Post-Traumatic Growth

Sometimes we need reminders of how far we have come and how deep the hole was that we dug ourselves out of. Today was one of those days as Facebook reminded me of a post I had made on September 30, 2015, at 1:12 am. It went something like this…

“I wish my mind worked correctly. I’m so sick of obsessive intrusive irrational thoughts. I swear if I don’t get a hold of my emotions I will lose everyone around me. I am stressful to others. All because I cannot control my emotions. This sucks. Some days it’s so hard to be positive.”

That broke my heart reading that. I had my husband read it as well and the look on his face… His reaction was, “I didn’t realize how close you were to snapping.” I remember making that post. That was my emotional rock bottom. That was the moment all of this began.

It has been four long years since I have been on this deep healing journey. In retrospect, it doesn’t seem long at all but living in the bowels of it felt like forever.

Apparently, there is a psychology term called post-traumatic growth. According to The American Psychological Association, post-traumatic growth is a theory that explains transformation or positive change experienced following trauma or because of a major life event. This can be confused with resilience because becoming more resilient as a result of a struggle with trauma can be an example of PTG, but PTG is different because resiliency is a personal attribute or the natural ability to bounce back from something. A resilient person will automatically bounce back but a person with no resilience but finds transformation is PTG.

It is also said that having relationships where the person feels nurtured, liberated, or validated, in addition to experiencing genuine acceptance from others while connecting with people who can provide this level of assistance and support, can lead to not only recovery, but also PTG. Validation. I love that word now. That is what I needed all this time. My husband helped me heal.

PTG tends to occur in five general areas: the appreciation of life, relationships with others, new possibilities in life, personal strength, and spiritual change. Check and check! All the above and I did it myself! I have come out stronger despite the challenges and traumas I have experienced in my life.

I use to be an emotional basket case. I felt the world was against me all the time. No one ever understood me. No one tried to understand me. No one wanted me. No one believed the things that I told them. I was told all my life I was a cry baby. That I am too sensitive. That I am weak. Jokes were made, “did the wind blow because Pam is crying again.” Everything I did had a backhanded comment from someone. They lied about me, talked behind my back, criticized, teased, abused, all by the ones closest to me.

No one understood my sensitivity. No one understood the pain I carried. No one understood I had undiagnosed PTSD and an anxiety disorder. No one knew about the abuse. No one realized that I wanted to die. How could they…… I didn’t either.

I experienced a lot of pain and trauma that I will not go into detail here just yet, but I felt like my world was awful and I did not want to be a part of it. What child wants to die? I was gaslighted and abused and no one believed my reality.

The survival conditioning, the generational trauma, the judgments from others because of my bad decisions, the religious beliefs that were put onto me, the people who were hell-bent on destroying me, the abilities I knew I had but didn’t have control over, my wounding and trauma I was never able to deal with properly, my severe abandonment issues and insecurities, and just one more thing that made it all come to a final straw that broke the camel’s back.  

That post was the camel’s back snapping. As mild as it seemed for a short post.

I reached out for help. It was either sink or swim and I needed to decide. I took a chance and sought out a healing session (one that I go into detail about in my blog post titled: Nature + Magick) that changed everything. I felt the weight of everything come off of me even though it was temporary. It was what I needed to know that freedom could be felt. Even though I have delved into the world of magic and spirits long ago, I have been on this spiritual healing journey ever since.

Therefore, helping others is so important to me. I know what it is like to suffer in silence. For no one to be able to help. To know what it is like to rather be dead. To suffer from mental illness. To have my voice silenced. To not be liked or accepted by anyone. To go through hell and make it out alive and better than before! I am not 100%, but I am better than I was. That post showed me how much work I have done and the payoff because of it.

I will always be a work in progress.