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Updated: Aug 11, 2020

STRUGGLE WELL: Thriving in the Aftermath of Trauma


Struggle may come in different forms, and may be given many different names such as Anxiety, depression, addiction, and or PTSD.

Ken Falke and Josh Goldberg train combat veterans battling PTSD to understand and achieve Post Traumatic Growth PTG.

When we are struggling we are not living the life we desire or deserve. There is hope. This book teaches us the ability to embrace struggle so we stop surviving and start thriving.

PTG Post Traumatic Growth enables us to use times of struggle to create a life that is more meaningful, fulfilling, and purposeful. This book provides actionable strategies for making peace with your past, living in the present. and planing for a great future.



Sometimes things are going to be bad. If the title resonates with you. chances are you are going through a struggle. If you are seriously struggling: REMEMBER Struggle can produce profound gifts, if you can struggle well.

Step by step journey based on research and experience working with veterans and military family members who had PTSD. Inspired by Tedeschi who coined the term Postraumatic Growth, who emphasized that people could find meaning, purpose and significance even out of the worst tragedies.

PTSD shouldn't be a disorder that follows you around for the rest of your life. PTSD is like driving slow while looking in your rear view mirrors straight to your garage. EG Ferrari. PTG is like being in the drivers seat, looking out the front windshield, pressing the gas and being in the moment.

People want fulfilment and connection. They want purpose and progress. They want growth, love and peace. Making PTG happen we must understand that everyone struggles. Bad things happen, but what distinguishes the people who grow and prosper is the fact art they're not afraid to struggle. They embrace struggle because they know it's inevitable and even useful.

Trauma is nearly universal, PTG teaches us that it's what we choose to learn from our struggle that matters. Life is going to slap us in the face, maybe even punch you. You can choose to react negatively, or you can choose to respond positively. TURNING STRUGGLE INTO STRENGTH.

Two important messages: The conventional ways of dealing with trauma often leave people feeling stuck, damages, and as though they have been sentenced to life as a diminish version of themselves. PTG offers another path- the opportunity to use trauma and struggle to create greater meaning, deeper purpose, and a life that is more authentic and fulfilling than you could ever imagine.

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QUESTION: Can you think of a time you not only survived, you thrived?

"It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life" Joseph Campbell

Struggle is both inevitable and useful. Struggle and trauma happen in everyone's life. STRUGGLE IS USEFUL because it forces you to reflect on what's true about yourself and about the world. Look deep inside within yourself (stare into the abyss) to find the answers. When accept struggle we stop looking to other people, looking outside self for answers. When we look inside we start to see what's true and what resonates deep within you.

Posttraruamatic growth gives you the opportunity to claim a new lebel- a label that proclaims that you have been through a difficult times and you didn't simply survive, your thrived. You THRIVE not in spite of, but because of your experience.

FIVE DOMAINS OF GROWTH (Collect the treasures as you walk the path from struggle to strength)

REFLECTION: Think of something that you have been struggling and surviving through but not yet thriving? Now let's look through the lens of growth and treasures.

First domain of growth is DEEPER RELATIONSHIPS. When we struggle we have far greater sense of compassion for, and empathy with, other people who struggle. Greater sense of kindness for people.

PERSONAL GROWTH is the second domain of growth. When you get through a traumatic event and you not only survived, but thrived, you understand that you can get through anything. You feel stronger than you know.

The third domain of growth is SPIRITUAL AND EXISTENTIAL CHANGE. When you have a brush with death, thoughts of suicide, or any expereince that makes you realize the life you have isn't the life you want, you are forced to reflect on the deepest questions imaginable. "Who and I?" Why am I here?" Where do I belong?" You get to use the opportunity to change you life.

A SENSE OF APPRECIATION FOR LIFE is the fourth domain of growth. You come to appreciate the ability to simply breathe. You feel grateful to wake up ever day, to spend time with good friends, to watch sunsets, and to do fulfilling work. EG. Migraine Tumour.

The Fifth Domain of growth is about NEW POSSIBILITIES. When you struggle, the path that you were traveling is often no longer available. You now have the opportunity. and the obligation, to find a new path. Along the path you are introduced to new ways of living, new people who enrich your life, and new ways of doing thing.


1. EDUCATION: Knowledge is power and liberation. Knowledge allows you to have the keys to your own kingdom. Understand the impact the struggle has on your mind, your body, your heart, and your spirit. Recognize the physiological and psychological impacts of struggle so you can identify the signals that mean you are growing through them.

STRUGGLE IS BOTH INEVITABLE AND USEFUL. and that there is a great deal to be gained from pain and distress.

Learn how to STRUGGLE WELL and LIVE WELL. (link)

TIPS: Wellness Triangle: Strong inner triangle- sense of purpose, strong character, meaningful, relationships, and service- needs to be supported by strong outer triangle- solid mental, physical, and financial wellness.

2. REGULATION: Second phase is about finding practices that keep you grounded and well. Practices are things you actively do on a consistent basis that allow you to connect your head and your heard, and calm your mind and your body. Unhealthy habits are might be alcohol or drugs. Healthy practices like mediation, exercise, or taking a walk allow for calmness, stability, and strength. Gym, guitar, reading.

Struggling poorly ultimately gets you stuck in a mindset of reaction, putting you on a volatile roller coaster. What "ifing". Re-engage your heart- it has the ability to inject new ideas, hope, positivity, feeling, and balance. YOU OWN LIFE! MIND BODY FINANCES SPRIT. BALANCED.

3.DISCLOSURE: The third phase of PTG is hard work. As we travel on our life path we gain experiences, some good some bad. What we collect and what though out of our back packs, is up to us. We carry around experiences but typically don't examine them to understand the impact they have on us. Disclosure is about EMPTYING your backpack because it becomes to heavy to carry. Discuss and decide what you want to put back in. Don't be afraid to share what has happened to you during your life, not carrying guilt and shame with you anymore.

Look back to move forward. It's not what's wrong; IT'S WHAT HAPPENED. We typically fixate on the past, but without particular purpose. OR try to ignore it altogether.

Past is essential on your ability to move forward. Review mirror is helpful- it's there for a reference point to optimized your driving experience. Look not just for the bad experiences but also the gifts you took away from the past.

4. POSITIVE NEW STORY: What you carry with you going forward helps shape that story. You, and only you, get to decide what to carry in your backpack. You get to create positive story about your future. A story that speaks to who you are, why you exist. where you are going and who is joining you on your journey.

It's your turn to stop "the old story". See gifts and see how your story can change. cultivate compassion, network of good people, purpose (WHY? NOT WHY ME?)

Unpack and repack your backpack Discovering what to share and think. Retell your story and start making a new story. Use self-reflection. How you were. Who you are. Where do you belong. Who can you serve? Who are you seeking to become? Finding the good.

5. SERVICE: Throughout history, people we look up to (Martin Luther King, Mr.Rogers, Jesus- are people who believed that life is about what we do for others. Service is the focus. Service isn't just grand acts, gestures, but also act of listening deeply, allowing others to be honest and share their story. Set aside other distractions, judgments, and get present and ask questions. Listening to others allows you to set down your backpack.

Connection dissolves the energy of shame.

Definition of struggle: Internal tension Choosing to reconnect allows for deeper relationships, personal strength, new possibilities.

How to share your story and connect with others. Accept and give permission to struggle., Build a support network. Find your people.

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