What To Do When You Are HELLA Triggered with Amy D. - E016
I have a question for you. What do you do when you're triggered? Do you know what to do when you are hella triggered?
On today's episode, we're going to talk about triggers, what this experience taught me, and what I did to move forward. We'll take a look at a trigger I had, and how this relates to mental health. We will also talk about how a trigger can relate to mental health illnesses and how our belief systems impact the way we take care of ourselves.
So if you're interested in learning how a trigger can be related to your mental health and what to do, this episode is for you my friend!
Go ahead and listen to this episode and then message me with your biggest takeaway! I would love to know what do you do when you're triggered. Got questions? DM me on Instagram and ask away!
> How I usually get triggered - let's talk about it, here's an example (01:30)
> Being self-aware of where you are at is the key to move into the next step - How it feels to be stuck from a personal experience (10:35)
> Beneath depression and all of the mental health struggles, there's a belief system that doesn't have to do with our mental health. How those belief systems impact the way we take care of ourselves? (15:10)
> A message for all of you, that dealing with mental health struggles and illnesses (21:30)
E016: What To Do When You Are HELLA Triggered
How can you choose what to do when you are hella triggered?
Amy: [00:00:00] Today is going to be a good one.
Not only is it going to be a good one, but this episode is going to be a good one. We're going to talk about a trigger that I had, and we're going to dissect it and talk about it.
Obviously had to do with mental health. I think this is going to be a really insightful and also educational few minutes to help everyone. This will help people that are dealing with mental health illnesses, help the people that are trying to help people with mental health illnesses, and everyone in between and outside of that spectrum as well.
Last night, I was in a bad mood. I was in a really bad mood. I ate something that disagrees with me, and I have an autoimmune disorder so it just makes everything worse. Luckily, the symptoms that I have are pretty - I forget the word that they use - but it's nothing life-threatening. For instance, I get really itchy everywhere.
I'm very itchy right now and it's excruciating. It's something that I've had to deal with and I take antihistamines to help me with that, but it sucks. But as you can imagine, if you're itchy and there's a few other symptoms that come out and you're just like, “Oh, this sucks. I'm having a bad day.” It started out that way, but I didn’t think I was going to have to think about what to do when you are hella triggered.
I was on Instagram last night, way too late, like maybe midnight.
[00:01:52] And I came across a post by another person in the mental health wellness, “let's change the world” space. It was calling people out and I got really triggered, like really triggered. Like, too triggered. Because, well, one for a long period of time in adolescence, I would be someone who would have been considered suffered or experienced - I don't like to say suffer - but it was a bit of a suffering, as I experienced borderline personality disorder. Back then I didn’t know what to do when you are hella triggered.
And the way that was presented in me was that I thought everyone was talking about me. Add that to the fact that I'm only a child and I think I'm the center of the world.
It just compounds the borderline personality disorder where you think people are talking about you and creating judgment around you. There’s all these very invalid (most of the time) experiences that you know, or you think you know, to be true.
I still get these moments, too often to be honest, but I've been able to understand what's happening and calm myself down. I think this specific example is very important to talk about.
So, in this post… And I just want to point out this had nothing to do with me, I don't think this person knows I exist. So just let's put that out there. But this person was calling out the people in the mental health space that advocate for exercise or yoga or meditation and other more holistic, potentially, let's use the term “woo-woo”, solutions as well to mental health management.
[00:03:36] Not fixing your mental health, just managing your mental health.
That was at least the way that I perceived it.
Granted, I was quite angry last night. You know, everything is a mirror. If you haven't listened to that episode, please do. It will be linked in the show notes.
It came across as quite angry to me, and I love a fiery post because there's a lot of passion behind it. There's desire to get a point across;I think it can be quite powerful. We've seen it in the Black Lives Matter movement. We've seen it in a lot of other movements in 2020, let alone before. I love it.
This one triggered me. It really triggered me because I was someone that she or they (the person is a female and identifies as one) she called out. And I should have realized I was triggered and thought about what to do when you get hella triggered.
I really got upset. I went into “little girl Amy mode,” and threw a tantrum by myself and in the comfort of my bed at midnight. And I was like, “Wow, she doesn't know shit, blah, blah, blah. Who is she? I suffered for 27 years through my mental health illnesses. I wasn't diagnosed for the first 20 years, blah, blah, blah.” So, I wasn’t thinking about what to do when you are hella triggered. Instead, I was hella triggered.
I went on a little rampage; I felt like I wasn't heard. Ironic, as I re-read it this morning and realized that at the core of her message was that she wasn't being heard. Or other people in her space were not being heard. Maybe she didn’t know what to do when you are hella triggered.
