*The following post contains triggering information. Please ensure that you are in a safe place before reading. If you need help please call Lifeline 13 11 14 or speak with someone you trust*
Some days it can be hard to live in a world that seems hell bent on throwing triggers in your face. A trigger is an object, sound, smell or even person that your mind links with a negative or painful experience. Every day people are faced with things that remind them of people they know, or experiences they’ve had. However it starts to get problematic when you link those reminders with something that you wish to avoid.
I first started self harming when I was 14. I would harm with anything that I could get my hands on. Everything become a trigger. Just looking at something sharp made me think about the feelings I got when I was self harming.
It felt like I had my triggers in my face constantly. Even the scars left behind were triggers. I saw the marks fading and I was scared. While I had the scars, the marks that proved how little I was worth, I felt safe.
When I lived at home, we had a rule around the razor I used to shave with. It was left in the bathroom, as long as I didn’t self harm with it. It’s a rule I have adapted to my life now that I don’t have someone to lock away the sharp objects. I have a lot of rules, they keep me safe.
When I first moved out to go to Uni I was giddy with the freedom that I now had. I did all of the things that I wasn’t ‘allowed’ to do. I bought razor blades. I bought pills. I tried to destroy myself. The next few years were spent pin balling between houses. I let the triggers win every single time.
Now, I have too much to lose to let the triggers win. I need to set myself boundaries and believe in those lines with everything in my being. I stick to safe razor brands. I don’t buy the ones that will bring those memories flooding back. Realistically there is nothing stopping me from buying them but I live in a world filled with triggers and I’m done hiding.
This is the real world and if I want to live in it then I need to learn to deal with my triggers. I need to use ways that suit me. I live with the scars and as I see them slowly fading, I feel those familiar pangs. I can’t let them win, I have too much to lose.
How do you deal with triggers in your life?
I am currently unable to find words to put here, but I would just like you to know that I have read this. I am unable to tell you that I can relate to your post in the sense of self harming, although I have had to deal with a trigger that will be with me for life as long as I choose to be where I am (and I don’t intend to change this situation). While a chronic illness of a loved one is my trigger of resent and unhappiness to where our lives are heading. I felt trapped and can only see one answer, but it isn’t a solution at all really. And while my ‘trigger’ is not like that of yours, it is something that I have to find a way to come to terms with, to accept, and then find different perspectives to think about it from to find myself in a place where I don’t feel as trapped. I think the thing that stood out for me the most in your post is that your scars fading seem (to me) to be a major trigger for you. Can you see yourself in the future, perhaps seeing it as a sign of strength? They are your trophy. A trophy of achievement that as the time passes and your scars fade, you have learnt to find another way to feel? That you are progressing? Tell me to shut up if I don’t know what I am talking about. And I understand it isn’t as easy as flicking a switch, but if you can see your scars for the achievement that they now are as they fade and time passes then I think that it may help with them becoming less of a trigger. xo