Saturday, May 16, 2015

Post Traumatic Growth

One hears a lot about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder these days. It's become a disease, a label, a box to put some people into and there is no escape for them - the minute the label is known then other people have certain expectations of them. They grow certain expectations of themselves too - certain beliefs about themselves that  become firmer and firmer. After all, they have this defined disorder so they cannot step outside that. They become restricted.
What if the TRAUMA that is experienced is a GIFT? What if the trauma that turns a person's life upside down is an opportunity to turn their thoughts, assumptions, beliefs, judgements upside down, leading to a deeper understanding of life, a more expansive view on life and more compassion and love for oneself, as well as for others.

People have said that I, and my story, inspire them. When life throws us into the unexpected then we can be aware of the gift. When we look, the gift is there. If it is inspiring,then be inspired and see where that takes you.
In my previous blog I wrote about giving birth to a child who had an extra chromosome and the self-blame that went with that. And then the grief of her dying. This experience was traumatic. Was there stress afterwards that was ongoing? Yes. Was there a build up of negative self-beliefs limiting my life? Yes. And eventually I was able to meet these feelings face on and release them. The gifts were numerous - I developed compassion for parents of children with special needs and the myriad of emotions that arise. I developed compassion for parents who has lost a child through death. I developed a deeper understanding about life and death - nothing is more real than giving birth and witnessing death. I gained a deeper awareness of the values of living.

Last year I left my husband, rented and lived on my own, divided belongings, sold our lovely property that we had developed from a bare paddock, got to know a wonderful man, left my safe job after 25 years, shifted to another part of the country, started a new job. I am dealing with absolutely everything being different (and this is what happens after trauma) - routines or lack of,  rules or lack of,  other people looking at things in different ways to me. At times it has felt like I was drowning in myself. Observing my children adjusting to me being in a new relationship. Observing myself as I question everything I do and everything I say. Stepping outside of me and seeing. Watching me react and respond.
Some say I inspire them because I am willing to to be honest about how I feel and how I observe what is going on.  But there is no choice for me now. I took the step - away from restriction and the known............. and into the unknown. Into the freedom and the gift of a deeper understanding of life, a deeper awareness of myself. And with this comes emotions - all sorts - not just the happy ones. If the richness of life is to be experienced, then whatever arises is to be experienced and the emotions allowed.

For others further thoughts on Post Traumatic Growth see


  1. Lovely compassionate words. I understand. Having experienced PTSD through an injury I can relate to the changes within that are needed, and find recognition in hearing your words. <3

    1. Thank you for your comments, Sue. The gifts just need recognising.

  2. Thank-you for sharing this. The more people hear this kind of personal testimony, the better, and your experience is very much in alignment with my own experiences of trauma. It can be extremely challenging at the time, however, if it is faced up to and resolved, one grows enourmously from the experience, becoming a much wiser, more compassionate, and more "human" person for havign had the experience.

    1. Thanks for your heartfelt comments Peter. I guess our society conditions us to blame the label and therefore denys us the opportunity to grow,