We're both right. And we're both wrong. And for us to both be able to acknowledge it, I mean, she doesn't know this is happening.
I don't even think she knows I exist.
It doesn't really matter.
For me, it's important to be able to acknowledge that in certain moments, I'm right. In certain moments, I'm wrong. That's really interesting and helps me truly understand that mental health isn't as uniform or as binary as we like to think. It's not either you're dealing with it or you're not. It's not that you can do it and you can not.
I do have an added benefit, I think, that I'm very self-motivated. I've always been in competition with myself. I swam competitively as a child and adolescent. When you swim competitively, you're just trying to get better on your own time.
There's other people and you can race against them, but I wasn't that great. I wasn't receiving medals or anything like that. So I didn't try to post, I wasn't focused on winning against other people. I was just focused on getting myself better. And I know that is a belief system that a lot of people don't have.
I do recognize my privilege in having that. I mean, it's created a lot of other issues in my life, but when it comes to, let's say, getting better, it's really worked to my advantage. At least I view it like that now. I don't think I would have viewed that a long time ago. But what was the most interesting thing was that this person talked about how some people have access or don't have access to solutions.
I understand that, and that sucks. That's one reason why I, in my own brand and space, try to help other people do things that they do have access to like exercise.
I want to help you know what to do when you are hella triggered.
You might not be able to go to a gym or swim in a pool, but you can go outside and have a walk. Or you can do 10 pushups in your living room or bedroom or outside in the park.
[00:07:15] And one of my favorite quotes - I talk about quotes a lot - is, and I'm going to paraphrase, one about Jim Carey, where he says, “I believe depression is very real, but I also don't. I also believe that if you don't exercise, take care of yourself and a bunch of other things, you're not giving yourself a fighting chance.”
And that's really after my whole little trigger. My understanding of what was happening is what I realized is that, for me, there was a long period of time where, when people were telling me or suggesting to me that I do things to help me with my mental health, from exercising to meditating to all this stuff.
I was like, “You're full of shit. Leave me alone. I am struggling for real, like you have no idea what I'm going through. Get up on your little high horse,” basically wave the trauma around like a badge of honor. And I did that. It didn't feel like I was doing that back then. I want to be very honest. It did not feel like I was doing it.
It was really a cry of like, “I'm hurt. And I need someone to see me and hear me and know what I'm truly going through and stop throwing all these stupid solutions at me.”
I felt that in that post. And I got really triggered because I remembered that feeling of being that person, that girl. I'm going to say little girl, because a lot of the times when I personally feel attacked, I revert to this scared little eight-year-old girl when all of the problems really started to compound. That’s what you do before you know what to do when you are hella triggered.
[00:08:43] And that's when I realized that, “Okay, maybe what I'm doing is not for everyone. Maybe what that mental health influencer is doing is not for anyone as well.” So, how do we deal and move through the world, try and help other people without attacking or calling out people in this space?
Because there is another side to this story, and I really truly believe that the base of what that person's post was, which was like, “Don't ignore the suffering. Don't just throw all this stuff on,” and... There was a line that I found was really interesting. It said something like, “Just because your lived experience goes this way doesn't mean everyone else's does.” And I felt that, but I would also present that statement back to that person, because, for me, I was in that space for quite some time.
And then I realized, “Wow, I've been living with these mental health illnesses for a long time. And I have known something wasn't necessarily right with me.”
Maybe not right, that's not the correct word, but I knew something wasn't, let's say “normal” with me, according to the textbook idea of what a normal human being is.
If you can even say that I knew there was something a little different, there was something that I needed to learn about myself and learn to manage. Then that would be kind of the secret or the key to unlock everything. And it was true. That was my intuition telling me, for a long time.
[00:10:29] But a lot of people in their mental health journey, - I hate using that word - but their journey are not there yet. They're not to a point where they can see like, “Whoa, I have suffered for a really long time. And if I keep in this mindset or belief system that I don't have the ability to do something, that's going to keep me pretty stuck. And it's hard to say this because I know if you don't really know me or you don't understand my life experiences and what I've seen and done and been through and have had to process.
I might just sound like some random chick on social media talking about out of her ass. Right?
But for me, I needed to know what to do when you are hella triggered. I got to a point where I couldn't wait for something to get better. Because that's what I was doing for a really long time. I was realizing that I couldn't get out of bed, I was realizing that I couldn't shower.
Next, I was realizing that I had trouble keeping relationships intact from romantic to platonic to familial.
I realized that there was a lot of stuff that was just happening to me, that I was really out of control. And I did need someone to hear me and I needed someone to understand the struggle that I was in.
