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Trigger Warnings: Have We Taken It Too Far?

Trigger Warnings: Have We Taken It Too Far?

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

*Trigger Warning* This piece discusses trigger warnings. Please avoid if you are uncomfortable with the idea of questioning whether or not trigger warnings should exist.

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The use of trigger warnings has become more mainstream. Now, some are wondering if this generation has taken it too far. Are we overdoing the trigger warnings?

In case you do not know, a “trigger” is something that triggers a negative or uncomfortable reaction. “Trigger Warnings” work to warn people the content they are about to see or read could make them uncomfortable. Trigger warnings give people the option of avoiding content that could cause emotional distress.

Recently, many have observed that society has become more socially conscious or “politically correct.” Whether or not that is a positive thing is a manner of opinion. However, the use of “trigger warnings” have undeniably increased in use.

Initially, trigger warnings spawned from post-traumatic stress disorders.  Those who suffer from PTSD benefit from these warnings because they are more sensitive to sensory input.  Anything from a film or piece of media might trigger a person with PTSD and cause them to suffer PTSD symptoms. It could be as simple as a sound or smell, physical space, a particular object, or a person. Anything that reminds the mind of a past trauma can result in PTSD symptoms.  A person with PTSD may find trigger warnings helpful because it helps them avoid situations that trigger their PTSD symptoms.

The problem with trigger warnings is that everyone is affected differently. Even arbitrary things can be triggering for someone. It is natural for people to be more sensitive to things than others. We all come from a diverse background and upbringing. The question is whether protecting people from possible triggers is beneficial. Everyone is different. If everyone has one, should they all be accommodated? Are we becoming overly sensitive to other people’s “triggers?”

Do Trigger Warnings Help Those With Mental Health Issues?

An article in The Atlantic thoroughly questions whether or not trigger warnings are beneficial to those who have mental health challenges like anxiety and depression. The author argues that trigger warnings create a “fortune telling” society in which people prepare for the worse every time they speak.  The act of “fortune telling” involves “seeing the potential danger in an everyday situation.”

On some college campuses, students demand trigger warnings for classic novels like The Great Gatsby and Catcher in the Rye. They argue that the sexually explicit content, violence, and language of these books should come with a trigger warning.  As an avid reader, I find the concept of this unusual. While it is true that some students will react more to the content than others, are trigger warnings helping or hurting these developing students?

PTSD and Anxiety: Do Trigger Warnings Benefit Them?

For those who suffer from PTSD, like Molly Miller, trigger warnings have prevented her PTSD episodes and have helped her live a more manageable life.

“Some people feel like trigger warnings coddle sensitive people. I don’t see it that way. I see trigger warnings as a common courtesy to help prevent sufferers of PTSD, like me, from reliving our trauma. I recognize it is not fail-proof, and getting upset by our memories is a part of life. But what is so wrong with making an effort?” She wrote.

On the contrary, author Samuel Barr described his experience with PTSD. At the age of ten, Barr was abused by an older boy. He was left emotionally devastated and suffered PTSD because of the experience. He talks about how he spiraled “downward into a  deep depression.” Still, Barr does not believe his mental health condition should warrant a trigger warning.  Until he learned to stop seeing himself as a victim and finally received helped, he was forced to tip-toe in society. He says he believes this trigger warning mindset is not beneficial.

“Trigger warnings are one of the latest fads in an ongoing cultural obsession with glorifying victimhood, and as a former victim, I can confidently say there is nothing glorious about it. Contrary to the noble intentions of its supporters, trigger warnings do more to harm people with trauma backgrounds than help them.”

Should We Embrace Them?

Furthermore, Barr believes people should face their trauma rather than run away from them.  These warnings will only continue to get out of hand and affect those who produce content in the first place.

“If you start warning, for one thing, you have to decide which unpleasant thing is worth a trigger and which isn’t. That isn’t a position an editor should be in,” stated Jessica Coen, editor at Jezebel magazine.

Johnathan Heidt, the author of “The Coddling of the American Mind,”says we are entering a climate where we presume the worse about the fragility and vulnerability of others. He describes this as vindictive impulsiveness which is “ a culture in which everyone must think twice before speaking up.”

