Off-Fridays Mental Illness Blog Share, Week 4: TRIGGERED

It's PTSD Awareness Month; Don't miss your chance to add your writing to a big PTSD resource library-on bettysbattleground.com

Happy Friday! Not just any Friday, but OFF-FRIDAYS 4. June is PTSD Awareness Month so this week is themed to honor the experiences of trauma survivors and the people who know and love them. The title is “TRIGGERED” and the theme is PTSD, trauma, and triggers. If you’re a trauma blogger in any capacity, do not miss your chance to get your story into this link library. My blog’s mission is to end ALL mental illness stigma, but the main focus here is PTSD, so naturally, I want the Off-Fridays PTSD resource page to be biggest and best yet. It’s only as big as YOU make it, so please be sure to take a few moments this week to add your link and make this resource awesomely various!

If you want to see how the previous weeks’ libraries are looking, here they are:

Week 1: Mothers with Mental Illnesses
Week 2: Celebrations in Mental Health
Week 3: The Art of Recovery

Speaking of PTSD, trauma, and triggers, I have recently been dealing with a lot of triggers related to the abuse that caused my PTSD. If you follow this blog you know that for the past year I have been engaged in a custody battle with my abuser. Well, it is all coming to a head at the very end of PTSD Awareness Month..next week my abuser and I will be duking it out before a judge. By the time this linky closes for new submissions, my son’s fate will have been decided and our abuser will either be barred from our lives, or given an open door back in. Needless to say, I’m stressed. All I can do is ask for support, and right now, the way that request is manifesting is to ask that, if you write about trauma, to please include a link this week. That may sound odd to you, but Off-Fridays is my special project, and it really means a lot to me. I think all of us with mental health issues have those little oddities that don’t make sense to other people, but which totally make us feel better. Off-Fridays is mine. Getting your participation in this won’t help with my case or change it’s outcome, but it will brighten my outlook a bit and give a little boost my self-esteem…and right now, I can use all the positivevibeboostenergyselfesstemeverything I can get. Could you do me that favor, please, if it’s not too much trouble (which it’s not! It’s fun even, I swear!)?

Let’s work together to build Week 4: TRIGGERED

Continue reading

Fiction Fridays: Five Creative Writing Exercises That Helped Heal My Trauma

Five creative writing exercises that can help heal trauma, on bettysbattleground.com

The week before last, I posted the Fiction Fridays finale. For those new to this blog, Fiction Fridays was a series in which I posted original short stories that I had written. I closed the series, but that doesn’t mean fiction is not still an integral part of my trauma recovery. Fiction has been a bright point in my life as long as I can remember. When I was a child it was the light by which I viewed the world; since acquiring PTSD it has become the guiding beacon which I use to stumble out from this dark purgatory. Without fiction, this blog would not exist.

People have asked me how I am able to dive back into some of my most painful memories in order to write them out in these posts. Readers have commented on my courage, my bravery; the self-discipline it must take to engage with my trauma in such an honest and public manner. The answer to anything related to trauma is never something that can be summed up in a simple one word response…but ‘fiction’ has definitely been a major catalyst in my recovery. If I had not first explored my trauma through creative fiction, I would not be able to write about it in non-fiction narratives. Had I not first placed the lens of fiction between these events and myself, I would not be able to view them so thoroughly through the direct lens of truth. Fiction has allotted me a safe setting to explore feelings, events, and characters which would have been too triggering to visit in other contexts. It has reduced my symptoms. It has saved my life. Today, I want to share this tool with you.

Continue reading

The Great Trigger Warning Debate: Why I Don’t Use Trigger Warnings, Even Though I’m An Educated Liberal With PTSD

Why I don't use trigger warnings even though I'm an educated liberal with PTSD on bettysbattleground.com

I have had PTSD, the result of severe and prolonged domestic violence, for over nine years. I am actively in therapy; I attend both one-on-one counseling and a peer support group every week. I regularly engage in mindfulness practices like yoga, exercise, intentional breathing, or mindful cooking and playing. I know how to use grounding practices to help myself out of a flashback. I am learning how to ask for help when I need it.

Nonetheless, I get triggered, at least slightly, almost every day. I expect this will be the case for the rest of my life. The experience of being triggered, for me, ranges from slight passing discomfort, to total day-long (or even week-long) debilitation.

The last time I was triggered was yesterday. My husband, in a fit of boisterous energy, slapped a paper cup that had been left on a garbage bin, knocking it to the ground. He wasn’t angry, and he wasn’t trying to trigger me; it was a benign, even playful motion. Just a random burst of energy that my husband, who used to train MMA religiously, turned into a moment of target practice. But it reminded me of a much darker moment when cups and cutlery were knocked to the ground.

I didn’t have a flashback; I guess the effects of this trigger could be categorized as an “intrusive thought.” I remembered, very suddenly, a date I went on with The Ex. We were having a late dinner at a Japanese restaurant. We’d ordered a fair amount of food, which amounted to a pretty hefty bill; Japanese-American food is not known for its low prices. About midway through the meal, a young waitress approached our table and informed us that the restaurant would be closing soon. I smiled, said okay, and resumed eating. She hadn’t kicked us out. As I recall, she didn’t even deliver the bill. But The Ex laid down his fork and began to stare. Not at anyone or anything; just a blank, inscrutable gaze. I would see it again, in my apartment, before he threw sour cream across my good friend’s hair and body just for the crime of holding my son. It’s the expression he makes when contemplating whether or not to give in to rage.

I have never seen him decide against rage.

After a moment of staring, of deciding, he swept his arm across the table, sending almost every cup, bowl, and plate shattering onto the floor.

“I’m sorry,” he said, in the bumbling ‘good-guy’ voice I’m now seeing him affect in court. “I’m sorry,” then sweeping what was left on the table to the floor. “I’m sorry,” the last few plates, the last cup, to the floor.

My husband didn’t mean to trigger me. And he hadn’t done anything wrong; the cup was discarded, empty. He put it in the trash after. He just wanted to practice his aim, to play around. Nonetheless, it triggered me.

And that’s one of the reasons I don’t believe in the use of trigger warnings.

Continue reading