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


Ask anyone how they grieve and you’ll receive a different response every time. There’s no wrong or right way to mourn the loss of a loved one or friend. The best thing you can do revolves around taking time to grieve; some people don’t and that’s when moving forward turns into feeling stuck in wet cement or quicksand. It took me over two years to reach “acceptance” the final stage of the grieving process. With the proper support and grief/trauma counseling, I moved forward. I thrived.

In a recent episode of Extreme Weight Loss on ABC, the person whose life required transforming is the widow of an Army soldier who completed suicide as he dealt with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) after a deployment to Afghanistan. Their adopted son deals with PTSD after his dad ended his life. This lady never took the time to grieve for her husband. She hid her pain and turned to food as a way of coping. While I don’t know first hand how to deal with PTSD from serving in the military, I do have an understanding of what PTSD is since I received treatment for it following my husbands completion of suicide. One does not treat PTSD on their own; treatment exists and one can recover from it under the proper care, but it does take time. While you reduce the trauma, symptoms can linger for years to come. There’s much information about PTSD and while I won’t approach it more on here, I’ll do so in another post.

I’ve included the link to the episode of Extreme Weight Loss I mentioned.

Extreme Weight Loss, Melissa’s Journey