Triggers and how to control them

Discussion in 'Self Harm & Substance Abuse' started by seidhr_the_cheese, Apr 23, 2016.


Is social media something that causes negative feelings in you?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. Sort of

  4. Don't know

  1. Hi everyone!

    I was diagnosed with depression back in January and have been on antidepressants and going to counselling to help. Although I have seen a decrease in feeling depressed all the time I notice that it resurfaces with certain triggers.

    Like most sufferers of depression I isolate myself - since my treatment, however, I have began to become more sociable. Social media - such as Facebook and Instagram - became a part of my everyday life, and I regularly meet new people at university and receive friend requests from such people. Now that it is almost the end of the academic year I have started going out at least once a week with a group of friends too.

    I do actually enjoy socialisation and I love my group of friends, I'm not really an antisocial person but I find it more harmful than beneficial to me. I have a long history of bullying, from about the age of 6 or 7 until 16 I was bullied and it got worse the older I got. In secondary school (2008-2013) I was bullied the entire 5 years by the same group of girls in my year and was beat up more than once in school. Because of this I have low confidence and self-esteem and social anxiety. When I started college in 2013 I began to feel a lot better about myself but I also stopped using my Facebook as I was more interested in my hobbies like reading, watching movies, and video games. Since I started university in September last year though I feel as if all that progress in college has been for nought.

    In my first session of university we were introduced to the course and our professors said it would be beneficial if we joined the course Facebook group. At first I was reluctant to even go on Facebook but decided it would be best to keep in touch with my coursemates for updates and advice and the like.
    As I made more friends and gathered a friendship group I began to use Facebook to keep in touch with them. By March this year I was using Facebook fully again and I had also joined Instagram. Sometime in March I also joined a closed Facebook group for fans of one of my favourite bands. At first all this social media made me feel better, like I was less lonely. However, the low confidence and self-esteem still remained deep inside me somewhere and I was not aware of this. Now though I am aware of how social media and socialisation IRL make me feel and I have identified the following triggers I experience:
    • Criticism (positive and negative) - e.g. recently I posted something in the Facebook group I joined about getting a tattoo, many people objected heavily to the design and instead of offering advice or alternatives just gave me sh*t for it.
    • Being made fun of in a joke way - e.g. my friends did this to constantly a month ago and only stopped when I told them how it triggered me to self-harm
    • Mean or disrespectful comments - e.g. one of my uni friends sometimes comments disrespectfully to my Facebook statuses, I don't post anything offensive btw
    • Bad grades - e.g. I feel as if I'm under pressure to do well academically and receiving a bad grade is damaging to me
    These are just a few I have identified, I am sure there are more. The only way I know how to cope with these triggers is by cutting myself. These things trigger feelings of shame, guilt, sadness, inadequacy and I cope with those feelings by self-harming.

    I feel vulnerable and fragile. I know most people on social media and real life don't know about my triggers and self-harm but I wish they did because I am worried about my mental health and I am scared my self-harm may one day accidentally go too far or that I might end up committing suicide.
    Social media and socialising in real life is very poisonous to my mental health yet it seems unavoidable because it is almost vital at university
    I wish I couldn't be so easily breakable but the support I have got always seems to go to waste because I relapse so easily. Recently I stopped hiding my scars because I want it to be a warning sign and a cry for help from the people around me - I want them to know that I am hurting and that I need help. There's no point in hiding it if I need help with it and want to stop.

    I want to stop, I want to overcome my triggers.
  2. ThePhantomLady

    ThePhantomLady Safety and Support SF Supporter

    Hi, and welcome to the forum @seidhr_the_cheese

    Firstly I want to applaud you for identifying your triggers, that is a massive step towards a recovery.
    Social media in itself can be incredibly triggering, depending on how you use it, and who you socialize with there. Do you absolutely have to use facebook etc? If you feel it is triggering you this bad, perhaps you need to stay away?

    I think you need to start working on handling triggers differently, you should look into DBT therapy; among other things that form of therapy works on triggers and your behavior when triggered.

    Please be safe, hun, and take good care of yourself. You deserve it!
    seidhr_the_cheese likes this.
  3. Hi and thank you @ThePhantomLady for your advice.

    I have decided to stay away from Facebook until I am in a better position to use it. The only part of Facebook I will use until then is the messenger service to keep in contact with my friends - one friend has anxiety issues and often he comes to me and we share our thoughts and feelings, I find it helps to let out my feelings and listen to someone else's too. I have looked into DBT and have found a therapist near my permanent home address whom I will contact as soon as I can - she also specialises in art psychotherapy, CBT, and mindfulness. Having read up on her work I have decided these therapies would be a good way for me to express myself and overcome my triggers.

    Thanks again for your advice xx
  4. I agree you have done a remarkable job identifying your triggers.

    I suggest minimally using Facebook. I use Facebook for keeping up with other people I don't post much if anything (I will share a recipe once in a while). I do use messenger because that is how a few of my friends communicate.

    DBT is a really good idea and it will give you tools to use for coping instead of self harming. For now though I suggest doing stuff you know you like (even if you don't feel like it at the time) like you mentioned reading. You could also go for a walk, take a shower, do art, knit sew, etc. Make a list a stuff as you discover what helps so you have it with you and can always look at it and tell yourself you have other options that don't make you feel worse.