Trigger warnings, thoughtful thumbnails and other kindnesses. (Discussion of intravenous drug use)

I flick through addiction blogs, sometimes there is someone I can give a word of encouragement to, sometimes someone writes something that happens to strike a chord with me. I flick past most of the adverts for various programs and assertations that all you need is various representatives from their religions. Sometimes there are ill advised wiki rips, telling ya what opiates are and why they are bad, or ugly cut and paste jobs from a high school course in public health. That is all well and good – I am a huge believer in ignoring what you don’t like. However when these people put a fucking photo of someone with a needle in their arm, shooting up as the thumbnail you are forced to see, with no trigger warning, that is not ok.

Ive occasionally been subjected to photos of naked bodies when I thumb down the list of posts in the lesbian section, which seems to be mainly occupied by men writing about how much they love girls fucking each other. I block these, and let myself feel irritated. The same goes for the few lines your eyes get drawn to, or inappropriate headers. I shake my head and think this is why men never believe me when I say I’m a dyke, and move on.

Needles, spikes, rigs, U100s, works…my favorite was coined by Jim Carroll – he called ’em called ’em gimmicks…these become objects of obsession for the intravenous drug user. They set off that Pavlov’s dog salivating reaction, make you itchy, twitchy and longing for a hit. All you gotta do is see it, and it sends off a cascade of memory. It has been a long time since I used needles, and it still gets me every time. Needles are fetishized, part of the ritual. Something about them never releases it’s hold.

Anyone with any business talking about addiction should know that images like that, whilst an object of salacious intrigue for civilians, are deeply troublesome for recovered or recovering addicts.

It has been a long time since I have been addicted to anything, but still I have those dreams where you wake up just before the plunger depresses, or you find the drug, but have no rig, or have no spoon but the rig and the drug. Drooling junkie needle dreams.

It would be good to think that as a community bloggers care about each other to not subject people to triggering photographs of syringes in the preview thumbnail.

I will be more thoughtful in labelling potentially triggering material in future. I would hate to cause anyone else upset. There is a fine line to walk between censorship and simply caring about others in your community.


  1. Stuart Danker

    That’s an interesting thing to bring up that doesn’t necessarily cross a lot of bloggers’ minds. Thanks for this reminder, and hopefully this message gets heard!

    1. The Paltry Sum

      Hello Stuart! Thank you for the comment. I truly hope the message gets through, it is beyond thoughtless. Addiction blogs should at least be thoughtful to people who were or are addicted. I did comment on the person’s blog, but they ignored me. Says it all, really….

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