Just when you are feeling like you’re finally getting on top of things, along comes a trigger.

What is a trigger? A trigger can be a song, a phrase, a smell, a familiar face or even the weather. Any or all of these things can trigger a memory that sets off a physical or emotional reaction.

For me personally I have an automatic disassociation from my emotions. It is like an automatic wall that goes up, disconnecting me from my emotional pain. This is followed by anxiety, short temperament and now the physical response of setting off my heart condition.

As stressful as this sounds, it was much worse when I didn’t know that I was being triggered and didn’t understand why I had these symptoms, short of thinking I was going insane.

The disassociation is an old and familiar protective response developed in early childhood and because of this I am initially unaware when it kicks in. Fortunately, my psychiatrist is able to recognise it as soon as she sees me.

I remember, in my twenties, wondering why I would wake up in the morning feeling like I just couldn’t cope with doing everyday things like everyone else. I would push myself to get to work, to play sport, go shopping and socialise, wondering all the time why I was so weak and pathetic. Now I realise that it was an emotional response to a trigger. The fact that I was still able to push myself and attend to these day to day things meant that I was, in fact, an incredibly strong person.

If you aren’t aware of these triggers, and you don’t have the understanding and tools to deal with them, then you will eventually crash! If this happens you need to seek help. Get yourself to your GP and ask for a mental health plan.  It can be difficult in the beginning to find the appropriate professional to help you, but it is important that you keep trying and don’t give up.

© 2011

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