verb: trigger; 3rd person present: triggers; past tense: triggered; past participle:triggered; gerund or present participle: triggering
cause (an event or situation) to happen or exist.
"an allergy can be triggered by stress or overwork"
In the case of anxiety, a trigger is a catalyst that causes the feelings of worry & preoccupation to occur. For example, hearing about someone you know getting stuck in quicksand might distress you greatly if you have a fear of quicksand. Also, if you have a fear of quicksand, and you're reading this, I'm happy to know that I have an audience that lives in a 1960's Hanna-Barbera cartoon.
Dude just looks annoyed. Guess quicksand really would just be an inconvenience when your anatomy is used to diving several stories into gold coins.
Triggers suck. If you visit a lot of chat rooms & forums, just the mention of certain common triggers can get you booted. And with good reason; to the average person, hearing about the new Super Flubienza-21B, aka The Chilean Muskrat Flu, on the nightly news isn't that big of a deal. To someone with anxiety, it can cause you to freak the fuck out, despite the fact that 2 people in a remote village in the southern hemisphere contracted it after eating tainted muskrat meat and your last meal was a Little Thickburger from Hardee's.
Like a lot of things with anxiety, logic is just an afterthought, and triggers are a prime example of such crummy occurrences.
What's amazing is, sometimes we encounter a trigger and it doesn't register with us til quite some time later.
HIGHLIGHT THE SECTION BELOW FOR THE TRIGGER
Recently, an old friend of mine lost her husband to a brain tumor. He was a young, healthy guy, who was just dealt an awful hand in life. Left behind two adorable kids and a loving wife due to a disease that was entirely out of their control. This brave woman posted about it online frequently; coming from a small town, everyone knew them, so everyone wanted to keep up with how he was doing. I read her posts, too.
I didn't think anything about them until this past week. Since Monday, I've been having numerous headaches, almost daily. Tuesday night hit me with one so bad that I'd venture to say that it bordered on being a migraine.
And then the thoughts set it:
What if I have a tumor?
Is this how it starts?
Is it too late to do anything about it?
It never turned into a full-blown attack, but it's came close. And I'm not happy about this.
Here's the thing: this all started Monday. Can it be traced back to anything?
Monday nights, the girlfriend and I have began hitting up a local sushi place for $3 rolls. Afterwards, we'll go out & run any errands we need to do for the week. This week, we hit up Bed, Bath, and Beyond for some new pillows. A lot of the pain has been stemming from the back of my head.
Do people really look this dignified when they sleep? I'm pretty sure I look like a heroin addict.
Could there be any connection here? I don't have any definitive proof, but I'd say a stiff pillow is a far more likely explanation than a cancerous growth inside my skull.
Again, I can't give a 100% certain answer, but part of dealing with anxiety is learning to trust in the logical instead of the catastrophic. Yes, I know, that's WAY easier said than done. I still worry that I have ALS when I wake up with my arm asleep, despite the fact that I've been out for 9 hours and my shoulder has lines running through it reminiscent of a first-year art student's shitty art deco project. Part of the solution is learning to effectively identify triggers. If something is a trigger once, it's probably gonna be a trigger forever. I say that, and maybe therapy can help. I haven't had the chance to tackle that yet. If so, let me know in the comments. But it's better to er on the side of caution. Another part is common sense: stay off of that tiny elevator, and refrain from eating that chicken that's been sitting on the counter for 5 hours. If your anxiety leans towards certain fears, adjust accordingly, and you'll be exceptionally better off for it.
Also, if you ever encounter a show called "Monsters Inside Me", RUN TO THE GODDAMN HILLS.
I'll leave you with a relaxing song. Enjoy.