Stop saying things are “Triggering” you if you don’t have PTSD

One of the hardest things about admitting publicly that I have PTSD was it’s association with the hordes of young people who wear their disorders like fashion accessories. The internet has begun to throw this word around like it’s rice at a goddamn wedding. To the point where it’s now inextricably linked with teens who wallow in self pity for self diagnosed mental illnesses. This is not to say that everyone on Tumblr is faking, I would say the majority are probably not. But it’s now been picked up as a trendy term to describe anything that bothers someone. Stop it. Seriously.

What does “Trigger” mean?

A trigger is a term created by mental health experts to describe an event that triggers a flashback or volatile response in PTSD patients. It is something that is either directly or indirectly linked to the traumatizing event(s).

What are common triggers?

War footage.

Loud or sudden noises.

Locations that are similar to the trauma. Back roads, alley ways, basements.

Graphic violence in movies.

Vomiting or other pro ana activities

These aren’t the only possible things, far from it. In her book No Comfort Zone, Marla Handy talks about how, as a child, her father beat her for spilling ketchup on the floor. So now the very specific event of spilling ketchup can trigger her to have a flashback. But the openness of this term has allowed people to stretch it so far out of shape they seem to be free associating without any real understand of what “triggering” actually does.

What happens when you’re triggered

People respond in different ways depending on who they are and they got PTSD. But common reactions include:

Debilitating flashbacks

Auditory hallucinations

Violent outbursts (punching walls, knocking over furniture)

Screaming or crying

Overwhelming fear or rage

Uncontrollably shaking

These are real reactions to being triggered. It’s not something that offends your sensibilities. You may even be downright infuriated by something- that doesn’t mean you’re triggered. Specifically, if you don’t have PTSD you’re not being triggered. You’re just having emotions and despite what the Gods of Stoicism tell us, that’s completely natural.

“Trigger Words”

…What the fuck do you even mean by that? Trigger words… were you assaulted while you were reading? Attacked by a Librarian? People who survived concentration camps went on to write thousands of words about their experiences. Victims write blogs, teach seminars and actively seek out books written about PTSD trauma. I don’t understand why these kids feel they can’t even be in the presence of certain words.

In all my life I have never met another diagnosed PTSD patient who felt triggered by words. This is a fictitious extension of normal triggers invented by social media. It also pisses me off immensely. Because it’s, in part, one of the reasons people don’t take triggers seriously.

The spread and dilution of this term is having a negative effect on people with legitimate PTSD. For example, the last time I tried to explain this concept to someone I was told to “stop policing other people’s triggers!” by a person who had admittedly self diagnosed over the internet and- oh my God -the amount of FUCK YOU I had for this woman was immeasurable. People who are trying to speak up about their experiences are being lost in a sea of Muchausens. It’s already difficult to talk about this sort of thing anyway without the fear that you’ll be lumped in with a crowd of people who treat mental illness like a purse poodle.

So here’s the bottom line: trigger is a word specifically for PTSD. Use it accordingly or not at all. It’s just as easy to say advisory or warning. I know “trigger” sounds cool, but trust me there’s nothing cool about it. PTSD is fucking lame. Here’s a tip, if you think your mental illness makes you unique, cool, or dark and complex- you’re probably fine. And stop using “Trigger” for every little thing that’s remotely controversial.

EvilQuest – Retro-style RPG Done Right


A recent harvest of new indie game demos from XBOX Live introduced me to EvilQuest byChaosoft. The artwork for the game and screenshots made me suspicious it was another RPG Maker catastrophe. But don’t be fooled. I’ll admit the game caught me off guard, it’s not just fun, the story line is also compelling.

The big draw for EvilQuest is that you play as the villain, Galvis. At first this might seem a bit hokey, but keep going. Although Galvis is undeniably a monstrous psychopath, the game introduces a level of moral ambiguity that I didn’t expect. This is all complimented by hilariously over-the-top dialogue that actually manages to endear the player to Galvis and his incredible douchebaggery.  

As for gameplay, EvilQuest feels similar to Legend of Zelda. The player controls Galvis as he searches the world for the Chaos Axe that’s been scattered to different parts of the world. The world feels expansive and diverse despite having a limited tile set. I have to say I really underestimated how interested I would be in an RPG that looked so simplistic. But I found myself ignoring my triple A games to play EvilQuest. And this is only Chaosoft’s second game EVER. That’s impressive.

The game took only about five hours to beat over the course of two days. But it was five very satisfying hours. One major reason is that EvilQuest has no grinding. The player levels up at a steady pace and the entire world scales to match that. There are no tedious fetch quests that bloat the main story line and pad the running time. I thought this would feel overly simplistic but it was actually refreshing.


