Let’s sketch a scenario: You are a pistol and something or someone presses or pulls your trigger and then you “go off”.  Now, imagine you have no control as to when your trigger gets pulled and you have no idea when you are likely to go off? Wouldn’t that be a nightmare? I mean could you imagine the misery of such a life? Yet some of us live that life isn’t it? Our trigger points are so vulnerable that anyone could just pull them at any given time and we could just go off. We always “go off” and it’s not really our fault because I mean someone presses our buttons, someone pushes us, someone or something surely pulls our trigger point/s and of course we’ll go off. What if I put it to you that it doesn’t have to be this unstable or unpredictable? What if I tell you that you can be in better control?

Have you ever taken time to note down the things which trigger your rage, anxiety or depression? Did you know that it is so important to learn our past traumas so that we know how to respond at any moment we are triggered?

A trigger is a reminder of a past trauma. This reminder can cause a person to feel overwhelming sadness, anxiety, or panic. It may also cause someone to have flashbacks. A trigger is something that sets off a flashback, transporting the person back to the traumatic event . Something that causes you to feel upset and frightened because you are made to remember something bad that has happened in the past. To trigger is to cause a strong emotional reaction of fear, shock, anger or worry especially because you are made to remember something bad that happened in the past. For instance , just last week there was an intruder in our home and this encounter triggered my previous experience in Accra when I was almost raped and shot at by robbers. This particular incident was not as dramatic however it was traumatic because it triggered the very same emotions of fear, panic and anger of being violated.

There are lots of ways in which people can be triggered.  A person could also be triggered by internal processes such as stress. A person who was violated sexually for instance could be triggered by a partner who touches her or wants to engage with her sexually, as the event happens she could have images of her traumatic experience, she gets triggered and delivers the past trauma which now plays out in her present tense. A person whose security was violated could be triggered by a loud bang of a door, too close proximity of strangers, and any other act which threatens their security. A person’s behaviour towards you could trigger a response from a past reaction of heartbreak or disappointment or mourning it really differs from person to person. We all have out trigger points and we all need to be aware of them and understand what it takes for us to be triggered so that we could avoid it by all means.

Have a chair moment and take note of the things that trigger you  those would be the things which provoke your rage, anxiety or depression. Once you have noted these , do your best to avoid such situations . You can do this by avoiding to watch films or listen to music that trigger emotions of sadness or you can avoid spaces or locations that evoke painful memories. You could even go to the extent of avoiding people who provoke you easily and most importantly, you should be able to share this with your intimate circle so that they are aware when they have triggered you also so that they know how to deal with you when you have been triggered.

After the recent incident which triggered my security issues I immediately took a breather and went off all social media platforms. I knew it was my quickest way to recover because I had gone through the cycle before so I understood what needed to be done. Also social media is my source of information, news and updates and also where I get to interact with a lot of people . Therefore, I knew I couldn’t handle any other tragic news headline or sad story and I certainly could not be dealing with people and their issues at this time since I was feeling vulnerable myself. And so the isolation went on for three days ( I like doing my treatments in threes , 3 days, 3 weeks , 3 months etc. ) When I got back I was still careful of how much I was exposing myself because I was still rather sensitive. However, what  works for you? Is a job you will have to do I’m afraid.  How deep you have been triggered will inform the approach to treatment sometimes it will require a destination, a book, a film, spending time with loved ones, formal therapy, change of jobs or environment in general it really all depends. The most important thing is you are protected and your mental space is in a good vibe.

By Lerato Charlotte Letsoso | Email: leratokayise@gmail.com