Something that really helps me when I get triggered is asking myself the following questions:
1. What just happened that triggered me?
2. What emotions am I feeling?
3. (If you get an urge to use a behavior) Will using the behavior solve whatever problem/situation that just triggered me? (The answer is pretty much always no)
- How will using a behavior make me feel afterward?
- How will it affect the rest of my week?
4. What do I need right now?
- Do I need comfort? A sense of control? Attention and acknowledgment? Affection? Reassurance? Safety? Support? An escape? To feel seen and heard? A way to quiet my negative thoughts? To have my feelings validated?
5. Is there a healthy, non self-destructive way I can get those needs met?
6. Is their a coping mechanism I can use right now to take care of myself?
- Can I journal? Watch youtube videos or a movie to distract myself? Doodle or draw out my feelings? Color in a coloring book? Knit? Play with silly puddy or play doe? Cuddle with my cat? Curl up under my covers and listen to calming music? Rip paper or throw ice? Look at pictures online that make me smile and laugh? Go to sleep? Go on a walk? Write out a dialogue to challenge my negative thoughts? Take a bath? Light a candle? Meditate and do deep breathing?
7. Is there someone I can call/text/reach out to to get me through this?
- (Maybe you could make a 911 list of phone numbers that you can use in the moment for support when you feel triggered)
8. Is there somewhere else I can go that will help me feel safe and calm myself down?
- Your bed? The beach? A park you love? A bookstore? The house of a friend or family member? A coffee shop? Your favorite store?
9. What would I tell a friend or loved one to do to take care of themselves/challenge the negative thoughts that are coming up, if they were in my position?
10. Have I been triggered by this before?
- What have I done in the past to cope that hasn’t worked?
- What have I done in the past to cope that has worked?
- Can I do whatever I did in the past that worked to take care of myself right now, in this moment?
It also might be helpful to develop your own self-care mantra.
Part of what makes triggers so uncomfortable and scary for me personally is that, in the moment, they feel like they’re going to last forever. But they don’t. They always pass eventually. That said, my mantra is about reminding myself that the painful feelings are going to pass. I usually say something to myself like:
- "Breathe. You’re going to be okay. Keep breathing. Again and again. I know it hurts. I know you’re so uncomfortable. But you have to keep breathing. This will pass. Remember all of the times you’ve felt this way before and how each time, it eventually subsided and you found peace. Not immediately. Sometimes it took an hour or two hours or a few days or even a week, but the discomfort always passed in it’s own time. No is no different. You can get through this. Breathe. This will pass. I promise it will pass."
I know that dealing with triggers can be so, so difficult, especially when they can’t be avoided. So if you try some of these things, or any sort of positive coping mechanism, and it doesn’t work, please, please don’t think that you’re a failure at recovery/healing.
Taking care of yourself when you’ve been triggered is difficult and it takes time to get to a place where you can do it effectively. So be patient and compassionate with yourself through this process. You’re going to do the best you can to cope with painful situations and triggering people, and at the end of the day, that’s all you can ask of yourself.
Your best is enough. And no matter how much you struggle with taking care of yourself and avoiding self-destructive thought-patterns and behaviors, you are enough.
- persnickety (it’s real word i promise)
basically there are loads of really cool words out there, (persnickety!!) so you don’t need to appropriate OCD for your own use if you don’t actually have it!
use these, people
please and thank
A masterpiece of meticulous exactitude!
I want to let people know about this app, especially for those people who suffer from social anxiety where telephone communications might be triggering or uncomfortable.
It’s called “TalkTo” and is available for iOs devices for FREE here and is also available in Google Play for Android devices! Essentially, it allows you to ask businesses questions by sending a text message instead of calling. For businesses that aren’t set up to answer a text message or an email (it will try to send it either way) a TalkTo agent will make the call FOR you, and then will text you back with the company’s response.
I have used this app to make reservations, check for stock, check store hours, and more. Certain businesses will have a higher response time than others but if you ask ahead of time then you won’t have a problem. I sent a restaurant a question this afternoon (see picture) and i had a response within 15 minutes.
Give it a try!
OH MY FUCKING GOD THIS IS MEANT FOR ME
I can’t find it for Android :(
Always. Without judgement too.
Always, I will never walk away from you or ignore you.
Double Pinky Promise…
Triple Pinky Promise :D