We hear so much these days about PTSD. It’s almost like people own their post-traumatic stress and when triggers are activated, there is no turning back, they regress into that old state of sadness. I understand and sympathise.
However, I’d like to offer a different idea. A concept that came to me when I was trying to work out what had happened to me. A few years after suffering a major trauma, I suddenly began to feel fantastic. I thought how did this happen? What is this? This feels like PTG or what I called to myself…..Post Traumatic Growth, not PTSD. What?? To be honest, I was shocked.
I thought I was coining a new phrase. Then I did some research and low and behold, as with most seemingly original great ideas, this one had been thought of before.
To digress slightly, my dear friend and mentor, Carl Tait was in his 70’s when I met him but still totally but full of life. I spent countless hours working and also relaxing with him, and we had some pretty heated debates. When I thought I created something original or new, he never let me get big headed He used to say to me quite dramatically “It’s All Been Done!” and I would reply, “Yes Carl but we want to do it differently!” He was right of course, it has. But I am also right, we can do it differently.
When I discovered that Richard Tedeshi, Professor of Psychology at UNCC, had already discovered this phenomenon of PTG, I went back to that thinking. It was not an original idea or phenomenon. Others have experienced this as well. It doesn’t mean people don’t suffer or everyone feels amazing, but it proves that it is possible.
It’s a real thing, which happened to me, but for me it seemed to come after a lot of effort and hard work. Yes, of course I still have memories which make me sad, but now I manage those emotions. Sometimes I allow myself to sit and have a little cry, other times I just say nope not doing that today and turn that song OFF rather than listening.
Post Traumatic Growth does not mean you never remember the bad things, it means you can grow exponentially through adversity, to become a stronger, brighter you. We don’t’ have to accept life changing events as something we can’t handle, we can grow from them.
It is not the stuff of superheroes, it’s just the stuff of humans.
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