Attention Friends, Family, and Humans of the Internet,
I have a good sense of humor.
I also have PTSD and an anxiety disorder.
I can laugh at myself. I can take a joke. I laugh at puns and wordplay, visual humor, cartoons, dick jokes, fart noises, Pinterest fails, America's Funniest Home Videos, baby pandas, knock-knock jokes, and vines. I can laugh about my inner basic white girl and my bad taste in clothing.
But triggers aren't something to laugh about.
Psych Central defines a trigger as "something that sets off a...flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma."
Triggers can cause panic attacks, flashbacks, obsessive spirals, paranoia, depressive episodes, suicidal ideation, and more. For trauma survivors, triggers are a nightmare.
When you use "triggering" as a punchline, you reduce my experiences, my trauma, to a joke.
I know that from an outside perspective my anxiety seems absurd. I know my reactions may seem ridiculous. I know that if you haven't experienced it, this might not make any sense.
But please, don't treat my trauma as something giggle worthy.
Please don't laugh about something that holds the power to incapacitate people like me.
Please don't ask me to laugh at something that can leave me shaking and crying for hours.
A trigger has the power to force me to relive my trauma all over again. I don't laugh because I know what it feels like to forget where I am, who I am with, how to laugh, how to breathe. I know what it feels like to lose yourself so far in a memory that you can't find the present.
Every day I fight to keep my head above the water. I deal with the aftermath of my past trauma every moment.
I didn't live through hell to amuse you.
Humor doesn't have to hurt anyone.
You wouldn't make a holocaust joke.
You wouldn't make a rape joke.
You wouldn't make a suicide joke.
Don't make a trigger joke.