My wife and I took a short trip for the weekend and Kaitlyn was on my mind a lot during our trip. I think taking the trip brought back memories of family trips that we used to take together, and thus triggered emotions of sadness. The uneasy feeling in the pit of the stomach. The tears well up in your eyes and begin to roll down your cheeks, as you wish your child was there with you, sharing these moments. Just to be able to hug them or hear their laughter one more time. The only thing you can do is take a deep breath and let it wash over you like an enormous wave. It will pass eventually, but you feel as if your going to drown until the wave passes.
What causes these triggers for you? It could be a song on the radio, a favorite place you use to go together, a movie that reminds you of your child. Anything can be a potential trigger. Unfortunately, these triggers can happen at any moment and make it difficult to control your emotions. If you can, it is probably best to try to excuse yourself from the situation and go somewhere private where you can ride out the wave of emotions. Early in my grief journey, I noticed that these triggers were much more frequent than when I was further along in my grief journey. This makes sense as in the early days of grief your hurt is raw and so many things bring to mind your loss and the wound is reopened and the pain severe. Similar to caring for a wound, you do things to try to promote healing. You seek out things that can hopefully help to provide you some comfort from the pain such as: counseling, medication, child loss support groups, books, religion, spirituality, etc. Just like you have to rehab. after a broken leg, you have to work at getting in the mind set that you want to feel better and that your child would want you to feel better.
I have taken the following approach to dealing with triggers. When I feel it coming on, I try to find a private place such as my car, or my bedroom, the bathroom, anywhere that I can have some privacy. I allow the tears to come and talk with my child and tell them how much I miss them and exactly how I'm feeling. Then I try to remember some good memory about the thing that is causing the trigger. For example, if it is a song I try to remember good memories that I had with my child surrounding that song. I close my eyes while I listen to the music and allow the feelings to wash over me. Don't forget to take deep breaths as you are doing this as it will help to calm your emotions. Just continue this until the wave of emotions subsides. It may not work for everyone, but I have found it helps to comfort me. Please share if you have anything that you do to help you deal with Triggers.
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