Friday, October 19, 2012

triggers are lies

BOWIE! 1970s. I need this suit.
Have I mentioned I love David Bowie?
Follow the story.
Read the previous entry here.

This is my own theory and my own experience.  It is also one of my most important discoveries.  (See more important discoveries here)

I have decided that triggers are lies.

This does not mean that triggers aren't real.  They are real.  I've spent months avoiding all things Asian, I torched every pair of Mr. Scabs underwear, I fell into the emotional equivalent of an affection-starved, mange-covered mutt at the simple sight of glazed donuts.  Anything could hijack my senses, triggering.  I could smell, hear, feel, see and taste Insanity.

There was a time when Insanity and I were BFFs.  Her hand tightly holding mine, leading me through the darkened narrow gorges of betrayal.  I may have even taken a few drags from her ashy cigarette.   I invited her to take over.  In case you're wondering, she has a striking resemblance to David Bowie's picture above.  In fact, I swear she wore those same checked pants.

I felt comfort in blaming an entire race for my marital break-up, I felt the burn of hysteria when the flames rose from his pile of boxer briefs...those were good times.  Necessary times.  I had to feel the insanity, the crazy, the numb, the blinding anger, the overwhelming sick-pitted pain to get to the other side.

One day, intoxicated with piss and stumbling side-by-side with Insanity, I began to notice the narrowing walls of the canyon.  Closing in on me, leaving no way out.  Linking arm tighter with her, taking the same stride  wearing matching checked pants.  She's my best friend, she'll keep me safe.  The canyon walls closing in, darkening as I listen to her familiar raspy whisper introduce a trigger...

"You see his belt.  The dark brown leather one, the belt you bought him for Christmas a few years ago?  That's the same belt he unbuckled for those hookers.  He undid the silver clasp and dropped his drawers!  Can you imagine their fingers on his belt?  The belt you bought!  Damn hookers!  Damn him..."

Her voice trails off in a disgustingly graphic description of the belt and Mr. Scabs and hookers.

I realize, I can't listen anymore.  She is lying.  In the end, the belt is just a leather belt.  A genius device used to hold ones pants up.  Nothing more, nothing less.

At this moment a flood light blinds us shining through the narrow canyon.  Squinting into the light I see a rescue chopper hovering above.  Sanity (Insanity's much cooler twin sister) hangs out the side and drops a rope ladder.  A rescue!

I am not trapped in this cycle of self-destruction!
Triggers don't have to throw me to my knees.
There is another choice.
I don't have to wallow in Insanity's friendship.

Jumping for the ladder, Insanity grabs at my shoe as I'm lifted into the air.  Under the whirl of the choppers blades, I look down. My shoe in her hand as she shakes it toward the sky, cursing me.  Insanity doesn't like to be alone.

Dear Self,  

Today you will let the pain, hurt, anger, depression enter my heart but you will not let it take over.  You will acknowledge it and then you will dismiss it.  You will literally dump it from your brain and heart.  You will replace it with gratitude.

You will walk to the refrigerator, fill your glass with ice and water, then drink it slowly as you let the negative pass and let good things fill you.
You have the metal prowess of a puma.  You are in charge of your thoughts. 



And that is the story of how I decided triggers were lies.

Follow the story.
Read the next entry here.


  1. This was a great analogy, April. Go you! I love to hear when someone is moving past their triggers and making progress - beautiful!! Awesome!!

    For me, it was reading affirmations I had written on an index card everyday and then for the biggies that had taken over and almost become phobias, I faced them head on - screw you triggers! *poof* I'm bigger than you are! What a freeing feeling. =)

    The greater feeling is knowing we are always susceptible to one rearing it's ugly head; it's how we handle it that makes us warriors.

    1. Thinking about this reminds me of the night I stayed up so late watching "Cheaters" and then I emailed you asking why would I watch that crap? Just to hurt myself? I was just so stuck wallowing in the terribleness of it all...remember that?

      But now, we've got this! Thanks for being fantastic!

  2. You must have psychic powers. I SO needed this today. Triggers are not my friend the last 24 hours (or ever, really)!

  3. I needed this post so badly today Scabs. It resonates so loudly to me right now. Thank you.

  4. Thanks for this. I needed the reminder. A few weeks ago in therapy thetherapist told me to accept that I have learned from the past and because of that, don't accept the feelings of guilt- they are false. This post remined me of that. I'm learning to let it go in a healthy way so I can be empowered to move forward.

  5. Love this, especially your note to self at the end. I needed this...triggers have been driving me nuts lately. Thanks for the reminder to stay stronger!

  6. I admire you so much for your ability to do this. My insanity isn't quite as sadistic as yours because my betrayal wasn't as profound, but it's insanity nonetheless, and I'm finding that sometimes I just. don't. want out of that canyon. I get some sick pleasure out of feeling like the victim.

  7. You are one strong woman, my dear friend. I really love how you described triggers as some kind of friend. Thanks for sharing. I admire how you get through on this journey.

    Love you!

  8. If Insanity wears the checkered pants does Sanity wear the striped blazer? (I hope so!) :-D

  9. And on a more serious note, I totally 'get' everything you're saying about triggers. In fact, I had a very similar one about a pair of shoes which resulted in an inquisition about whether he took his shoes off, when he took them off, did she ever take them off, when did they go back on, how many steps in those shoes to go from his car to her apartment, etc. As you can see, I've known Insanity quite well too!

  10. Thank you for your post. It was very timely for me as I found out I have a new trigger since my husband (upon my asking) admitted that women came into our home as well when I was out of town. I'm new to your blog and I think it's going to be a regular read for me. I'm trying to choose not to let that trigger consume me.

    1. Sounds like we all needed a little of this today! Thanks guys.

      sending you all my love,


  11. I like you you give insanity a name, a voice, even an outfit. It makes it easier to recognize and dismiss. I am going to have to do a character sketch of my version of insanity...

    1. ok yes! A Character sketch...lets do a contest. I like this idea.

  12. i love this.. p.s. totslly printed the "dear self" quote. your amazin' :)



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