"Trigger warnings?"

Across the internet there's controversy surrounding trigger warnings. I'm confused by the controversy, but once in a while I'm asked to give my opinion, so here goes.

Whenever I put up a guest piece with particularly sensitive content, I will use a trigger warning. You may have noticed I did this with Natalie's Story. Some would argue that I should use a trigger warning on the majority of my content, however when people come to my site, they generally know what to expect after reading the home page. They expect content relating to my experiences surrounding mental health. Also, you get a pretty good idea of the content of each post just by looking at the title.

From my perspective, I only find content triggering when I'm not expecting it. If I'm expecting it, I can ready myself for it, prepare to distance myself from what I'm reading, or decide to put it off until I'm feeling more emotionally prepared. If I am not expecting it, that choice is taken from me. If I'm reading a post and it unexpectedly starts graphically describing self harm, I will spiral. I'll end up fighting a battle I've fought countless times in the last two years - the battle to stay on track with recovery.

So when it comes to trigger warnings, I am absolutely in favour of their use when someone may not be expecting certain content. We all know about consent, right? Letting a person decide whether or not they want to do something? Not taking away someone's choice? Well, I think it applies with sensitive content.

Do not take away someone's right to choose whether or not they are mentally in a place to read about something. You cannot predict the outcome. Give them the chance to make that choice themselves.