My Opinion on Trigger Warnings

Hiya everyone! I hope you’re all well!

Trigger warnings are such a taboo topic at the moment, at least on social media. Many people believe that we need them and many people do not. My opinion is that they can be very important and crucial for someone to have access to, in many cases.

An argument that I often see against the use of trigger warnings is that we don’t have them in the real world so why are they readily available online? My simple answer is really think about it because we do have trigger warnings and have done for quite a while. A short but sweet example is age certificates on books, movies or music. For instance, at the back of DVD cases, there’s an age certificate stating how age appropriate the movie is and what the content is. This acts as a warning in case any of the viewers find certain scenes upsetting – a trigger warning.

Trigger warnings in the millennials eyes are typically used to warn someone of anything they may find upsetting, whether it be because of trauma or because of mental illness. They are for “special snowflakes” because they sometimes may be the difference between someone relapsing with self harm or suicide idealisation and not.

Trigger warnings are specific for each individual person and it’s important to not judge them because there may be a genuine reason why someone wants a warning on it. For example, I tend to search for trigger warnings around suicide and self harm because I’m in recovery for those things. And even though I do class myself as well into recovery and if I did relapse, I wouldn’t be back at square one but I do not want to risk it. I may be feeling particularly fragile one day and if I saw a scene about self harm, it may tip me over the edge. That’s literally all trigger warnings are, to protect someone and they are 1000000% no different to the warnings you get for movies.

My question is, why would you want to get rid of trigger warnings and lead people into relapse or force them to relive unbearable traumas? There are many cases where you can see the topic and prepare yourself for the situation. For instance, Netflix’s To The Bone has very obviously stated that it’s about eating disorder recovery so it’s kinda obvious that someone in recovery or recovered from an eating disorder may find the movie particularly delicate. Whereas, some you cannot tell as much. Even though Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why is about a girl killing herself and leaving tapes for people who contributed to her pain, you don’t expect to see the scenes they produced. If you haven’t watched it, there are multiple scenes of graphic rape and let’s not even mention the incredibly graphic suicide scene.

Some may argue that if people are gonna watch mental health related movies, they’ve gotta expect certain subjects such as suicide to arise but that’s not the point. 13 Reasons Why is about the aftermath of a girl killing themselves, you wouldn’t expect to see the actual suicide scene and even if you did, you wouldn’t expect it to the degree that 13 Reasons Why depicted it.

Anyway, today’s post isn’t about that show, you can find my post over here if you really wanna read it. My point is, trigger warnings are necessary and if you don’t think they are, be grateful that you don’t need them. Simple as.

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45 thoughts on “My Opinion on Trigger Warnings

  1. That lost sentence “trigger warnings are necessary and if you don’t think they are, be grateful that you don’t need them” is something i can completely 100% agree with. I feel like people who think trigger warnings aren’t nescasary are people who don’t suffer with any kind of mental health issues and they’re really lucky. Hollyoaks aired a scene a couple weeks ago where one of the young female characters wanted to self harm and it showed her wrist quite graphically and baring in mind hollyoaks in aired at half 6 where anyone could be watching and there was no sort of warning or trigger warning and i thought that was incredibly stupid of Hollyoaks and channel 4.

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    1. Thank you so much!! I agree completely with you, I don’t watch Hollyoaks so I never heard of that but I’m kinda glad I don’t. Eastenders did something similar with Max and there was no warning and it upset me a great deal. I think they should be able to see when things such as self harm, suicide, sexual assault etc are being aired, that they are upsetting for some people!

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  2. Love this. Personally, I don’t need trigger warning. I suffer from anxiety but for me, triggers are more within my home. You’re 100% right. Surely they’re used as a protection for those who are suffering or who may be particularly fragile. It’s so helpful for those people, including yourself, to be able to know that you probably shouldn’t read that. You can skip past it! This is a really important post. Thank you for writing. Xx

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  3. 13 Reasons Why was so crazily popular so I watched the first episode and straight away I was triggered and refused to watch anymore. The amount of tv shows I’ve watched including really popular soaps that have triggered me whether it is related to rape or self harm. Trigger warnings are so so important and I thank you so much for this post. You always have original content and I am forever grateful x

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  4. I agree with you completely. I believe that sometimes especially earlier in your diagnosis of a mental illness, you don’t even realize what your triggers are. And even though I personally don’t believe that scenes of self harm and depression trigger me even though I struggle with both, It is a sense of relief knowing that those scenes are in a movie or book I am reading, almost as if I were a trapeze artist and I know I wont fall, there is the comfort of that net in case I do.

