Over the last couple of weeks I have been hearing the term “Posttraumatic Growth”.  This is not a new concept, but it is something I have been introduced to lately.

I live with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in my life daily so I was quite excited when I started to hear this term.  After doing research and talking to some experts in the field I realised that sometimes we spend so much time focussing on the negative that we forget there is hope and power with in us when we are ready.

The word “trauma” is used to describe experiences or situations that are emotionally painful and distressing, and that can overwhelm people’s ability to cope, leaving them feeling powerless.

When people experience trauma they may not be impacted, they may experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or they may experience growth, or even somewhere in between depending on the day.

I am not going to focus on the “no impact” or “PTSD”, but I would like to focus on Post Traumatic Growth because no matter how you react to the event or situation I think knowing that there is the potential for Growth can be empowering and provide hope to those that feel powerless.

Posttraumatic Growth is when individuals experience a traumatic experience and they grow as a result of the event or situation.   It is important for me to note that I do not view trauma as a good thing, however it can occur in our life.

Post Traumatic Growth can occur:

  • Soon after the event or situation
    • An individual may see the trauma as an opportunity to put in place changes in their life as a result of what occurred.  Those changes could be lifestyle, career or spiritual.  The point being is they have a positive impact on your life.  That does not mean that you do not experience stress, discomfort or grief during this time.
  • After support and understanding has been achieved
    • An individual may require support via family, friends, counselling, medication, psychiatric therapy, and/or coaching.   As time passes with support they make changes which result in a positive impact for the individual and they grow and move forward using the strength they have been able to develop as a result of the trauma
  • When you are ready
    • Some individuals may never be able to work through the trauma and they may always require support with the impacts that PTSD have on their life due to the longevity of the impacts or the depth of the impact

The point is that when an individual experiences trauma that either results in post traumatic stress, post traumatic growth or no change at all, it is important that the right support without judgement is provided.

For those out there who have experienced trauma and are struggling with moving forward and understanding what is happening – never give up because there are support networks that can help you through this moment in time and there is always the potential for growth.

Where ever you are at after experiencing a traumatic event or situation know that there is always hope, life, love, support and strength around you and within you.  I applaud you for waking up today and not giving up, that to me shows the strength is already there.  For those who are not with us anymore because of suicide, I am humbled that you tried and I am saddened that the support could not reach you in time.

I would encourage you all today to look around you and when you see that guy with road rage, the girl who can’t look you in the eye when she is serving you, or even the person who just annoys you because they don’t fit in with your norm.  Reflect and realise that we do not know that persons story and just maybe our interaction could be the trigger for their growth if needed.

Empathy, understanding and love cost you nothing but maybe a bit of time, the rewards are powerful.