Sanctuary for the Abused

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Understanding Triggers

Triggers are one of the symptoms of PTSD.

A trigger can send a person who suffers from this disorder into the extreme areas of emotional being, such as intense anger, exaggerated sadness, crippling numbness, flashbacks, nightmares, and other areas not mentioned here. A trigger then may be described as a situation, a noise, a smell, a thought, or anything else that puts a PTSD sufferer off into a “dark-area” or sets that person off by reminding them of the original trauma or situation they experienced. Symptoms caused by a trigger can differ from person to person. To help cope with triggers, a person who suffers from PTSD can make a list of the things in everyday life that set them off and then write them down and make a “trigger list”. We can write down some of the more common noises, smells, colors, ex….that cause us distress. Once we are more aware of these triggers, it is easier to cope with the symptoms.

Here is some more information about triggers:
According to the American Psychiatric Association people suffering from this disorder have repeated episodes in which they re-experience the traumatic event. This can be triggered in sudden, vivid memories that are accompanied by very painful emotions and take over the victims attention. The memory can be a flashback - a recollection that is so strong that the individual thinks he/she is actually experiencing the traumatic event again or seeing it unfold before their eyes. In the book PTSD-A Complete Treatment Guide by Aphrodite Matsakis, Ph.D., she talks about the trigger response on page 140 of this book, ” As explained in Chap. 3, PTSD is not only a psychological phenomenon but a biochemical one. The human brain remembers everything; its memory cells store information about every event that occurs to a person, especially unusual events such as traumas,” further on she says,
”Perhaps one of the worst parts of being a trauma survivor occurs when the adrenals are aroused by an event in the present that reminds the survivor of a past event. Long-term memory tracts, in which memories of the traumatic event and secondary wounding experiences are stored, tend to be activated, and the survivor then experiences feelings associated with the past event. These present-day events are often called triggers, because they trigger the emotions associated with the trauma.”
A sign-post to healing is knowing its OK to ask for help or support again.
It is normal to be affected by trauma….you are not crazy!
(there is no rush in recovery) Slow recovery is good recovery.

PTSD changes the person, not the other way!

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shared by Barbara at 12:01 AM



Wow, I swear I have this! I've never been diagnosed and never even though about it until I found your site.
the littlest things either send me crying or shaking with fear.

3:09 PM  

Amy that does sound like PTSD for sure. There's a bunch of posts on my Facebook about PTSD. You need to find a counselor who gets it about abuse & PTSD and maybe medication (short term).

I take Zoloft and have found it very helpful for managing my Complex PTSD

10:07 PM  

Like Amy I would have ever thought what I was experiencing could be PTSD when ever I play rough wrestling ex. some certain movements trigger me into a debilitating fear and all I can do is freeze and sob I know this is caused by my past childhood physical abuse but never thought to go as far as PTSD.

9:15 PM  

I was married for several years to my ex husband who was physically, mentally, verbally and emotionally abusive. The last time he laid his hands on me I nearly died because he tried strangling me, while our newborn daughter cried from the next room. I had to get out. Over the years he lied to others and made me out to be the crazy one because I told the truth about the abuse. He even lied to our daughter, who knew better because she witnessed him abuse his next wife. He bad mouthed me and still was verbally and mentally abusive toward me over the years. I tried to have as little contact with him as possible, while still being amicable about his visits with our daughter. Up until a few months ago he still spoke ill of me. In fact, he told his entire family to have nothing to do with me and said I was an evil lying B****. Still abusive but yet from the outside seemed to be happily married. He got the big house, a business and a devoted partner who loved him for many years. I found out he died two days ago and I cannot believe the range of emotions I am currently dealing with. The grief and sadness I felt left me crying for two days until my eyes hurt so much I could barely see straight. Now all the anger is coming up. There is such a sense of injustice I feel in that he got off the hook and received every blessing this side of life while I suffered all those years. I see all these nice things posted about him on Facebook (ie., what a great father, husband and man he was). and I almost sit here and question my own sanity. This death has triggered everything to come to the surface for me and hit me like a ton of bricks. I thought I had dealt with this all in therapy over the years. I had no idea such a range of emotions would flood through me after hearing this news. I feel a deep sense of sorrow and pain for my daughter's loss but at the same time I grieve the fact that there will never be a change, an apology or any justice. This is the worst trigger. I pray somehow that God give me a new way to see all of this, fresh eyes and a heart that is free from this pain and anger I presently feel.

8:29 AM  

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