Post-Traumatic Growth

“I believe that you can have post-traumatic growth. You can find greater meaning.” -Sheryl Sandburg

I read the above quote in the article, “Finding Strength” in Great Loss” from the May 2017 issue of Redbook Magazine. The only other times I have seen the words post-traumatic have been during references of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Post-traumatic growth refers to growth after trauma and following grief. While I haven’t used the words, I too have experienced post-traumatic growth.

In December 2017, nine years passed since my husband completed suicide. Due to the traumatic events, I dealt with, worked through, and overcame PTSD. Since then I have persevered. With tools and resources to assist, I THRIVED!

In order to thrive, one must be able to work through their troubled waters. With the support of family, friends, a wellness team, my faith, keeping physically active, and other programs, I navigated the rough waters and arrived safely to shore. The tools I gathered along the way continue to fuel my journey of thrival.

“There’s bound to be rough waters and I know I’ll take a fall, but with the Good Lord as my captain, I’ll make it through it all”. -“The River”, Garth Brooks

Suicide & Mental Health

A Chicago Fire episode (A Heavy Weight aired 4/15/14) touched on something that people deal with everyday, though often not talked about, the loss of someone to suicide. It’s not just portrayed for TV, it happens in real life. They touched on not seeing the signs, but there aren’t always signs shown; I know this from personal experience. The person referred to suffered from a mental illness, depression, which no one knew about except her family (so someone said). People can hide symptoms, to a point, and even those seeking treatment don’t always live well enough to win the battle of the mind.

How many people know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month?

I’m sharing information I received in an email from the Mental Health America of Wisconsin along with their resources for proper crediting. You can find the entire article by going to: Mental Health America of Wisconsin mental health month newsletter.

  • Key Statistics
    • Nearly 1-in-5 Americans over age 18 will experience a diagnosable mental health disorder in a given year (1), and nearly half will experience a mental health disorder in their lifetime (2).
    • Approximately 70% of Americans experience physical and non-physical symptoms of stress, but only 37% think they are doing very well at managing stress.(3)
    • More than 2/3 of American adults are either obese or overweight. (4)
    • One in six Americans over age 18 binge drink. Excessive drinking (binge drinking and heavy drinking) causes approximately 80,000 deaths each year.(5)
    • Nearly half (48%) of Americans report not getting enough sleep, with women feeling so more than men. (6)
    • While it is estimated that approximately half of US adults use supplements, only 23% of supplements used were recommended by a health care professional. (7)
    • Relationships and social connections are important.  Low level of social interaction was found to have an impact on lifespan equivalent to smoking nearly a pack of cigarettes a day or being an alcoholic, and was twice as harmful as being obese. (8)
    • Half of American adults do not get the recommended amounts of aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise. (9)
  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (February 28, 2014). The NSDUH Report: State Estimates of Adult Mental Illness from the 2011 and 2012 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health. Rockville, MD.
  2. Kessler RC, Berglund PA, Demler O, Jin R, Walters EE. Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R).
  3. American Psychological Association. (2012) Impact of Stress. [Online] [Accessed on 27th March 2014]
  4. Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Ogden CL. Prevalence of obesity and trends in the distribution of body mass index among US adults, 1999-2010.JAMA. 2012;307:491-7.
  6. The Better Sleep Council. (April 2013) Survey: Americans know how to get better sleep-but don’t act on it. [Online] [Accessed on 27th March 2014]
  7. Bailey RL, Gahche JJ, Miller PE, Thomas RP, Dwyer JT. Why US adults use dietary supplements. JAMA. 2013;173(5):355-61.
  8. Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Layton JB (2010) Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review. PLoS Med 7(7): e1000316. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316
  9. Schoenborn CA, Adams PF, Peregoy JA. Health behaviors of adults: United States, 2008–2010. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Statistics 10(257). 2013.

Break the stigma. Mental illness is for real. Suicide is for real. Become educated and talk about it. You might be that person who saves a life or reaches out for saving. Don’t be the one who asks, Why?