When Post Traumatic Growth Happens

I’ve been on a trauma recovery journey I’ve been trying to articulate to myself and the Lord for the last five months.  It’s one I’m going to attempt to articulate -in part- to you.  This is what I know so far.  Everybody loves a good redemption story right?

I heard a fascinating TEDx talk by Jane McGonigal.  When I began to hear Jane talking about some of the qualities that describe people who have pushed past Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to Post Traumatic Growth I smiled, said “thank you, God,” and knew I had taken that journey without even knowing it.

You’ve heard of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder right?  But, have you heard of Post Traumatic Growth? Nope, me either.  As it turns out, trauma doesn’t have to ruin your life for ever. Some people get stronger after trauma.  Apparently, one can use trauma as a springboard to unleash one’s best qualities and lead happier lives.

People who have survived trauma and moved on to growth say the followings things defined their life post trauma: their priorities changed and they are not afraid to do what makes them happy.  They feel closer to their friends and family.  They understand themselves better and know who they really are.  They have a new sense of meaning and purpose and are better able to focus on their goals and dreams.  Ironically enough, the top 5 traits Post Traumatic Growth survivors experience are the exact opposite of the top 5 regrets of the dying.  Fascinating, no?

When Jane studied the Post Traumatic Growth survivors she found 4 key types of strengths that contributed to growth: physical resilience (exercise, etc.),  mental resilience (learning, problem solving, game playing, reading, etc.), emotional resilience (positive interactions, goal setting, etc.) and social resilience (practice of gratitude, healthy touch, trust of oneself, etc.).  When you regularly and consistently boost these you produce resilience that gives you strength which leads to growth even after intense or severe trauma.

About a year & a half ago I experienced a trauma.  I can’t say much about it right now because the story is being published as an essay in an Anthology due out next year.  Until you get the full blow-by-blow, you’ll have to trust me when I say I faced a “by the book” traumatic event that broke me, and continued to break me for well over a year.

In the middle of that desperate, desperate time…

You can read the rest of this post over at A Deeper Story: Tales of Christ & Culture.




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  • Sara

    I’m proud of you for being willing to make the difficult choices. We’ll continue to pray for you and David as you each go through the healing process.