At some point, people living with anxiety realise that there are commonalities between certain situations and anxious moments. It may take a long time to observe them, but they are there.
These situations are called triggers. They elicit the flight or fight reaction that just happens due to a myriad of possibilities. These triggers may arise without a warning. One moment you are fine and the next you get nervous, disoriented and scared. It is up to us to think back after such an event and try to pinpoint how it started.
In my case, there are a few triggers that I have come to observe which, despite knowing about them, doesn’t change my reaction. The biggest and most disturbing is loud and unexpected noises.
They have this knack of coming out of nowhere and my reaction is usually to get really scared and extremely enraged. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes for me to come back and for those eternal minutes, I feel on the edge of a cliff between two worlds.
Rationally I know it is only a noise that has raised my cortisol levels and has to do with the abuse I endured as a child. I know I am fine. But reasons are out of the window. For those 15 minutes, I am in an internal war fighting a ghost that came inside a broken dish or a very loud car.
Suddenly my adrenaline is very high and the usual words creep up: “ something is going to happen”. It already has. A false alarm that has disturbed my inner peace.
So, what to do? First, it will pass. Know that. Second, by all the gods, Breathe!! And again and due that until your cynical-self-sabotage-no-good-inner-demon shuts up and you have allowed yourself to let go and come back. Trust me, you will come back.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, surround yourself with people that know about you, that you carry no shame about talking about these things. It is one of the best soothing mechanisms because it no longer is inside of yourself.
I am lucky enough to have a partner who understands me and together we talk at length about these things. I can honestly say I don’t know where I would be without her and the safe place that is her heart.
What are your triggers? Let me know, let’s talk about it!