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    1. Yes exactly that!! That’s such a good example!! I’d like to think that some scenes don’t bother me as much as others but I like preparing myself for them. If it just jumps on me out of nowhere, it’s a lot harder for me to deal with!

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    1. This is the same reason trigger warnings are important to me and so many others. PTSD is hard enough to live with so trigger warnings make life a little better, in my case. I can avoid things that may affect me negatively and focus on taking care of myself. ❤

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  5. Good point about there being trigger warnings all over the place in “real life.” That is so true. I share some of the concerns around “excessive” use of trigger warnings because I’m more focused in my own recovery on gaining resilience and strategies for processing triggers when they happen. My goal is to be able to walk through life, being triggered, and processing each one so that I learn from it and am not avoiding anything. But of course if I don’t balance that with empathy and love for others who are being triggered, then I haven’t learned the most important lesson yet!

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  6. Hi, thank you for stopping by my blog. Your post on triggers is an interesting one, and the more i explore the space of teens and their thought processes, the more i realise how fragile these young adults are. Thank you for sharing your experience, I had not realised how much the content that is aired these days can impact someone going through a tough phase. I agree with you, triggers on content are definitely needed. Also from a parental perspective. Wishing you a wonderful new 2018!

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    1. Thank you! Someone who was actively suicidal, would probably deem a scene of graphic suicide idealisation as somewhat triggering because it would provoke their thoughts to come back severely. Happy New Year to you too!

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  7. I think that we should talk about it though it is taboo, it needs to be talked about and people should understand about others. Also completely off topic but I love the style of your featured images x x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! I’m glad you agree! Fortunately, I don’t necessarily need them – I won’t avoid something if it has certain scenes in it. I just need them for preparing myself as obviously, stumbling across a sad scene unprepared is gonna be awful haha!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I always find it interesting that people get so upset about being kind and inclusive to others. If even a small percentage of the population could benefit from seeing a trigger warning pop up and it’s not hard to do- why not just do it? Why do people get so annoyed at the prospect of being inclusive to all people. Great points and I appreciate you sharing this message. It’s so important!

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  9. Thanks for looking in on my blog. Guess you know I suffer from multiple mental illnesses and this post is right on. I need trigger warnings myself, I find them necessary at times. I’m glad you brought up 13 Reasons as well. Somebody has to be truly ill-adjusted not to put a trigger warning on such a disturbing piece. I couldn’t watch it, I’ve been too close to suicide myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I watched it because there was no trigger warnings apart from the last ep, there definitely should have been one for a couple more episodes!! It’s a struggle because some people rely on them, and then the others are fortunate enough to not need them and then mock people who do!

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  10. Thanks, this was very informative. In fact, your insight on the program “13 Reasons Why” was excellent and a good illustration on how we as a society might actually be traumatizing ourselves sometimes by the programs we watch. I n fact, not to get all religious on you, but it reminded me of a Psalm I have wrestled with over the years. Psalm 101:3, “I will set before my eyes, no vile thing.” It makes me wonder sometimes if we are not collectively giving ourselves PTSD by all of the rape, murder and suicide we routinely watch on TV. Thanks, again.

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  11. Excellent article. I don’t think I would currently find benefit from trigger warnings but certainly others with specific conditions could find them useful. Be interesting to know how it would be done prior to a transmission without giving storylines away as the standard ‘programme contains things some viewers may find upsetting’ would eventually be used too much to the point of ignorance. It’s a very good point though, Sophie.

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    1. Thank you! I’m glad you don’t need them but still appreciate their use! I feel like with subjects such as rape, suicide etc, they should be necessary because those subjects will upset anyone, regardless of whether you’ve dealt with it and I don’t think they’d ruin the plot! I’d also much rather know about things that trigger me are going to be within the movie and then know the plot, then be completely unaware and potentially damage me haha

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      1. Oh, I do agree. It’s a very good point and I do think that it’s important. I just wonder how they would go about it. As I said, all too often we hear the phrase ‘programme contains scenes some viewers may find upsetting’. I think it has been almost overused that people ignore it/get fed up by hearing it/don’t know what it means. Would the expectation be they start providing more detail before? (for example, ‘programme contains scenes of rape that some viewers may find upsetting’). Whilst I agree on the trigger front, others may say ‘well, that’s ruined the story for me as I know what’s going to happen’. Difficult to get the balance I feel.

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      2. In my eyes, someone’s wellbeing is much more important than my entertainments sake. More often then not as well, if someone doesn’t need a trigger warning/content warning, then they don’t continue reading it. I know I never used to read the warnings before I needed this.

        Liked by 1 person

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