Monday, March 7, 2016

Trigger warning: Suicidal images

Lately, my husband and I have been watching Lucifer. We're playing catch-up on episodes on the DVR, so we're a few episodes behind. One episode started with a woman standing up somewhere high, looking down. Lucifer comes up behind her and starts whispering in her ear, encouraging her to jump. He keeps talking, until finally she jumps...

Into a pool. It's not actually as high up as it looked, but it was still one of those moments that I would have loved to have had some kind of warning. It felt like I'd had the wind knocked out of me, and it took a few minutes before I could breathe properly again.

I've always understood intellectually why people reference trigger warnings when telling stories or writing articles about traumatizing things. I had just never actually been "triggered" before, and it put the whole idea in a new light for me.

I've mentioned before that I had some hard times in college, and there were times when I didn't think there was any way out of the darkness. Seeing what looked like someone being talked into jumping to her death...it hit harder than I thought anything would, and it sent me right back to how it felt when things got bad.

There's been a lot of talk lately about how asking for trigger warnings on content is a sign that people are being coddled or something. I'm realizing that it's not that. It's giving people an opportunity to prepare for something that can send someone back to a place that they can't handle. I fail to see how giving an audience a chance to take care of themselves is "coddling."