The problem with trigger warnings is that they make PTSD worse, not better. By avoiding everything that makes you feel uncomfortable, you can never overcome your affliction. You can never face your demons and you will never really get better. You’ll just get better at hiding.
The Problem With Trigger Warnings
Wendy Blacke
6516

This says to me that you expect people to turn away upon seeing a warning about a trigger that affects them.

In my experience with people who prefer such warnings, that’s not the case at all. The purpose is to allow the reader to make the decision regarding whether they’re able to read about such topics at that point in time. I’ve seen people actively state that they’ve continued reading something despite a trigger warning about one of their triggers.

You mentioned sawdust as a trigger. So you know that a sawmill contains a trigger for you. If you’re feeling especially sensitive one day, then part of taking care of yourself may include making the decision to not go near the local sawmill, for example. You pick a different route, or simply don’t pick up lumber that day. Or, if you don’t have the choice to avoid it (or you decide you want to confront it, despite how you feel), you use your coping mechanisms to prepare yourself for that experience.

Now, a sawmill is pretty obvious about what it does and what it contains. They don’t need to explicitly say “hey, this place contains sawdust.” It doesn’t tiptoe about anything, ever.

Articles aren’t necessarily like that, though. The title and opening paragraphs may not reference the content that appears later. Adding a trigger warning at the top serves the purpose of letting the reader know that there will be discussion about a given topic that is a common trigger. It doesn’t say “if you’re triggered by this, leave now,” it says, “hey, head’s up, I’m letting you know this topic is going to be covered so you can decide what to do.”

Trigger warnings don’t tiptoe around people or topics. Tiptoeing around would be not writing about them to begin with, or doing so in a very circumnavigational manner. Sheltering topics from people would be turning someone away if they are triggered by the topic and not allowing the to read it at all.

Trigger warnings don’t do any of that. They are simply a head’s up. They empower the read to make their own decision. Just like you decided to step out your door, and you prepared yourself for the triggers you were going to encounter, trigger warnings allow readers to decide to prepare themselves and continue reading.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Shauna Gordon’s story.