One of the huge takeaways I took from the retreat I was on a few weeks ago was a concept I had never heard of before. Posttraumatic Growth.
I have been working to heal from PTSD for over a year with numerous therapists and not one has ever spoken of it. But there Elaine (a fellow survivor) and I were standing in Lucky Strike on our fun night out and trying to scream over the loud music to each other about what has helped us each heal when she mentioned PTG or posttraumatic growth. I instantly felt hopeful, excited to be learning something more about this journey, and encouraged that possibly I might get to this place of PTG myself.
When Jeff and I returned home I immediately began researching PTG and what I found was so interesting. The term was created by two doctors at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, Dr. Lawrence G. Calhoun and Dr. Richard G. Tedeschi in 1995. Through their research and in working with parents who had lost a child, no doubt one of the greatest traumas anyone could face, they discovered that some of these parents went on to become great advocates for whatever illness or accident that had claimed the lives of their children. Dr. Calhoun and Dr. Tedeschi found that through the great loss and trauma these people had faced, they somehow managed to grow and do something meaningful, and they were stronger for it.
I stumbled upon an article and I will leave it right here for you to enjoy – reading it brought me to tears. The Science of Posttraumatic Growth
Why did reading this make me cry? Because it confirmed for me that though my trauma was terrible, it had helped shape me in a positive way. I already believed it but here I was reading this article that finally gave a name and face to the place I find myself in more and more every day.
There is a line is this article that really sticks with me, “They don’t just bounce back- that would be resilience- in significant ways, they bounce higher than they ever did before.”
I knew quite early on in my healing journey that just bouncing back wasn’t going to happen and so I just took each day as it came, sometimes each moment, and I focused on ways to feel better. Little by little I found my stride again and no doubt feel stronger and more grateful then I did before I was sick. Bouncing higher has been my goal with this website and blog, with my journey to be my own advocate and speak up for myself and my healing, and for every other aspect of my life. Though I have found myself many times just wishing to be the old Elena, I have realized that I could be someone so much better – I can and will bounce higher than I ever could have before. Sure I still have bad days and trying moments like everyone else but I can honestly say that with this new lens that I view my life through that I truly see my blessings, I truly feel grateful and blessed, and I have truly found my calling in helping other people like me.
Thank you my dear friend Elaine for introducing me to PTG!
Learn more about Posttraumatic Growth