Gone With the Trigger

Let’s talk triggers! Do you know your triggers? Do you know what a trigger is?

I define a trigger as an event, emotion, or experience that causes you to experience symptoms, memories, or flashbacks. 

In 2003 I passed out and hit my head on the only large rock in our campsite. This resulted in me being life flighted out of the mountains and back to Boise. The last clear memory I have, was of me telling my mom I felt dizzy. The rest is just clips of something I can best describe as a nightmare. 

I now associate feeling dizzy with passing out. To this day, if I feel light headed, I will start to panic. My first thought is to flee where I am at and sit down. My heart begins racing, my temperature rises, and I feel as if I’m suffocating. My thoughts are on a repeat loop of “you are going to pass out.” It’s a terrifying experience! For years, I never told anyone my fear of passing out and it only made my symptoms worse.

Just yesterday, the same feeling swept over my body as I walked down the hall at work. I had to keep telling myself “you are okay” and “you will be fine.” I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t walk against the wall in that moment. 

Even as a counselor who has all the tools to manage anxiety, I still panic. I’ve had moments where I was able to regulate my breathing and reframe my thoughts. There have also been times where I isolated and popped a Xanax. 

The moral of the story is that fear, anxiety, and panic attacks are real and they are bloody terrifying at times. 

The first step to managing your symptoms is identifying your triggers. Once you become aware of your triggers, you can better cope when your symptoms arise. So many people walk through life with anxiety and they have no clue why they feel the way they do. That can make a person feel crazy! 

I challenge you to be mindful. Really pay attention to what happened right before you felt anxious. Watch for your triggers and remember…


I’d love to talk to you about your triggers. Leave a comment below and tell me all about it. 

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