Hello loves. I hope you are all having a good day and a good weekend so far.
Today I want to talk a little bit about the word “triggering”. It is a word that is used a lot in the eating disorder world and a word that has really been surfacing more for me recently.
What does “triggering” really mean anyways? The definition according to dictionary.com is that of to initiate or precipitate a (chain of events, scientific reaction, or psychological process). So, for example, if someone were to talk about diets around me, that could initiate the psychological process of my eating disorder thoughts, essentially ‘triggering’ me.
I have found a correlation. The more that I go onto social media, for instance, Instagram, the more triggered I seem to become. Now, let me just say I think there is nothing wrong with Instagram. In fact, I think it is a great tool and coping skill for those with eating disorders to utilize because you can track and monitor progress you make through pictures. It is a great way to hold yourself accountable and connect with others who are sharing the same experiences. I know that for me personally, those are all of the reasons that I created my Recovery Instagram. All of this being said, after my brief experience with the social media site I have come to the conclusion that it is not something to be frivolous with. Like any other social media site, it is important to be careful about your followers and who you follow…for the obvious reasons, and for the not so obvious reasons. When I first created my Instagram, I was excited to have a recovery focused account to give and receive support from others who are also in recovery from eating disorders. I was not expecting to run into so many triggers; I have definitely had to weed out the recovery focused accounts from the non recovery focused or pro-ana accounts, and some of the accounts that I thought would be recovery focused really are not. I am not saying that you should be positive 100% of the time, because that is not true. Everyone struggles and it is okay to ask for help or support, but there is always a fine line, and this line can easily be crossed into the ‘triggering’ zone if we are not careful.
I was scrolling on Instagram last night and came across some posts that for me, were extremely triggering. There are so many different kinds of triggers. People post the food they eat, their workouts, their bodies and the clothes that they wear, and so much more. I am guilty of posting some of the food that I eat, too. I think everyone with an ED recovery Instagram does this. Sometimes, though you don’t realize what impact this may have on someone else or you don’t think about it. More importantly, if you know you are the type of person to get easily triggered, then you need to delete and unfollow the people who make triggering posts so it does not hurt your recovery. Last night, I realized as I was scrolling that I was allowing this to happen; I was welcoming this negative energy into my life when I decided to keep scrolling. The problem is, it is so addicting. I get wrapped up in other people’s lives for one reason or another and it’s hard to stop myself from looking on these sites. Also, the more I get triggered, I have found that I suddenly have a strong urge to keep triggering myself. It is a nasty cycle that is hard to break, because then I start to compare. I compare myself to everyone and everything. I see the snack that a person just ate and think, “Oh no, I ate more than that, I will probably gain weight” or I see a picture of someone’s stomach and think ” I wish I was that thin, I must be huge compared to this person.” These thoughts kept me up last night; they were so distressing. Then I realized that I have the power to control these thoughts. Even more so, I have the power to stop myself from looking at triggering photos and reading triggering posts. I am not going to get rid of my Instagram, because I have found it to be helpful in just as many ways as it can be harmful, and I have met some wonderful people. I just know that I need to be more cautious and aware of the negativity that can detrimentally affect my health and well being.
So, my advice to those feeling triggered is this: turn the phone off or step away from the computer for a while. Even if other people’s photos or posts are not the cause of the trigger, scrolling through Instagram or even Facebook for that matter most likely will not make you feel better. Just focus on you and what you need to do for yourself and your recovery. Maybe take some time for self-care activities. The times where you feel triggered are the times where you need extra love.
Tell Me: Do you relate to any of this? What kind of things trigger you? What do you do when you feel triggered? I would love to hear from you!