 Really the only drawback are the graphics, which are basic. We had a good laugh at the soldiers who from certain angles look like giant dongs. But what it lacks in glamor it makes up for by being genuinely fun. And eventually the look of the game really grew on me. The sprites are simple, but many are lovingly crafted, I especially liked the dragon’s hand drawn fire blasts. Overall EvilQuest feels like it was made with a lot of care and a passion for gaming.

VERDICT: EvilQuest looks dated, but it’s amazeballs. Can’t wait for EvilQuest 2.

Check out Chaosoft’s website here.

Titan Attacks

Whenever I’m tired of sifting through the homogenous aliens and zombie games on XboxLive, I like to take a break to look at the games offered in the Indie section. Now these vary wildly in quality. Many are just games for Xbox avatars, Minecraft clones and of course that classic: puzzle game with naked girls underneath (you guys know the internet exists, right?). But every once in while an indie developer will really impress me.  So let’s take a look at developer PuppyGames title Titan Attacks.


When I first downloaded the trial my first instinct was it’s just another Space Invaders clone. And technically- it is. They’re website calls it “Neo Retro Arcade”, but it is so much more than just Space Invaders. The premise is simple. Aliens are attacking- shoot them. No points for originality, but the game definitely makes up for it in gameplay.

First of all, the game looks and sounds great. It updated the classic space invader graphics without losing the the retro feel. The player controls a tank at the bottom of the screen and shoots upward toward the approaching baddies. Although you’re not flying, the game controls a lot like the old Raiden carpet bombers of yore. This is where Titan Attacks really sets itself apart from just another clone. The player gets money for each alien shot down and can use it to upgrade the tank between levels.

This system adds a whole new element of strategy to a game that would otherwise get old pretty quick. Players can either spend money on more shield points for the next immediate level or save up for a new gun or extra bullets. Once you’ve beaten the invaders back from Earth, it’s onward to the Moon and so on with increasing difficulty.

Speaking of which, the difficulty is spot on, it doesn’t coddle the player and expects you to hold your own against the alien onslaught. But when you die, and you will, it’s always because of player error. I never once felt cheated out of a life by an unfair glitch.

 VERDICT: The game is insanely addictive. I highly recommend buying Titan Attacks on either Xbox or Steam.

The Egypt Story

So a dwarf and a lady walk into a pyramid…


The professor stuffed tobacco into his pipe as he eyed the entrance to the pyramid. He paced nervously, waiting for his assistant to light the way. Standing only four feet tall, he had learned never to take chances with his footing.

“I say, Ms. Darbyshire, are you quite all right down there?” he called.
In the depths below his assistant rolled her eyes,
“For Heaven’s sake, Professor, I’ve been with you for seven months. Please call me Victoria. And yes, I’ve almost got the final torches lit. Take a rest if you need to…”
“Rest!? he shouted. “Confound it, woman-” He thought better of himself and stopped. He gave a frustrated look to their camels they had tied to a makeshift post.

Professor Maxamillian Book and Victoria Darbyshire’s working relationship was one more of necessity than anything else. The eccentricity of his theories, as well as his short stature, won him few colleagues. Victoria’s sin was being born the wrong gender for her particular field of interest. The two tolerated each other in exchange for being taken seriously as a scientist.

“We’re on the precipice of a major discovery! If my calculations are correct, and they most assuredly are, the jade statue of Bastet should be here.”

Victoria lit the last torch and wiped her forehead. Her studies at the library had taught her Egyptian history and how to translate hieroglyphs, but it hadn’t prepared her for the claustrophobic nature of a real pyramid. The passageway, if it could be called that, was only two feet wide and Victoria found herself for the first time thankful she was so slight. Although the work was dirty and cloying, she relished the opportunity to wear trousers as she tramped back up the steep staircase in a huff.

“This investigation would go much faster if you hadn’t insisted on lighting the way with torches every five feet,” she said, marching through the entrance. “The measurements alone are a ghastly waste of time!”

She had let her temper flair, and now a wave of regret washed over her as she saw his cane leaning against the stone entrance. A moment of silence passed between them. She swallowed hard.

“What I mean is, you’re more than capable of-” she began, but Book dismissed it with a wave of his hand.

“It’s not that, my dear,” he said bluntly and his eyes drifted far away to the East. “You’re still young yet. But I’m an old man…” His eyes wandered. “…and I do not wish to tempt what awaits in the darkness.” Book stood quietly for a moment, lost in thought.

He snapped back to reality. “…Egads! Are you finished, Ms. Darbyshire!?”
“Vic-” she corrected.

“Then we’re off!” he trumpeted as he raced down the steps, lantern in hand. Victoria followed quickly, snatching up his cane on her way past.

The light of the desert sun faded quickly as they descended the steps into the pyramid. When they reached the bottom the Professor handed Victoria the lantern so he could inspect some hieroglyphs carved into the wall. He muttered to himself, tracing his fingers over the pictures lightly. But he quickly disregarded it and hurried along.

