Trigger Warning

I have several friends who are in their early twenties. They used to be my students, and they absolutely love calling me by my first name. They all manage to slip my first name into every Facebook post we exchange. Usually several times. For me, the number one quality in a friend is a great sense of humor. Number two is money.

My young friends keep me somewhat aware of the world outside of motherhood and “The Walking Dead.” Not to be redundant.

One of my young friends has introduced me to a new internet craze called the “trigger warning.” In a nutshell, it’s a way to warn people with anxiety and/or PTSD that something in a post may trigger or set off those feelings and the person can choose not to read on.

For me, though, a trigger warning is in itself a trigger. “Warning, this story contains graphic details of child suffering and/or murder.” Well, GREAT. Now I have to read it. Now I am compelled. Whereas before, I might have passed over that particular headline, presently I am driven by forces beyond my control to read every word of this horrible story. Probably many times.

I’m fortunate I don’t suffer from anxiety the way some people do. Unfortunately, I don’t have the kind LeAnn Rimes described to Giuliana Rancid (typo, but it works for me) on her E! special “LeAnn Rimes, I am the victim here”(subtitle mine). I wish I could catch the kind of anxiety that makes you unable to absorb the fat in your ice cream. Not the kind that makes your eyes bug out, which Giuliana clearly has.

I have the intrusive thoughts kind of anxiety. I would describe it, but it’s too painful. I have no shortage of examples of the terrible thoughts that pop into my head in relation to my children’s health and safety. Suffice it to say, they’re awful. My antidepressant isn’t as effective as it was in the early months, and I’m under more stress now that I’m working.

Not today, though. After a full week of nursing first one and then the other child through a terrible flu, I myself have succumbed.

Sure, I’m troubled by the likelihood that my students will learn nothing today and the reality that I’m burning through my sub days for the whole year before first semester even ends. Shit happens. It’s high school English. It isn’t cancer surgery.

If trigger warnings leave the internet and become a thing, I would expect to see one before the commercial for “Les Miserables.” Trigger warning: you are about to hear a song sung by a woman who has to prostitute herself to feed and clothe her three year-old who is being physically and mentally abused by her caretakers. The song will get stuck in your head for days and bore into your soul as you imagine your own children being beaten and starved and you powerless to help them, your only choices being to sell your hair and your body. And now, for your consideration…

I dreamed a dream in days gone by/when smirks were wry/and fucks worth giving…

I want the quick fix. I want the pill that makes it all go away. The fact that I have to learn to tolerate the uncomfortable feelings of anxiety and fear doesn’t sit well with me. I am, like most people, accustomed to an instant solution. So much so, it’s more of an entitlement than an expectation. Like Taylor Greer in “The Bean Trees,” I have to live through the paralysis of awakening. We, none of us, can protect our children from the world.  It is something every one of us will eventually fail to do. We give them the protective magic bubble of childhood to the best of our power.

And just like magic comes at a cost, so does Xanax.




About Mrs Odie

Friendly Pedant; Humble Genius
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6 Responses to Trigger Warning

  1. Lisa says:

    Mrs. Odie,

    I love your blog. I have been following you since I Googled (sigh; even I am using that word as a verb now!) a like-minded topic and discovered your fabulousness. Also not a word, but it fits! (I won’t tell you which topic, but let’s just say I am not crafty, infinitely patient, or a stellar party planner.)

    This post, along with one from awhile back–the post where you described visualizing your child locked up asking for milk–really resonated with me. I suffer from intrusive thoughts also. Horrible thoughts that threaten to drown me. When I read your words, it was as though you had typed what randomly swirls in my brain, and for a brief moment, it was wonderful to feel so not alone. I wanted to write then, but I felt exposed, in a way, and I just wasn’t ready. And maaaaaaaybe I was afraid my grammar wouldn’t be perfect. Don’t judge!

    As an aside, I recently began teaching high school English, after years of being a middle school “Language Arts” teacher, and I am loving it.

    Anyway, I wanted to reach out and let you know you are not alone either. Unfortunately there are those that get it. I get it. I wish I didn’t.

    I’m typing this while nursing a toddler, so please forgive the errors and rambling.

    Lisa J.

  2. rebecca says:

    ,,,anxiety, it’s my worst enemy,,,

  3. Kit says:

    Giuliana is scary to look at and she’s such a famewhore. I watched her reality show and I went from feeling sorry for her because of cancer and infertility issues to thinking she and her husband are total douche bags.
    On another note, I found your blog months ago looking for Kelle Hampton snark. I recently found a forum that does just that. Take a look over your Christmas break, I think you’ll be amused 🙂

    • Mrs Odie 2 says:

      I was wondering when GOMI would finally get to her! Kelle Hampton’s blog is like a satire of blogging written by GOMI commenters.

      Rancic is the exemplification of the media trend of so-called on-camera reporters: “We ARE the story.”

  4. Kit says:

    Oh good, I hope you sign up! But lurking is just fine too….I’m sure the snarkers over there will be happy to come here and read your take on things. Happy New Year!

  5. Mrs. Dubose says:

    If you add Vitamin D to an antidepressant, it will enhance it. (Not a mega-dose, just a regular dose.) Depression sucks.

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