I haven’t used this blog in a good long while - I have an art blog to the side, but I’ve really been on a path to self healing after having something of a mental breakdown at the beginning of the year.
This is going to be a post about the Trigger Warning debacle flying all over everywhere recently. I’m down to discuss it, agree to disagree, and hear other views, but I’ve written my opinion pretty bluntly. Feel free to scroll on past for whatever reason, no hard feelings. I know this issue has been *everywhere* recently.
We aren’t asking for much, we’re just asking for a heads up in a controlled environment. What we are getting in return is slippery slope logic, with people assuming that we’ll want all literature censored and things spoiled and what not. It’s the “give them an inch, take them a mile” school of thought.
Since people with PTSD have an invisible illness, it makes people uncomfortable that they can’t point to us and say, “Oh, ok, I see that big welt of PTSD on your leg, we’ll make accommodations for you.” PTSD survivors have to prove themselves over and over and over just so that we can survive day to day. This doesn’t mean that everyone does this - there are some grand people out there, and the bad people don’t erase their good deeds. The problem is that there are more people out there that don’t understand why we react the way we do to certain things than there are people who do.
I was finally able to put a name this year to what I’ve lived with for years, with emotions all over everywhere, and not being able to cope. I have Major Depressive Disorder, and PTSD. Both of these are common in tandem, in quite a lot of people. It’s really only now after months of therapy , medication, self-reflection and healing that I’m able to be the person I always was. This doesn’t mean that life comes with trigger warnings that help - it certainly doesn’t, but I’ve developed the coping skills to deal with real life. Sometimes, though, triggers can be unavoidable.
Being triggered feels like dying, straight up, and most of the time you are re-living whatever moment(s) gave you PTSD in the first place, or you have the “flight” instinct running through you so fiercely that you can’t even move or breathe. It can vary from person to person, but it’s common for a triggered person to deal with a tightened chest, racing thoughts, hyperventilation, and that thought of whatever is happening, you need to get the fuck away now, even if it’s just a kid joking around with his dad or a billboard about an abuse helpline. The word “trigger” has gotten quite a lot of misuse lately, from kiddos on Tumblr who thought it sounded cool, and I think that’s where a lot of the ire for the word originated even though it’s spread out to other sites. Trigger is really the only word that can describe it, though.
So we ask that in situations where it is easy to do so - like a classroom - that we have a bit of warning, so that we don’t end up on the floor or shuddering in our chairs with classmates looking on and wondering what is wrong. Life doesn’t have trigger warnings, no, and it’s on the people who deal with triggers to be able to cope and move through life without being hurt by everything, or at least knowing how to process it and move on. A classroom isn’t life though - it’s a set curriculum where you pretty much know what’s going to happen once you get handed the syllabus. While there may be a warning or two in that syllabus, let’s be honest, not a lot of students keep track of them, or read them every class. It takes maybe a minute for the professor/teacher/whatever (this applies to really any controlled environment) to say, “Heads up, guys, this has *blank blank blank*”
And the whole “life doesn’t have trigger warnings” line is so incredibly condescending, to be very very blunt. We know. We live life too. And that’s why most of us have developed coping mechanisms, escape plans, and other methods to at least brute force our way through the day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to hide in the cleaning aisle of my local grocery store - the least walked down aisle - because I can’t stop hyperventilating or because I’m just so dizzy (this is more due to the medication I take) or because I’m so anxious that taking a step fills me with fear. WE KNOW. We live with it every day. When you point out that life doesn’t come with a TW, you’re often pointing it out to someone who already knows that.
In conclusion, we don’t want censorship, we don’t want spoilers, and hell, we don’t want to inconvenience anyone. We just want maybe five words spoken that can help someone plan/prepare themselves.