The stone, white walls began to open up into a larger room and Victoria breathed a sigh of relief.

“What’s the library’s interest in this statue?” she mused, thinking back to the tedious hours she’d spent at the University of Cairo library. “I must have cataloged a hundred jade statues in the repository.”

“Nothing whatsoever,” he said mechanically as his mind was clearly elsewhere. “This is a personal venture. Are you familiar with Priest Amunatet?”

Victoria scanned her memory.

“I believe so…Old Kingdom, 2200 B.C?”

Book gave her a proud smile. “Spot on, my dear!” He continued down the passageway.

“Amunatet was said to have had the extraordinary ability to communicate with the Gods. Accounts say he would be lost in deep meditation for days, and then snap awake, dictating messages from beyond this world in a strange language.”

“Ah. I understand your need to a linguist now. And the statue…?”

“The jade statue may be last surviving relic to have been inscribed with the bizarre phraseology-” he stopped mid sentence and lashed his cane to the side blocking Victoria’s path. He eyed the ground and then took his cane and tripped a wire that had been covered in dust. There was a great whoosh as three large darts flew past the two archeologists and into the opposite wall. Victoria blinked in astonishment.

“Well done, sir,” she said.

Book adjusted his monocle. “Indeed.” They hurried along.

The passage soon opened up even further into a great room. Victoria stared in wonder. The room was full of statues, great stacks of papyrus, jewelry, and all other manner of trinkets. She beamed with pride; to think Victoria Anne Darbyshire was inside a Pharaoh’s tomb! Why, just a year ago she thought she would never leave London. If her sisters could see her now!

“Success!” she announced victoriously.

“Yes, this is it! Right here!” she heard Professor Book say from behind her. She turned to see him staring triumphantly at a blank wall. She looked on, dumbfounded.

This antechamber is a ruse! Created to distract degenerate grave robbers. Our real treasure is through here! He began to feel along the edge of the wall.

“What are you looking for?” she asked, trying to peel her eyes away from the piles of artifacts.

He smiled broadly. “This.” He pressed a small depression and the entire wall began to rumble as it slid to the side. Through it there was only darkness, the two pressed onward, shining the lantern to light their way. After a short, cramped passageway the walls gave way to an gigantic room. The professor squealed with delight. “That’s it! There in the center!” By the light of the flame Victoria could see a procession of steps leading to an altar in the middle of the chamber. She studied the area suspiciously as Book hurried over to inspect the altar’s contents,

“Sir, this … this can’t be right.”
“Yes it is! This is it!”

“No, Professor–the room. This is impossible…” But he was already up the stairs.

Book stared in adoration at the small statue perched in the middle of the table, surrounded by incense and other sacrificial items. It was a bright green figure of a cat, its back and shoulders arched with extreme exaggeration. The mouth was open wide, bearing sharp teeth. He was positively ecstatic and could barely recognize that Victoria was talking to him.

“It’s far too…enormous. There’s no way we’re still in the pyramid. Professor Book, please!” She dashed up the steps behind him.

“Oh for God’s sake, Victoria–what!?” he snapped, “Can’t you appreciate the discovery we’ve just made? This chamber hasn’t been opened in thousands of years!”

“I’m not sure…” she trailed off and pointed slowly at the sticks of incense which in his excitement he hadn’t realized were still billowing smoke.

Book’s face went blank. He put his hands, which had been hovering excitedly over the statue, at his side mechanically. They both stared in silence at the winding cords of smoke.

It was Victoria who spoke first. “This isn’t right… not just the room.”

“This,” she gestured toward the figure, “is not Basteet, and to be perfectly frank I’m not even sure it’s Egyptian.”

“Quite,” he answered. But his voice was empty and far away. He seemed to be coming to a horrible realization that Victoria was not privy to.

There was a stirring in the darkness and Book snapped to attention.

“My dear,” said Book, “I believe it’s time we take our leave.” She nodded in agreement and the two began to back away down the stair case.

A rush of sound and light behind them sent Victoria whipping around to face three robed figures with torches. Professor Book rushed in front of her, attempting to look as intimidating as a middle-aged dwarf with a cane possibly could.

Victoria commanded them to move aside in Arabic, but the figures were silent and unmoving. Book held up his hand, gesturing for her to be quiet and took a step forward. He began to speak a different language to the figures; in all her studies at the academy she had never heard anything like it. The dialect was gibberish to her, but the group took notice and recoiled.

“Who are they?” Victoria whispered.
“Cultists,” Book said quietly.
“To a dead God forgotten by history.” His statement seemed more aimed at the robed men than Victoria.
They conferred for a moment and looked again at Professor Book. Suddenly Victoria spotted the figure on the left drawing a long curved blade from its robe.

