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Understanding Triggers

Would you agree that a problem you don’t understand you cannot effectively deal with? Same holds true for understanding triggers.

As someone who experienced trauma, I had a lot of triggers. On my parents’ birthday or death anniversaries, I used to get depressed. Or when I spoke to certain people from my past, I would have flashbacks and panic attacks. And when I felt overwhelmed or had too much on my plate? I would feel extreme stress and getting out of bed became a hassle.

But at the time, I did not understand these things, hence, became a victim to them. There are some people who experience triggers but do not understand what it is or what is happening to them. I would know, seeing that was me, once. So, I do not want the same for my readers or someone else out there.

Today, I want to share with you what triggers are. When you understand those unsettling feelings, you are half-way to solving them, because you know what the issue is.

What is a Trigger?

If we want to keep it simple, trigger is simply anything, person or event that reminds you of the past. Much more than a reminder of the past, triggers are characterized by an uncomfortable and overwhelming feeling of sadness, stress, anxiety or panic. These feelings make it hard for the person to ‘be in the present’, almost as if they are ‘trapped’ elsewhere.

Types of Triggers

Triggers can be internal or external. These two types would often fall between the categories of environment, emotions or exposure. Some examples of internal triggers include:

  • Fear/shame/guilt/anger
  • Stress/depression/anxiety
  • Pain/sadness/loneliness
  • Memory to previous trauma
  • Feeling overwhelmed/out of control

Examples of external triggers include:

  • Anniversary dates of traumatic events
  • Certain people
  • Senses (touch, smell, sight, sound)
  • Specific locations
  • Movies
  • Loud noises
  • Poor physical health
  • Other stressors such as financial issues, too many activities

These are not exhaustive lists. Triggers also differ for each person. If left unchecked, triggers can become more frequent and lead to addictive behaviour such as drinking, substance abuse and in some cases suicide. These are coping mechanisms, but bad ones that only lead to more problems.

Again, I would know because I had once tried to cope- but the wrong way. And yes, I ended up with addiction, negative behaviours and poor emotions. I even became suicidal. It didn’t have to be this way for me. Neither should it be for you.

The good news is, I am getting better and overtime, I have understood this idea of triggers and how to manage them. In the next write-up, I will share some of my coping mechanisms and how I have managed triggers. Have you ever been triggered and did not know? Would you like to share with me?

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“Woman, Thou Art Loosed”

“Woman, Thou Art Loosed”! It is a book title authored by Bishop T. D. Jakes. There is a movie on the title as well. I have read the book and seen the movie. You should see it or read it. Thank me later. *wink*

DISCLAIMER- many men will see ‘WOMAN’ and be like this is not for me. Don’t you dare close this. Read on and be on the right side of history. Plus a woman birthed you! (Imagine me saying that in my nicest voice). Moving on.

No, I am not about to do a review on the book or the title, I am trying to make a point here. Stay with me? Thank you. But first…

…Did you know that in this month of March (by the way, Happy New Month). Where was I? Right! In this month of March, we celebrate women all over the world. Precisely, March 8th has been designated to celebrate women and create awareness on the challenges women face.

You know what the theme of this year is? #choosetochallenge. Basically we are to challenge an idea, culture, bias, etc. against women. And I will be challenging an idea, trust me, but before I do that, let me challenge you first- WOMAN.

This is the part where I go back to “Woman, thou art loosed”. You still with me? Great. You are the best, you know that? *chuckle*. Okay, focus! “Woman thou art loosed” is basically a story of letting go, forgiveness and finding freedom for a woman who was raped by her mother’s boyfriend.

The catch in that story for me is that this woman was challenged by Bishop Jakes to forgive, because for as long as she held on to the unforgiveness, it was eating her (not her rapist) up. As such, she was challenged to make a CHOICE- heal and be made whole (to which forgiveness is a KEY component) or remain hurting and not be able to move forward.

Why am I talking about this with you? Phew, I was wondering when you were going to ask. Hey, no need to feel ‘heavy’ now. Relax, okay? But seriously, historically women have been through a lot. Personally, ‘woman thou art loosed’ was a reflection of ME, and I understand the challenge Bishop made to that woman. God placed same demand on me.

Your case may not be rape or abuse, maybe it is a mindset that has held you back from moving forward in life. But dare I say to you that the world can hold challenges all they want ‘fighting your cause’, but if you WOMAN are bound, you will never be able to walk in the fullness of your God-given purpose and freedom.

Many of us have imbibed the wrong mindset, attitude and identity. Let me ask YOU, how many times have you said to yourself (or heard someone say)- “I cannot do this”, “I don’t think they are looking for someone like me”, “I doubt they will allow a black woman” or one we join society to say “women are not supposed to….”

Dear woman, as I join the #choosetochallenge, let me challenge you first- deal with the things holding you back! Challenge the mindset and perspectives that have held you bound. God is counting on YOU to accept the identity He has given you.

Dear MAN (now you see why it was a bad idea to run off?), I want you to challenge your belief and mindset about how you view woman. With the right perspective, you will know that many things societal values have used to ‘bound’ women were not so IN THE BEGINNING. So you have a part to play. Would you like to raise your daughters in that same perspective you currently hold?

In the next write-up, I will share tips on how to challenge your mindset (or maybe it will be on my YouTube channel). Either way, you can expect that from me.

WOMAN, before I leave you go, let me rephrase Bishop’s book and video title for you- WOMAN, ARE THOU LOOSED?! Think on that as you anticipate the tips I will be sharing with you.

PS: I want to invite you to join the #choosetochallenge campaign. Click to learn and join. Meanwhile, how do you like my picture for the challenge? I took several (such a pain taking pictures) before landing this one. Through LoudSilences, I choose to challenge the culture of silence impacting issues women face.

#choosetochallenge international women day 2021
I #choosetochallenge the culture of silence

Empowering a girl child or a woman is not a privilege, it is her right, for which she has equal right to access- Anita Adefuye

Special shout out to Karibs Foundation for choosing me as the face of Karibs for this challenge. It is an honour and I do not take it lightly.