The internet is a beautiful place, but it can also be a major trigger source.
Maybe a decade ago, if you removed someone out of your life, if you cut someone off, if you broke up with someone, or left an abusive situation, once you were gone, there was a very small chance that that person or situation would resurface again (unless serious efforts were made by either party).
Now in the age of social media, nothing ever goes away.
We may think that we are "over" something or someone, and then a triggering person pops up on your screen, bringing back all of the memories and feelings that come with them...and usually these are not the best feelings or memories.
Our circles are even smaller than they were before. You can remove a person from your life, but an acquaintance can still be best friends with them and post them together at an event. You can be minding your business and you see a "like" from someone you no linger communicate with. You can be on a celebrities page that you love & see a past abusers name tagged in a post. You can get reposted and tagged in an old photo that suits the aesthetic of a particular page.
It has occurred to me many times that I see past abusers, rapists, or individuals who have deeply harmed me "pop up" without me trying to search for them whatsoever. (That is actually the reason why I am writing this post)
This does not even speak towards the thousands of "internet trolls" that add more fuel to any fire regarding beliefs around race, equality, representation, safe spaces, etc.
These days, we cannot feel without being 100% free of criticism or commentary. We cannot grieve effectively. We cannot process effectively because the degrees of separation are getting less and less by the day. We cannot evolve as easily or effectively because we have so much stimuli and distractions being thrown at us where it is getting harder for us to focus on the task at hand. Everything is in our face all the time. Everything is in the public eye & we have to be more mindful to keep certain things private more than ever. Most people genuinely want to help, but having a plethora of extra opinions on YOUR situation isn't always the best option.
In 2018, we not only have to deal with the constant struggle of calming down the comparison, but we have to deal with finding ways to come back to balance after being triggered.
So many times a day have I thought about getting off of social media altogether, including We Heal Too's page, but I have realized that it is selfish to remove one of the few safe spaces.
So, what can we do when we cannot heal in our privacy? What can we do when we have a million things shoved in our faces while figuring out this thing called life? What can we do when we are tired, but the journey continues?
What has worked for me is that I have come to notice my "trigger symptoms". Mine are: increased heart rate, shallow breathing or even holding my breath, almost instant headaches, a FLOOD of ruminating negative thoughts or reliving painful moments, a heavy feeling in my chest/heart center, and sometimes sweating &/or shaking occurs. Basically, my nervous system gets thrown all the way off and my body reacts in every possible way it can.
What I have to do is:
-get off social media as soon as possible
-I have also learned to say something to someone. When I keep to myself, the thoughts get overwhelming.
-tell myself that the ruminating thoughts, the replay of the past (causing my body to feel these old feelings & therefore ignite the flight/fight/freeze response), is unnecessary because I am not in immediate danger. What I am experiencing is not based on something that is in my present reality.
-make sure I take deep breaths. Like I said, I often catch myself holding my breath...& the body needs oxygen to stay alive!
-if I can, take a hot shower or bath
-cry if I need to, in order to release the energy
These have been the few things that immediately help me. I will admit that sometimes the "trigger symptoms" are so bad that I am stuck for a moment and I forget most of the things that I can do to alleviate what is happening in my body, but I eventually get there (usually with the help of a loved one).
What are some ways that you process and heal amidst what is going on in your world, while being exposed to social media?