Unfortunately, most of us know the term PTSD- post traumatic stress disorder from the many who have suffered different types of trauma. Trauma can be the result of either a physical or emotional experience. Although the disorder PTSD has some very specific criteria, feeling as if you have experienced some distressing or disturbing event is not unusual for those who have been diagnosed with a serious disease like cancer.
An alternative outcome of cancer can be Post- Traumatic Growth.
This refers to the positive psychological changes that can result from highly challenging life circumstances . The idea that suffering can yield positive change is thousands of years old. Some of these changes are – a greater appreciation of life, a changed sense of priorities, warmer more intimate relationships, a greater sense of personal strength, and recognition of new possibilities or paths for one’s life and spiritual development. I ask you to think about some of these ideas and if you can identify positive changes in your life since you were diagnosed. I am not trying to minimize the struggles you have gone through. I am simply asking you to take some time to think about what has resulted from cancer that has enhanced your life and your personal growth. You might like to go to a Web site on the American Psychological web page and take the Post Traumatic Growth Inventory. It is a interesting view of the kinds of changes that can happen.
We have talked about how healing is finding balance and involves the mind, body, and spirit. Here is a definition of Health by Reverend Stan Hampton in Palo Alto, California
HEALTH H- HONESTY E -ENERGY A -ACCEPTANCE L– LOVE T -TRUST H – HOPE
Another view of trauma is from the Chinese who have a symbol for CRISIS which includes both DANGER and OPPORTUNITY. Of course, no one wants crisis in their life, but when it is presented, you can work to move into the realm of possibilities and Post -Traumatic Growth.