• Welcome! It’s great to see you. Our forum members are people, maybe like yourself, who experience mental health difficulties or who have had them at some point in their life.

    If you'd like to talk with people who know what it's like

Triggers, can you completely overcome them?

S

skeptic

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 30, 2015
Messages
52
Location
Inside my head
There are certain things in my life that really get me down if i am unexpectedly reminded of them. i am talking about mistakes, failed relationships and the like. I have accepted these things as best i can, thought challenged and rationalised and i am at the point where i am pretty much over it, however stupid things trigger all of the emotion and cut straight through all of the positive thinking and thought challenging. It is like a flashback and my head fills with images and thoughts. Certain specific things do it. A waft of a certain perfume brings a mountain of memories, regrets, mistakes and insecurities about a failed relationship. it happens instantly and can really knock me for 6 until i snap myself out of it. Certain songs also do this and it is both frustrating and ridiculous how my mood just switches and i have to keep dealing with things that should have been put to bed years ago.

I used the relationship as an example but it also happens with other things, and sometimes random, or unrelated stuff will trigger a thought that has the same effect. I have learned to spot it happening and can turn the thoughts around but it still always leaves me feeling so low and emotional. If i was to purposely talk or think the about the same subjects it would not upset of faze me in the same way and i hate that my mood can be so fickle.

writing this has made me think that maybe i havent fully dealt with the issues that bother me, however i dont know how i could do any more on top of the thought challenging and acceptance and this only helps after i have had the thoughts.

Can anyone relate or have any advice please?
 
StillFighting

StillFighting

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2014
Messages
508
Hi skeptic, the last part that you wrote, that maybe you haven't fully dealt with them, is what I thought as well.

Thought challenging and positive thinking may help in some situations, but they are not the solution to everything (in my humble opinion). Sometimes, I find that it works for me; other times, it seems like the more I try to challenge the thoughts, the more overwhelming emotions I have.

Are you in therapy? Can you discuss any of those issues that bother you there?

Another thing that helps me a bit is keeping a journal here. When I feel bad, instead of trying to make it go away, I'll come here, and write in my journal. It helps, because I actually admit and try to accept I'm not feeling ok at the moment; with writing, I'm trying to process things; other people reply sometimes, and that also helps in terms of support and processing.
 
catkin

catkin

ACCOUNT CLOSED
Joined
Mar 21, 2011
Messages
5,170
Location
in a bit of a ravel
Hi skeptic, I can very much relate to what you say about triggers and how they can be specific to the past or random.
I don't know if they can be overcome, for me they stem from past trauma that I haven't yet been able to disclose, apart from fragments occasionally.
Flashbacks for me come from triggering thoughts, smells, sounds, people, places, situations. The list feels endless but it can't be? I hope that talking, having a witness to what has gone on, someone to help uproot what I'm keeping alive for some reason, and it's impact, will help.
I really hope that letting out the memories and issues that are attached to the triggers, will diminish them. Give them less power and energy (do you find the constant high alert exhausting too?)
Writing can help sometimes, just free associating what comes up, and i found art good at times too.Personally I don't feel safe enough to do the unearthing alone, if talking about stuff would help, is there someone who you can trust to talk to?
Am sorry am a bit lost with it myself but I wish you well in finding an outlet xx
 
S

skeptic

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 30, 2015
Messages
52
Location
Inside my head
Hi skeptic, the last part that you wrote, that maybe you haven't fully dealt with them, is what I thought as well.

Thought challenging and positive thinking may help in some situations, but they are not the solution to everything (in my humble opinion). Sometimes, I find that it works for me; other times, it seems like the more I try to challenge the thoughts, the more overwhelming emotions I have.

Are you in therapy? Can you discuss any of those issues that bother you there?

Another thing that helps me a bit is keeping a journal here. When I feel bad, instead of trying to make it go away, I'll come here, and write in my journal. It helps, because I actually admit and try to accept I'm not feeling ok at the moment; with writing, I'm trying to process things; other people reply sometimes, and that also helps in terms of support and processing.
Hi stillfighting,thanks for replying. I am not currently in therapy but i am waiting for a date to start counselling. I have had the assement and been accepted but i dont know how long i will have to wait. I have done two courses of cbt and i do the thought challenging ect but it only helps after i have been triggered. The triggers just bypass all rational thinking and i have to keep going through the same thoughts and feelings i have already challenged/accepted. It is very frustrating and demoralising.

I will think about starting a journal, i dont have anyone to really talk about stuff and that is partly because i am not good at opening up and struggle explaining how i feel. I get anxious and self consious and my mind starts racing too fast to keep up. Maybe a journal will help focus my thoughts and be easier to explain what i am thinking.

thanks.
 
S

skeptic

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 30, 2015
Messages
52
Location
Inside my head
Hi skeptic, I can very much relate to what you say about triggers and how they can be specific to the past or random.
I don't know if they can be overcome, for me they stem from past trauma that I haven't yet been able to disclose, apart from fragments occasionally.
Flashbacks for me come from triggering thoughts, smells, sounds, people, places, situations. The list feels endless but it can't be? I hope that talking, having a witness to what has gone on, someone to help uproot what I'm keeping alive for some reason, and it's impact, will help.
I really hope that letting out the memories and issues that are attached to the triggers, will diminish them. Give them less power and energy (do you find the constant high alert exhausting too?)
Writing can help sometimes, just free associating what comes up, and i found art good at times too.Personally I don't feel safe enough to do the unearthing alone, if talking about stuff would help, is there someone who you can trust to talk to?
Am sorry am a bit lost with it myself but I wish you well in finding an outlet xx
Hi catkins, thanks for your reply. I guess i havent disclosed much of my thoughts to anyone but i have tried to deal with them myself instead of supressing them (tho i do sometimes ) maybe i need to let it out or just hear other peoples advice and perspective. I am tired from the high alert and racing thoughts so i may not be being as rational and clear with my thinking as i think. I dont really have anyone i trust to open up to, so maybe a journal as stillfighting sugested will be a good start.

