Triggers are defined as, "a stimulus such as smell, sound or sight, that triggers feelings of trauma". If you've experienced any kind of trauma in your life, you'll likely have your own set of triggers. I always find it odd when people say that other people's triggers aren't your problem. If someone I love has a trigger that I can easily avoid; why would I ignore that? That's not to say people can't work on their triggers to function better. If I hadn't worked on many of mine, I'd not even be able to leave the house.

One of my main triggers is alcohol. It's a dangerous one as the world expects you to love alcohol. It terrifies me what a social norm alcohol has become. If you don't drink, you're seen as the anomaly. For the first few years of adulthood, I drank to fit in with my peers, and to avoid awkward situations whilst out. I got to an age where I realised I didn't want to drink; and with that decision, my trigger of alcohol began. It started with being terrified of being around really drunk men. I then didn't want to be around any man that was drinking. Any person that was drinking. Pubs terrified me. Alcohol aisles in supermarkets made my palms sweat. Talking to a counsellor helped me massively, but that's not to say those situations listed above don't still bring me massive anxiety; especially drunk men. Of course I don't expect the world to stop drinking, but most people I love know about this, and when drinking around me, are usually extra vigilant of me showing any signs of panic or distress. As I say, it's one of the hardest triggers to have as every time you log onto social media, go onto group chats, go out with family - it seems the world is obsessed with drinking. And you only ever notice that when you're not

People shouting is another trigger. It doesn't just have to be directed at me. If I hear a mum shouting at her child in the supermarket. An argument happening over the phone. My body instantly detects danger, and panic sets in instantly. Tears often come with this one, and I almost go back to a child-like state. Your body's way of associating memories into every day life, fascinates me massively.

Another trigger I have is speaking in groups of people. If I'm in a room with more than four other people; there's a large chance I won't speak. It doesn't matter if those four people are strangers, or my closest family. Growing up, I was humiliated and shamed a lot by members of my family I no longer have contact with. This has made me believe that any kind of attention on myself is negative, and will lead to me being attacked. If I try to talk, I'll sweat, blush profusely, shake. That's a trigger I'm working on. My counsellor only told me the reason for this trigger recently, and it was a huge relief that it's not just because I was "shy and awkward", like I'd been led to believe. I remember a time in college where I was speaking in front of a group of friends, and one of them started speaking over me. I instantly went beetroot red, and felt tears sting my eyes as though I'd done something wrong (I now realise, a trigger). Now, they didn't know about the trigger - hell, I didn't at this point. But they all laughed and called me, "The Incredible Sulk". And moments like that have only ever added to my triggers, and the fear that comes with them.

I have quite a few triggers; some so mild, they're barely noticeable. Maybe you know me well and haven't noticed the ones I've mentioned. When you've lived with them for years, I think you become so used to hiding them, that it is hard for other people to notice the signs. 

One of my friends has a trigger of being touched without being fully aware. I'm usually a tactile person, so I'll touch your arm whilst talking etc. Knowing this is her trigger, I always make a conscious effort not to instigate any form of contact unless she says that's okay. If a friend or family member is brave enough to share their triggers with you, and you can help them so easily - please do. Working on triggers isn't an overnight thing; it takes years. So until we get there, just help us. No matter how big, or small.

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