Back in 2013 I did a lot of work to understand my voices on a number of fronts, including: the hearing voices support group (which I haven’t attended for over a year) answering the Maastricht Interview with a support worker, writing blog posts about them and working through a Voices Work Book provided by the aforementioned group. In all four scenarios the subject of ‘triggers’ arose, and although I’m acutely aware of the vast majority of my anxiety/mood/PTSD triggers, I’ve long had little idea over my voices’ triggers. So when it came to tackling this subject I had little idea where to start. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t come up with anything other than ‘exhaustion’, ‘stress’ and ‘weakness’.
Now, more desperate than ever to understand my voice triggers, I’ve decided the only option is to ask them directly, commencing with my primary (and most helpful) voice, Meadhbh. So here – in her own words – are what Meadhbh considers to be the triggers that bring her forth.
~ Triggers marked with a ‘♥‘ are shared with my other voices ~
~ All text written in purple font are direct quotes from Meadhbh ~
Meadhbh took great pains to remind me how angry she was when I signed the lease of my unit in March 2012, as it meant we would have to move out of the tent we’d been staying in. For as long as I can remember Meadhbh has loved camping and will always come a calling when a tent is involved.
- Exhaustion ♥
With a guilty look on her face, Meadhbh told me: “When you’re exhausted, you’re weak. When you’re weak, you have to listen to me. Why wouldn’t I babble?”
- Anything involving fantasy
“When you were being bullied at school, I knew I had to find ways to take your mind off things. So I tried to focus on the things you liked, the things that made you laugh and smile and feel all wonderfully gooey. You know? Like Natalie, your desires, Doctor Who. But more than any of them, I loved it when you read me fantasy novels, as I could imagine myself as one of those sexyashell faeries! I guess that’s why I chose the Dragon Slayer [Note: Monster Hunter Tri] game for us to play. I like dragons, you like dragons, we can slay dragons together and be happy. You know, unless you kill the rhinocuties, in which case it’s the woodshed for you!”
- When I’m stressed/anxious/upset/nervous etc. ♥
“When you’re stressed, I can either down-stress you or up-stress you, depending on how naughty I feel.
When you’re anxious, I can either wind you up or wind you down, depending on how naughty I feel.
When you’re upset, I can either make you smile or make you cut, depending on how naughty I feel.
When you’re nervous, I can either make you worse or make you better, depending on how naughty I feel.
You have no idea how powerful that much control over someone’s life can make you feel!
It’s impossible to resist!”
- Scotland (especially anything involving Skye, the country’s folklore and the SLWTCB)
Meadhbh becomes aggravated whenever the SLWTCB comes up in conversation. For those who aren’t aware, the SLWTCB was a woman I met in the second week of my Scottish backpacking adventure. After chatting for a while in a hostel in Portree (Skye), we took ourselves to a local pub for a few alcoholic beverages before returning to the hostel where – in her doorway – I had a bit of a panic attack and wished her goodnight. The following morning, I left ludicrously early so as not to risk bumping into her. Meadhbh has long believed (since about 15 seconds after I closed my bedroom door that night) that I was a complete moronic wanker to have turned down such an obvious ‘sure thing’ and has never stopped reminding me of my anxiety-led stupidity. The other aspect of this incident that frustrates her is it that it happened on her home island and thus she believes my meeting the SLWTCB was ‘fate’.
Thus, in addition to this cute bottomed lassie, Meadhbh is frequently rumbled by talk and/or memories of her homeland as she absolutely loves reminiscing of her time there.
- Hearing Voices Support Group
Ever since coming to the group for the first time – in order to see for herself what it was all about – Meadhbh has become a staunch supporter of the HVSG and will accompany me to the group. “It pisses me off we haven’t played with the ball for months!” she complained.
- Not being believed (including victim blame mentality) ♥
- Boredom ♥
“Someone has to give you something to do. Better me than Vanessa!”
- Going to bed ♥
“Firstly, you look cute in pyjamas. Secondly, beds are cool. Thirdly, who wants to go to bed alone? Fourthly, who really needs sleep? Fifthly, you’re a captive audience. Sixthly…” Audrey cut her off here, but Meadhbh stubbornly finished her sentence. “..I look cute in pyjamas!”
- Sex (including actual sexual relations, fantasies and advances/situations) ♥
- Suicidal ideation and/or planning and/or actual attempts ♥
“Sometimes I feel guilty as shit for pushing you toward it. Other times I just want you to kill yourself because you’re a wothless cunt. Does that make me a bad person?”
- BIG groups of people (i.e. anything over 6)
- Music ♥
The following are some of the songs that invite Meadhbh:
– There She Goes My Beautiful World (Nick Cave) ♥
– Have You Ever Seen The Rain (Bonnie Tyler)
– Defying Gravity (from the musical ‘Wicked’)
– Girl & The Ghost (KT Tunstall)
– The Love ‘A the Isles (Jenna Reid)
- (Certain) beautiful women ♥
There are two reasons why Meadhbh explained (certain) beautiful women are an invitation for her:
1) Her declaration that she is going to “find me a girlfriend” means she needs to assess each and every woman I encounter, even strangers on the street.
2) Her love of clothing, which she becomes quite obsessive over.
- Cute animals (especially possums, wombats and squeeorthy baby animals)
At this point in the conversation all Meadhbh did was squeal incredibly loudly. Hence ‘squeeorthy’! :p
- Anniversaries ♥
Although her presence on certain days isn’t as bad as some of my other people (notably Vanessa, who sees the 26th February as “her day”) Meadhbh will generally make her presence known on my ‘bad days’ and other occasions throughout the year; especially 7 May and 22 December.
- When she’s being talked about ♥
“No way I’m letting you talk about me behind my back. You think I’m nits?” [sic]
- Loneliness ♥
As she would go on to point out a few hours after our conversation, Meadhbh has become greatly saddened by my continual loneliness and isolation. She is aware (and thus I believe an element of guilt is involved) of the part she has played in this; as since her return in 2007, until 2013, her communications with me was exceedingly abusive and negative – fuelling my insecurities and perpetuating my self-hate. In order to redeem herself, Meadhbh has decided that when I get lonely, she needs to ‘keep me company‘.