How many times do I have to bang my head against the wall before I learn?
How many times do I have to let myself be hurt?
Since starting my blog recently I have been debating with myself whether to make use of the Trigger Warning Symbol, used by many of the mental health-related blogs. I can see that it is helpful for some people to have a warning of something that might be upsetting, and in the on-line mental health support groups I am involved in warning systems like these are used. The thing is, they don’t work for me.
Bloggers who use the system commit to where possible, indicating by the use of the symbol that the subject is of a sensitive nature and could cause distress. The idea behind it is that the reader makes their own decision whether or not to read the post, in order to protect their own mental health and safety. It’s a great idea and I fully support their commitment to use this system. But I know from experience over and over again, that it doesn’t work for me.
A trigger system, or whatever words you choose to use just doesn’t work for me because I seem to like taking the hard road. It has to be the longest route and most dangerous. In my head I know that if I see the warning, then it has been put there for a purpose and I should heed it. But I don’t. I think…
1. I’ll be fine
2. I have enough skills in my bag to stop me from being affected by this,
3. I want to know just how sensitive and disturbing it is
4. I’m going to test myself to prove I am tougher than that
5. I want to punish myself and make it hurt (a kind of self harm on my brain)
6. And then sometimes… I just don’t think
Yesterday I was in a position where I really had a physical trigger warning sign in front of me. I ignored it. Not completely, because I was being asked to read a letter which I knew would not be complimentary of me. I asked twice, “are you sure you want me to read it?” What I didn’t stop to ask myself was whether I wanted to read it. I knew enough from the outset to know that it wasn’t going to be nice. I also knew that other people’s opinions of me are just that, an opinion and I don’t need to be destroyed by that. Actually I can choose to pay no attention to it.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing damn it, but it’s no use to me by then. All the warnings I needed were right there in front of me. But I still ploughed on in. I should never have even cast an eye on what was being put in front of me. I already knew what the person thought (well some of it anyway) and I knew it wasn’t something they intended for my eyes. At the time I thought I was being quite grown up about it, but really I was using the opportunity to beat myself up.
I know I struggle with depression. I know I struggle to make sense of my emotions because of Borderline Personality Disorder. I know my self-esteem, while growing, is still fragile. I know enough to not put myself in that position. I also know that because of fibromyalgia some thing like this could affect by body in days to come. Yet I did read it.
I’m not going to use the trigger warning symbol because it doesn’t work for me. I accept it works for many, and for them I think that is great. But for me it is like a red rag to a bull. I just can’t help myself. I just have to go there.
But all I end up with is hurt feelings. Dumb. Really dumb. And yes, today my body aches and my head is still a bit battered.
- What’s in a label? (infinitesadnessorhope.wordpress.com)
Borderline Personality Disorder (allaboutcounseling.com)
**Trigger Warning** What the heck is that? (jeanettebartha.wordpress.com)