The pandemic is a great source of trauma for many around the globe. Billions of people are experiencing trauma from COVID-19, whether it’s economic struggles, anxieties, depression, health struggles, and loneliness. Many are anticipating financial issues, and that can be a source of great stress and trauma. Many have been alone during the lockdown and they might be still inside by themselves, working from home without any or with little human contact.
What happens when it’s all over? How will this trauma affect us in the long run? We hope that one day this will be all over, and when it is we can grow stronger as a society and individuals or become weaker.
Many have heard about the PTSP (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), however, not a lot of people have heard about PTG (Post-Traumatic Growth). PTG can be defined as an enduring and beneficial experience and outcome of a traumatic experience.
Situations such as war, terrorism, being a victim of violence, or natural disaster can cause PTSD. However, something like a difficult relationship or sudden financial struggle, death of a family member can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. Basically, any situation that causes us great stress can lead to PTSD. Every traumatic experience can lead to disorder or to growth.
The fact that so many don’t know about the post-traumatic growth is troubling. We can become stronger after a trauma. Knowing that growth is an option and understanding what comes with it, can lead to hope in dark times like these. Hope matters! Depression is sadness without hope and knowing there is hope and there is a way to become stronger can give you the strength to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder in a way that serves you.
When we have hope, we are not just mere victims left at the mercy of a traumatic experience. With hope, we can be active in dealing with stressful events.
How to experience post-traumatic growth?
The most important part is accepting the pain, not rejecting it. We should allow ourselves to be humans rather than machines who are in control of everything. We are not in control of some events happening to us such as the government lockdowns. There is nothing we can do until the experience of living through this pandemic disappears.
It’s important to reach out and ask for support. You can reach out to a mental health professional, your friend, family member, or colleagues who care about you. If we were taught to deal with things on our own, we have to change that as soon as possible. We are not alone and as social beings, we don’t operate alone. For loners, it’s hard and sometimes almost impossible to reach out.
How can you ask for help? Make that first step. Call someone who can give you a helping hand and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Once you make that first step, stay on track, and follow up with friends and family members. If you feel like you need professional help, don’t be afraid to go out there and find professional help. Become an active member of your community. That is the best way of finding a support system and new friends within your community.
Also, give meaning to the situation that you are dealing with. Find a lesson that you can draw from that experience. One common meaning that people give to traumatic experiences is that things happen to teach us something, to help us grow, to make us stronger. While this might work for some, it won’t work for everyone. Those who lost loved ones or who experienced a major economic setback will struggle with the narrative that “things happen for the best.” However, although things don’t always happen for the best, we can make a choice to make the best out of the things that happen to us no matter how difficult it is.