“There is a moment in our healing journey when our denial crumbles; we realize our experience and its continued effects on us won’t “just go away.” That’s our breakthrough moment. It’s the sun coming out to warm the seeds of hope so they can grow our personal garden of empowerment.”Jeanne McElvaney
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Many of us are familiar with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In fact, the month of June was declared Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month in 2014 to spread more awareness, education, and treatment for people struggling with PTSD.
According to Youth.gov, PTSD is an anxiety disorder that some people develop after seeing or living through an event that caused or threatened serious harm or death. PTSD may result in sleep problems, irritability, anger, recurrent dreams about the trauma, intense reactions to reminders of the trauma, disturbances in relationships, and isolation. Some people may recover a few months after the event, but for others, it may take years. For some, PTSD may begin long after the events occur. However, PTSD can be treated.
While PTSD can affect 3.5% of U.S. adults every year, we can heal from our traumas. It is essential to recognize that there is potential for personal growth and resilience even in the face of adversity. While identifying triggers and old thought patterns that no longer serve us is essential, it’s equally vital that we realize the growth and healing aspect.
It’s crucial that we recognize that PTSD isn’t the end of our story. We may indeed have endured challenging things and experienced varying degrees of trauma. But it’s also true that we can grow, heal, and recover from our past. When we shift our mindset from PTSD to Personal Victory, this is a sign of Post-Traumtic Growth (PTG).
What is Post-Traumatic Growth?
Post-traumatic growth refers to the positive psychological changes experienced by individuals following traumatic events. Rather than being solely defined by the negative consequences of trauma, PTG focuses on the potential for growth, strength, and newfound perspectives. It is a process of rebuilding one’s life and finding meaning after the storm.
When we experience growth, we learn to accept our past, forgive those who may have hurt us, and begin the process of healing. It’s not ignoring our past but simply reframing how it will shape our future. Many individuals often turn to substances or addictive behaviors to cope with the distressing symptoms of PTSD. But, by reframing PTSD as a catalyst for change, individuals can harness their experiences to embark on a journey of recovery and self-discovery.
As individuals address their past traumas and work through the associated emotions, they can find strength and resilience they never knew existed. PTG fosters an empowerment mindset that supports their journey toward lasting sobriety.
3 Ways You’re Experiencing Post-Traumatic Growth:
1: Transforming Trauma into Strength
One of the most defining moments after unpacking our trauma is when we can transform our pain into strength. Through therapy, support groups, and holistic approaches, individuals can learn to navigate the intricacies of their past traumas. By embracing resilience and self-compassion, they can tap into their inner potential and find a sense of purpose beyond their struggles. Through Post-Traumatic Growth, individuals are able to find healthier and alternative means to occupy their time. No longer are they trying to cope with their past. They’re able to see hope for their future.
An example of transforming your trauma into strength is by being a catalyst for others in helping them overcome their traumas. Often those who experience traumatic events, such as enduring abuse from a parent or partner, go on to help others who have experienced similar circumstances. Many turn their painful experiences into lifelong careers in support of others. While other individuals opt to volunteer at local non-profit organizations.
Sometimes transforming trauma into strength shows up as recognizing negative patterns from other individuals. If someone experiences a physically abusive relationship, they can spot these patterns in future potential partners. Simply taking nothing from our past but lessons to help guide us in the future shows how strong we are. It shows how much work we’ve put in and how capable we are of enduring hard things.
2: Learning the Power of Forgiveness
Regarding Post-Traumtic Growth, one of the most important lessons is the power of forgiveness— the forgiveness of self and the forgiveness of others. PTSD often fills us with guilt and shame for our past mistakes. It can lead us to believe we’re unworthy of a better future. However, PTG releases guilt and shame and guides us to grace, responsibility, and self-compassion. We may have made mistakes. But we learn that those mistakes don’t define us – what we do with those mistakes defines who we are.
Likewise, the same goes for those who may have wronged us. Previously, the shackles of PTSD kept us from working on our past relationships. Through PTG, we learn to accept that although we cannot change the past, we can choose to forgive. Through the power of forgiveness, our compassion for others helps strengthen previously broken relationships. Or, at the very least, release any negative energy or ill feelings we may have towards those in our past. We may not always be able to reconcile relationships, but forgiveness is always on the table. If nothing else, it creates room for new, positive experiences.
3: Embracing New Perspectives
Post-Traumatic Growth helps reframe our traumatic experiences to find meaning within them. When we shift our perspective from victims of circumstance to survivors, we are actively choosing victory over adversity. By embracing new perspectives, we focus on transformational growth. What was once thought impossible creates room for opportunity.
When feeling trapped in PTSD, it’s difficult to imagine the bigger picture. It can be challenging to imagine a different future. But when we experience true growth, we can explore new depths. If there was loneliness and abandonment from childhood, PTSD tells us that loved ones will always abandon us. But through PTG, we learn that just because someone made us feel lonely in our past doesn’t mean everyone will walk away from our lives.
Other times embracing new perspectives shows that had we not experienced challenging times, we would have never known how strong or resilient we are when faced with trials. The beautiful thing about Post-Traumatic Growth is that it shows us there is always room for positivity. There is always something positive, even in the most trying times, no matter how big or small.
In Need of Treatment?
If you’re experiencing PTSD and feel trapped in the throes of addiction, we want you to know you’re not alone. What you’re feeling is valid, and we understand how hard it can be to face trauma alone. At Positive Recovery Centers, we are here for you. We are here to help you find the treatment and healing you deserve. If you’re looking for a new perspective and want to embark on a new life full of meaning and purpose, you have come to the right place. We kindly invite you to visit our website, https://positiverecovery.com/, or call us at (877) 697-1383 to get in touch with a team member today!