Does this help anyone? Once again, that question can be debated, however for some mental health conditions, it can cause more harm than good:

“According to the most-basic tenets of psychology, helping people with anxiety disorders avoid the things they fear is misguided,” he continues.

Trigger Warnings and Addiction Treatment

When dealing with addiction treatment, addicts who seek treatment come from all types of background and find they are more sensitive to certain things than others.  Professionals in the addiction field work to help those seeking treatment develop the tools to lead a healthy life in recovery.

In treatments, clients learn what triggers could result in a relapse.  When It comes to addiction, triggers are a very real thing.  A person, place, event, or unresolved mental health are triggers in addiction. Therapists help addicts understand what their triggers are. Ultimately, each person has to decide whether to avoid all their triggers or try to overcome them.

For those early in recovery, facing triggers can be a very dangerous idea. Therefore, trigger warnings appearing before photos or content that could raise temptation might be helpful. However, years into the recovery, triggers may not be triggering at all.

Everyone should play an active role in helping others feel comfortable and safe. Sometimes it is good to be aware of how you affect other and what types of things affect you emotionally. You may have to navigate life avoiding triggers and paying more attention to the positives. In recovery, you learn the tools you need to succeed. Take it a day at a time.  If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

6 Signs It’s Time to Let a Friendship Go

6 Signs It’s Time to Let a Friendship Go

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva


“If you choose bad companions, no one will believe that you are anything but bad yourself.”
― AesopAesop’s Fables

Friendship can be a beautiful thing if done right.  Letting go of a friend can be harder than ending an intimate relationship, but sometimes there are friendships that are better to let go of than continue. When you have a friend that has the potential to affect your life in a negative way, it might be time to finally let that friend go.

When you first get negative feelings about certain friendships in your life, it can be difficult to cope with those feelings. Those in recovery should know that the people you spend the most time with influence you the most, so spending a large amount of time with friends that are engaging in negative behaviors can bring you down. Unfortunately, learning to let go of friendships is part of the process.

Friendships can be a blessing, yet staying friends with someone who is hurting you can be a downright curse. However, if you put yourself above others and understand what your needs are, you will know when it is time to cut a person out of your life for good.

Still, how do you know for sure? Below are seven signs that it could be time to end a friendship:

  1. They Complain About Everything

Negativity is never healthy. Even if you are having your best day ever, this person will find something to complain about. Maintaining optimism is very important, so being around someone that brings your down is definitely unhealthy.

Of course, it is always a good idea to talk about your concerns regarding their negativity, however if you find they are too stuck in their ways, it might be time to cease that friendship altogether.

  1. They Are Judgmental

We all pass judgments.  Judgments are necessary to make decisions in our lives. However, when we make judgments about things we know nothing about, that often leads to more harm than good. Judgments can come across very ignorant and rude.

A friend who is overly judgmental may judge your behavior or even mock you for wanting to make a positive change. When you are making a huge change in your life, you need encouragement, not judgment. If your friend can not stop passing judgment, that is a sign to let that friendship go.

  1. They Don’t Listen

Listening is one of the most important characteristics a friend can have. You need to have someone who will listen to you when you are feeling down or just need to vent. Friends who do not listen tune you out, and churn at rapid rates when you tell them something.

If you have a friend who is more focused on themselves than they are on you that is a major red flag. Friendship is a two-way street, not a one-way street. A friend who only cares about themselves will only be interested in you if it pertains to them, or offers them some sort of benefit. Any friend like this is not a true friend at all.

  1. They’re Overly Critical

I am all for constructive criticism but being overly critical is a huge no-no. A friend who attacks or expresses disapproval can be extremely discouraging. You may feel insecure about talking about your struggles with that person.

There is a fine line between a friend who is trying to help you improve and a friend who simply wants to belittle your progress. Knowing the difference is the key. Once you acknowledge that your friend’s criticism is more destructive than constructive, it could be time to focus on friends who offer you more compassion and support.

  1. They Are Always The Victim

Friends that tend to blame the outside world for their own problems are not the healthiest to have around. In recovery, you learn to take control of your life and work on taking responsibility for your behaviors. Hanging around people who refuse to acknowledge their faults can be negative in your progress.

