"In an instant, the smile disappears from my face.
My heart starts pounding.
My mouth goes dry.
My hands start to tingle ever so slightly.
My head feels foggy.
My chest feels like its about to burst with emotions.
I am filled with doubt. Fear. Panic. Trapped in a place I really don't want to be."
(Read the rest of the post here)
Unfortunately, most of us are no stranger to triggers. We decided to ask some of the women of our Togetherness Community to share their experience with triggers:
A trigger for me is when I start to feel confused, angry or all knotted up inside. Like taking a deep breath and holding it. Or the 'uh-oh" feeling.
Depends on the emotion being triggered. When I'm angry or scared, my heart starts pounding and I can feel the blood rushing through my arms and forehead. I feel like I'm on fire and I have to suppress the overwhelming desire to punch the nearest person in the face. My stomach becomes one big, heavy knot inside me.
If it's sadness, confusion, or worthlessness being triggered, then my throat gets tight and every part of me feels cold and small. It feels like my stomach disappears. It takes a conscious effort to breathe and I bite my cheek so I don't start crying.
Confusion is huge. I have had a few kinds of triggers. The major ones - my heart is pounding, I shake, I feel so scared. Then for days after I walk around like I am drugged - I am confused, I leave the stove on, I forget words, I forget where I am going, I can't get out of bed, I feel panic. Then I just have some days that feel more like depression but still have the confusion and forgetfulness.
A trigger feels like a stab in the gut. A memory, a situation that triggers an instant gut reaction, followed by almost an electrical current that runs through my body almost disabling me. It can generate a panic attack, or an outburst of anger or fear or sadness and tears. It really depends on the type and severity of issue that causes the trigger.
It's like I'm being transported back in time and experiencing an emotion I felt in the past that is completely unrelated to my current experience. Because the emotion and the current event don't correlate I first feel confusion then fear. My heart races, tears sting my eyes, I want to isolate. I feel out of control which leads to panic. I feel this in my mind and in my chest.
Depends on what caused the trigger. A small trigger - its usually a pit in my stomach, and anger. A mediocre trigger - is lots of anger, pit in stomach and obsessing and wondering what my husband is thinking, cant focus on anything else. A big trigger, like seeing the woman my husband obsessed over and had an emotional affair with is pretty much a full blown panic attack. Fast heart beat, tight chest, sweating, shortness of breath, tears, pit in my stomach, and destructive and disturbing thoughts that I can't stop.
When I get triggered I shut down on the outside and go crazy on the inside. Sometimes I don't even hear what's going on around me anymore. I retreat inside and start asking myself questions "Why is this happening, what should I do, what did I do to deserve this, am I crazy for being upset right now?"
For me a trigger feels like a panic or anxiety attack. My mind stops. My heart races. My palms get sweaty. My head pounds. I want to vomit. I want to scream. I feel the desperate need to run as fast as I can as far as I can as soon as I can. If I cannot run, I want to hide NOW.
Lesser trigger feel like unexpectedly being punched in the gut. I am disoriented, confused, and dazed.
Triggers are like a lie I'm stuck in. I'm feeling unsafe even even when I'm in a perfectly safe situation. I'm afraid even though nothing is wrong. It's disorienting because it's so off. I'm left feeling confused and knocked off balance. Everything feels amplified. I'm easily hurt, close to tears. I feel like I'll never be safe or truly happy again.
You can check out some tips on Dealing with Betrayal Trauma Triggers on Dr. Janice Caudill's blog. We especially agree with her last tip:
"Know that painful feelings will be lessened or relieved when you own them, talk about them with someone who can validate them, or in some cases engage in problem-solving. Trying to ignore them, divert them, stuff, or numb them may provide a momentary respite but will actually heighten your pain in the long run."
If you're feeling triggers like these, make sure you are surrounding yourself with the support and validation you need -- and look into a Betrayal Trauma program or course like the one Addo Recovery offers for free, to help you keep moving forward.
Any of this sound familiar? How would you describe how a trigger feels for you?