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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Triggered


This meme is Inconceivable.



Triggered...

It's become a hashtag on Twitter. A Facebook meme. A joke. A sneer. Just another word that's carelessly and thoughtlessly thrown around until its meaning is battered from our universal consciousness.

What does "triggered" mean to a PTSD survivor?

It means a crippling sense of overwhelming anxiety. Literally being physically unable to function due to a breakdown in the psychological function of our minds. It may create a violent outburst, a crying fit, a panic or anxiety attack, or a period of deep depression. It may create a temporary break from reality. It could mean a flashback to the most horrible thing we've ever experienced- literally re-living the moment in our minds. This is the reality PTSD and trauma survivors live with. We are careful about "triggers" because they are events which re-open the wound and require care to regain our ability to function normally. Triggers are exhausting to deal with.

To a survivor, a "trigger" is not a joke. It's not a meme. It doesn't mean "I'm really angry about what I just saw/read/heard." It doesn't mean "I'm frustrated," "I'm sad," or "I'm upset." It doesn't mean "I strongly disagree with what's happening here," or even that I'm upset with a societal or personal injustice.

It means that a trauma survivor has been re-injured and may be in need of professional intervention. When it's used as a joke or taken out of context and used by, or to make fun of, "Social Justice Warriors" et al online, it steals our collective recognition of the PTSD and trauma survivors' experiences. It steals any cognition that their very real injuries exist. It makes an invisable wound even more invisable, and makes it even more difficult for the survivor to feel less alone, less isolated, and less ignored.

Please stop using it as a meme. Stop using it to express your outrage, frustration, or anger. Please stop belittling and mocking the condition that some of us live with. Misusing psychological terminology is not cute, clever, smart, or funny. It's cruel and thoughtless.

Trauma survivors are not special cupcakes in need of kid-glove, Politically Correct(tm) treatment. Would you make fun of a person who was recovering from physical injuries or permanent disability for their inability to function normally? If not, then why are you doing it to trauma survivors?

Please, stop hashtagging "triggered."

"You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means." -The Princess Bride