Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Trigger warnings are appreciated by people who have triggers

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, has two states—constant and acute. The first is anxiety with physical expression such as hand tremour or a mental state of agitation. The acute is the severe anxiety attack with tunnel vision, panic along with crying and overwhelming dread.

One aspect common to sufferers is the sudden and or unpleasant noise scenario—which afflicts both states; it makes the constant worse and the likelihood of an acute moment triggering higher. I've been handling that better of late—the neighbour had a leaf mulcher going yesterday—but a child's cry is still a trigger easily pulled and the world is full of children. 

I went to an assembly with all the attendant risk of discordant noise for someone with PTSD knowing that I was risking exposure to triggers and I had two. The first was a baby crying unable to be soothed (the mum had another kid in a stroller; she did the best she could). The other was a special needs kid who was chucking a toy metal car at a plastic seat over and over until his aide took him outside.  

The first one sent me out of the room and into the corridor on the cusp of fight flight with the reaction spreading and tears coming but with some deep breaths I got back to a stable place and re-entered. The second one was just unpleasant because it was irregular and felt like an attack sound.

I got through the assembly but I spent much of it hovering at the back in case I had to run for it.

Now people mock the idea of "trigger warnings" as being too coddling of society or precious people within it that need special protection. 

But some people need those warnings. When you have PTSD, yes the whole world is a trigger, but a veteran with it appreciates people who don't let off fireworks near their house. In the US they put up signs outside their house around firework-afflicted holidays to let neighbours know to do it elsewhere.

For those who suffered trauma from molestation then it's appreciated when someone in a room says "we''re going to talk about child abuse" ahead of discussing it so you can leave if you're worried about that trigger pulling—especially if twinned with PTSD.

You don't know what it's like to have PTSD or be in a state of acute anxiety until you've have it or you've been in one.

I for one appreciate trigger warnings—such as for loud noises and child abuseand I'm not a fucking snowflake for appreciating them. They give me a chance to assess how I am coping, think of strategies to cope or whether I have to leave the space all together.

Trigger warnings are valued by the people who have fucking triggers; if you don't have one then shut the fuck up about people providing them for those that do.

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