I am triggered by a lot. You name it, and it can feasibly trigger me.
The weather: Thoughts of the past associated with specific temperature, events and schedule changed because of weather or pending weather, fatigue/pain triggered, ramifications of our treatment of global environment and climatic events as a result, and on and on and on.
Digesting the food on my plate: Poor suffering milk, a byproduct of suffering cow, and the pain-hormones involved. Body affected by poisons, chemicals, over abundance or lack of nutrients, allergic reactions, digestive system triggered. Fight or flight biological response uncontrolled by the implementation of Cognitive Behavior techniques. Thanks but no thanks.
An actor’s line in a movie: Brings back a particular emotional event in life…and ain’t all things emotional for me??? Rhetorical question, followed by giddy applause of distaste in my own reactions.
A particular change in bodily appearance, function, ability, sensation, weight, signs of age: Note to self… avoid mirror and stop examining skin with magnifying glass. I am not vain, at least I hope not, just overly-aware of everything. I am so sensitive, I have gotten to the point I can tell what mineral or nutrient I am low on, e.g., numb toe equals low on magnesium, twitchy eye equals needing potassium, heart rate up equals time for some more sodium, etc. etc. etc. And don’t get me started on hormone fluctuations. Mostly, I am disturbed by warts (I have one tiny one), new moles, age spots, blubber and sags, and those weird, icky-lined wrinkles below my neck on my chest.
An offhand, unremarkable (to most) comment aimed kind of at me, at least I assume so: I can spend hours wondering what one word I picked out of a conversation could possibly mean, and from there wonder why I spend so much of my time picking apart conversations, and then psychoanalyze Aspergers in general, and then compare my communication skills to anyone in my circle of humans I have ever encountered; not a fun way to whittle away the hours, but nonetheless HAPPENING, regardless. Thank you meaningful professionals, but if you ain’t Aspie, you ain’t Aspie and you have NO possible way of understanding the makings of my mind. No matter how much you study a gorilla, you won’t understand how a gorilla thinks. And, yes, indeed, I think myself a different species. Have you met my people?
A joke, a poster, a political comment, a personal comment, a slogan, a lyric, a quote, a song: I can pick apart anything and make connections. Sometimes the connections and contradictory in nature, often really, and they leave me baffled, confused, and feeling entirely alone on this planet. Sometimes I am certain this is hell.
A missed connection, missed meetings, cancellations, no shows, last-minute changes, and the like: These leave me wallowing in self-pity, and then more self-pity piled on for allowing myself to have self-pity, and so on. You get the mirrored-picture. And then, to make it worse, I try to be mad, to understand the concept of mad, and then in turn blame myself for not being able to hold a grudge or stay angry. I then visualize people when they are angry, friends, acquaintances, loved ones, various movie actors, strangers, and the like, and I try to emulate the emotion. Then I feel guilty for trying, in other words ‘faking,’ because faking is lying, and I want to be truthful. And I feel guilty for trying to be mad?? Who does that? I get trapped in a whirlwind of how I should react to disappointment, and then punish myself for allowing myself to feel disappointed, because isn’t disappointment ego-based? From here I wonder where to go for help because I have tried it all, from Priest to Psychiatrist, and no one, absolutely no one, comes close to understanding me, beyond me, and even my understanding is warped, at high-speed, to boot!
Broken promises: This being the most painful. The world is filled with uncertainties, another major trigger, and they are everywhere, but the hurt is intolerable when someone doesn’t follow through with their word, I don’t feel bad as a result of judging the person, or of even having had housed expectation, and I am not mad, I am just reminded of the terrible uncertainty and unknowns of the world I live in; and that I basically can count on no one but myself, but then I can’t count on messy-me either; and this reminder (trigger) terrifies me and makes me immobile, couch-bound, and affects my pain condition, depression, and sometimes thoughts of leaving the world; not that I could leave, I don’t think, because I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone; and then the chain of thoughts begin that I am selfish to think of leaving anyone behind in this place, then thoughts of how the human condition is a suffering condition… yes, seemingly bleak pessimism, I recognize this, but it’s not, it’s TRIGGERS.
Being critiqued, criticized, put in my place, hearing unsolicited advice, being scolded, scorned, etc.: You get the picture. We both know I am not perfect. But did you know that I see all my flaws at multiple deep levels all fricken day long. I am likely the most self-aware crackerjack you will ever, ever meet, (unless you happen to be Aspie, too, then it’s a two-way tie), and I have tattooed my imperfections on my soul, and greet them minute-by-minute everyday. Generally, I don’t particularly like being human; I can’t tolerate the lurching selfishness, the ways in which people possess and take and haunt. It all confuses and compels me, and at the same time I recognize I am human, and that sucks. Critique me and I think I am more alone than ever. How could someone not know I was hyper-sensitive already, and keen on my own flaws? And then, to top that, I start to think that perhaps I am over-sensitive to mask a submerged and buried dark-shadow rage and that I have an innate inbred fear of anger. Until I sit it out and re-realize that NOPE, I just don’t get anger, more than a passing defense mechanism or emotional response. I don’t know it, more than a passerby. He waves, he punches me in the gut, and he leaves. That’s about it.
Setting myself up: There are certain triggers I know will get me bad, keep me bedridden, or at the very least cause me to be lost in thought for hours, and yet I repeat certain behaviors that set me up for certain triggers. As if I don’t learn. I am taking inventory. I know what hurts. I know what creates chaos in my mind, but at the same time I carry this everlasting hope that this time it will be different. I have this blind eye to people. I think they will change. I think things have to change. I think everyone must transition at the high-speed, everyone must have similar depth, heart, and soul. But they don’t. I just can’t seem to wrap my brain around that concept.