There’s been an awful lot happening in my space. My resident country South Africa has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. If it wasn’t violent protests against foreign nationals, then it was the alarming rate of rape and killing of women and children. In the past week alone we have hurried close to ten victims of Gender based violence, this accounting only to the ones which made media coverage. With so much tension thick in the atmosphere, it’s only natural for one to be triggered.

I’ve witnessed a lot of triggers on social media where survivors came out to share their stories. It has been an emotional and traumatic couple of days and no one is certain as to when it will all come to an end. However what is very clear is that we have a huge problem in our hands, our country is in turmoil. What will we do? Even worse it is also affecting the rest of the continent ad growing concerns continue to be expressed by our fellow African leaders and citizens at large.

When those abroad are not at ease with the reports you can imagine those who in the actual space where all these are taking place. One thing us certain, we are not safe. Many if us are triggered and have reasons to be. While we hope and pray for a solution how do we hope with our triggers? How do we manage to not completely “Go off”

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. A perfect example would be all the survivors who came out to share their story and pain. They were triggered by recent events and were forced to relive their experience.

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.

For instance I have had to shut off from media for at least two days just to help myself not “Go off.” 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? If you haven’t yet then I strongly advice you to do just that. We are living in times where we have no control over others and some of the external forces that affects us and our emotional state, it is therefore vital that we adopt a coping mechanism lest we get triggered, go off and lose ourselves in the process.

By Lerato Charlotte Letsoso| Email: