Posts Tagged ‘Triggers’

PTSD: Things that used to paralyze me,

Things that used to paralyze me, drive me into seclusion, no longer wield that kind of power.



The last two months brought a seismic change in my behavior. At least five times a week I am at practice or my grandson’s game.

These are crowds of strangers closely packed in tight spaces.

It is also a long duration of contact, three-plus hours of being vulnerable.

Soldiers with PTSD, rape victims, and abused kids all avoid crowds and people.

All have differing degrees of mistrust and anxiety levels involved in their PTSD.

I have been triggered, but it resembles a firecracker instead of a bomb.

Uncomfortable and awkward, they are not powerful enough to overcome my desire to support my grandson.

For once desire wins over PTSD.

I will be glad when the season is over.

It is great to be blunt.

PTSD decides how he/she manifests in our bodies

I have read about and worked with PTSD sufferers who have varied triggers.



An EMT’s nervous system fires from the smell of diesel, crowds send another into full-blown adrenal response while others panic in confined spaces.

Social anxiety and people staring at me launched my fight or flight mechanism, why I have no idea.

Well, my dad was a violent and critical narcissist, who could not feel empathy, I was his target, his firstborn, isolated, perfect for control.

My triggers are linked to my childhood abuse.

We do not get to choose, our PTSD will pick his/her triggers.

Our fight or flight firing is out of our control, external forces launch on their own.

Our reaction is what we control.

This is why we avoid, trying to stop our fight-flight from firing.

Wherever our trigger manifests we avoid it at times.

Think of a soldier with PTSD, the last place you will find him is on a battlefield or anywhere that reminds him of war.

Now my fight or flight is dormant, triggers are more emotional followed by intrusive thoughts, those unworthy feelings.

Besides our adrenal stress response dumping cortisol and adrenaline into our bloodstream, PTSD manifests in different body parts.

For me it is my solar plexus, others feel it around their throat or their neck, or groin area.

PTSD and depression create a hybrid disorder for me.

It is as though these two disorders have merged.

Does anyone identify with this post?

Physical tools to calm Ptsd

Scenarios: First, out in public, an event violently triggers your fight or flight mechanism, all hell breaks loose.

Can you sit in the middle of this event?

Can you use long slow focused breathes to dispipate the anxiety drugs, adrenaline and cortisol?

Ptsd is the scariest when triggers ignite, full arousal of our nervous system along with tunnel vision, loss of fine motor skills, Bp heartrate and respiration spike, with certain parts of the brain going offline.





We are confused, afraid and extremely anxious!

This is the ultimate test of our physical skills.

Next, let’s look at getting caught in a trauma memory loop.

Thoughts draw us into ruminating about past trauma, PTSD revving up.

Can you focus on your breath now, slow it down, observe the thoughts as appendages, these peripheral slices of junk are of no concern or danger.

With a daily practice, scenario two will be our first success.

Dissipating a full trigger explosion is our ultimate goal.

My decade-old daily meditation practice, allows me to sit in the middle of a trigger firing calmly.

My fight or flight rarely fires violently or fully, I only get small, spikes now.

You can accomplish this with daily work and application.

This is at least halfway to complete healing if that is possible.


PTSD: Extinguished triggers are not dead, dormant maybe



We have tendencies, sensitivities, and habits that are directly connected to our PTSD. For many decades, my PTSD lay dormant and hidden, these tendencies still remained active, influential.

I integrated much of my childhood abuse over an extended period. My triggers lost power and I could go out publicly with an ease never before experienced.

My triggers were connected to things that were related to my trauma, mundane, they happened in public and were accompanied by my fight or flight mechanism not firing, exploding.

The mind can take a saltine cracker, connect it with violent trauma from our past, and make saltine crackers something we avoid out of intense fear.

Our mind could intensely fire our fight or flight mechanism everytime we came into contact with a cracker. We would avoid at all costs if it gets bad enough.

Think someone without PTSD would believe that?

Some of healing is understanding how our mind works, PTSD is inside us not out there, in our mind, heart and body.

Some of my old triggers have regained power, impacting my behavior and quality of life.

How can something I extinguished thoroughly come back to life?

PTSD never leaves us completely, that is my experience.

Think what this looks and sounds like to someone who has never experienced serious PTSD symptoms.

Meditating, focusing on my breath, has let me watch my mind from a distance.

If our mind is a complete stranger we will suffer.



Common sense versus Irrational PTSD



I studied and studied, then isolated my trigger experiences.

My solar plexus would be violently jolted, numbing, then freezing me. Breathing became difficult, unknown fear paralyzed me.

So I ran, avoided, denied and tried to think my way out.

I feared that next explosion.

This scenario repeated itself for years.

Then I realized after being paralyzed with cortisol and adrenaline, ten minutes later everything calmed.

I was fine, just the same, ten minutes later.

So, if no real harm ever happened, why did I fear the next explosion.

That’s part of the irrational nature of PTSD.

We can not see its weaknesses.

There were no real consequences. Nothing permanent.

For me, I described it as a bluff.

It is a bully, it threatens with damage and has the key to our fight or flight mechanism, but it has no teeth.

Follow your next trigger exploding, feel all of it.

Feel its strength without resisting, then follow it as it fades in short time.

I realized my fight or flight had fired over and over without damaging me.

Be a detective.

Follow a trigger exploding all the way to feeling calm again.

Observe, not judge it.



PTSD: A closer look at our Triggers

Fight or Flight (CYP) – Psychology Tools



We do everything in our power to stop our fight or flight mechanism from firing. Unfortunately, we think this will help us heal.

In the beginning, showers first thing in the morning, were planning strategies, trying to navigate my day mentally, avoiding as many trigger situations as possible.

My anxiety, panic and fear became acute. My nervous system started to anticipate each new event as a possible threat.

Inside my head, the world had turned dangerous, very anxious. What the hell had happened to my mind?

My mind was a prison, my nervous system the invisible bars, my thoughts, the evil guards.

All that is the exact wrong mindset.

Triggers are not dangerous. It is the bodies defense mechanism trying to protect us.

A natural body function.

PTSD has hijacked this mechanism and added trauma fear into the mix.

Being abused as a child, I developed a vivid imagination, in blazing colors.

While hiking, I imagined being in the movie, “The Last of the Mohicans”, being chased, running for my life. About a mile later my fight or flight exploded.

Cortisol and adrenaline jolted my solar plexus. I learned to use theses chemicals for fuel hiking harder.

Missing was any connection to any trigger or trauma thought.

My fight or flight was by itself. PTSD had nothing to do with this explosion.

It felt the exact same as a PTSD trigger.

Trauma memories bring the emotional fear but add nothing to the mechanism.

The mechanism is our friend. Hard to believe, I know.

Remember these memories are distorted, stored under extreme duress

and in bits and pieces.

I swear if you befriend your fight or flight mechanism, half of your PTSD will be repaired.



How to Identify and Cope With Your PTSD Triggers By Matthew Tull, PhD


PTSD triggers may be all around you. Even though it may sometimes feel like PTSD symptoms come out-of-the-blue, PTSD symptoms rarely spontaneously occur. Instead, whether you are aware of it not, PTSD symptoms are often triggered or cued by something in our internal (anything that happens within your body such as thoughts or feelings) or external (anything that happens outside your body, such as a stressful situation) environment.


Because certain thoughts, feelings, or situations can bring up uncomfortable PTSD symptoms, such as memories of a traumatic event or feelings of being on edge and anxious, one way of coping with these symptoms is by increasing your awareness of these triggers. You can prevent or lessen the impact of certain PTSD symptoms by identifying what specific types of thoughts, feelings, and situations trigger them, and then, take steps to limit the occurrence or impact of those triggers.


Kinds of Triggers

Triggers can fall into two categories: Internal Triggers and External Triggers. Internal triggers are things that you feel or experience inside your body. Internal triggers include thoughts or memories, emotions, and bodily sensations (for example, your heart racing). External triggers are situations, people, or places that you might encounter throughout your day (or things that happen outside your body).


Listed below are some common internal and external triggers.

Internal Triggers
Feeling lonely
Feeling abandoned
Feeling out of control
Feeling vulnerable
Racing heartbeat
Muscle tension

External Triggers
An argument
Seeing a news article that reminds you of your traumatic event
Watching a movie or television show that reminds you of your traumatic event
Seeing a car accident
Certain smells
The end of a relationship
An anniversary
A specific place
Seeing someone who reminds you of a person connected to your traumatic event

%d bloggers like this: