In recent conversations with friends, colleagues and clients there has been a commonality that has arisen on each occasion, that of trauma and how we identify with it, overcome and view the event and ourselves after.
You may have heard the term PTSD- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many servicemen such as my father suffer this debilitating condition after returning from war, others witness to accident, victim of crime or a number of other deeply upsetting events that occur throughout our lives.
PTSD is a very serious condition and requires professional assistance to work though and overcome.
It is my intention to share what is termed- Post Traumatic Growth
PTG is defined as;
‘Positive psychological change experienced as a result of adversity and other challenges in order to rise to a higher level of functioning’.
To find growth and positive psychological changes bought upon having experienced trauma.
Trauma can be identified as deep upset, shock, pain, strain, disturbance or ordeal. Each experience will be unique to the individual.
Having to adapt to challenging and deep emotional events or circumstances, draws upon each individual’s resilience and character to ‘get through it’. Creating psychological shifts in way of finding meaning from the trauma provide fresh perspective, fresh growth opportunities, like that after a bush fire.
Speaking from my own experience, having felt desperation, shock and deep pain and in searching for my antidote, I found gratitude, appreciation and admiration in the smallest of things. Mindfulness.
When we experience deep upset, we change. We can’t go back to sleep, we are shaken awake. We can’t numb our senses, we are on high alert. We need to focus these to move forward through the dark. It isn’t until we reflect that we recognize where we were before, and how far we have come.
The process to growth from trauma is slow. It’s not merely looking at things from a positive perspective, but sitting with the uncomfortable, being vulnerable and finding your innate strength, gaining insight.
We only need look to Nature and the cycles of growth, understand that we need to cut back, trim and burn in order to experience new shoots of life.
As cognitive creatures we seek meaning from our suffering, form new beliefs about ourselves and the world and often uproot old values so we can sow the seeds for new opportunities.
The deep connection we have with others, whom can support and help shape a new path, takes us from suffering to growth.
Can you recognise your own growth?
Disclaimer- I am not a psychologist. These are my opinions and lessons drawn from my own experience with PTSD and PTG. Please seek professional help and counselling if you have experienced trauma. I have a terrific referral network of psychologists should you require a recommendation.