It possible to grow more Post a Traumatic Experience ?

Post-traumatic growth or Post trauma growth is actually a clinical psychology term. It means a significant personal growth after a traumatic incident.

Let’s begin with my own example :-

My family and me lost my father last year, due to covid-19 and its after covid complications. He was in his sixties. He was in hospital for almost two months. Because we lost him due to covid, We were not prepared for him to leave us so soon. I was aware of the fact that at some point of time everybody dies and nobody lives on this earth forever. However, the two month constant struggle of him fighting for his life was heart breaking.

Since, I was the only one who was there with him, when he took his last breath somehow changed me. I am not the same person I was, when he was alive.

I think whenever something so traumatic and dramatic happens in life, it leaves some imprints on us. I feel a greater sense of personal strength and spiritual development. My father’s demised made me appreciate the relationships I still have in my life. I feel a different fire towards my goals.

Trauma can make people more grateful for the relationships they already have.

For example : Few employees in my company who’s aware that most others in their industry were losing jobs. Hence, they felt grateful to still be employed, no matter what role they might play in the revamped business. None seemed to consider any job beneath them. They appreciated having an opportunity to keep doing something worthwhile.

Below are few changes I felt within me which later I understood is also called PTG:

  • Being aware of myself, my strength my weakness
  • Ability to introspect my own behaviour
  • A Sence of calmness
  • Zeal to learn more
  • Spiritual Development
  • Mental strength
  • Being able to express myself more

Post-traumatic growth comes in different ways sometimes as selfless help to others or occasionally as genuine self understanding and acceptance.

Here are some examples of how post traumatic growth can look in real life:

  • An ideal illustration of post traumatic growth is parents who have lost their child to cancer, raising money for different cancer organizations or charities.Survivors of terrorist attacks often become friendlier and more accepting of others. Much of their behavioral change owes to the trauma they had faced.
  • People who lose someone dear at a tender age are much more grateful and appreciative for what they have than others of their age. For example, a child who has lost his mother knows the value of motherly affection and would likely be more emotionally mature than other children of her age.
  • Another bright instance of post trauma growth is war victims and soldiers who return safely from battle gain a broader perspective of life.

According to researchers a few people may also find themselves becoming more comfortable with intimacy and having a greater sense of compassion for others who experience life difficulties. Individuals who face trauma may be more likely to become cognitively engaged with fundamental existential questions about death and the purpose of life.

I understand life seems blur after a traumatic experience however the fact is you still have rest of your life to live. You must channel all your energy, your thoughts, your focus, your grief into the right direction. Make the rest of your life best of your life.

Reference : Richard G. Tedeschi is a professor of psychology emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; the distinguished chair of the Boulder Crest Institute; and a coauthor of Posttraumatic Growth (2018).

-Apurva

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