Triggers are issues that aggravate or initiate anxiety or panic. There are well know triggers that are easy to understand and then there are the invisible ones. To best explain triggers, I think it best to give some examples.
Your personality and your perceptiveness play a role. An over sensitive person is more likely to experience symptoms more readily. Those who are more suggestable, overthinkers, those that overanalyze, and those with health anxiety /fears are susceptible. Stress alone can become a trigger. Identifying invisible triggers can be difficult and not always necessary if you change how you react to the trigger.
There is a great article that may help you understand different types of triggers there are.
This article includes information such as: Medications such as birth control, cough and congestion meds and even weight loss meds can be a trigger. A diagnosis of any chronic illness or cancer can be triggers. The article also lists caffeine, food and even negative thinking.
Personal triggers can be the most difficult to find. If there was a traumatic event in your past your memory may be on lockdown. So, let’s look at the mystery of what can become a trigger.
A MEMORY LOCK DOWN example. A friend of mine was counseling a woman by phone for anxiety issues, I was on the conference call. Her anxiety attacks came in clothing stores when she tried on clothing with sleeves. Anxiety would start to grow as she entered the parking lot and get more intense as she got closer to the fitting room. She would lose it in the fitting room if the item had sleeves. She explained that it felt like her upper arms were being strangled. After the call I told my friend that I was given a very strong vision of what the problem was. Over the next few calls it was revealed that indeed she did have a traumatic event as a child as a toddler, mom’s boyfriend would not put up with her getting out of bed to go see mommy. He used to come to her room at night and restrain her by holding her down by her upper arms threatening her. In this case it was a repressed memory. However, she was already making good progress towards her freedom without the knowledge of what the cause was. She says her real freedom came by studying the promises of God.
For personal triggers a good therapist may be extremely helpful. It can be very complicated, and you do not want to muddy the water by what you “think” it might be. If you are suffering from anxiety issues, you may not be able to clearly stand back and see the big picture by yourself.
HERE ARE SOME MORE EXAMPLES of what some call invisible triggers
While driving some have panic attacks. Here are a few potential causes. The location on the road where you had seen an accident years ago. Maybe it could be that on a similar stretch of road you got pulled over one time. Similar in that the street was lined by maple trees, or maybe you passed a beat up old red truck like your old English teacher drove who judged your work harshly. It might be the song that came on the radio the was playing during a breakup. Maybe you could smell smoke from a fireplace, did someone you know have a house fire?
I like the example of a little school age boy. His dad walks out on them. When he walks out, he slams the door. Loud bangs can be a trigger Dad was wearing a yellow plaid shirt – a trigger. What mom was cooking on the stove – the odor could be a trigger. Mom cries – that could be a trigger. Etc…
Hope you are starting to see how vast these personal trigger lists can be. They can go on and on.
Those with anxiety issues often overanalyze and overthink. It also makes them extremely in touch with their body and body functions. Our body is made to work in automatic piolet, so everything adjusts itself by itself to keep you healthy and safe. When you repeatedly focus on every little function the automatic function of the body is forced to take the back seat. That would include your thought processes and even the way you walk.
I hear so many comparing and sharing symptoms stating that they do not think as clearly, or their gate is off. They notice it is harder for them to do simple tasks. When you can get to the point where you rely on thinking through each part of an automatic function. Of course, it can be awkward. We are not made to function that way.
Let’s simplify that concept. Most of you have experienced an activity that you can do in your sleep. That is until you overthink it. Then it becomes a struggle.
PUTTING AUTO PIOLET IN THE BACK SEAT an example
To impress my dad, I wanted to play a Sonata on the piano. (FYI I was only a beginner) well I tried hard over and over until I could play the first 2 pages. So many notes, and runs it was crazy but I was determined. To this day I can sit at the piano and get through most of the first page from MUSCLE MEMORY. That is until I start to think of what comes next and that is as far as I can go. The sooner I start to think and not just let it happen I mess up bad.
Health anxiety examples: Where the trigger is a minor change noted in your health. You sense an irregular heartbeat the last but a few seconds, but you then constantly start to think (over think) about it. like you may feel like you have a temp or leads you to believe not only believe they are convinced that they are experiencing some major medical malfunction.
A can of peas falls on your foot. Yes, it hurts, and it may even bruise, but the pain will soon disappear. However, this simple scenario could lead one to repeatedly looking at the foot, to full-fledged fear of blood clots, gangrene and amputation. This is how someone with a health anxiety deals with any insult to the body.