Friends who constantly complain about not having enough time or being “the victim” are not ideal to be around. Focus on friends who are proactive and goal-oriented. Your motivation is influenced by the inspiration you have around you. Surround yourself with inspiring people.

  1. They Are Not Trustworthy

Do you have a friend you would not tell a secret to?  That could be a sign to drop the friendship. Trust is a major component of friendship. If you have a friend who gossips a lot or tells secrets, it can be hard to trust them. Friends who are untrustworthy are a huge red flag. Let go of friendships that are disingenuous and focus on friendships that better suit your needs.

Friendship is a beautiful thing, and good friends can transform you in the healing process. However, knowing when to let a friendship go is one of the most useful tools you can have. After all, you come first and your mental and physical health is of utmost importance.  Remember, you can always reach out to someone if you need help overcoming challenges in your recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

New Mayday Music Video Hits Hard on Heroin Addiction

New Mayday Music Video Hits Hard on Heroin Addiction

Author: Justin Mckibben

I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way, I love me some Mayday music. Been a fan for a little while now, and I am certain these guys are some of the most underrated artists in the hip hop scene. Their style of music is unique in so many ways, and each individual is extremely talented and consistent with their contribution to this awesome band.

Now with their newest album “Future Vintage” the band is back to killing the game with more and more evolution of style, and as always they bring with them some tunes that carry a heavy message. One message in particular was found on their recent track “Against My Better Judgement” with a compelling music video that just premiered all about the suffering and devastation of heroin addiction, with an uplifting call to action.

More about Mayday

For those of you who don’t know, Mayday (¡Mayday!) is an American hip hop group originally based out of beautiful Miami, Florida. The group consists of:

  • Bernz- (Rapper/vocalist)
  • Ben Miller (aka Wrekonize)- Rapper/vocalist
  • Ken Preiser (aka Plex Luthor)- Producer/keyboard player/guitarist
  • Andrews Mujica (aka NonMS)- Percussionist
  • Terrel (aka L T Hopkins)- Drummer
  • Gianni Perocapi (aka Gianni Cash)- Bassist

Mayday is currently signed on with the underground king of building independent hip hop empires himself- Tech N9ne– and his label Strange Music.

This definitely isn’t the first time Mayday  has addressed substance abuse, and in reality more often than not they seem to promote drinking and partying. However, the band is also very good at looking at a real issue and making a creative and conscious effort to trying to inspire change through their music as well.

For instance “Shortcuts & Dead Ends” is a song talking about the burdens faced when trying to make a name for yourself, and touches on the idea of addressing personal flaws and defects while fighting off the demons of a life in vices.

Mayday Hits Heroin Addiction Hard

The 5-minute music video for “Against My Better Judgment” is truly captivating and gripping, even if you haven’t ever experience addiction first hand this is the kind of imagery that puts the emotion of the lyrics to the story on the screen. The video recently premiered exclusively on Yahoo Music, and in it you watch this desperate and almost disturbing series of event, unfolding a dismaying story of a young couple living for their next fix.

Some moments get quite graphic in nature, and you see the couple using, fighting, and the female character taking part in a compromising exchange for her next fix. You can’t help but fear for the two, and the female character tugs at your heart strings and yanks them around and tangles them up with her frantic running down the street, between their shambled home and the drug dealer- all the while she pushes an empty baby stroller, which you can seek symbolism for later on.

The song takes a more acoustic and harmonious approach on the record they’ve described as a love song about our vices.” The song is also a call for help many can probably recognize with words like:

“Cause I don’t know what else to do / Will you help me through?”

The message behind the song happens to be particularly personal for the video’s director, Jason Cantu, who lost a close friend to drugs the week prior to shooting the video. After watching the video and reading that, it gave me the chills to see how real Cantu was able to express that pain in the short film.

Most inspiring is toward the end, we see the female character find her way into a room resembling a support group. One would assume she has hit a hard bottom and stumbles into a 12 Step meeting where she is instantly embraced and comforted by the people sitting around the circle, and against the melody Mayday plays out in these moments it is a really impressive and emotionally charged moment for anyone who has ever experienced the horrors of addiction and managed to find some help.

