Post-Traumatic Thriving: The Art, Science & Stories of Resilience
by Randall Bell, Ph.D.
The 21st century brings with it many different challenges. Our world is not the same world that our parents and grandparents grew up in, nor will it be the same world that our children will grow up in, as technology vastly outpaces itself. In this modern world we have crime, drug abuse, alcoholism, war, famine, natural disasters, terrorism, racial tension, the raging pandemic and most of all anxiety. With all of this suffering and trauma people have to learn how to heal themselves in order to learn to function again. And they can. People learn how to take their trauma and cope. Dr. Randall Bell, a sociologist and economist who specializes in disaster, trauma and recovery writes about bridging the work of psychologist Dr. Kübler-Ross's five stages of grief, the work of Dr. Richard G. Tedeschi and Dr. Lawrence G. Calhoun. In this book he also uses stories from people who have overcome their traumas to become whole again. Included in that group is Dr. Bell himself.
It is estimated that up to 85% of people have been impacted by some form of trauma. I can include myself in this statistic. I grew up in a dysfunctional home. My mother was schizophrenic and my father was both verbally and physically abusive to me. Also, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was a teenager. Reading this book was exceptionally enlightening for me. I am not usually one for the "self-help" genre. Usually I find them insipid and honestly full of silliness. However, Post-Traumatic Thriving: The Art, Science & Stories of Resilience is based on sound psychological principles.
Dr. Bell takes the reader on a journey from traumatization to healing by dividing up the book into sections and weaving the stories of successful trauma survivors throughout. The first section is called the Dive Stage: We Get Knocked Down. As in, where you experience the trauma. This is where the work of psychologist Dr. Kübler-Ross's five stages of grief comes in. The fives stages are: shock, denial, anger, bargain and depression. Section two is the Surviving Stage: We Get Back Up. This is where you face the trauma head on and learn coping mechanisms to help you heal. This includes confrontation, sorting, experimentation, acceptance and mindfulness. The third section is the Thrive Stage: We Blast Off, whereby you actually apply these techniques and learn to be a happier person version of yourself again. A thriving version of yourself.
Personally, I have experienced many traumas in my life. Not only was I exposed to abuse, mental illness from my mother, attempted suicide on her part and my own, but I also had a life changing benign tumor that left me permanently disabled and a car accident that also further disabled me. After this my husband divorced me and I became even more depressed. Then the pandemic hit. I became housebound almost 24/7.
This book came around just in time. To be honest, I was feeling despondent. However, after reading this book and applying the methods Dr. Bell describes in it, I began to understand that I have to take responsibility for my self and pick myself back up. I have two grown daughters who are relying on their mother's love and support. Abandoning them is not an option.
Post-Traumatic Thriving: The Art, Science & Stories of Resilience is a must read for those of you who cannot break past the barrier of suffering through your own traumatic experience(s). In this book you will journey from suffering trauma to overcoming trauma through proven psychological techniques that are applicable to anyone. The personal anecdotes included allow the reader to understand how trauma effects people and how anyone can overcome it. Dr. Bell is world renowned for his ability to aid in trauma, disaster and recovery. He's worked at Ground Zero after 9/11 and with Tanya Brown, Nicole Brown Simpson's sister. He has suffered his own trauma (a congenital heart defect) and recovered from it to actually climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Reading this book will change your life, it helped me immensely.
Until Next Time~
(review copy provided)