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In therapy this past week I heard (and asked permission to share the term) about PTSD Growth. It's a thought provoking concept to say the least. We all get so caught up in the "stigma" of this title of PTSD. Disorder, Disease, incurable, we hear this all the time. But what about GROWTH? Is it possible? Many would say no. All there ever is in the news are items about PTSD and some terrible result of this 'disorder/disease'.
A disease is curable, a disorder? Hmmm.. some more thought needed on that word. But growth, moving out from under this pressing weight is so very possible. It's not by any means an easy or comfortable process. But it is very much within our grasp, and here's the kicker.. YOU HAVE TO WANT IT---not just NEED IT.
Growth comes from wanting something so badly, knowing you need it, need the help, are not ashamed to ask for it and be extremely willing to do the work. To reexamine the events set into motion within your particular 'brand' of PTSD and none of this is an easy process. Then comes the tough part. Creating a life of value, a life with meaning, while living with what happened, processing it, embracing yourself, saying it out loud within a safe place to the right safe person.
The most amazing moment for me in my path I am on was hearing the words, "I am NOT afraid to hear what you have to tell". It was a life changing moment for me. I knew then, it would take a lot of bravery on my part to say it all out loud. It's scarey beyond belief, but I am willing to do the work. The right medical person, the right insurance, the right everything put it all into a place of safety. After holding onto a mere thread waiting, waiting, waiting, it finally fell together so I do the work so I can let go and live my life again.
The stepping stones on my road are a wandering maze. But now I know all days will not be perfect, they will not be happy all the time, there ARE days of happiness, there are days of feeling happy with myself again. All unfamiliar emotions after a decade of holding back everything. The road to PTSD GROWTH it not a straight line, there are no solid 'steps' to use or tools which work for all. It's a personal growth path.
Structure has always been my mainstay. I love structure. I love the rules. I love the SOPs we all know how that is, am I right? But when it comes to this? There is no SOP. There is only you and your past. Our past cannot be allowed to hold us hostage. It just can't.
I won't let mine hold me hostage. My words, said in a safe haven WILL set me free from the past and regain a life that has new meaning, new purpose. It may not be one which holds onto the EMS/FD/PD/EM fields in order to find my happiness. My happiness will be defined slowly, carefully, surely in order to not fall down that deep hole again. It won't be a perfect path either!
I pray for each person struggling within this issue that you will each find your safe haven, and most of all find that road to PTSD GROWTH.
PTSD GROWTH it is VERY possible. Be willing to be willing to be willing to WANT and NEED the help...ASK for help. Be brave for YOU.