On a personal level, this video struck home in a number of ways, and it tries to show in so many frames of film how addiction and drug abuse impacts so many lives all at once, and at the end it shows us two alternate paths addiction can lead us to. Between the couples journey and seeing what each character endures in the end is powerful, and I promise if you are paying attention you will get an emotive response from this piece of collective and socially conscious art.

Music and music videos are another way we share our feelings and experiences to help each other, and it is true drug use and addiction are closely involved with hip hop. But it is also true that we can chose to give a different power to the pieces of our lives, and it all begins with a step away from addiction toward recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

8 Awkward Friendships We All Probably Have

8 Awkward Friendships We All Probably Have

Via: wifflegif.com

Author: Justin Mckibben

Everyone has a few friends that things are just the weirdest with. Not intentionally, but it happens. For one reason or another they are just socially mismatched. These awkward relationships can be managed, but they have their own quirky characteristics. It could come from you or your awkward friend, or both. And if you say you don’t have any, than the awkward friend is probably (well, this is awkward) YOU! Here are 9 awkward friendships we all probably have.

1. The Actor Friend

8 Awkward Friendships We All Probably Have

Via: wifflegif.com

This is the kind of friend that you have this weird kind of stage presence with. Like anytime they are around you have to play the part that is most comfortable to both of you while in each other’s company.

This can range from being a comedian, to being ironic and sarcastic, to the two of you holding one another up on a pedestal that they build to keep away from real authentic connection while judging others and hyping each other up. Avoid being selfish, listen to others, and help them when you can if you don’t want to be an Actor Friend.

It is the Actor Friend because whenever you break character with this person and the improv is ignored, they become vulnerable and it is always the most uncomfortable.

2. The Don’t- Ask- Questions Friend

 

8 Awkward Friendships We All Probably Have

Via: wifflegif.com

This is a person who never asks you anything about your life. This friend can be explained in one of three ways:

  • Extremely self-absorbed
  • Avoids getting close to people
  • Doesn’t want to talk about either you or himself or anything personal, just third-party topics
  • Thinks YOU’RE insufferably self-absorbed and knows if he asks you about your life, you’ll talk his ear off about it

This person may not be the closest to your heart, and probably doesn’t know honestly THAT much about you, nut you probably end up in a lot of fun, interesting conversations.

3. One Sided Frienship

8 Awkward Friendships We All Probably Have

Via: wifflegif.com

There are a lot of ways a friendship can be lopsided. Someone can be higher on their friend’s priorities than vice versa. Someone can want to spend more time with a friend than vice versa. One member can consistently do 90% of the listening and only 10% of the talking, and in situations where most of the talking is about life problems, what’s happening is a one-sided therapy situation.

This creates a badly off-balance give-and-take ratio, and that’s not much of a friendship when the power dispersion is not well balanced. It is basically someone using someone else.

4. The Never 1-on-1 Friend

8 Awkward Friendships We All Probably Have

Via: wifflegif.com

In almost every group of friends, there’s one pair who can’t be alone just 1 on 1. It’s not that they don’t like each other, they might get along exceptionally well in a group, but they have no individual friendship with each other whatsoever.

This leaves both of them petrified of the obvious lack of connection when they’re alone together. Being in a group of three when the third member goes to the bathroom is like the end of the world. It’s not even that these people couldn’t have an individual friendship—it’s just that they don’t.

5. The ‘We Go Way Back’ Friend

8 Awkward Friendships We All Probably Have

Via: wifflegif.com

This is the awkward friendship where the only thing you have in common with each other is the fact that you have known each other for a long, long time. You may find yourself saying ‘that’s my oldest friend’ but notice you made sure not to say ‘best friend’.

Instead you tell people, ‘we go way back’. Even though if you would have met each other now you would never be friends. But you hold onto one another just because of the history.

6. The Different Path Friend

8 Awkward Friendships We All Probably Have

Via: wifflegif.com

As cliché as it sounds, sometimes this is the most true statement in relations to some friendships. People simply grow apart. This is when the ‘We Go Way Back’ Friendship becomes a more permanent reality. One point you were identical, and now you couldn’t be more different.

When it comes to advancing into full adulthood, we all grow up at widely varying paces, which leads to certain friends suddenly having totally different existences. Anyone within three years of 30 has a bunch of these going on. It’s just a weird time for everyone.

