Post traumatic stress is something we all experience. It is the strain our body may experience from continued exposure to stressors as they are taxing on the body thus cause a form of trauma. These manifest in many different ways outlined here. It is when these symptoms become ongoing that a person may be diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. This article however, will aim to discuss the idea of post traumatic growth.
The concept of post traumatic growth states that a person can come out of any type of trauma stronger than they originally were if their mindset is willing. Often seen in outstanding individuals that suffer a life changing injury (i.e. becoming a paraplegic) but still manage to rise up above the trauma and become more than anyone could have predicted. Of course this form of growth does not need to come from excessive trauma. A person can grow from experiences such as heart break or overcoming depression and anxiety.
It is important to note that there is the notion of perceived growth and actual growth. It is not real post traumatic growth if an individual states they feel different or stronger but then fall back into their old patterns such as after a relationship breakup. To have experienced actual growth, a person must have learned something about themselves (not just the situation) and be able to draw upon the situation to remind themselves they are capable of overcoming new challenges. As mentioned above, this has a strong relationship with mindset.
From a medical perspective, mindset means a patient must seek to become better. A medical practitioner is there to assist and guide however the change must come from the patient’s desire to improve. Though that seems like a backward concept (to see a doctor and not want to improve), there are some patients who wholeheartedly undertake treatment but are not ready to move on once the treatment is complete. Some patients do not realise they are doing this. One way to know is if someone associates themselves with a disorder, for example they may say “I’m depressed” as opposed to “I have some issues with depression”. This reverberates into the area of ANTs (anterior negative thoughts) and needs to be changed immediately.
Thus post traumatic growth is about positive mindset and one that can help a person face new challenges with new found grit. The trauma can be a highly stressful work deadline, a relationship break up all the way to a life changing traumatic injury. Remember how you grow and what you get from any situation depends entirely on your mindset.