“Professor!” she screamed, dropping the lantern. Without a moments hesitation she leaped into the air, clearing the Professor’s head, delivering a flying roundhouse kick that sent all three cultists crashing to the ground.

“Ms. Darbyshire!” Book was so stunned his monocle popped out.
“Run, you fool!” she yelled as she dashed past the group of cultists who were just regaining their footing.

The professor snatched up his cane and took off after his assistant. Having dropped the lantern the two hurried back through the narrow passageway in complete darkness. The only sound their own breathe and the furious howling of their pursuers.

Book huffed as he ran, “This…is why…we light…torches!”

They ran back through the antechamber, past the beacons of light Victoria had staked in place, up the stairs, and finally into the bronze light of the desert. Book turned to see the cultists dashing up the stairs behind them. He snagged one the saddle bags attached to the camels while Victoria untied the reins. With considerable effort, he heaved it down the stairs and it collided with the men.

“Ha ha!” he shouted. “Take that, you Stygian scalawags!”

“Sir! Let’s go!” Victoria was frantic. In an egregious breach of protocol, she grabbed Professor Book by the back of his vest and hoisted him roughly on his camel saddle before pulling herself onto her own. He was still regaining his composure as they rode off into the desert.

After a long distance, it seemed the cultists had not followed them. The two breathed a sigh of relief.

“I say, Victoria,good show back there. Damn good show.” He was referring to the kick.

Victoria blushed. “My brother, John, was stationed in Asia for quite some time. He learned all sorts of-” but she trailed off as she realized the professor was no longer looking at her. He was looking behind them. Gradually a low rumbling noise began.

Victoria turned into the setting sun to see what had grabbed his attention. The pyramid they had just escaped was shaking. With a loud crash long metal spires shot out of the sand surrounding the pyramid. The camels reared in fright and the two looked on in horror. Each of the six spires began to bend in two places and then stabbed back into the desert sand.

“By Jove,” Book gasped.

The new metal legs the pyramid had sprouted now lifted it into the air in a tornado of dust and metallic screeching. It now began to give chase.

Victoria shook herself out of her stunned state and whipped her camel into a run. The wind picked up and sand blasted her face from every direction. From behind her she could barely hear Book screaming expletives at the approaching gargantuan device. As he rode up beside her, she could see the flicker of his tobacco pipe beings jostled up and down. He was lighting something she couldn’t make out in the commotion. Suddenly Book whirled around in his saddle.
“RULE BRITANNIA!” he bellowed and hurled the item into the path of the approaching pyramid.

The was a roaring explosion from behind them that almost lifted the camels through the air. For the moment, Victoria was deaf with only a high-pitched siren resounding in her head. All she could see was the professor laughing triumphantly and make rude gestures to the machine. Thankfully the explosion had slowed down the pyramid.

Professor Book spotted the hot air balloon their supplies had arrived in, although the attendant, no doubt seeing the utter pandemonium that was approaching, had long since fled. Victoria dismounted ungracefully; Book crashing to the ground almost immediately. The two heaved themselves into the basket and launched without delay.

It was still coming at them, but it was clear that they were now too high to be in its reach. Victoria crouched in exhaustion, “Oh thank heavens,” she gushed, almost sobbing. Book, on the other hand, was chuckling to himself. His face was full of zeal as he stood on a sandbag, staring out at the oncoming pyramid.

Victoria stared at him in amazement.

“What on Earth has gotten into you? Why are you laughing!? We almost died!”

He turned to her with a look as if he’d forgotten she was there.

“What’s gotten into me!? Forget the jade statue!

This…this thing,” he flailed wildly toward the machination, “will be my greatest discovery!” He through up his hands and shouted down at the pyramid that continued to lumber in pursuit.

“You hear me!? I’ll be accepted into the Gentlemen Archeologists Society! Huzzah!”

He turned in tearful glee back to Victoria, “I can see the papers now! ‘Shortest Scientist in his field discovers 80 foot-” but that’s when the edge of the cliff caught his eye. The pyramid was following them and was making no adjustment to avoid it.

His expression turned from happiness to complete horror.

“No…NO NO NO NO!” he screamed in impotent rage as the device toppled, ass over tea kettle, off the precipice and crashed into the ravine. Within moments his finest discovery had been reduced to a pile of unrecognizable rubble.

Book and Victoria looked out somberly as the balloon drifted quietly over the ravine.

Book frowned. “Blast.”!

I am the proud new owner of! Rejoice! I also added a new page for my web series Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Summaries.  Unfortunately I can’t yet embed the videos here, because it involves an upgrade to the site I can’t yet afford. Speaking of affording things! I’m working on making my own memo pads to sell at my store. If I master this feat I will post a tutorial here. Here’s an example of some of my stationary- because science is rad.