[00:11:55] So, I kept talking, and I talked and I talked and I talked, probably too much. I talked to people that, arguably, a lot of people say it's toxic to talk to friends about it. And it is, I guess, but if you don't have, one, the awareness that you need to go to therapy, two, the means to go to therapy, and three, the access to therapy...
What are you going to do? So, that's what I did. I learned what to do when you are hella triggered. I talked to my friends, too much. To you all that listened to me and still are my friends, I love you. And then I realized a lot of people have heard my story. A lot of people have given me suggestions and insight and all this other stuff to help me progress in my life and hopefully get quote unquote “better.”
It was foundational to being able to move on to the next step.
So, I did that. But then there was a time in my experience where I was like, this is not gonna be enough. I can talk my bloody butt off. You know, I can tell you all the things that are wrong with me. Then I can tell you why it's happening. I can go in and in and in and in and in and in and in and in and in and in and in. And I can tell you all of it.
Sure. It might not be eloquently stringed together. I might use very bland words that don't make sense to a lot of people. But in my head, I am verbalizing what is going on. So now what? And this is what happened. At least it happened to me. Again, this is my experience. In my experience, I learned what to do when you are hella triggered.
I know a few people that have had crazy lives. And I mean that like with the most love that have had the same experiences, but I also know people that haven't gotten to that point yet. So, this is the point that I got to. I know everything intellectually, all the solutions, but yet I can't do them. And I knew how I got to where I was, and I knew why I was here.
I knew the biological, the psychological, the physiological, I knew everything. And I mean everything, ladies and gentlemen. Like everything, and here I was stuck. And people knew I knew everything. People heard my story. People knew about me. And I was just here. I had done everything that I thought I needed to do, except change my circumstance.
So, I acquired all this information, all this knowledge, and then it just started to take over.
And that's where the shame and the anger and so much sadness came piling and avalanching onto me. And then I went into a year of depression. This was only two years ago. Had a thriving business, at least I think it was pretty thriving considering where it was at, where it started, what my background was, my expertise, my experience.
People loved me. They loved working with me. I had pretty good friendships. I thought anyway. And it felt like I had been and done everything I was supposed to, but yet I was still the same Amy, still the same mentality, more or less. Well, not quite. But I just didn't know what to do. And then I realized that I needed to get into action.
I needed to figure out how to take all the knowledge that was in my head and finally help me feel somewhat better. And it was so hard. It was absolutely so hard. Like, I feel it in my heart. I can feel the feelings that I felt. I can feel the disgust with myself, the shame that I piled onto myself. Because I couldn't do what I was supposed to do.
And that leads me to my next point. This is going to be hard to hear for a lot of people. It was really hard to hear for me for a long time. I didn’t know what to do when you are hella triggered. And I don't even know who told me this. I just remember one day being like, “Oh, I kind of get it.”
That beneath all of the mental health struggles, beneath the depression, the borderline personality disorder, the schizophrenia, all these things, there is a belief system there that doesn't have to do with our mental health.
It's been exasperated by it. The experiences of our mental health have definitely contributed to how those belief systems pan out and show up in our lives. But, that is not a part of our mental health. That is part of the, I'm not going to go too crazy into psychology, but ego or fear-based personality or whatever that we are.
[00:16:42] And those belief systems do impact how we take care of ourselves. I did not want to ask for help from a doctor, from literally anyone, including myself. I, somewhat stubbornly, was like, “This is how I am, and I need to feel good this way.”
And this is kind of contradictory because I do believe that you are perfect, perfectly imperfect, exactly where you are. Every human being is exactly where they need to be in this current moment. You're learning the lessons that you need to do and all that stuff. You have to learn what to do when you are hella triggered.
But the old version of Amy thought this: “I can't accept help. So I'm going to stay exactly where I am because (and this is subconscious and this it took a lot of therapy to figure out) I have suffered for so long, I don't know how to be anything else but a mental health illness sufferer.”
I don't even know the political term. I don't know. Crazy person again. I'm allowed to say that.
I've got like a trillion mental health illnesses.
Second, who is going to change the situation for me? Who is going to be the person that gets me from this life of that I don't feel as comfortable or happy or what I want to be? No one, absolutely fucking no one. Let me tell you, no therapist, no doctor, no mom, no brother, no son, no dog.
They'll help, but at the end of the day it is the relationship that you have with yourself that affects all of your mental health. And this is a scary part you have to learn when you’re learning what to do when your hella triggered.
[00:18:37] And that is scary. Because the relationship that we have with ourselves is muddied and murky by our mental health illnesses. We don't feel worthy and then all of a sudden we get depression and now we feel even worse because we can't do this and that, and this and that and this and that. Same thing goes for anxiety. Same thing goes for everything.
And when you realize that in a way that is empowering, and not limiting, can really change everything. I can't tell you the exact moment, because I feel like this has been nine years of just like, “Whoa, what is happening?” But there was a moment that I, there was a day that I woke up.
