Today, more people are aware of mental illness. It is an issue that usually goes unseen and unheard. No one wants to bring into the light pain someone feels every day, but can not be cured by any pain killer. Depression and anxiety wreak havoc on many members of everyone's social groups.
When a person has a mental ailment, they have things that trigger those feelings of anxiety, trauma, or clinical sadness. This makes the trigger the thing that sets off those feelings in a certain person. That could be anything. If someone has witnessed a gruesome scene, blood and gore could entice those awful feelings. Someone who has a history of sexual assault could be reading a novel for class and it mentions that type of abuse, triggering that person.
Now that we know what a trigger is, let us get into the topic of Trigger Warnings. A Trigger Warning is a statement at the beginning of a piece of content informing the viewer that it contains potentially distressing material. Helpful as it seems, the almighty Trigger Warning is more harmful than an actual fix.
This has created the subculture of people who feel the need to make their triggers known to the world and use it as a reason for not participating in certain things or acting ill towards those who are not aware that they are triggered by a certain thing or scenario. From what I have experienced at university, none of my professors have put any forewords in books, plainly "TRIGGER WARNING: grief, sexual abuse, murder, gore..." I can recall a time in high school when my teachers would send home a note with the book we were reading explaining how there was strong language in it and if our parents did not want us reading it we could be assigned another book. But that is not quite the same concept. In colleges across the nation though, Trigger Warnings were hot topics. Now the heat has dwindled down a bit from Trigger Warning Mania.
It is easy to say our youth has grown too sensitive. I do not think that is the problem. We should be aware of the injustices against us and not stand for them, but that is neither here nor there. People who need Trigger Warnings should be channeling their energy into healing and not a note at the beginning of a grimy play their lit professor has assigned them or some article online (I seem to have dug myself into a paradoxical hole).
People with triggers need to be aware of those things; not so they can give a list to anyone one they cross so their potential friends know what to avoid, but so they know to avoid it. At the beginning at least. Knowing one's trigger can help them be more aware of them and when the situation arises and they come across it, they can learn to cope.
Coping should be the main goal of mental health. When someone who suffers from anxiety in large crowds is faced with that fear, instead of being "triggered" they can find something that helps them manage it (i.e. deep breathing, taking a step back, and possibly medication with a prescription from a professional). This ultimately ditches the idea of Trigger Warnings and helps people manage their mental health in the real world. Sadly there are not going to be any Trigger Warnings at the movies or Thanksgiving dinner.
This being said, mental health should never be ignored. Deep breathing, meditation, and other coping mechanisms work wonders, but if you are feeling like you are struggling and need help, reach out to a professional or any of the links listed below.