In psychology, a trigger is something that sets off a memory or flashback transporting a person back to the event of his/her original trauma. These can be sounds, smells, music, food, holidays, and important dates. When triggered, a person can feel anxiety, depression, and can possibly turn to past addictions. The past few days have been full of triggers in my world.
Because so much has happened in such a short time in my life, I experience triggers from various situations. The first is my divorce. 3 years ago, I realized that my husband was becoming quite close with a co-worker of his in California. His 3 days in Cali per week, soon turned into 5. He was distracted when he was home, and constantly texting. He changed his clothes, cologne, and started getting different types magazines in the mail (GQ instead of Woodworking, for example). I stood back and watched this relationship blossom for about 5 months. He became impatient with me and my interests (this was when Reiki completely changed my world, more on that later). Finally, I asked him point blank.
Three years later, we are both happier with our lives. He is still with her, and I have chosen forgiveness. I forged a new life and couldn't be happier with the changes. So what triggers me? The same manipulation that he seems to think I can't see through. Yes, I have an ego reaction to his behavior at times. I can see the lesson in each conversation and confrontation with him. And we've had quite a few the last few days regarding the care and education of our daughter. My mantra, "don't personalize!" It works most of the time LOL!
Dates are also a big trigger for me right now. It has been 8 months since I lost my boy. I try not to put too much emphasis on the date, but it sits there in the back of my mind. I get flashbacks of the night when we found out. I got a phone call from his dad in Cali, frantic, saying go to the hospital, our boy was in a car accident. So my girl and I jumped in the car, praying that everyone involved was ok. We had no details at that point. We rushed into the ER, asked about our boy, but the hospital had no record of him. A bunch of his friends were in the waiting room. One brave young lady finally stood up, and walked toward me in what felt like slow motion. I knew by the look on her face, and of the faces behind her. My boy never made it to the hospital.
My hand went to the back of my head, as if to steady myself with the information I just received. My girl didn't quite understand what was happening. I turned to her, held her, and told her that her brother didn't survive. She screamed, and collapsed in my arms. We couldn't stay in that waiting room. I took her outside and we just sat on the sidewalk in each other's arms. That scenario has played through my head for months. Now it only happens every now and then, but always on the anniversary.
So, how am I doing with not drinking? I used to drink to numb all the pain. This month, I didn't even think about it. Other than that, the biggest trigger is happy hour. Doesn't matter what I'm doing, but between 4-6pm I REALLY want a drink. I guess I'm in the middle of rewiring my brain, and breaking the habit lol. If we're out and I see two ladies talking over a glass of wine, I want one, too. My boyfriend gently reminds me that even after one, I won't feel good. And he's right, as usual :) That usually snaps me out of it. I haven't had one sip in 19 days. I sleep better at night, and I've noticed a nice change in my skin. No more bags under my eyes, and less redness.
I've found that triggers are numerous in my current world, but the trick to handling them is to almost step outside of yourself for a moment. Don't let the full emotion of the original trauma take over. Take some deep breaths, notice what you are feeling, honor that, and then let it go. Hand it over to whatever feels right to you, God, Source, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Buddha, Universe, whatever! Love and Light