Post-Traumatic Gifts?

These articles with different perspectives on post-traumatic growth got me thinking:  How Crisis Makes Life Better – Or Not.   Find Your Post-Traumatic Gifts.

I remember someone telling me when I was severely depressed that she believed there were gifts to feeling suicidal.  She said she’d be willing to share them with me sometime.  I never followed up and asked her.  Now, I know for myself: now that I generally feel well, I appreciate life more.  However, I would never recommend that someone walk down that road in order to gain a greater appreciation of life.

I took Dr. Mark Seligman’s post-traumatic growth inventory that’s in Amy Oestreicher’s article, and I see how much I have grown as a result of my experiences.  I’ve learned a lot.  I know myself better now.  I am more effective in my interpersonal relationships.  If I had not been in crisis, I may not have sought out a DBT program that taught me invaluable skills.

I think it can be helpful to look back in retrospect and see how traumatic experiences have had their benefits or led to positive outcomes.  However, while in the midst of an experience, it wasn’t helpful for me to hear how I should focus on the positive aspects of what often felt like navigating a path through brick walls.

I also wonder what the effects of challenging vs. traumatic situations are:  how do I grow and respond to situations that are difficult as opposed to ones that activate a fight-or-flight response?

My current story is a success story.  I have come a long way.  I am still very much in process.  I continue to make progress.  I am grateful for my detour, for landing where I am, for making the choices I have made to get here.

I have grown from an accumulation of experiences – bright ones, dark ones, heavy ones, playful ones, and everywhere in between.  Whatever the costs or benefits, they are my experiences, and I see them through my own lens.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by amyoestreicher on December 29, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Wonderful piece, thanks for sharing my article!


  2. Thank you for including a link to my Heart Sisters article on Post-Traumatic Growth here…


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