- 6 days ago
- Wedding: September 2019
I just want to say thank you to those who understand. Once again, no one has said anything about “policing” anyone’s content, and it was never on the table to tell my friend not to post things. As pp said, it’s a matter of making a small addition to a post. Regarding the content and why I read it at all, it was not clear from the get-go what the post was about. It wasn’t until I read almost halfway through that it took a sudden and graphic turn to explicitly describing rape. It wasn’t like it was an article I clicked on with a headline I could have noted, or even a longer caption or post I might have scanned ahead for context clues. My friend has not posted anything like that before, so I didn’t expect it. As it was an insta story, there wasn’t really time to scan through first (and again, I didn’t expect to need to), I just started reading through it quickly, and once it did become clear what it was about, it was triggering from the first sentence making that clear. At that point, idk I guess it was the can’t-look-away car crash affect? It hardly mattered, as the panic attack already started. The content lasted all of like 30 seconds, but it honestly ruined my whole day. I got immediately dizzy, short of breath, and my body went into high alert while my mind became super out of it. I took a few extra minutes on break to calm myself down as much as I could, but when I went back to work people said I looked sick/nauseous. In struggled to focus at work, and by the time I fully calmed down, the tension in my body had triggered a migraine, so I couldn’t each lunch and by the time I left work I was sick as hell and had to go straight to bed and couldn’t make my Galentine’s Day plans with friends. There wasn’t a way to tell my coworkers or friends anything other that I wasn’t feeling well, and I didn’t. So I just wanted to share what the experience of being triggered is actually like, for those who think it’s about being offended or upset. In other situations, or for other people, the affects could be much worse with full on flashbacks, and people experience panic attacks in different but all awful ways.
As I said from my first post, I do not blame my friend for any of what I experienced. And as I also said from the beginning, I would never discourage my friend or anyone else from sharing content like that, especially as the cause is dear to me and I believe in uplifting survivors voices. It’s not that I expect to be shielded from content like that, and in fact as I’ve said it’s something I likely would have chosen to read later when I was home and prepared for it. I’m in fact doing quite well with my PTSD these days and can handle a lot, and even that affect was much better than it might have been in the past for me. But the being caught off guard is what made that content hit me so hard. Had there been a simple TW: sexual assault at the top, I would have taken note and chose not to read it on a brief break at work where I wouldn’t have time or opportunity to process. And if it affected me that way, I wonder whether it bothered others (as pp said, statistically many of us have been through sexual assault). I just really don’t think my friend, who is new to the field, realized how it could affect people to not include a warning. And I think those of you saying she’d want to know are probably right.
I didn’t expect this to turn into a debate on “trigger warning culture”. Even if you think people are “too sensitive to things these days”, I imagined that most people recognize the value of trigger warnings in at least the context of things that may be literally triggers for PTSD. My question was just about whether you’d (gently, and of course not making an enormous thing of it), make the suggestion to a friend if they started posting things like that without the warnings.
Anyways, last thought: sure, the “real world” doesn’t come with trigger warnings and maybe not even “safe spaces”. But we all know social media is NOT the real world. If we can make it a little safer for each other, with just a little consideration and making a single line addition to potentially harmful posts, what’s so unreasonable about that?