In my eyes my life started when I was 20…. I don’t really remember who I was before that, but that year that kid died and my life has never been the same since.
One day I might name the mental health struggles I’ve had to deal with but for now I’ll just say it was a total break down of reality….. Something I wasn’t in any way capable of dealing at that age and something that infected every part of my life.
For years I struggled coming to terms with what had happened. I mourned for a life lost unable to understand who I had become and the new world I was living in. It took me nearly nearly a decade to get to a place where I was able to “function”
What really changed everything though was going back to University to train to be a Counsellor. It was an 6 year journey of self discovery that gave me the tools to not only survive living with mental health but thrive with it. So when I say what I’m about to say I mean it with every part of my being.
My struggles with mental health have been both the cause of the darkest moments in my life and yet the greatest gift God has ever given me.
I have a phoenix tattooed all over my chest to remind me of this. To remind me that when we are burnt to the ground… when we have nothing left, we can rise into something new, something bigger than what we were before and this process has a name and that name is “Post Traumatic Growth”
Post-Traumatic Growth is the concept that describes how some people experience positive psychological change after going through a traumatic or highly stressful event. It does not mean that we ignore or deny the distress, but rather that we find new ways of coping, appreciating life, relating to others, and discovering our strengths.
Going through Post Traumatic Growth myself not only gave me my life back but enabled me to find peace and meaning to it so if you would, please let me explain to you the gifts of what going through trauma can give you.
One of the gifts of trauma is empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. When we go through trauma, we become more aware of our own emotions and how they affect us. We also become more sensitive to the emotions of others and their suffering. We can relate to them on a deeper level and offer them compassion.
Another gift of trauma is gratitude. Gratitude is the feeling of appreciation for what we have in life. When we survive trauma, we realize how precious life is and how much we have to be thankful for. We appreciate the simple things that we often take for granted, such as our health, our family, our friends, our breath. We also recognize the strength and resilience that we have within us to overcome challenges.
A third gift of trauma is wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to use knowledge and experience to make good decisions and judgments. When we experience trauma, we gain insight into ourselves and our values. We learn what matters most to us and what doesn’t. We discover new perspectives and possibilities that we may not have considered before. We also learn valuable lessons that can help us grow as individuals.
A fourth gift of trauma is transformation. Transformation is the process of changing or improving something or someone. When we heal from trauma, we change in positive ways that reflect our true selves. We may develop new skills, interests, or passions that enrich our lives. We may also change our beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors that enhance our well-being. We become more authentic and confident in who we are.
A fifth gift of trauma is opening. Opening is the act of making something accessible or available. When we cope with trauma, we open ourselves up to new experiences and opportunities that can benefit us. We also open ourselves up to other people who can support us and inspire us. We open ourselves up to a higher power or purpose that can guide us and give us meaning.
I can’t deny the damage of what my trauma did to me but I also can’t deny what it has given me. I have never been happier than I am now so if I had to go through it all again to get to where I am today, however more complex it is than just a yes or no…… I would have to say yes…. Yes I would.
I hope you enjoyed the blog. I would love to hear from you, so feel free to leave your comments, questions and feedback below.
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