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Differentiating Trigger Types.

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Mar. 13th, 2013 | 08:59 pm

One thing I've wanted to write about is the differentiation I have made between two types of emotional triggers. I use the word 'trigger' for anything that causes unwanted thoughts, but really, these experiences fall into two categories.

The first type is the PTSD trigger, which is the type most people understand. Hearing people eat is a PTSD trigger, experiencing unwanted touch in a close space can be a PTSD trigger, dental care is a PTSD trigger...at least for me. The other category is that of an OCD trigger, one that causes rounds of obsessive thoughts. The PTSD triggers cause great, immediate anxiety or panic, whereas the OCD triggers cause intrusive, repetitious, obsessive thoughts. Both of these emotional states are distracting, overwhelming and deeply upsetting.
I’ve been doing fairly well lately with PTSD triggers. The anxiety still occurs, but hasn't been nearly as obtrusive as OCD triggers have been, particularly in the past few months. The number of things that trigger my OCD has grown quite unpleasantly – I listed them in my private journal, but hesitate to do so here. Connecting with the outside world inevitably leads me to confront these triggers. In social media, dealing with people in general, looking at a newspaper, talking with family and friends…all can lead to OCD triggers in half a heartbeat, leading me to tread warily and sometimes avoid altogether.

I never thought about the difference between triggers before, but now that I can differentiate between the two, it's like a lightning bolt of serendipity. I hope it will help me communicate better with my mental health professionals, family and close friends.

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from: astridetal
date: Mar. 23rd, 2013 07:51 am (UTC)

Wow, I never understood this diffference. It's great how you elaborate on it, as I recognize now that I can have OCD'ish triggers too (I don't have an OCD diagnosis).

By the way, I ran into your journal via some mutual interests (queerness and mental illness, though in both respects we fall somewhere else on the spectrum, and oh I'm a feminist too). Mind if I friend you?

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