Question of the day.

What’s an insignifficant thing that triggers the shit out of you?

My answer:

I have a lot of anxieties and anxiety triggers that I guess most people would consider quite insignificant. I guess the most prime example though are some sounds/combinations of sounds/words that really crip me out in a sensory way. The degree to which they trigger me will depend on how I’m doing overall and the context and probably some other things, and also there are creepy sounds/words that are less scary than others, but it can feel really nasty. I guess usually people won’t be able to spot when this is going on. As a small kid I would start shrieking when something sensorily creeped me out particularly badly and a few times it made me feel freakishly weak physically and it was like one moment I’d be standing, and before I even fully realised what was going on I was sitting on the floor ’cause my legs were so wobbly haha, and I felt like I was going to faint or something. These days however, it most often just makes me freeze. Which perhaps works better in social situations as it’s more socially appropriate than screaming your lungs out and is more discreet so every random peep doesn’t need to know that “Wow, this creeps Bibiel out, good to know!” ๐Ÿ˜€ but other than that it stinks because even if I could extricate myself out of the triggery situation with no problem, I practically can’t because my brain’s stuck in a weird kind of limbo thing pretty much until the triggering stimulus goes away. And then it’s too late because my brain has already absorbed it and is going to be throwing it at me of its own accord, without the need for the external stimulus being present, until I basically either will eventually become kind of less sensitive to it or totally desensitised, or until it has something more interesting to throw at me, or unless I can manage to provide it enough distraction/other sensory stimuli that don’t creep me out. I suppose it’s a lot like hallucinations (actually when I was a kid that was what my Dad thought it was) except I know when I hear it for real and when not, but there’s still some irrational element to it. Like, I’m not just scared of the sound itself, I also have a strong feeling that something real real scary will happen while I’ll hear it, whether in the real world or in my brain. I wouldn’t be able to say what this potential scary event could be, but it could be anything, doesn’t even have to be realistically possible at all, could be a freakin’ zombie apocalypse, feels just as likely as anything in such situation. The fact that, so far, over the entire course of my life, nothing major has happened directly in connection with these stimuli, other than me being creeped out and all the fun consequences of it, doesn’t mean anything, because everything might still be to come. Sometimes these creepy sounds also automatically come with some kind of personifications associated with them, that are very basic and two-dimensional but this makes it feel even more realistic a threat. Especially if they appear in my sleep paralysis dreams, as they tend to, at least some of them.

This is also why silence is another insignificant thing that triggers the shit out of me, because it provides tons of occasions for my brain to throw its half-digested, auditory shit at me. And the sounds that can creep me out can be really, really insignificant and objectively inconspicuous, most of the time it’s hardly creepy for anyone and is totally neutral, but when I hear it, I have a very strong feeling like it’s just seething with aggression, or evil, and that it’s directed right at me. They can be words that are totally random for normal people, sequences of sounds in music, small bits of songs or entire songs, rarely single sounds and if so they would typically have to be rather elaborate or something, a lot of very specific sounds. As a kid, I would get particularly frequently scared of things like jingles, commercials etc. mostly music in them, later on also election commercials or however they’re called, I don’t even think this is the thing in all countries. It is a really weird phenomenon because there are a LOT of blind children who I know were scared of some jingle or ad at some point, each of different ones, of course, mostly around preschool age. This is freaky and I wish someone did some research on that at some point but I guess other than being very niche it would be quite difficult because it’s so specific to a person and I don’t think there are any rules or anything as to what kind of jingles have a higher likelihood of being creepy or not, I mean I could probably think of some criteria for myself, but it’s different from person to person at least from what I have noticed. However most people grow out of it at some point and to me it still happens (my Mum once said it’s because my brains are gonna be forever young hehehe) and there are still a few old jingles that are even no longer in use since like fifteen years that my brain still remembers very exactly and likes to throw at me out of the blue, and it just goes beyond my cognitive abilities to think why those people came up with such evil jingles and what they must have been thinking or what sort of people they must be to have such utterly evil ideas. It is this jingles thing that made some (sighted) folks around me think that perhaps I pick up on some subliminal stuff and that it’s this what creeps me out about them, haha and feels evil. ๐Ÿ˜€ This is all freakishly difficult to explain to people in a sensible way.

