Suddenly, memories (and the intense feelings that went with them) came flooding back. It happened in a matter of seconds, and I found myself wanting to flee those old traumatic experiences once more.
When triggers hit, it's hard because they make us feel out of control. They remind us of hurtful things— things we don't want to relive. We can find ourselves reacting in ways we don't want to react, such as lashing out at our friends or pulling away from loved ones. Reacting to triggers in this way doesn't mean we're crazy or that something is wrong with us. It means we're human, and it's a normal response to trauma.
Fortunately, if we're aware of our triggers, we can learn how to respond appropriately. I know when I go to my meeting tomorrow, I am going to face a situation that will trigger those memories again. This time, however, I'm going in prepared. I'm going to take a short walk ahead of time, so I can burn off some of my anxiety. I'm going to take a warm, comforting drink with me and have something in my hand I can fiddle with. These are some of the things that help me stay calm.
Knowing which things help soothe our nerves is helpful in situations such as these. It's also helpful to know our triggers and how they make us respond. Self-regulating can help us avoid the intense feelings and behaviors, and help us choose healthier and more constructive responses.