Growing positively from trauma

Capture

(Image standard copyright Dyslexia Scotland)

Several years ago, I had some negative experiences in employment.  These were caused by my dyslexia and people’s unhelpful responses to it, both before and after I was identified.  In this blog post, I’d like to tell you about 7 things that have helped me grow positively from these negative experiences.

1)    Counselling

About a year after the experiences, I started having flashbacks.  I didn’t know what they were – I was afraid I was losing my mind.  So I went for some counselling.

This gave me names for what I had experienced (trauma) and what I was experiencing (Post Traumatic Stress).  It also let me see that we can’t undo the past or forget it; but we can grow positively from it.  I started to see myself as a survivor instead of a victim.  This let me start to gain control over the traumatic experiences.

2)    Stress Control

Stress Control’ is a course that tells you how to manage stress.  I attended one presented by some psychologists from my local NHS trust.  There was a question box.  I asked ‘Is Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) different from “normal” stress?’  The short answer was ‘Yes, PTS is different.  But it’s treatable, by talking over the traumatic events in a safe environment’.  This reassured me because I’d done that in counselling.

3)    Independent research

Once I knew I’d experienced trauma, I was able to find self-help material on it.  Here are some resources that have helped me.

Trauma is Really Strange’ – comic book.

Making Sense of Trauma – How to tell your story’ – tells you how you can use narrative to grow positively from trauma.

The Forgiveness Project website and book – share people’s stories of forgiveness and photos.

4)    Ongoing support and self-help

I’ve gone to a mental health drop-in twice.  This has given me the chance to talk to mental health professionals about whatever I want help with.  They’ve been calm and non-judgemental and have helped me well.

I also asked a mental health organisation to recommend self-help resources on workplace bullying and emotional healing, which they did.

5)    Creative arts

Writing, singing and photography all boost my mood and keep negative thoughts out of my mind while I am doing them.

Attending some adult learning and Dyslexia Scotland Adult Network prompted me to start writing for publication.  My first piece was very cathartic because it let me make something positive out of my negative experiences.  Since then, writing has been a therapeutic and rewarding constant for me.

I sing in a couple of groups.  The beneficial effect of this lasts long after our practices and performances because the music we’ve sung replays in my head.  And I find myself singing it at odd moments.

I take photos of nature, for example the butterfly above.  I enjoy looking at the photos afterwards.  I often marvel at the beauty and detail in them.

6)    Lovely people

I attend an organisation weekly.  I greatly benefit from being part of it because the people there are good to be with.  They smile at me and call me by name.  They talk to me and respond to my dyslexia sensitively and intelligently.  They encourage and support me.  They are accepting, positive and kind.

7)    Being proactive

Doing things to protect other dyslexic adults from trauma has let me use my experience to help others.  For example, I wrote to my employer telling them how they could improve their management of dyslexia.

How about you?

What’s helped you grow positively from trauma?

By a member of Dyslexia Scotland

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