ADRENALINE & TRIGGERS – PART TWO

IN MY LAST POST I OUTLINED HOW THINGS IN OUR ENVIRONMENT AS SIMPLE AS SOUNDS OR SMELLS CAN TRIGGER BEHAVIOR NOW THAT DOES NOT SUIT THE SITUATION AT HAND.

IT WAS PROBABLY SOMEWHAT OVERWHELMING FOR SOME OF YOU, SO I WANT TO OFFER YOU SOME PRACTICAL HELP.

While working in the ministry to Vietnam vets and their wives, and as I studied the topic of adrenaline and how vets are so easily triggered by fireworks (sounds like incoming), helicopters flying over, the smell of diesel fuel, and many other seemingly harmless everyday environmental occurrences, we began to develop a program to address the triggers and our own reactions to them in an orderly way.

THE TRIGGER CHART

Triggers are dangerous to your health as well as to your relationships with loved ones, friends, God, fellow workers, and anyone else who enters into your life. This chart is a tool, it is NOT the answer. The answer lies in the Lord who desires for you to be freed through Him to live a life free from the enslavement of PTS {Post Traumatic Stress). This chart will help you chart out the areas that you need to deal with at once, and those that will have to be handled eventually. Do not be surprised to discover triggers that you were not aware of having. And do not be overwhelmed by the amount of triggers that may appear on the chart over a period of time. All triggers can be disarmed and rendered harmless.

Step One: DATE – Record the date that the trigger was pulled, squeezed or yanked.

Step Two: EVENT – Record the event in which the trigger was pulled, such as: I was bathing my little girl; Watching TV; Vacuuming, etc.

Step Three: TRIGGER – Record the trigger, such as: I heard a song; He raised his voice; Someone screamed, etc.

Step Four: RESPONSE – Record your immediate response to the trigger, such as: rage; anger; surging blood pressure; crying; urge to run away; etc.

Step Five: RECALL – Try to recall the original trauma, (ask the Lord to help you): For instance, a time when parents came home drunk and were abusive; the death of a friend; specific time of domestic violence, etc.

Step Six: MIND – Record a check mark if you triggered yourself. In other words, you can purposefully remember the trauma and end up setting the adrenalin / fight or flight reaction in your body into motion.

Throughout the above process be sure to pay close attention to repeated triggers. It’s the repeated triggers that you need to deal with first. You will be tempted to give up …but don’t. Stick with it. If you cannot remember what to do with your triggers, then print out this post and keep it close. Re-read when needed and ask the Lord to help you.

THE HELPER’S CHART

Below you’ll see a “HELPER’S” Chart of your triggers. In order to be truly freed of the stresses that  come from active triggers, you must learn to  trust as you entrust yourself to Christ Jesus and to a fellow sister in the Lord.

Here is what you need to do:

Step One: PRAY –  Pray to the Lord that He would reveal a person to you who could be trusted with your feelings and thoughts that stem from your triggers. A person who would stand by you regardless of what happens . A sister of faith and integrity, who is submitted to spiritual authority in the local church.

Step Two: APPROACH – Approach the sister and share with her your needs and desires in regards to being healed and released from your triggers. Also share with that person her responsibility to you before the Lord.

Step Three: PRAY TOGETHER – Upon the Helper’s approval, pray together as you commit each other and your­ selves to the Lord.

Step Four: MONTHLY – Submit your triggers to your helper on a monthly basis. Be sure to use the “Helper’s Chart.”

Step Five: DATE – Date the “Helper’s Chart” with the date you gave it to her. Be sure to keep track of that date yourself as well.

Step Six: MONTHLY MEETING – Meet at least once a month at first with your Helper to go over your trigger chart together. This will be rather threatening at first, but will become much easier as time goes on. It is important to hold each other accountable. Stick with it in a spirit of prayerful obedience.

YOUR HELPER’S RESPONSIBILITIES

1. PRAY for you on a regular basis.

2. PRAY with you on a regular basis.

3. KEEP all information on, of, or having to do with your triggers & charts completely confidential.

4. ENCOURAGE you as often as possible.

5. CONFRONT you lovingly with practical advice and assistance with respect to the handling of your triggers when such opportunities arise.

6. STICK with you through thick and thin.

7. REJOICE with you over each victorious disarming of a trigger.

8. HOPE together as you hold each other accountable for each other’s tasks.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.          (Eccl. 4:9)

I’ll recap with the simple steps we developed and then provide the charts you can use to implement the steps.

FIVE STEP PROGRAM

1.    Using Trigger Chart, write down the trigger, your response, the date, and original traumatic experience if you can recall it (ask the Lord to reveal it to you).

2.    Share the list with your spouse and children. If you don’t feel safe in doing this, find yourself a “helper” and have them use the “Helper Chart.”

3.    Share the list with another survivor who has gone through the same type of trauma or abuse as you (support groups are great for this.)

4.    GIVE IT TO GOD!

5.    Review once a month for re-occurring triggers.

Below you’ll find the associated charts for following these steps.

NEXT TIME WE’LL TAKE A LOOK AT HOW TO EVALUATE OUR PROGRESS AND CONTINUE MOVING FORWARD IN OUR HEALING.

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