Trigger Warnings Are Not For Your Memes

People who don’t have a mental illness may find it easy to ridicule trigger warnings. Recently, there’s been quite some laughter when trigger warning are mentioned. “Triggered” is used in memes and thrown around carelessly by people who don’t understand their purpose.
Trigger warnings are mainly directed at people who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Their purpose is to give people a head’s up before presenting some common cases of trauma, such as, military combat, sexual violence and abuse. Then, the viewer can decide whether they still want to view the content or not, or at the very least brace themselves.
Many think that this is coddling people and making them “special snowflakes.” Trigger warnings are an accommodation, just like ramps for people who use wheelchairs. Sure, they aren’t necessary, but is forcing them to struggle a better option?
In the case of trigger warnings being used on college campuses, many argue that college is a time for the baby adults to grow and develop in intellectual and emotional ways. A time to challenge themselves. They are absolutely right. People with mental illnesses rarely improve by forcing themselves to endure something that triggers them. But there has been improvement in people who go at their own pace and expose themselves to the things that trigger them in a controlled manner. For example: John is a former Marine and has returned with severe PTSD due to having witnessed comrades and enemies die before his very eyes. Loud noises, blood and shouting set him off. He attends exposure therapy in which he voluntarily exposes himself to these triggers with the guidance of a trained professional. They may cause flashbacks that are painful and panic-inducing, but it was his choice, which makes it a lot better than it sneaking up on him because he will be in the right mindset to counter it. With the help of trigger warnings, he may be able to reduce and even eliminate the fear he has for loud noises, blood and shouting.
These states of panic are more than just “unpleasant” as people have simplified it to be. Some flashbacks can completely consume the person experiencing it. It can become nearly as vivid as a hallucination. Their breathing and heart rate go so high that fainting is possible, vomiting is possible, and even seizures are possible. Those last three symptoms are less common, but does it really need to be so severe for people to care? Also, note that not everyone who benefits from trigger warnings has flashbacks. Some people just have the panic attack portion or are put into a very dangerous mindset that can be life-threatening.
Some triggers are unpredictable, but it is pretty easy to type “Hey, this video portrays a graphic depiction of violence!” It’s not like movies and TV shows don’t already do that. There’s something along the lines of “this contains graphic depictions of sexual assault. May not be suitable for all audiences. Viewer discretion advised.” That is a trigger warning.
Here’s a poor analogy: You’re driving down the road and you CRASH. Why didn’t anyone warn you that this was a dead end? You were driving like you always do and all of a sudden you crashed. Why wasn’t there a sign? This was not foreseen and now you have to buy a whole new car.
There’s no way you could have anticipated that and counteracted it without a warning. Same goes for people with mental illnesses.
Seriously, it’s not that hard to go a teeny bit out of your way to help someone recover.

Diana Padilla

das Leben ist kein Ponyhof.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>