Everybody has heard of PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. But have you ever heard of PTG?
Researcher and professor Richard Tedeschi teaches at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has done much research into PTSD but he has also written extensively about PTG (post-traumatic growth).
He and a colleague started their research by interviewing survivors of severe injuries. He then went on to survey older people who had lost their spouses. In case after case, he heard this message: “I wish had not suffered this injury or lost my spouse, but nonetheless, over time, the experience has changed me for the better in ways I would have never predicted.”
Tedeschi said that people reported positive changes in five key areas: a renewed appreciation for life; new possibilities for themselves; more personal strength; improved relationships; and a deeper sense of spirituality. And so Tedeschi coined the term “post-traumatic growth” because, he says, growth is actually far more common than P.T.S.D. and can even coexist with it.
Trouble will come our way in various shapes, forms and sizes. All of us will encounter some “dark nights of the soul” when our worlds have been shaken and/or broken and when we question some of our long held assumptions. Hang in there. Hold on to that mustard seed of faith and believe that you will smile again. Hang on till morning. Gordon MacDonald said in the midst of his recovery that the messages he treasured most were those that said, “there is a tomorrow, wait for it.”
We bend, we break, we repair, we rebuild, and we grow, we experience PTG, changing for the better in ways we never would have if we had not suffered.