“Recovering from trauma involves a process that leads to The Finding of the Self, probably for the first time.”
How To Find Yourself after a Traumatic Event
An entire community of 88,000 people fled Fort McMurray on the week of May 03, 2016. (This is the official number of residents from Stats Canada, but when I lived in Fort McMurray I did some work to collect data for Stats Canada and the real numbers were closer to 200,000. Most people didn’t report living there either because they viewed is as temporary, or they were living in a home with 10 or 15 others and didn’t want to report this, or other reasons.)
Being forced to evacuate your home and driving through a fire to safety is bad enough but then also having your entire community do the same would, without a doubt, cause a significant trauma response to the body & mind of the individuals going through the shock.
Interestingly, in Spring of 2016 my plans had been to drive to Fort McMurray and arrive in the first week of May to meet a friend and help them move back to Ontario. Later, I changed my mind so I did not go. But if I had have followed through with this plan I would have been in that city at the exact time of the fires.
I am so grateful that a different path opened up for me.
But for those who were there, I always think of what it takes to rebuild a life after such a devastating event.
The most important concept I like to share, which is extremely different than everything else out there, is that rather than focusing on removing the negatives it is more valuable to focus on adding positives.
So the key to growth after trauma is to focus on adding positives…not on noticing the negatives and removing them.
People can just look around and see what they are already doing well, as individuals, or as a family or in the community and just repeat what is working well often.
This is how new skills are developed, new capacities, new growth.
In time, the positives really do begin to out-do the negatives and eventually the trauma of the event disappears and all that is left is a memory of it – but the memory of it does not cause emotional distress anymore.
That is the goal.
I’m learning to write and speak about this idea.
I hope it helps others as it has helped me.