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current events - Trigger



So, after starting to think I was doing so much better, the shooting in Orlando happened. I haven't dealt with that very well. I'm still in a bit of shock, as I can't even fathom the loss of life that happened that night. To be honest it's thrown me back into a state of depression. I can feel all those old thought patterns starting up again. Taking everything personally, black and white thinking, perfectionism, all those habits I've worked so hard to undo are back.

This time will be different, though, because I know how I did it before. Doing the exact same thing may not work this time, because I have changed as a person, but I now know my mind better and I know how to work with it, somewhat.

The urge to drink is intense. Not for one or two, but to get so blacked out drunk that I don't wake up for 3 days. I've never dealt with an upset like this before without drinking, so the urge is understandable. I don't see how my self destruction would help anyone, though, so I keep going, hoping to get better at some point.

This is my personal blog, so I have talked about my own reaction, but I want to be clear this issue is not all about me. I wasn't directly affected; I know some folks in Orlando but all are safe, but as a gay male I can only see this as an attack on "my" community and of course I take that personally. If you were affected by the shootings, know that my heart is with you and so are those of the rest of the community including straight allies.


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The events in Orlando were so awful and disheartening. :( I have a friend whose has a relative who lives only miles away from the bar and he could have visited there that night, but had chosen to stay home. So frightening. The loss of life is incomprehensible. I can understand how this would be triggering. :(

Do you have someone there with you to support you, a therapist to call and perhaps see for a session? It sounds as though you have good awareness of what is happening for you and that is positive.

Standing with you, Ralph.

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I had such a very hard time with the shooting at Sandy Hook. I could so easily picture myself in that situation and not coming out alive.

Sending you comfort and care, Ralph. It is so difficult to reach a place of care and safety when the events are so violating. Standing with you.

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Thanks, IJ. I did see my therapist on an emergency basis last week, and following up next week. I have supportive friends who have already offered to help if needed, which is something I am truly grateful for.

Finding, that is what I am struggling with as well. I can see myself in just that situation, because it could have just as easily happened in my home town or anywhere. I lived in Colorado through Columbine HS and Aurora movie theater shootings, and each time there is another mass shooting I feel a little more sick. 

When I picture how I would respond to such an emergency, I feel like I would not be very brave, and that bothers me. What else bothers me, is that I have to even think about how I would respond in the event of a mass shooting in the first place.  Human beings have a fundamental need to feel safe, and I don't even feel safe leaving my apartment anymore. It's as if the social contract has been broken, and I can't expect society to behave in any predictable ways. However I can see that as a distortion - it's not really chaos in the streets. I just don't get it. I can't even put it into words because what happened is unthinkable to me. I know these are just my emotions, though, not reality. I don't feel like I can find "real" reality though. I think I need to mainly sit through this and just (gasp) feel my emotions, even though they are very uncomfortable.

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I'm sorry you've been triggered so strongly :( ...

I'm afraid expression my point of view may be a wrong way to reply :(:o ... but who knows, perhaps it could be somewhat helpful after all (?). I think one "should" realize that all that happened is a natural emotional response which is biologically "aimed at" increasing vigilance "to decrease risk, which is, due to what happened, perceived as increased". But in fact, the risk hasn't changed at all, so the response, although natural, isn't adequate for the reality. We are all at risk of loosing life every day, "anything" can happen at any time. The fact that you've read/heard about something that happened to other people didn't change your reality at all, it only changed your emotions because our brain is "build that way". So... you can deal with the emotions the same way as if they were triggered by anything else: you don't need any real "changes in your safety" to change the situation to what it had been before a particular event that triggered the feeling of being unsafe. I suppose it means to treat yourself well, get help and support (as you did), ... but not to ruminate about the "menacing reality around you" that can't be changed.

BTW, I wonder if listening to a story that influenced you told by "another side / a different perspective" could be somehow helpful. Perhaps it would be triggering :( , I don't know. But in case you're interested, here's a great interview with the mother of one of the Columbine shooters (a depressed, suicidal boy whose family didn't have a clue about his problems) - she wrote a book about what happened and how it changed the family:


Is you expect it would be too hard to listen to (now or anytime), please just ignore it (or keep for another time).

Take care!

Edited by LaLa
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Ralph I think you are on the right track.

I read LaLa's interview. The mother of the killer had so much fear and shame to deal with. She said, "It was a very complex series of feelings and the grief, you know I have to work very hard not to lose contact with that grief because that's one of the most important components of your being able to heal." The rest of the interview was more about the events and the shock, but this phrase stuck out for me. I went to a seminar and they taught that unprocessed grief can be a huge component in mental health issues. Feeling the loss for a person can be complicated by the fact they were abusive, so the grief process doesn't happen. It is confusing when you have to dissociate from family for safety and then you are broken again because you don't have family.

Our feelings are important for our healing, but it can be so very hard. :(:( The sensitivity of it all can leave a person raw for facing life.

I hear how much you have learned and are learning, and I admire your courage, Ralph!


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