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! 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤

One thought on “Why Use Trigger Warnings? Part 2 | Article

  1. I really enjoyed this article– you make a really good case for why more things should have trigger warnings; retraumatization is real and a real pain in the ass, at that. I don’t necessarily agree that all situations should have trigger warnings, because (at least for me) a burst of anxiety here or there reminds me that I’m alive, that bad things can happen, and allows me to test how far I’ve come in my recovery and what I need/want to work on. That said, I totally agree that more published works should have disclaimers, just so that anyone who wanted to view or read the work might know what they’d be getting into, and have the option to back out so as to avoid potentially awful situations. Again, I loved this article 🙂


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