Do you say you are “triggered?” That’s a word I have been using for a long time. I notice that my therapist is more likely to say “activated/” or, less commonly, “reactive.”
What word do you choose to describe that moment when, suddenly, the floor drops out from beneath you? When the your center falls away, and you are spinning in confusion and pain? When you are no longer living and breathing in the present moment but rather cast back into a moment of pain and fear?
What about “dysregulated?” Do you consider that to be the same thing, or something else?
I ask for a specific reason.
As I wrote in my post yesterday, I became triggered in a sex therapy session yesterday. I’m still quite shaken up, in a way I haven’t been for a very long time.
But I haven’t reached out to E (well, at least not so far). I’m working on supporting myself. So far that has included 1) giving myself permission to watch TV last night instead of accomplishing the things I had planned, 2) adding garden time into my morning plan, because working in the garden tends to calm me down, and 3) texting two friends about the situation (only one in any detail).
And just now I sat down to go through the stack of affirmation cards I have made myself in the past. I can see I have made a lot telling myself that it’s okay to feel stuck and uncertain, or soothing myself about attachment pain. But by the time I started using affirmation cards on a regular basis, I had already done a lot of the processing of sexual abuse experiences. That doesn’t mean oh, finished; those experiences will never bother me again. It just means my focus in therapy had shifted and I didn’t have a lot of reason to create and use affirmation cards.
But today I do, so I’m working on that now. And I had this sudden thought, which is maybe a crazy idea. I thought after I made them, I would also put them up on the site for others to download, if they wanted (free, of course). Maybe that’s silly, because maybe they won’t work the same way if you haven’t worded them to address your precise situation. But maybe they would be useful to others. I’m not sure. It could be interesting to see. For me, affirmation cards have been a useful way of reinforcing messages of hope, strength, patience and compassion to myself. I need that reinforcement, since I am working against decades of self-blame and derogatory self-talk.
So to get back to my initial question, as I started making the cards, I began to wonder what terms other used to describe the emotional state that I tend to think of as “triggered.”
What do you think? Would you even want to download affirmation cards someone else had made? What word would you use?
Thank you for your feedback. And also for helping to give me something to think about other than the darkness entering my body at the base of my rib cage and traveling up to choke off my breath at my throat.