This page contains story snapshots, in the form of short quotes and images, that illustrate people’s experiences of post-traumatic growth.
The accounts are grouped according to how people were involved in the Black Saturday Bushfires. We spoke to people who experienced direct or vicarious trauma:
- People personally involved with the bushfires
- Workers or volunteers who contributed to the bushfire response and recovery efforts, and
- People involved with the bushfires in both a personal and professional capacity.
We have grouped the ‘story snapshots’ into these categories to emphasise that trauma, and post-traumatic growth, is not only experienced by people who are directly impacted by traumatic events. Volunteers and workers who provide support in the aftermath of traumatic events can experience vicarious trauma, which can have a significant impact on their lives. It is important to acknowledge all experiences of trauma and PTG.
Notably, the accounts provided by these different groups share a number of similarities. All referred, in different ways, to experiencing growth and discovering light within the darkness of trauma. Scroll down to see the accounts.
…accounts from people Personally involved
“… It hasn’t been easy but it’s certainly been valuable.”
“I would have never looked forward and thought that my life would be in this place. I think – I know – it’s a better place than what I was in five years ago [before the fires] because of the growth that’s happened. The growth that’s happened on so many levels.” (Kate)
“I have got a lot more confidence in myself, in what ability I have and what I can do” (Joy)
“I was doing poetry before [the fires], just for various speeches… [After the fires] it was a bit of an outlet that I had… However, this is a different level of poetry… I’m not a poet. I never thought I’d be doing poetry. It just came out…
What I like doing is actually reading it out and getting it out so that people hear” (Ray)
“I’m not grateful for the fires, but I am grateful for not only the opportunity to grow, but for the safe environment in which to do that…” (Kate)
….accounts from Workers & volunteers
“… we were almost like tortoises without shells after the event… [PTG] it’s something about growing the shell back or replacing it with something else…”
” … the Tree Project saved my life… The reason I’m happy and healthy and able to talk to people today is because of this project and the growth it allowed me to find…” (Cliff)
“…I’ve done things that I didn’t think were possible… what’s important is different…” (Anonymous Social Worker/Counsellor)
“…People might not recognize it at all…even though they may experience some element of post-traumatic growth, they may not even recognize it within themselves…” (Colin)
“… It’s been literally growing on the job…and there has been no handbook of how to do this…there was no reference point.. and so the growth is literally experiential…” (Liza)
… accounts from people personally & professionally involved
“The first thing that stands out is that I got to know my community better, I’ve got to meet people …”
“… I would not have liked this to happen, and I’m still processing what has happened, but I do recognize a growth in me …”
“… The post growth…it’s so multiple, on so many levels …”
“… There were a lot of beautiful things and beautiful things that people did within the devastation…” (Rouve)
“…I have the ability to do, and to deal with, a lot more than I thought…” (Dale)