Another such thing that I can think of right now that triggers me pretty badly sometimes is when people diminish other people’s trauma and I happen to witness it or something. This is so weird because I myself have had some shitty experiences in life that I think have increased my risk for getting mental illness and eventually contributed in some smaller or bigger part to it developing, but while in my subjective experience it was really difficult, I don’t like thinking about it as traumatic, because there are SO many trauma survivors out there, and I call my experience trauma, then what should people with stuff like CPTSD call theirs? I think what has largely contributed to things having been as difficult for me as they were is lack of resilience, plus some other things thrown in the mix, not that my experiences as such were traumatic in nature. There are plenty of people who have been through similar things and are doing just fine. I suppose it’s quite difficult to figure out what is and what isn’t trauma. Yet, with that all being said, when I hear people talk about/to someone else, about how this person’s trauma isn’t valid, despite there being evidence that they have been through something that has been really stressful for them in a way that has impacted their life in a major way and despite them showing actual signs of trauma, this can really trigger me. Both in that I feel really upset or even angry about how this person is treated, and also because some of my own brain stuff gets stirred and starts boiling all over again and I don’t like how it makes me feel. I guess we could say that I find witnessing emotional invalidation in general triggering.

What are such seemingly mini triggers for you, be it for anxiety, phobias, trauma, or whatever else they might trigger? ๐Ÿ™‚

8 thoughts on “Question of the day.”

  1. That’s really interesting! I was intrigued by the discussion about what constitutes trauma! I’d say if you have flashbacks and feel like it’s still happening, then it’s trauma; but I’d also say that non-trauma can have massively negative effects on us. Like, trauma’s just one way that things can go badly wrong in our lives. When my sister assaulted me, for example, I wasn’t traumatized by it. No flashbacks, no reliving it in my mind. BUT it was still very harmful to me, and it set me back and caused all manners of problems. So that’s sort of how I see it, that trauma alone isn’t the be all and end all of things gone wrong, if that makes sense! So I definitely think incidents can have very harmful effects without qualifying as being traumatic. For sure!!

    An insignificant thing that triggers the shit out of me? Thanks for asking!! It would be when people call me M-word. No one else has any awareness (if they’re strangers looking at my name on a form) that it’s triggering, I wouldn’t think, but it is! Thank God I legally changed it! Hmm… insignificant triggers… toilet paper commercials! The one where the mom is potty-training her daughter. I have no idea why such ads trigger me. Abuse memories? [Shrug.] Not that I know of, so it’s a mystery. But it feels too intrusive and inappropriate, and the mom’s laughing at her daughter in a patronzing way. Ugh.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh yes! This is a very good point about trauma vs non-trauma.
      When people deliberately call me my M-word (btw how crazy is that we both changed our birth names and that they were both versions of the same name :O ) when they know I’ve changed it and don’t give a shit about it, it drives me nuts and perhaps also triggers on some level. I don’t have a problem with strangers or people who aren’t aware that I changed it or have crappy memory/are so inflexible that they just won’t get used to it and it’s not out of lack of good will, but I get how it can certainly be a problem for you.
      It’s so weird when there’s something that triggers us really badly, but we have no clue why.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. It really depends on my mood. It usually is a culmination of several triggers before I am off the edge. Take traffic for example. Most of the time, I think people are generally inconsiderate and stupid behind the wheel, but then you have that one random tractor-trailer who thinks he suddenly needs the passing lane when the car in front of him is a good distance away subsequently slowing E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E down. Once I am triggered, I see red. Most people just “go with it” and deal with traffic. I get spittin’ mad.

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    1. I thought of another one less road ragey. It irritates the shit out of me when people ask me “do you have such-and-such file?” or “do you know why so-and-so is calling”. Yes, yes I do. Period. I know they want an answer, but that is not what they asked. Same thing for “may” and “can”. “Can you tell me the court date?” Yes, I can. “May I have your timesheet?” Sure! Oh wait…did you want me to bring you my timesheet or the file or tell you why so-and-so called? Why didn’t you ask that? Actually, I think this irritates the shit out of the one asking me more than me responding.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I think it makes sense that once you’ve got several relatively small triggers that you’d be able to handle on their own, it makes you mad. I guess sometimes a combination of several small triggers, or generally difficult things, can be more difficult to handle in the end than one huge thing. It’s kind of similar for me, although less so these days than it used to be, because I tend to suppress a lot, and then once I bottle up enough it really doesn’t need to be anything huge that eventually makes everything spill out and I’lll be all ragin’ seemingly for no real reason.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Brains are definitely a challenge to work with. My trigger is monotonous sounds. They were the trigger for my seizures for about twenty years. Today, they trigger headaches and dump the fearful experience of anticipating seizures on me. It reminds me that the past can’t be dumped and I try to use it to reflect on my life’s journey.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s interesting, never heard of monotonous sounds being able to cause seizures, but it must be yucky since monotonous sounds are quite a frequent thing. Makes sense that they still make you fearful these days but it’s good that you try to take it in your stride.

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