Trigger Warning: Description of PTSD flashback.
Everyday, I Hope Nothing Triggers Me
Trigger Warning: Description of a PTSD flashback.
[Caption] Having your PTSD triggered is the worst thing.
[Image] A short-haired woman wearing glasses at a grocery store. She smiling, and picking up fruit, a grocery cart next to her. On her other side is an easel with a sign propped up on it. The sign is black with bright red lettering which reads “Triggering Image.”
[Caption] A great day…can change instantly.
[Image] The woman, facing away from the red lettering, bent over at the waist, one arm across her midsection. The other hand is placing the fruit back. She looks distressed.
[Caption] You shake and feel nauseous…but feel ashamed and try to look normal.
[Image] A silhouette of the woman on her knees, holding herself with both arms around her midsection. White lines emanate from the silhouette.
[Caption] And then the flashbacks happen.
[Image] The woman on the floor, bent over and facing downward. Approaching her with one arm outstretched is a man in a hoodie.
Man: Are you ok?
[Image] The woman facing a spectre, a ghost-like monstrous image with bright red eyes, which is reaching out to her with one hand.
[Caption] All touch reminds you of your trauma.
Spectre: Are you ok?
[Image] The same scene – the woman facing the spectre – but dimmer. The spectre’s eyes remain brightly red.
[Caption] You try to get away, but your body betrays you, and you panic further.
[Image] The same scene but now almost totally black . All she can see of the spectre is the bright red eyes.
[Image] The woman, lying on the floor on her side. One hand is on her head and the other is over her mouth. Her glasses have fallen off. Two people wearing medical uniforms are reaching out to her. In the background the man with the hoodie and a crowd of people stare down at her.
[Caption] Every day, you hope nothing triggers you. You cry silently because you feel so ashamed about the way you feel.
Being triggered is the worst thing. Imagine you are in the grocery store. You are having a pretty good day, but suddenly, something triggers you. You start to shake. You feel nauseous. You sweat. Your breathing becomes painful and you feel like you are going to black out. You try to look like nothing is wrong because you are ashamed that you feel this way. You begin having a flashback to the worst moments of your life. You feel everything that was done, experience the pain and hurt and fear all over again. You might make it to the restroom where you can quietly lose your goddamned mind but most likely you are huddled beside the bread and strangers are asking you what is wrong and you can’t answer them because you don’t even realize they are there. Someone is trying to help you but to you all touches are the touches of the one who hurt you so badly that most of the time you wake up screaming. You panic further and flail or try to run, but you just end up being betrayed by your body because your legs won’t work and you eventually pass out.
You wake up surrounded by paramedics. You cry silently this time because you are ashamed of yourself and the way you have acted. Now imagine that every single day, every time you want to watch a new show, read a new book or play a new game you have to either have your friends review it for you for your triggers or you have to hope to god you don’t find one.
I’m in recovery. It’s been about three years since I left the abusive relationship. I have made good progress, but it still affects my every day life heavily. I am in a relationship now with a kind, understanding man, but it’s still a bit touch and go, because sometimes I will panic for no reason (I can’t even figure out what triggered me sometimes) when we’re together. I still have a long way to go.
*This week’s comic was drawn by a guest artist, Devin Parker. You can check out more of his stuff here*