How love, support and exercise can help you build resilience after trauma

How love, support and exercise can help you build resilience after trauma

How love, support and exercise can help you build resilience after trauma

Updated 21 June 2017, 15:50 AEST

We asked you how you coped after a traumatic event, whether it be an accident, injury or death in the family.

How do you navigate your way through the psychological aftermath of a traumatic event?

When we asked for your experiences of building resilience and coping with trauma, you told us about the family members, partners and communities that helped to anchor, support and guide you along the way.

Here are some of the stories you shared with Nightlife and ABC RN.

Nick Gleeson, Sydney: Love from his parents

"I was leaving the supermarket with my mother, and as I stood on the mat and the electronic swinging door opened, I went through, and it suddenly closed, hitting me on the temple and causing me to fall down.

"It caused a bit of blood and some tears. We thought nothing more of it, because often little boys and little girls do things such as falling out of trees and fences. But two or three days later, suddenly I could only see half of everything, and my parents rushed me into the eye hospital.

"I remember looking up into my mother's face. And that would be the last image I'd ever see before I became totally blind.

"As a seven-year-old, it's hard to measure trauma. But what I do remember is the love of my parents and particularly my older brother who became blind in a separate accident, two years earlier. That love and support was so critical in the adjustment, especially in those initial days and weeks and months to come."

Charles, Perth: The promise of marriage

"I already had two heart attacks and was wearing a pacemaker and a defibrillator. That's probably how I survived a car accident at 78.

"I got to hospital and they didn't like my prospects at all. I had a lot of broken bones and dislocations. But, six months earlier, I'd become engaged to a widow who had been widowed, like me, for 10 years.

"My family brought her to Sydney, where I was at the time, and I said to her, 'I'm no proposition, I don't think you should proceed; you're released if you'd like to go,' and she said, 'I'm sticking with you.'

"That was a tremendous motivating force, and I just couldn't wait to get out of hospital. It took me six weeks. The accident happened in November and we'd already set the date for February and I just had to be right for then. We're still married."

Mick, central NSW: Endurance sports

"When I was 10 in 1960 I suffered a horrific sexual assault at a deserted railway station while waiting to meet my uncle.

"Sport seemed to be my saviour after this to some extent. Later, in my earlier 20s, my wonderful younger brother was tragically killed.

"I then indulged in heavy drinking and gambling. Eventually, after hitting rock bottom in life, I began competing and training in endurance sports, which became my rock and catapult into a better life."

Kerry, Canberra: Support from family

"I waited two years at home on oxygen, essentially dying, for a transplant. I ended up having a double lung/heart transplant.

"It was very traumatic and a huge trauma for the body, so I also required a lot of psychological support. The love and the support of my family was the most important thing to get me through.

"I don't think I've ever gone back to where I was before all this happened to me. I've had to find a way to move forward.

"At first it was incredibly hard, and it felt insurmountable to get through the obstacles, and the trauma of post-traumatic stress disorder, but now I know I've got that resilience, I've got that fight, and I say: 'I've survived a double heart/lung transplant, there's not much I can't do.'"

Sam Bloom, Sydney: Time in nature

"I love being out of the wheelchair, being surrounded by the bush and the birds. Depending on what time we go out to paddle, the light's all different."

"It feels beautiful just travelling through the water. It always gets rid of my pain, for some reason, when I paddle. I don't know if I just forget about the pain, or it gets rid of the pain. I love being back out on the water."

It wasn't just kayaking in nature that helped Sam Bloom after an accident left her paralysed; it was also an unlikely friendship with an injured magpie, and her supportive family. Hear more about the Blooms' story on the latest episode of This Is About.