7. The Friendship of Obligation

8 Awkward Friendships We All Probably Have

Via: wifflegif.com

When you make plans, follow through, and regret it the entire time you spend together. This is that friend you never seem to have the time to meet with, and you’re never really happy when these plans are being made, or really when the day comes up. Sometimes you don’t want to be friends with that person, or maybe you’re delusional about it, but what you’re most likely not aware of is that they probably don’t want to see you either.

Both parties often think it’s a One Sided Friendship without realizing that the other person actually feels the same.

Sometimes you don’t think hard enough about it to even realize you don’t like being friends with the person, and other times you really like the idea or the aesthetic of being friends with that particular person, but there has been no real effort or discovery of an actual connection.

8. Facebook Celebrity Friend

8 Awkward Friendships We All Probably Have

Via: wifflegif.com

This particular friend is not an actual celebrity, but in your mind (as you creep on their social media accounts) they might as well be. Everyone has one of these… don’t pretend you didn’t notice them a minute ago on your feed doing something amazing!

These are the small handful of people whose Facebook page you’re uncomfortably well-acquainted with, and those people have no idea that this is happening.

Seriously though, don’t worry. There are people out there you haven’t spoken to in several years who know all about what you’ve been up to all week and wish they had your life. That’s so much less creepy, right?

8 Awkward Friendships We All Probably Have

Via: wifflegif.com

No matter what the meaning behind some of our stranger or more strained relationships, we all depend on other individuals through times in our lives for help and guidance. When drugs and alcohol have defeated us, sometimes the best we can do is look for the right kind of friend to show us a new way, no matter how awkward they are. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

7 Ways to Deal with Coworkers in Active Addiction

 7 Ways to Deal with Coworkers in Active Addiction

By Cheryl Steinberg

Addiction affects as many as 1 in 3 people so, it’s quite likely that you will deal with an active alcoholic or addict in the workplace at some point in your lifetime. Here are 7 ways to deal with coworkers in active addiction.

#1. Keep a written record of any incidents

Such as arguments, that involve you and the coworker whom you suspect is actively drinking and/or using – this is mainly to protect you. Someone who is in active addiction will most likely be irrational at times, and maybe even abusive with their language or otherwise.

Having a record will be proof that they were the aggressor in those situations, in case they do something erratic, like report you, or in case there is an incident that goes on record with your employer, such as a complaint made by a customer who witnesses an argument between you and the coworker.

#2. Make your concerns known with your supervisor or upper management

Go on record with your boss or your boss’ boss or someone with the HR department so that your concerns can be officially noted. Just as in #1, this will serve to protect you in case there is an incident involving you and your coworkers in active addiction. Also, you can establish a baseline from which all ensuing problems arise.

#3. Set boundaries

There are several ways in which to set boundaries when dealing with coworkers in active addiction. The first is emotionally: Come from compassion and don’t take anything personally; financially (see #6); socially: Don’t try to be their friend outside of work, i.e. don’t spend personal time with your coworkers in active addiction.

#4. Be civil

Do your part to be a decent and efficient employee and, if that means, interacting with coworkers in active addiction, then make it strictly about work-related stuff. Remember, you only have control over your own actions; what they do and say is not up to you not is it your place to try to change them.

#5. Attraction, not promotion

Don’t try to shove your fellowship down their throat. If they come to you, be willing to help. Be an example of a sober person by living the principles in your daily life, including your time spent at work.

#6. Don’t lend them money

Unless you don’t expect them to pay you back. This is what is called an enabling behavior and it only serves to support their habit while driving you crazy at the same time. Your coworker in active addiction might say they just need a little help covering their utility bill that month – which could be true but, they are probably short on funds because of their addiction. In this way, you are still enabling them because, without your help, they are more likely to see how their addiction is negatively affecting their life.

#7. Don’t cover for them at work

If your coworker is late or they miss work, it’s not your place to make excuses for them. This is another enabling behavior. For example, if they call you and ask you to tell the boss for them, offer to transfer them directly to the boss. If they insist you just take a message, tell them you’ll have the boss call them back.

If you are struggling with substance abuse or addiction or you know someone who is, help is available. Dealing with someone in active addiction can be frustrating and emotionally draining. But there are ways you can help them. To find out, call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak directly with an Addiction Specialist. 

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