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Sandra Dean – Registered Member

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Possible ‘Triggering’ when reading memoirs or stories of abuse, mental illness, adversity etc

Just a short note about ‘triggering’ when reading books, especially memoirs, where we know the story is true. I know, from much feedback, that my memoirs can be triggering and have always advised to take it easy; take a break or stop reading completely if events depicted in the book are triggering. There is nothing worse than going through things once, let alone reading about someone else’s experiences and finding you are re-living those events, fear and demons.

However, sometimes, reading about others’ who have gone through similar experiences can be very helpful – it is totally in the eye of the beholder as it were. I found reading about people going through mental illness similar to mine or my mum’s very comforting, for example.

The reason for me writing this is because I have recently been triggered by reading a couple of stories, and it has been very detrimental to me. I had no idea it would have that effect until I read and remembered events from many years ago. It is very upsetting and has brought about doubt, distrust and unrest for me – not a great combination since it has woken my depression and panic attacks which I thought I finally had under control.

That is by the by though – my main thought is that if reading about similar events to mine can hurt me, then it may hurt others, so do be careful if you read things that make you feel bad, whether it’s my story or others’ X

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