Sunday, November 8, 2015

Trigger Warning

This article was posted by a friend of mine on facebook.

Here was my response:

She does have some valid points. But takes it way way way too far. Firstly, placing a trigger warning on articles that go into deep detail about how much weight someone lost while fighting an eating disorder, a video that is graphic about sexual assault, or images of self harm scars is not a problem. Yes the real life exists. This isn't a hospital where bathroom doors are locked after meals, and your scars must be covered. You might walk down the street and see someone who's underweight talking about her strict eating rules or how many times she purged. You might see people naked. You might see someone with scars.I don't consider the real world to be what you read or the images you see though. Yes there are lots of triggers in the real world. So what's the harm in warning students about trigger warnings in books or movies? Part of the reason it's called a trigger WARNING is because it is a WARNING. It doesn't say run away and hide and don't look at this. It might mean, you'll want to discuss this with your therapist after, or it could mean only read it when you're in a good mood. 
Yes the real world can suck and yes it can be hell. And I've adapted. I've been out of the hospital for over a year and am capable of handling my triggers not completely terribly. But I was in and out four times. When do you decide that someone needs to go back in the real world because being in a hospital for too long causes harm. And I'm sorry, you can't tell people they need to be in the hospital when I know of patients in tears begging for help and being told there aren't enough beds. 
I personally, really appreciate trigger warnings. If I see someone with scars walking down the street I don't run home and hurt myself. I often talk to the person. But seeing a picture of a fresh cut, with an article discussing the ways someone self harmed just isn't what I need to see. If I see someone who is quite underweight I don't starve myself right away. But if there's an article that goes on about how many calories they were eating every day and what their lowest weight was I don't need to read it. Because those things might trigger me. Yes I get triggered quite a bit. No I don't need to be in a hospital. 
I'm not avoiding recovery or life by not reading these articles. Part of recovery is accepting what is good and what isn't good for you. Putting yourself in less situation that causes distress is part of getting better. Yes, you need to be challenged and somethings do need to be faced, but that is a long and slow process done at the out patient level. Let people choose when they're ready to read certain things.

- Niqi

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