From Post Traumatic Stress to Post Traumatic Growth!

On April 1st, 2007 I was assaulted in a bar in my hometown. I suffered physical injuries, which took the best part of a year to recover from, but the psychological effects from the trauma shook me to my core and unbeknown to me at the time, they would be the gateway to starting a new path in my life. With hindsight, I believe in many ways, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. (It still feels bizarre to say that out loud!)

I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress. My confidence vanished, I no longer wanted to socialise and I clung to the closest people around me with smothering desperation. With the help and unrelenting patience of a few of my beloved nearest and dearest (you know who you are), understanding and supportive work colleagues and an occupational counsellor, I started to recover myself and my new journey began....

I always remember the first conversation with my therapist (who is now a friend). He asked me, “So what do you want to get out of these sessions?” I replied, “I just want to get back to how I was before” to which he responded, “well I don’t think I can help you. I specialise in evolution and growth.” You can understand why we are still friends!

2007-2008 was a tough year, both personally and professionally. At the time I was in a high pressured sales management role and a lot of things were changing in my personal life too. My best friend/soul mate started dating her now husband, my beloved dog died and my confidence in my physical and psychological self was incredibly shaky. I was a difficult person to deal with on all levels, but thankfully no one gave up on me. However, it wasn’t all bad. I still managed to laugh every time my bestie and me woke up in a morning after a few drinks wondering where I’d put my temporary teeth! And they were a great way to ward off unwanted advances!

By March 2008 I started to see a few chinks of light shining through. To celebrate the end of my physical recovery (and a permanent set of teeth!), my best friend and I went off to Canada (to visit my mum and have a snowy adventure) and then on to New York for sunshine and fun. It was very cathartic and gave me a taste for adventure.

The process of recovery and the work with my therapist led me to start questioning the direction of my life. I felt I needed a break from the rat race, some timeout to discover myself and the world. At the beginning of 2009 I asked for a 5 month sabbatical from work. I decided I wanted to travel, but not before I got my black belt in kick boxing! Something I’d been working towards before the assault and was now determined to see through. In June 2009 I set