Last week we talked about the healing process and what it really means to heal the brain. So now we have accepted the way we fix our brains, it is time to take some serious steps to make ourselves feel better and start getting on with our lives again. For this week we will be talking about trigger points and how to identify them because constantly triggering yourself is much like kicking yourself, it’s pointless, it hurts and you can even consider it a form of self-harm…
So what is one of these “triggers”? Usually, a trigger refers to just about anything that brings on a major exacerbation of your BPD symptoms. It could be something that happens in the real world or it can be something that happens in the mind. Wherever it comes from it can cause a wide variety of BPD symptoms to flare up and this, in turn, will often spiral out of control to the point that you no longer know what triggered you in the first place. So obviously it is important to get these triggers under control.
The first thing we need to do is to identify our own individual trigger points, so let’s take some time to try and get to the bottom of them. You can do this two ways, you can use a diary or mind journal or you can print off the image below and fill that in…
We need to ask ourselves 3 things with each trigger so we can identify it and indeed tailor our response to it. So, first off “Why is the trigger?”. So here you might put “My Dad triggers me because he is always angry at me” or maybe “my friend reading her DM on Facebook, but not responding to me”.
The next part will be a little hard, but do try and have a good think about each answer “What was your reaction?”. For this you will need to look deep inside yourself and ask yourself “what did I do?” So taking the two examples I gave in the first question, here you might say “I hid in my room and started to cry for hours” or with the other example “I messaged them 3 times with increasing rage until they answered me”.
The last question is of course the hardest part. The question is “What can I do instead?”. So again, taking the first few examples you could write “I should talk to my Dad and find out why he is so angry with me. Maybe tell him that his anger triggers me and upsets me”. Or as with the other example “I should learn to be a little more patient, given them time to respond as they could be doing other things”.
I’m going to painfully truthful with you now, this worksheet is not going to solve all your trigger points and just thinking about that the thing that triggers you might well cause a negative reaction to it. But believe it or not, it is the best way to try and minimalise your reactions to certain trigger points. Sure, it isn’t going to make up for your actions when you were triggered, but it should help you rethink what happens with the same situation or thought moving forward in life. Remember, you can’t change the past, but the future is a blank page.
People often say having BPD is like being constantly on an emotional rollercoaster, going up and down all day long. This task will help to smooth out some of those bumps and give you a much smoother, calmer ride through life. The more you perform this task the easier it will get and your brain will slowly take on board what it is that you are trying to teach it.
This Week’s Homework: While I would like you to try and fill in as many trigger point sheets as you can I would also like you to really think about the question “What can I do instead?”. As we discussed last week the way to a fixed mind is to reprogram the bad thought paths. By finding out your trigger points and at least trying to learn from them will be a big step. If you need any more help and advice about this worksheet and indeed this homework do let me know in the comments below.