Triggers.. what to do if..

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Triggers.. what to do if..
« on: August 18, 2019, 09:01:46 PM »
I read in the posting guideline that this is a place to help oneself in recovery, not to give advice.. but I need some and would like to ask for it from fellow people who are in the same type of boat here.

What if my identified triggers are so normal.. let me give you an example.. I know (in my rational working thoughts) that many people get floaters in their vision with age.. those little black specs that float around in your vision field. BUT this is something that triggers me to thinking it’s something bad and to fear, I honestly believe it could be life threatening and the panic insults me, manifesting into fear of all kinds of normal bodily sensations being life threatening!

What do can I do!?!? I feel defeated, as if there is nothing that I can do about it. ☹️
« Last Edit: August 18, 2019, 09:05:44 PM by sherine »


Three Roses

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Re: Triggers.. what to do if..
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2019, 10:07:18 PM »
I hear what you're saying, sherine. I have a trigger like yours that's unavoidable (the shape and appearance of my fingers). Seeing my fingers can send me looping into feeling in danger, not like yours that make you feel that something is physically wrong with you - but sometimes I'm triggered into feeling endangered when I see them.

The concept of thought substitution has helped me cope with this in order to avoid an EF. Although this page is about shrinking the inner critic, or ICr, I find these practices helpful in this situation. I'll quote his website here, from his page but I've shortened it considerably as it's rather long.

Thought substitution is another essential tool for empowering the work of thought-stopping the critic. I sensed many years ago that my critic became as tough as a bodybuilder’s bicep through myriad repetitions. I guessed that if I similarly exercised the type of positive self-talk I describe below, I would create some new and more helpful “muscle” that my thinking process would exercise automatically at times of being triggered....

Positive imaging is a powerful adjunct to thought-substitution. Clients can learn to short-circuit the perfectionist and fear-mongering processes of the inner critic....

(he then lists some examples of thought - substitution -)

"... I feel afraid but I am not in danger. I am not 'in trouble' with my parents. I will not blow things out of proportion. I refuse to scare myself with thoughts and pictures of my life deteriorating. No more home-made horror movies and disaster flicks.

"... I renounce over-noticing & dwelling on what might be wrong with me or life around me. I will not minimize or discount my attributes. Right now, I notice, visualize and enumerate my accomplishments, talents and qualities, as well as the many gifts Life offers me, e.g., friends, nature, music, film, food, beauty, color, pets, etc."

I also use a mantra, I am safe, this is now, I am here, when triggered like this. I hope you find this info helpful.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2019, 02:42:55 AM by Three Roses »



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Re: Triggers.. what to do if..
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2019, 06:31:52 PM »
I don't know if this will be helpful, but it's something that works for me when I remember to do it with bad feelings. Instead of running around away from the feeling, I try to turn around (in my imagination) and face it head on, then talk to that feeling like it's a character. The feelings will become images--sometimes a flood, sometimes an angry woman, etc. And I just say, "Hey there, terror. I know you're there for a reason. I'd like to talk to you, since your presence says you'd like to talk to me." And to my surprise, the feeling tends to tell all, and usually I'm surprised by what it says even though I thought I understood before. And the feeling says why it's there, which it has been trying to tell me all along, and then I can tell the feeling why and how I'm able to handle what's really causing it, and we start to work together instead of against each other.

So: Why do the floaties really bother you? And why underneath that? And why underneath that? This is the real issue that needs healing, not the floaties. (Perhaps going to an eye doctor you like and asking about the floaties and them telling you it's normal would also help.)

You could consider drawing the floaties on a sheet of paper, maybe give them antennas and googly eyes or something, or whatever you want. And ask them, the character of them, what they are doing there and why they are bothering you. As if the character part transforms them into a representation of the emotion you are really feeling. And once you know what the real deal underneath the bother is, you can work on comforting and healing and confronting it with truth. ("I'm going to die!" can become "I'm not dead right now--I am alive--and I am capable of grieving and healing." Etc.)

So anyway, I don't have any idea whether that will help you. But when I'm disciplined enough to talk to my feelings like characters in the midst of the five-alarm trigger factory, it's been a helpful practice for me. It's a way of offering yourself lots of compassion and kindness without demonizing the feelings that are there to help you, not hurt you, and get those back in balance so they no longer rule over your life.

Regardless of the helpfulness above for you, I hope you find a way to get some peace. (And PS, I think those floaters freak everybody out. I started seeing them at 19 and was convinced I was dying, but they're normal.)
« Last Edit: August 19, 2019, 06:36:00 PM by Scout »