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What Are Triggers?

What Are Triggers?

By: Nicole C.

What are triggers? This is a very good question in a time when everyone is talking about how they are so triggered by this that and the other. Triggers are things that you have learned that may cause you distress. They can be anything from a word, event, place, date, even a person them self can be a trigger.

Learning your triggers is a good coping skill when it comes to handling emotional distress.  Learning my triggers has made dealing with my bipolar so much easier and is a key tool for me in my daily life. Once you learn what the triggers are, then you can learn steps to help cope with the distress there for making it easier to handle your feelings.

One thing I feel I should make clear is that learning your triggers and throwing the phrase, “That triggers me!” does not give you or anyone else a free pass to act any way you want in order to avoid dealing with something. Making people walk around on eggshells on how to deal with you is not right!

You have to not only learn your triggers but learn how to deal with them and realize that other people may have triggers too. Also, you should be considerate enough to take time to understand them as well as yourself. It is the only way to heal and move forward to a better life.

Watch how you present yourself if you are expressing your triggers to another person. Try to remain as calm as possible when expressing yourself and offer a solution as to how to make things easier for you and your emotional well being. 

For example: 

  • If it is a word like “fine” or “whatever” then communicate to the person that those are words that cause you stress and to please use another word if it is suitable when addressing you. Then thank them for doing so. Also, ask them if they have any words that they might consider a trigger word for them and show them the same courtesy.
  • If it is an event, place, or date, then do what you can to learn how to deal with that. If it is feasible do not go or limit your time there.
  • If it is something like dealing with grief like the death date of a loved one, you can find activities that will help you cope such as spending the day remembering good things about the lost loved one or doing things you use to do together.
  • If it is a person than limit time with that person or your interaction with them. If it is a very toxic person then cut them out. No one is worth sacrificing your own well being, you deserve a good calm happy life.  Never let anyone tell you otherwise. No matter who it is family, friend, boss, coworker, or significant other; Do not let anyone feel they have power over your own well being. Take responsibility for yourself and your actions. do not try to make excuses for them. Recognize they may have issues of their own do not try to fix that just focus on yourself.

This is my advice on triggers. Hope you find what I wrote as helpful. granted it just how this 50-year-old woman with bipolar who has come to learn about her own trigger and how to deal. Bless you and good luck out there! I wish you all the best.

Samantha View All

Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog

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