Traumatic experiences can bring personal strength, new possibilities and improved relationships through reflection and growth. For Courtney Lawson, marketing director at National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Southeast Minnesota, growth after trauma also brought a greater appreciation for life.
Following the suicide of someone close, Lawson found herself unanchored. “It disrupted everything I believed. Everything in my life changed. Six months after it happened, I worked in a different place, lived in a different place and had a different partner.” Now, four years later, Lawson is positive and hopeful. Here is how she got there, in her words:
Feeling her true feelings
I kept thinking I should feel sad or devastated, but I was just mad. I felt I was doing things “wrong”—not feeling how I should feel. Realizing that I needed to banish the “shoulds” and just “be” was liberating. I started to disclose more of my true experience to others.
Owning her story
I was angry that someone else’s action became a huge part of my story. Then I realized that I could continue to let it overshadow or move on.
We hear about living for the moment—that tomorrow isn’t assured—but I don’t think we truly believe it until something life-altering happens. Now I live on my terms. ::