TRIGGER WARNING: RTA and bereavement.
I’m afraid that this isn’t much of a light hearted blog post but it’s something that I feel I must write.
To have Greg as a best friend was an honour in itself. To know someone so ambitious, kind-hearted, selfless and loyal makes an imprint on you that will stay with you for your whole life. In everything you do, there will always be a sense that you’re doing it for them.
Greg was only fourteen when his life was cut short following a road traffic accident in 2013. There’s no need to go into detail of this but take comfort in knowing that it was no one’s fault; simply just a tragic accident. Greg and I had spent the day in town together. I waited as he tried on chinos in the dressing room of Primark, we were the epitome of rebellious youths as we tried to purchase a DVD intended for an audience of 15 and older and we ate a Subway for lunch. We caught the bus home, Greg got off one stop before mine and that’s when the accident happened.
I found it particularly difficult to deal with the loss of Greg. Primarily, I struggled to comprehend how someone so talented and full of life could be taken away so quickly. Then I found it hard to transition to life without my best friend. Without the one guy that could make me belly laugh by just saying one word. The one lad that would recreate the Spice Girl’s Wannabe on the school bus. Mostly, I found it difficult to cope with seeing my best friend so vulnerable following the accident. I’d experience flashbacks when all I wanted to do was sleep. I’d have flashbacks when I was trying to concentrate in Maths class. It came without warning and for me, it made the process of bereavement so much harder. All I wanted was to remember Greg for who he was rather than what I saw. Now when I think of Greg, a smile is never far away.
The one thing I have noticed most since losing Greg is the sheer amount of fictitious media that uses road traffic accidents within their storylines. Some are vital to the storyline (i.e. One Day), others simply seem like they are thrown into the story purely to fill space (i.e. Soap operas).
I understand that, sometimes, topics that are relevant within the present day, such as road safety, need to be portrayed within media but I strongly feel like there needs to be a trigger warning beforehand.
I realise that there may be flaws in placing a trigger warning regarding road accidents prior to a media text because it may reveal a major plot point. However, even if it was just a symbol in which people can familiarise themselves with if they need to be in the know, it would provide a much safer environment when consuming texts. For me, if I watch a TV show/film that involves an unexpected road traffic accident, it reverses the grieving process. It takes me aback because I’m reliving memories that I do wish to forget.
These are some examples of existing trigger warnings prior to popular media texts:
Very strong language, sexual themes and scenes of drug taking – My Mad Fat Diary
Strong language, some scenes of a sexual nature and scenes that may upset some viewers – My Mad Fat Diary
Strong language, violence, drug use and sexual scenes – Skins
Strong language, scenes of violence and racist language that some viewers may find offensive – This is England ’90
Sexual violence, strong bloody images, suicide scene – Thirteen Reasons Why
“Scenes that may upset some viewers” is an incredibly broad tag to use as a trigger warning. I often like to watch “sad” things because sometimes you can relate to the story more and usually, the saddest things are the most creative. However, “upsetting scenes” can cover an array of situations and therefore, is not an effective trigger warning. People need specific details before committing to watching things that can potentially have an effect on their mental health.
Thank you for reading and please let me know your thoughts on this topic.