall. Triggers are pretty common place for conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder and still can be affecting people without that specific condition. Some of my own triggers involve night-time, not being able to fall asleep within ten minutes of going to bed and, a little specific, veins because my brain in the last two months has linked that with suicidality which results in me getting urges.


And urges can arise from triggers themselves, too. Urges are like cravings, like when you are on your period and you’re craving chocolate. Urges can be like wanting to misuse substances, self-harm or act out in other self-destructive ways. For me, it is almost like an internal build-up of excitability, something I really want to have (or think I do) and act on even though in the long-term it’s a very bad idea. Equally important is knowing that having urges does not mean you are inevitable in acting on them and, technically, it is an opportune time to test out your coping strategies (I know, probably not what you want to hear) so as to practice them and hone in your skills.


But back to triggers! Triggers are legitimate, valid reasons that a person may, if they encounter them and it’s likely you will at some point in life, act out with an old behavior that may not be healthy or self-preserving. Triggers are different and unique to each individual and their psychiatric history, someone I know at my day program has issues with swear words, and time of day and anniversaries can be particularly difficult.


So how do we prepare for an instance where our trigger may come up? First, it’s important to know what your triggers are, so I would suggest making a list of them either on paper or in a digital format. I would also encourage you to have a physical copy with you wherever you go.


Second, know your safety or relapse prevention plan. Spend time with your outpatient provider (therapist, psychiatrist, etc.) to come up with both a list of your triggers and more importantly your specific coping strategies for combating those triggers, your resources available to you (your therapist, hotlines, friends, family) and what you can do if the situation overwhelms you and you no longer feel safe (which is a crisis that may lead to hospitalization).


Another way to prepare for coming face to face with a trigger is if the content you are about to observe contains a trigger warning itself. This is synonymous with a “content warning”; picture one of those black screens that come up before a TV or film that has little abbreviations for violence or adult content. It’s the same thing but for psychiatric hot potatoes.


I actually believe that more content should have a trigger warning attached. I’d say ninety-five percent of the time my articles have a trigger warning and books should have them too. The amount of times I’ve been triggered because some book wanted to explicitly discuss suicide without having pre-warned me about it is absurd. Two of the most recent books were actually ironically from a psychiatric unit of all places.


This is the moment where I would complete my circling back to the start of this article but I ran out of room. So, stay tuned for part 2!

This piece was written February 27th 2018.

I had a lot of things to say 😀 Please consider sharing this around with your social media platforms! I’ll probably put up Part 2 tomorrow, unless after I take my midterm I feel frisky enough to upload it here today, too. :3

Hope you’re doing well! I will have more articles to come soon 😉

Stay safe, ❤ ❤ ❤

PS I forgot to add that I totes used my brain to write this article and the amygdala portion was inspired from my DBT group at the day program I’m going to–which is awesome because it shows I was actually paying attention! Ahaha, 🙂

In Which I Say Hello, Briefly

I’m in a really, really good mood and my back-up goal for this week is to make 2 new blog posts that do NOT include articles (which I’m considering scheduling for Tuesday and Wednesday again, like last week).

I don’t have a lot of time right now but I figured that could be its own life update, in a way.

So, before I forget:

Life Update Thumb

I basically just came in here to say hello very briefly. I figured I could make a blog post that’s short and sweet, as I’m always thinking to myself when others haven’t updated in forever that it doesn’t have to be a super long post, it could just be a simple, hey, yo, what’s up, I’m still alive and kicking just busy and shit, you know?

So at least, in some way, I’m fulfilling my secondary goal of the week, already. Man, I could totes go for some orange soda right now.

I have some lovely plans for this week featuring blog posts. Yes a few articles, and also some note taking ones and fanfic updates and all of that jazz. I’m feeling uberly creative for this week so that’s awesome, and I’m doing well, speaking of that! I’m still doing my day program MWF 9a-3p. I’m extra happy today because I JUST finished reading a month old assignment for school that was actually pretty interesting and I quoted a couple of my readings on Twitter this evening, too.

Speaking of reading, I’ve been able to do a shit ton of that lately. And writing fanfiction (I finished up 8 handwritten pages today for “A Little Unsteady”) I have the loveliest of book reviews to spread around the web on this baby blog 🙂 Legit, I’ve written out 4 book reviews for this year so far (not including all the ones from 2017 I have handwritten out and just have to type up).

So, I mean, there’s that.

What else has happened? Just alternating with artwork and trying to keep up with social media. I think today was so good because I got a lot of variety of things done, you know? God, I’m starting to sound like a few of my old roommates while I was on the inside XD

Any who, I still have to do my Score of the Day for today, my accomplishments list, pack up my things and something else I’m totes blanking on right now. I hope this update has sufficed for now. Man, I’m exhausted.

Good night, peeps!

❤ ❤ ❤