It’s not really the flip side of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Instead, it’s what I like to think of as the best possible outcome of having had PTSD. Think of it as your reward for making it through the rough times.
Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG) is a term coined to reflect the growth and maturity that develop from insights we gain following a traumatic event. As we learn to successfully live with the trauma by identifying what our priorities are, we develop new coping mechanisms, thoughts, and behaviors that actually indicate emotional growth.
Although we may still have the symptoms of PTSD, we can monitor the forward movement of coping with it on a daily basis. PTG tells me there is something good that comes out of the bad. It’s not just about better coping mechanisms, but more with how we come to view and accept ourselves. How we integrate our experiences into that which makes us who we are. It’s kind of that “What doesn’t kill us makes us strong” type of thinking.
The surprising thing is that now that PTG is in the lime light, it’s actually more common than you’d think especially in light of how much attention PTSD has been getting. Estimates are that 30 – 70% of those diagnosed with PTSD report having positive changes as a result. It’s nice to know there can be a silver lining even to the dark cloud of PTSD.