I’m super hesitant to write this post for fear that some will read it as nothing more than a political post. Honestly, it has nothing to do with politics. This is purely a raw post about where I am and how I’m coping with trauma triggers. I hope it can be helpful to someone else that is in the same boat….even if it does nothing more than to show you are not alone.
So quick back story, I was abused by both of my parents (I talked about this some in one of my early entries). I don’t know when it started, only when it ended. But a childhood of sexual abuse, emotional manipulation, and neglect takes a toll. It is a hell that I doubt I will ever truly escape from, but working with the right therapist helps.
Like most of the world, my Facebook feed has been filled with images of children, torn away from their families, in a country they don’t know, in unfamiliar situations, and scared out of their minds. Images and sounds that I cannot get out of my head. Reading responses from adults that have no compassion for the situation these children are in, transports me back to my 16 year old self dealing with DHR in Alabama (a system that failed to protect me). I find myself just filled with rage and I want to lash out at the world and reach through the computer screen and punch people (some strangers and some “friends”). I did not realize until yesterday in my therapy session that this is all a trauma trigger. So on one hand I’m like “thank you, therapist” and on the other I’m like “screw you, brain.”
While I wasn’t aware I was being triggered, I was aware that my anger had reached an uncomfortable level and I wanted to do something to calm myself. So I painted, which is almost like taking a drug. It immediately calms me down (at least while I’m painting). I also learned how to change the grease out in the wheel bearings of my camper axle and completed that project. The anger was still there, but it was less.
So after hearing my therapist say the phrase “trauma trigger” I researched to see if there are things I can do to help me cope when I feel triggered. Cause honestly, all I want to do is cry and punch people and maybe eat cheese dip (though that is not too unusual in general). So below is a list of things I found that I plan on trying. If you feel triggered, I hope this list is helpful to you as well, though, I would encourage you to also seek out and work with a trained professional.
Ways to Cope with Trauma Triggers
- Do something fun or creative
- Write Something
- Use spiritual resources (if that’s your thing)
- Do something physical: Sex, run, hit a punching bag, etc (if that’s your thing. I get pissed when people tell me the answer to all my problems is exercise.)
- Do something routine
- Wear something that makes you feel good
- Get some little things done
- Learn something new
- Do a reality check
- Be present in the moment
- Stare at something pretty or that has special meaning
- Play with children in your family or a pet (i definitely find playing with Ande to be calming)
- Do a relaxation exercise
- Take a warm bath (YES, please)
- Do some aromatherapy
- Listen to music
- Make music
I totally copied all of these from here. They go into further detail there if you want to learn more.
Take good care of yourselves,