When you Google 'mental health triggers' you get a range of definitions. Most of them have to do with what can set off a person when they are feeling healthy or are in what I like to call remission. If you're a big blog reader like I am you'll see that a lot of blogs will have a Trigger Warning at the top. I try to do this when I'm going to be talking graphically about my struggles or about anything else that I think might hurt someone who is having a rough day.
Part of the work that I'm doing to try and not be quite so nuts is to define my triggers. What are the things, or what are the combination of things, that can send me spiraling down the rabbit hole? It is a depressingly long list - and there are times that I can't work on it for that very reason. Having a mental illness and working to get better is like trying to find your way out of a maze using a map created out of a crossword puzzle that is written in a language you don't speak. This shit is HARD.
Just lately there was a really beautiful post written about PPD/A by a blogger that I follow and adore. I haven't been able to read it (but trust me, I know this woman, it was an AWESOME post). There are times when sharing my story and reading the stories of others feels like a balm on my burned soul. Then there are the other times.
There are times when talking about it, thinking about it, reading about it can break me into a million pieces and leave me sobbing on the bathroom floor. The tiles are cool and the new rugs that I bought are surprisingly absorbent and comfortable. It's a good place to come apart while your baby naps.
The pain that other mothers feel becomes my pain, the bewilderment and fear of their partners becomes my fear, the guilt, the shame, the gut deep knowledge that you are a failure all become mine while the strength, the hope, the FIGHT all skip merrily away laughing at me over their shoulders. THAT is what a trigger feels like to me.
I need to emphasize that this is only my experience. Every person is different and is triggered by different things and in different ways. We are all so beautifully and exquisitely, and terrifyingly and horribly complicated beings.
Right now I'm treating my mind like a rare and fragile bit of china. I'm trying to see the light through it and appreciate the craftsmanship while being OH SO VERY CAREFUL of just how delicate it is and how easily it can be broken.
I was going to try and list my triggers here, but I can't right now so I'll just sign off with love and hugs to all of you. Fight on please, because Mama loves you!