Thursday, January 13, 2011

When Trigger Immunity Strikes: Tingles of the Past

I’ve read of several accounts within the community that have to do with trigger immunity. That is, when a trigger that once worked, perhaps consistently and intensely, has now ceased to work.

This can happen if you listen to or watch a trigger video or some such too often, that you eventually build up a tolerance to it. You’ve most likely heard of a tolerance level as regards alcohol and drugs – you take a drug, and at first you can get high on a little; over time it takes more and more to reach that high. In some cases the drug just stop working completely, or so it seems, and you cannot even get out of that low to reach normality.

But at least with ASMR, you don’t get any of the harsh withdrawal symptoms, and the lows aren’t nearly as bad, I would imagine. Merely just some disappointment accompanies it.

The good news is that sometimes, just like with the aforementioned substances, if you stop listening to the sounds or watching the sights that cause ASMR, then if you pick it up again later on down the line, it might just work again. There are some other tips and tricks on the blog that I wrote a while back to help when you think that immunity, or tolerance level might be a problem.

But the most interesting part of trigger immunity is when one thinks back to triggers we had as children or thereabouts. When I think back to that time, I was able to watch and listen to our gardener working; trimming hedges and so on. I would get such intense tingles – something that I don’t get nearly as often any more. It’s not as though I’ve tried lately, but I doubt that I would find it nearly as soothing nowadays. In fact, gardeners are something I’ve associated with negative feelings – especially the noisy services or teams you hear around the neighbourhood at times! This could well be a reason why I don’t experience tingles when listening to gardening any more.

If you think back to when you were younger, likely some of the triggers that worked then, no longer work today. This could sadly be a consequence of the belief that as one gets older, ASMR starts to wane. Maybe when we were young, we experience the sensations more intensely, and from more sources.

I also have a theory that I have personally experienced. Years ago I mainly encountered triggers in the real world, when listening to something outside or in the class room. But now it’s migrated to predominantly being triggered by digital media – such as watching TV or listening to the radio. And I think these things make up a fairly big part of my life, and it might well be the same with others; to the point where triggers that were common at one point when dealing with people in person no longer work. They often say that this web-generation’s brains are wired differently to the average person you might have come across ten years ago or more.

Trigger immunity can also be caused by drugs or medicines. There’s a belief among some of the community that the chemical in the body known as serotonin, is the key to ASMR. The chemical known as dopamine is the opposite – it shuts it down. And if you take medications that interfere with these chemicals, you might well experience the sensation less often; less intensely; or not at all. And think how common this must be seeing as I’m sure at least most of us have been on some sort of drug at some point.

I often read some of the stories of people on the Facebook Group, where they claim that they go as long as years at a time between events!


  1. I am afraid that between being too aware of my unnamed feeling and listening to too many whisper vids, I am getting over saturated and have not felt it in months. :( I think I need to get back to real life exposures....

  2. This is just teasing.. Trigger immunity begins to rear it's ugly head just minutes into a ASMR video - following about a year's cold turkey!


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