There was a day where I, you know, started walking every little bit and tried to meditate, failed miserably, but tried to meditate... Where I felt like I had reclaimed the agency that I had lost in my mental health journey.
And that's a lot of the reason that so many mental health professionals talk about getting into action, because we lose so much agency, as human beings, in this illness.
And this is something that happens in a war. This is something that happens in severe conflict where the quote unquote “victims” lose the agency, which means the power to do something empowering, more or less. And that's when they lose faith in being able to get better or to regain some stability in life, some balance.
And that's the real reason that I talk about stuff that you can actually do. It has nothing to do with trying to shame people. It's has nothing to do with trying to be like, “Well, there's a better way, do this.” And sometimes I don't know about my content, but I do know that sometimes people say stuff with good intentions. We need to remember that we read things the way that we see the world.
So, if we're angry at ourselves or at other people for not being able to do certain things or how they broach certain subjects or how they decide to show up in the world for themselves and other people, it really comes down to understanding that that is actually an indication of what you need to look at inside.
And that's scary, really scary. It's something that I believe is integral to this healing process.
[00:21:33] So, back to the meditation and all the actionable things. For everyone out there that's dealing with stuff that can not do this, please know that like I have every bit of empathy for you. I've been there for so long. It was what I needed.
I didn’t know what to do when you are hella triggered.
My body needed to incubate. It needed to rest. It needed to regain some chemical balance. And although my brain was telling me all these things I should do and making me feel bad that I wasn't doing them and all this stuff, I do know that that inaction was part of my process.
But there comes a point where there's lots of people that decide, “I can't do this anymore. I can't sit there. I've been heard. I've been understood by other people and myself, but now I want something else.” And that's where I feel my expertise lies. [00:22:26] There's so much I want to say, there's so much I want to express. And it's so hard because I know that whatever I say is just not going to mean what I want it to.
But we are all the same, and we were all in this journey together. And yes, our lived experiences are different, but at the core - I truly believe this - at the core of every human being the same five things - I just made that number up - exist. Number one, we are all love. Two, we all want to live a happy, balanced life. Three, we all care about other people, regardless of any of their minorities. Four, we thrive on physical activity. Number five, we're meant to be in community.
Those are the five main things other than being heard and understood and all that stuff.
But to me, those are the five main things.
When you think about how we evolved as humans, we were very active. We would walk 20 hours a day to go to the river. Maybe not quite that much, but there's a lot of walking, a lot of walking. And that allowed us to keep the oxygen moving to our brain, which allowed us to be centered and balanced.
And, not super crazy thinking that a Pterodactyl was going to swoop down. They didn't have dinosaurs then, but know what I mean. The fight or flight response.
What can we learn from the old times? Exercise, being in silence or meditation, and being in community because that's all there was, they didn't have the other stuff.
They didn't have social media, they didn't have these ridiculous societal pressures because there was no real form of mass communication. Yeah, like within the family units and the communities that they were in there were influences. But it wasn't as contradictory as it is right now.
[00:24:21] So, that was a long ass, little rant, wasn't it? But I think the message is important. We are all in different areas of mental health as mental health influencers. We are all in different areas of our journey and there are people out there that are ready to hear everyone's message. As a mental health practitioner in training, because I am becoming a counseling psychologist and I'm in my program right now, being able to recognize this is the most important thing that we as people in this space need to do.
I thank you for listening to me unpacking this for you, because I really didn't know what this episode was going to be about, other than that, I was triggered.
I really had no idea. And I think I got a message across because I had no outline, I kind of just went off the cuff.
But I do believe that as Jim Carrey says, depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, all of these things are so real. I've lived with so many of them. Our experiences are all dressed up differently. Our emotions, although I believe boiled down to pretty much the same ones, they all present differently. And the way that we contextualize and take in the content around our diagnosis and the solutions to it, all are different as well.
While some people may view that as a shaming thing, there's other people that really need to hear the scientific backing of exercise in a way that helps calm the nervous system. It’s one way of knowing what to do when you are hella triggered.
That being said, the end of all of this, I do want to say one thing. There are a lot of mental health, maybe not mental health, but a lot of wellness practitioners that, from my understanding, again, this is quite contextualized, may not know exactly the depth of some mental health illness struggles. Maybe. I could be assuming. So they say drink a green juice and everything will be better.
[00:26:00] They will say, I don't know, meditate for 40 minutes and all your pain will go away. It's not the case. That's not the case, but it will help give you a fighting chance. And that's what this is. This mental health process is a fight. It's a big fucking fight. And I'm trying to give you the armor to be ready for it. Until next time.