Anatomy of a Survivor: Building Resilience, Grit, and Growth After Trauma

By Joyce Mikal-Flynn, Dave McGillivray

Anatomy of a Survivor details the exact makeup of survivors describing how they used their inner strength to build resilience, navigate through, and ultimately grow from traumas and major life challenges.

In 1990, after a sudden cardiac event, Joyce Mikal-Flynn was dead for twenty-two minutes. While CPR and determined doctors returned her to life, she came to find that this new life wasn’t her life at all. Faced with depression, personal and professional setbacks, she ultimately recognized that this was not an end point—but a beginning. Over time, she understood that taking control begins with the essential choice to move forward. Her struggles fueled her. You got this, she told herself with every obstacle, failure, and misstep.

Trauma and crisis are inescapable aspects of life. Generally framed as something to get over, trauma never fully leaves those who survive it. For over two decades, Dr. Mikal-Flynn has worked with and studied issues faced by survivors. She understands and recognizes their desire to move forward, identifying specific mindsets and behaviors that encourage progress. Making the choice to move forward, fierce determination, and well-researched actions are key for survival and growth.

Interlacing stories with research on genetics, posttraumatic growth, and the neuroscience of resilience and happiness, this book outlines how survivors of trauma structure a positive and productive response. An ingenious strengths-based rehabilitation system—metahabilitaiton—engages them by uncovering and developing their strength, grit, and resilience after trauma. This book shows you how survivors are built and presents a unique system guiding them forward.