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Do you know what your triggers are and what helped you figure it out? - January 3rd 2018, 11:02 PM

This thread has been labeled as triggering by the original poster or by a Moderator. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

When talking to people about self harm I talk a lot about them figuring out what their triggers are. I do spend a little bit of time giving them ideas on how to go about figuring out their triggers but, as with everything, each person figures things out in different ways.

So, I am making this thread to see what others triggers might be, in regards to self harm, and what helped them figure it out.

I will label this as triggering just to be safe and if you don't feel comfortable explaining all your triggers you don't.

For me, I have a ton of 'triggers' but I won't list them all but some of the ones that used to always lead me to self harm was:

Anger- I wasn't sure how to express it and there were times when I would get so angry I wanted to hurt something and, of course, I would hurt myself because hurting other people isn't something I like doing.
Anxiety-When I get anxious I get overwhelmed and I get a sick feeling in my stomach. I feel on edge and self harm used to 'ground' me and make it better. This is one of the triggers I struggle with a lot because when I get anxious my first thought is 'I can make it better if I cut...' I can talk myself out of it but it gets hard.
Boredom - This one might seem weird but in the past I would get bored and I would cut to make myself feel something because for me 'boredom' leads to an extreme lack of emotional numbness.
Emotional numbness - I used to struggle a lot more with not feeling much and cutting helps with 'feeling'
Feeling like I hurt someone/guilt: If I feel like I hurt someone I feel guilty and guilt and hurting people can be hard to deal with.

There were a lot of different things that helped me figure these triggers and more out and some of the more common ones were:

Journaling/blogging and being able to read back through those things
Talking to a therapist and processing things

Some of the less common were:

I would go ages where I would feel like I was triggered for no 'reason' (that does happen to me sometimes but not as often) and I knew that there had to be a trigger so I would take some time and work through the days/weeks. I would write down events I remembered, I would look through old journal entries and be reminded of events.

There was also a period of time where I would make small notes about incidents that upset me (usually on my phone) and describe the feeling I was having. For example:

-Got into a fight with my dad, feeling angry and sad, want to cut.

By doing this for an extended period of time I was able to identify common things that led to me feeling an urge to cut and it helped.

I am not sure that too many others will feel like sharing but I figured it might be worth trying as there can be a number of different ways to identify a trigger. Due to that different things will work for different people being made aware of the different things to try to identify the triggers might help some people.

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Re: Do you know what your triggers are and what helped you figure it out? - January 4th 2018, 04:04 AM

A lot of my issues were fear of failure or not being good enough. I did start to identify things more by keeping a journal which was suggested by my guidance counselor in 8th grade.

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Re: Do you know what your triggers are and what helped you figure it out? - January 4th 2018, 04:12 PM

Nice thread!

Mine are anger, anxiety and numbness/dissociation like you mentioned. Other triggers include certain foods, smells, or people especially. I am triggered by the smell of alcohol on someone, for instance. I am also upset by and kind of yelling or arguing. I have OCD so occasionally I obsess about self-harm as well. I probably have other triggers I am leaving out but I found them out by getting upset and keeping note of it and then working on it.

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Re: Do you know what your triggers are and what helped you figure it out? - January 5th 2018, 05:18 PM

My biggest trigger are probably lose of control and feeling vulnerable/exposed. Then comes stress and failure and probably being confronted with SH (especially in storys).
I actually found out most of them when I forced myself to stop selfharming. I couldn't cope anymore and started having random breakdowns and crying spells. Which made me realiced the pattern. Before I didn't see the pattern because SH had kind of become a habit so I would do it even if I wasn't triggered.
My therapist also helped a lot by making me retell the situations I felt bad in which helped me notice these patterns.

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Re: Do you know what your triggers are and what helped you figure it out? - January 6th 2018, 01:12 AM

i know this thread is about self-harm but i'm going to talk about my general triggers right now, not just for self-harm since that isn't a big problem for me anymore.

what definitely helps me nowadays to identify triggers (for example for my substance abuse) is keeping a journal of when i used and how i felt before using. this was suggested by the substance abuse program counsellor i go to and it's definitely something i want to recommend others to do (that's why i'm writing this) because it can be really helpful.

what triggered my self harm urges in the past was usually feelings of guilt or when i felt like things were all my fault. so you could say i did it to punish myself, mostly but it also became a routine and a habit after a while that felt safe and that made me feel in control so i did it even if i wasn't triggered. it was something i felt safe to do without feeling self-concious or insecure.

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