We often say I got triggered by this or I got triggered by that. But what actually are triggers? Triggers in ROCD are those events that bring about obsessions, which in turn lead to compulsions and keep the cycle of ROCD alive. Identifying triggers will prepare us better for the onslaught of obsessions. If we can identify our triggers, we may recognize that we are going to obsess, which may lead to compulsive behavior. Knowledge of this can help us manage our ROCD better. Following are some ways in which triggers might be visible.
Sensory: Something you see/watch – movies, Facebook/Instagram post, videos, articles. It could be a specific color, shape of body part, or even a dress. It could be the texts sent by your partner too.
Something you hear – News of other people, podcasts, specific music. Or it may be the way your partner laughs or snores or speaks with certain pronunciations and enunciations. Specific words, names of people, names of books, specific music, anything.
Something you smell – Perfume of an old partner, body odor of the current partner, etc.
Something you eat – Food cooked by someone else versus food cooked by your partner, food that reminds you of your ex-partner.
Cognitive: A specific good memory with an earlier partner, a specific unpleasant memory with the current partner, or having an argument with your partner or even someone else.
Place: Specific places that you may have frequented in the past with your ex-partner, specific places that you have always wanted to go to with your romantic partner but don’t feel like anymore. It may be your place of work, where you see different people, you may feel attracted to.
Time of day: You may find yourself more anxious in the morning or in the evening or on weekends or on specific days like Valentine’s Day or birthdays.
These are some of the examples of how triggers may be identified. There may be many more ways in which your triggers may be activated. One simple way to identify triggers is to pay attention to the things that we consciously and subconsciously avoid. We avoid triggers because triggers lead us to obsessions, which lead to compulsions. So, you may find yourself avoiding places like a cinema theatre, a café, a pub, a sports ground, a hospital, or some music, or some foods, or anything at all. If you sit back and think about it you may find that you avoid them because they are triggers for you.
Worksheet 10 has been provided for you to fill in your triggers. Fill them in. Examples have been provided to help you get started. Consult your partner to determine if there are any triggers that you have missed. Slowly, as you progress through this course book, you will discover more triggers, and deal with most of them.
In the next chapter, we shall identify the obsessions.
Fill WS10 – ROCD triggers