Recognizing your triggers

I had a whole plan for this week’s blog post. I was going to show you all the products I use on a regular basis that make my life easier. I had a list with pictures and links…it was going to be great. But that needs to wait because I had a real life moment today and I feel like the best way to let it go is to put it here. 

In case you haven’t heard, (Now ex) NFL star Henry Ruggs III was involved in a fatal DUI car crash this week that took the lives of an innocent woman and her dog. Ruggs was going 156 mph while his blood alcohol level was double the legal limit when he rear ended an SUV, setting it ablaze and trapping the driver and her dog inside to burn alive. I took to my Facebook to let out my frustrations with the situation, stating that I didn’t believe that any car on regular roads should have the capabilities of going that fast. I was met with comments from several people telling me why I was wrong for feeling that way. I was given comparisons of people in their town to drive their race cars because they cannot afford two cars. I was also given a comparison of guns and cars not being to blame for killing people, but that the people operating them were. Of course, when being used responsibly, cars will never reach speeds of 156 mph. And yes, I know that the driver is the one to bring it to that speed. But this does not change the way I feel. There’s a reason I have this belief and it is rooted in over two decades of living with the consequences of a regular driver going well over 100 mph on a residential street.

I have extremely weird views of the world. I am pro gun, but also pro gun control. I am a Christian and do not see a situation where I would get an abortion, but I am pro-choice for all women in this world. I know that not everybody is bad and we can’t all be forced to pay for others mistakes, but when it comes to speeding and driving irresponsibly, that is definitely a touchy subject for me. 

When I begin to read all the other comments that were posted on my Facebook page not agreeing with my views, it was a huge trigger for me. I’m not expecting everyone to change their beliefs or how they feel about something, but what really disheartened me was that so many of my friends and family were willing to disregard why I feel this way so they could tell me why I was wrong. I started crying and was so frustrated. I began mourning the future and experiences that I never got to have because a car with the capabilities of going over 150 mph was made available to someone who had no business driving at such a high rate of speed. I began to envision getting up out of my chair and laying on the couch with my dog. I thought of what it would have been like to crouch down and hug my kids when they were small. As much as I love my family and the life we’ve built, there will always be parts of it that are missing because of my limitations. I will always wonder what kind of wife and mother I would be if I didn’t have to rely on my family every day for the smallest tasks.

As soon as I recognized that this was a trigger for me, I deleted my post. That was also very empowering for me. To know that I didn’t have to take these opinions of people who have never dealt with the consequences of speeding and reckless driving and that I could just remove them from my conversation was so helpful to me. Pretty much all of us use social media and we post all sorts of opinions and views on how we see the world. We have all experienced different things, making us unable to see why others feel the way they do. As frustrating as that is, it is also a beautiful thing. We are all free to have our own opinions on things and that is the way it should be. But we all also need to be aware of our triggers and remember that we do not need to engage in conversations that are not good for us. There are some situations where we should be willing to listen to opposing viewpoints because we do not have the experiences that others have. But when we do have those experiences, it is up to us to have our stance and stay strong where we are. It is also important that we do not allow others to diminish our feelings on things we have been through to appease them.

So, I will stand strong on my view that we have no need on regular streets for vehicles that can go over 150 mph. Racing cars is a fun and exciting hobby that, in my opinion, should be done on closed courses where nobody else has to live with the consequences of your mistakes. That is my belief after more than 20 years of experiencing those consequences first-hand.

Recognizing our triggers and not engaging in conversations that are not good for our mental health are extremely important parts of moving forward after trauma. Your feelings are valid and you have no obligation to change them for anyone else.