I have written songs and poems about how i feel and it is cathartic but it can be very intense and draining. I rarely keep them as they are painful to re-read so i guess i do still have barriers stopping me dealing with things properly. a journal will probably be a less intense and self indulgent way of letting things out.

Thanks.
 
valleygirl

valleygirl

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 5, 2015
Messages
1,974
Location
Valley of dry bones
Hi Skeptic,

To me it sounds like you have experienced some kind of trauma in your life (correct me if I'm wrong). I have had my share of trauma, and I can really identify with unexpected things triggering you. I've seen many counsellors over the years, and the one I'm seeing now is doing trauma therapy with me. Have you ever heard of EMDR or OEI? Both are forms of trauma therapy and can help with he reprocessing of painful memories. It might be a good thing to bring up when you start counselling, to see if your counsellor is trained in either of those, or any other modalities of trauma therapy.
 
Last edited:
O

one-less

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 13, 2015
Messages
53
Anyone else any experience or advice to share?
I identify with a lot of what you've said. I get triggered all the time, and it's so annoying when I'm doing well or just started doing well again. Brings me right back down again and I have to start over - if or when I get the energy, that is...

I kept journals on & off during my life but that serves a trigger too. I feel so violated when I write because my abusers read the journals I kept & used them as material. It was only recently that I finally gave in to the wish I've had for years to circumvent that and keep a virtual journal.

A lot of mixed feelings come with that...for the most part I feel relieved after writing but it's tough sometimes. I'll go days avoiding writing because of that feeling of being so violated. Once I come back to it I try to keep and remember that feeling of relief...it's hard and it takes work...

Well I was taken up by a counselor recently after an assessment and will meet her for the first time in a couple days. Appreciate your posting this, maybe I'll bring this up with her as I'll be a lot for her to work with :p
 
S

skeptic

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 30, 2015
Messages
52
Location
Inside my head
Hi Skeptic,

To me it sounds like you have experienced some kind of trauma in your life (correct me if I'm wrong). I have had my share of trauma, and I can really identify with unexpected things triggering you. I've seen many counsellors over the years, and the one I'm seeing now is doing trauma therapy with me. Have you ever heard of EMDR or OEI? Both are forms of trauma therapy and can help with he reprocessing of painful memories. It might be a good thing to bring up when you start counselling, to see if your counsellor is trained in either of those, or any other modalities of trauma therapy.
Hi Valleygirl,

I dont know if i could class my experiences as trauma? Nothing particularly bad has happened to me, just (kind of) normal life stuff. Some of it i could not cope with, I reacted particularly badly to a relationship ending which i think has had the most affect on me. I am over the relationship now but it has left me with insecurities and self loathing that i cannot shake.

I have never heard of the therapies you suggested, i cant find much info on oei but i will have a proper look shortly. Thanks for the suggestions.
 
S

skeptic

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 30, 2015
Messages
52
Location
Inside my head
I identify with a lot of what you've said. I get triggered all the time, and it's so annoying when I'm doing well or just started doing well again. Brings me right back down again and I have to start over - if or when I get the energy, that is...

I kept journals on & off during my life but that serves a trigger too. I feel so violated when I write because my abusers read the journals I kept & used them as material. It was only recently that I finally gave in to the wish I've had for years to circumvent that and keep a virtual journal.

A lot of mixed feelings come with that...for the most part I feel relieved after writing but it's tough sometimes. I'll go days avoiding writing because of that feeling of being so violated. Once I come back to it I try to keep and remember that feeling of relief...it's hard and it takes work...

Well I was taken up by a counselor recently after an assessment and will meet her for the first time in a couple days. Appreciate your posting this, maybe I'll bring this up with her as I'll be a lot for her to work with :p

Hi oneless. Thanks for sharing, and good luck with your counsellor.

I have still not started a journal, i`m not too sure what is stopping me. Possibly because i just dont know where to start with it all or maybe i am just avoiding it?

I will try again.
 
O

one-less

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 13, 2015
Messages
53
Hi oneless. Thanks for sharing, and good luck with your counsellor.

I have still not started a journal, i`m not too sure what is stopping me. Possibly because i just dont know where to start with it all or maybe i am just avoiding it?

I will try again.
Maybe you are avoiding it and it is overwhelming to get all your thoughts out and organized? I realized that was the case for me at one point.
 
In the Clouds

In the Clouds

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 22, 2015
Messages
1,892
Location
England
I can relate a fair bit to what you're going through.
If I had a trigger I would ignore it and tell myself it's fine and I'm making a big deal over nothing, so essentially I was blaming myself for having these triggers. But counselling made me realise I had to deal with the things that were bothering me. What I found helpful was taking control over little things that I could, if there was any change I could make that would make things any easier I would force myself to do it. Little steps are effective. :) I would think about the positives and what I learnt from past events, which took time to see the positives but they are there to be found. I also distanced myself from the problem. If I knew something would trigger a bad memory and take it's toll on me, I would avoid it if it was something unnecessary. And the more I did this, the less and less the triggers would happen. They still happen now, but it is rare and it doesn't last long. But be sure to deal with things before you distance yourself from them. One thing I found useful with dealing with them was having a set time to just think about it on my own and let it all out. It was awful but for me it was beneficial in the long run.
I hope this helped in some way. :)
 
Top