Capture Your Grief, Day 13 – Regrets + Triggers

I have spoken before about triggers on this blog, and about how I believe that, ultimately, my triggers are my responsibility. A goal that I have for myself is to reach a point in my grief, and especially in the management of my anxiety, where being exposed to one of my triggers does not cause a week-long downward spiral and recovery backslide. I do not want to live in a world where conversations are policed by trigger warnings, and people walk on eggshells during conversations with me. I want to be equipped with the kind of coping mechanisms that allow me to face my triggers and forge ahead. This is especially important considering that one of my biggest anxiety triggers is my youngest son being sick or injured. Clearly, I cannot navigate life as the Mother of this beautiful, rambunctious human without being faced with him catching the odd cold or without the occasional bump or scrape. Even as I write this, right now, I can feel my heart rate beginning to pick up pace. I detect a slight tremor in my hands on the keyboard. My intellectual mind is working hard to push away thoughts like:

“You are talking about him and illness. Now he is going to become terminally ill.”
“Just the very mention of him and illness virtually guarantees that he will become ill.”
“You know he will. You know it”

You guys, seriously. My brain is an asshole sometimes. The truth is that my youngest son is going to get sick from time to time. He is, at this very moment, battling strep throat (and on antibiotics) and a cold or virus of some sort (which we are heading back to the doctor in the morning for). I have to be able to function when things like this happen. I have to be able to take a deep breath and Mom. So, yes, I have triggers. I have anxiety triggers, I have grief triggers and they are often very different. My therapist and I have spent some time addressing some of the ones which I am aware of, in an effort to inform my intellectual brain, so that it has ammo when anxiety comes-a-knockin’. As new ones crop up, as I am sure they will, we will continue this process of recognizing, examining, understanding and undermining.

As for regrets, while I am certainly not perfect at living a life free of regret, my honest opinion is that they serve little purpose in your life and so I will let Edith Piaf answer that one for me.

Peace and love to you, friends.

2 thoughts on “Capture Your Grief, Day 13 – Regrets + Triggers

  1. Ariel Meadow Stallings says:

    Triggers are so interesting… I tried pushing through some of my own recently by doing self-imposed flooding (ie, intentionally exposed myself to triggers as a way to reclaim them and reduce their impact) and it was not so smart. I think I over did it, and had some tough days as a result.

    I think for me the key might be microdosing… Tiny bits. And also time. It seems like some triggers can only heal from time, which frustrated me because I want to hurry up and be healed, dangit!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kelly Bauer says:

      I definitely think exposure therapy can work, but you are right in that it’s probably best done in bits. My therapist had me do exposure therapy with a couple of OCD type ticks that I began to develop after the recent trauma in my life. We were careful to only work on one at a time and so far, it has been successful. It did heighten my anxiety, though, as I was working on each one, so I can completely understand why flooding yourself would be overwhelming.

      I’ve only got experience using exposure therapy with OCD, so when it comes to using exposure therapy towards triggers, I haven’t done so intentionally. However, when I do find myself exposed to triggers, I try to focus on the fact that I came out the other side when all is said and done. Maybe one day my brain will actually believe me!

      And yes, yes, yes to your point about triggers healing with time. It hasn’t worked for all triggers, in my case, but there are certainly some things that used to be awful for me, that I can’t even imagine being upset by now. It is so odd to look back at past triggers and think about how much hold they once had over me, when now they seem so insignificant.

      Cheers to healing, hopefully as quickly as possible!


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