Remembrance Rituals for Post-traumatic Growth
Remembrance Rituals help us refocus and look back on traumatic events in a way that promotes Post-traumatic Growth 😊 We reflect on our progress from that day and hopefully discuss with our support network.
It’s important to focus on what has helped us through that time, and manage the PTSD flare-ups or sadly, re-traumatising episodes and unhelpful relationship crises.
One of the most powerful learning given to me by a client was when a mother brought her high-school-age son in for trauma counselling, following the death of his best friend. She was concerned that her son wasn’t “getting over it.” Groan! He told me that he was finishing the project that he and his friend were building……….
Yes 😊 Because that’s what his friend would’ve liked him to do!
So now I always ask people what the person they are grieving for would like them to do with the life they still have.
That fortunately, is what I’ve done since a life-threatening encounter. I was only 17, and in the middle of my exams that in those days determined university entrance. I was successful in achieving so many goals, outlined in my CV resume.
Today I just want to acknowledge a young couple were not so lucky on 18 November, 1979 as I was the day before. They had no chance as the gunman shot them as they pulled up in Dawesville for a picnic on Sunday morning while I was in Midland Police Station identifying the car which he abducted me in, on Saturday afternoon. We didn’t know it was happening, obviously, but the police were wonderful at keeping me safe when I really needed it.
The police set me up in an office with my study books to focus on my Yr 12 exams the next day. I stayed until I drove to my follow-up counselling appointment located at the home of the SARC staff member. All I remember is that she went on leave after that. So, the police CIB let me drop in or phone whenever I was anxious about the whereabouts of the armed escaped prisoner who had made it clear that he was waging war a racial war.
The policeman who was supposed to shoot the prisoner when they closed in on him in 1979… gave me a job when I was at my lowest after somebody took everything I brought to start the first training course for long-term unemployed people to become carers for elderly and disabled in 1992 -3.
Thanks to listening and transcribing the taped interviews he did as a private investigator after leaving the police force, we became aware of PTSD. We co-wrote the assessment reports for the insurance claims. We knew who was genuine or not – because we both suffered PTSD. Takes one to recognise one.
Even though I was 17 years too late to lodge an application for Victim Compensation, he put me in touch with a lovely criminal lawyer, Richard Bayly who negotiated a tiny ex-gratia payment from a government who violated my privacy and safety, yet again in the process.
Richard Bayly wrote one of the Forewords and was guest speaker at the launch of my first book which emanated from the 62-page Victim Impact Statement he asked me to write. The other Foreword was written by my writing mentor who checked that everything was clinically correct, including having a comprehensive psychiatric assessment to prove the diagnosis was correct.
Dr Rowan Davidson set up the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist, and presented at many of the free public forums I organised and spoke at via the Traumatic Stress Recovery Association which I started and funded out of my visa account.
In 1997, Rowan co-authored a paper which I presented in a question – answer peer critique session in Maastricht, The Netherlands at the European Society of Traumatic Stress studies. Colleagues from all around the world kind of – treated me like a queen!
The trauma-support groups still run today, see more here 😊
Remembrance Rituals can be as simple as this – writing with gratitude, looking on the bright side, being thankful for all the great things you’ve done as a result, despite it all – 😊
Remembrance Rituals can be even simpler, read your CV or resume, and update it 😊 Mine is on my website 😊 Just phone if you need some help transforming your trauma to inspiration Ph 0417 997 016 😊
PS 😊 Laughter is the best medicine with friends and family who you trust with your deepest secrets. I just phoned my amazing aunt in Europe who is nearly 99yo and we just laugh and affirm each other for an hour, even when discussing traumatic things. Her parting advice:- just keep working hard, writing and teaching others from [my] bad experiences – and have fun, laugh a lot, be careful climbing the ladder, and you’ll live till nearly 100 years old like me
😊😊 Below is a link to my online FREE book
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