An Introduction

Welcome To A Jackals Voice. The intention of this blog is to be an outlet for myself and others on topics that are not generally discussed...

Saturday, 30 September 2017

'Triggering Content!'

Hello and welcome to A Jackals Voice.
If you experience adverse effects to someone sharing their opinion I would advise that you look away now. Today's post is about this new culture of trigger warnings and why I think it's more damaging than helpful, particularly in the case of Mental Health. So, if you really don't want to read this stop now, but I warn you that should you stop for those reasons, you have proven one of my points. Do I have your attention? Excellent, lets begin.

So before I go into why I believe trigger warnings are a problem I better explain what they are. Trigger warnings are effectively a way of telling someone that the content of whatever medium they are about to use might upset them or Trigger certain individual's conditions.
The idea itself is not bad and is not a new concept. you only have to look at the age guidelines on your DVD's and games to see the same concept in practice. However, the warnings that I am writing about are not entirely the same, given they relate directly Mental Illness. I will also be talking about the people that take the time to write in the comments section of YouTube, online forums and Facebook, just to complain that they have been triggered by the content.
With that little introduction, I'm going to go into why I'm so against this emerging Trigger Warning culture.

The first time I came across the term was around two years back whilst watching one of my YouTube idols. The content they create are most informational videos, and the presenter is a lovely guy. Well this one day he did an informational video about strange Phobias. I think you can understand where I'm going with this.
Down in the comments were a flood of people complaining about how the video set off their phobias and that the thumbnail itself was triggering. They were saying how they should have been warned prior to watching the video. They were extremely annoyed that they were not given a Trigger Warning.

The next time i encountered this was much more alarming. When I developed my current condition and began to network for this blog, I join a number of Mental Health Support groups on Facebook. Whilst some of this are genuinely good groups, there was one that was beginning to grind at me. Every post started with a big 'TW' followed but several blank lines until you found the actual post, normally about someone's bad day. They would get a dozen responses about staying strong and all that jazz, but the 'TW' really got to me.
It was a Mental Health group. You know what you're signing up for, so why all the red tape. Still I held my tongue and said nothing. I did however post once on that page, telling people about my Blog, and that if they wanted to share their stories in a safe space or just read my stories, they were welcome. I made a critical error here though. I forgot to type TW at the top of my post. I was promptly removed from the group.
At first I was confused and upset. I was only trying to help. However, as time went by I saw these groups popping up more and more and eventually I was about ready to explode. It was that I was angry that people were trying to be considerate, it was the people that were calling for more warnings. I intended to write this months ago, but felt I might upset someone. Then I remembered; this blog is for those with mental illness that feel like they can't speak out, so here I am.


The reason I hate these trigger warnings, and I do hate them, is probably due to my own condition and how it has progressed and worsened. I can't scrub my cooker properly because any grating noises set me off. I occasionally have a sudden urge to get clean and have to immediately get into the bath. Sometimes my carpet pattern upsets me and I have to take my feet off the floor and find something to focus on. These are my triggers, and when they pop, their is no time for me to think about it, I either have to correct the issue or turn away.
So why am I so angry at those people in the comments? Simple. If the content triggered you to the extent you claim, you'd have turned it off, walked away or otherwise removed the problem. Those people that truly get triggered by such things are not the ones in the comments, because we've already left. Most of us, won't even click on the content if we are that concerned. We don't have time to write complaint letters, and frankly why bother. In one day a thousand things can set me off, if I complained and asked for censorship on everything I'd be the only person allowed to walk through town, which would be filled with shops that were completely identical as to not upset my OCD.

In short, everyone has their issues, and sadly we have to live with that. Whilst I believe that we should always be respectful of others issues, it's not practical online. Before I get anyone messaging me telling me I don't know what it's like, let me tell you I do. I have accidentally clicked a video and it has freaked me out. I had to clean my entire flat as a result, but before that, I clicked off the link and forgot about it. The content wasn't sick and twisted, it happened to be something to do with scum build-up in the kitchen.
If you don't like something, stop looking at it. If you really are 'Triggered' then you already know this. I'm talking to those people that think they are helping by speaking for others, and those that outright lie about how much something upset them. Christ, my step-father used to watch a show called 'How it's Made'. There was an episode on sandpaper. I didn't watch back them before it upset me, but I didn't complain about it. To be honest if I could have muted the TV and watched with subtitles I'd probably watch it even now.
Censorship is seldom a good thing. For those of us with conditions that get affected by everyday things, well we have to handle that. I know there are people out there that have it far worse than I, but they haven't called for a complete shut-down of media.


When all is said and done, their are too many Phobia's, Tics, Triggers etc to police in media, and if it was policed, you can wave good by to good entertainment for good. Don't believe me? There are people that have Phobias of the color yellow, so bye-bye Simpsons.
Be respectful in personal conversation, or at least try to be. If a friend of mine does something that sets me off I don't get pissed at them, I normally wait for it to stop and then joke about it. You can't avoid your fears or triggers, and trying just makes you look like someone that likes to complain. It's also not helping the image of Mental health. If we start asking everyone to stop doing certain things just because it might upset one person, we'll never get anything done. Some days the sound of my keyboard upsets me, but I need to write. So stop complaining, and if you're one of those people that thinks they are helping the 'helpless', stop. You're making us look bad and your grammar is terrible.

Okay, I'm done ranting. Whats your view on all of this? Do you disagree at all?
Please leave a comment and remember to share this on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for your time, I'm very grateful for the support.

Before I sign off, here are some links you may wish to check out:

Matthew Santoro's Phobias Video - where I first saw this problem.

Rob Dyke on Trigger Warnings  -this one may piss you off, but watch the full video before you judge.

This has been,
A Jackals Voice