Life with Phobia: Voluntary Trigger
There are a lot of unique triggers that people experience where it is unsafe to put yourself into a position to voluntarily be triggered in order to seek the emotions underneath. Like that is not safe and not possible for a lot of people. Not every trigger warrants deep investigation if the person with said trigger doesn’t want to or isn’t ready to. We didn’t choose the trauma but we can choose how we heal.
What I’ve discovered after years of therapy, supportive relationships and self regulation is that I want to know what my phobia is a cover for and an important aspect of that is that I am ready to move in that direction. I’ve wanted to know for a long time but wasn’t ready and in a lot of ways I’m still not fully ready but I’m getting closer.
I have gotten to a place in my work around it where I can selectively choose a moment to voluntarily trigger myself bc I am prepared for the trigger and want to use it as an arrow. This is slow, calculated, and done with the understanding it could affect me for five minutes or hours, days, however long. I do this with tools in my back pocket to help me deal and process with the trigger, the biggest tool being writing about it.
Voluntarily triggering myself means I am voluntarily feeling, which is really hard for me. I consider myself a big feelings person but mostly I’ll have a feeling, push it away, and then speak eloquently about the feeling. I can intellectualize my feelings well but to truly *feel* is an uncomfortable sensation especially when it comes to fish. It means all my inner selves are awake and activated, it means the things I don’t want to face are felt in my limbs and organs, it means I remember, somewhere in me is remembering the initial trauma, which I can tell you doesn’t have to do with being attacked by fish.
My goal is to swim freely in the ocean, without fear, without shame, without terror so I decided I want to remember (from a safe and supported distance) and hold those parts of myself so close and with so much love because the initial trauma is massive and scary.