Sometimes Work is Triggering
“It’s just a job.” I can hear my mother’s voice in the back of my mind as my fingers hesitate and shake on my keys. Normally, I’d tackle this article just fine, but I’ve just spent the past week opening up to my best friend about the trauma I’ve been dragging around, and I’m a little fragile right now, dammit.
This client is one of my favorites. They play to my strengths, sending me how-to, psychology, and tech articles. They’re reliable, they send me lots of work, they communicate well, and they provide clear expectations. Most importantly — they pay on time. In order to get paid on time though, I need to submit on time, and time’s running out.
If you haven’t looked back at my publishing history, there are probably some things you missed. The biggest is that I struggle with depression. It’s a largely biological issue, though there are definitely situations I’ve experienced that would merit becoming depressed… if I wasn’t already there.
Medical history aside, I’m one of the one in three women who experience sexual violence in their lifetime. It’s not something I’m quiet about, but it isn’t something I generally share the details of. Why?
Because it’s triggering.
But here I’ve been for the past week, digging up all my old bones and brushing them off to set them out in front of someone I trust deeply. He, unlike any of my past therapists, has the ability to see through me and prod just the right spot to get me to answer honestly — something I need desperately to move forward.
The unfortunate side effect is: it’s triggering.
Writing candidly about sexual assault isn’t something that comes easily to me, but here I find myself, writing a post about Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (April, FYI) and how sexual violence can affect people with mental illness. People like me.
I’ve misplaced the box I normally stuff myself into when I need to write these things. I’m sure it’s buried somewhere around here, under the three years of coping mechanisms I had to shift to even unearth my trauma. Without it, I feel vulnerable, like my chipped heart is going to spill right out onto my keys and into this blog post (remember, they're looking for a friendly tone!) for some far-away rehab clinic for a stranger to read.
The point is, I feel triggered today, and I can’t avoid it. Bills don’t respect a safe space. I have to work, I have to do this, and I have to do it no matter how much it hurts.
Work is triggering me, and I don’t have any answers.
But at least I know I’m not alone. So, to all of you out there who are fighting to remain professional when you’re struggling — I see you. You’re doing fantastic. Please don’t forget to take care of yourself.