I have blogged about resilience before – and how I feel I have none whatsoever. But yesterday I was challenged to rethink this. To consider whether my presumption of non-resilience is in fact true.
1. the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
2. ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.
Certainly physically, my body is incredibly resilient. I’ve put it through hell and it has served me well. I recover from physical illness and harm very quickly. Psychologically I felt I wasn’t resilient but this has been challenged. Perhaps I’m more “elastic” than I thought. So I had a quick google for all the synonyms for resilience (well not all… that would take too long) and perhaps I can relate to some of these words.
adjustable, affable, alterable, buoyant, can-do, changeable, convertible, easy-going, effervescent, flexible, hardy, irrepressible, quick to recover, realistic, rolling with punches, strong, tough, variable, versatile
So when I look at that list, I think okay – perhaps my resilience score is not at zero. Perhaps I have some. I know there are times when I have none at all. Conflict I can’t do. And funnily enough, this was mentioned in my session with the psychiatrist today – something I will be working on. My ability to be resilient and affable, realistic and tough under conflict is non-existent. But in other circumstances I am prepared to concede I may have aspects of resilience.
My recovery from disordered eating is probably the most obvious and relatable example. I am not recovered – yet. Far from it. But I’ve been pursuing this gig for years and have had some crazy highs and horrid lows. I have never been “in” recovery. I have good days, bad days, and periods of horrendous months at a time. But I have never given up on seeking recovery. I’ve been knocked to the ground more times than I can count, yet eventually I will stagger to my feet and hope to hell this time will be different. So from my little list of synonyms I think I can be flexible, hardy and irrepressible. This makes me feel a little bit hopeful to be honest. I also have my mother’s voice in my head telling me to stop boasting, and my grandmother’s voice saying, you’re not perfect you know, but I am working hard to quiet those voices and listen to others. Perhaps those among the living who have my back and stay strong when I am not.
Today my resilience was tested regarding conflict. Not conflict that involved me, but involved people directly in front of me. I have an overwhelming need to fix things, to make everything better, to respond to the conflict and help them just calm the farm. But in both these circumstances I was utterly powerless. The conflicts were unrelated to me in any way whatsoever, and there were people in charge of the situation and my input would not have been welcomed or even permitted. So I had to hide in my room and cry instead. Just pray that it all ended soon and everyone involved was okay. Which of course they were. But despite not having grown up in a violent household, any type of conflict sends my anxiety through the roof and I feel like catastrophic things are about to happen. I couldn’t get through lunch and was still shaking hours afterwards. It was a perfectly over-the-top response to a conflict situation that was none of my business and had not been resolved.
So resilience? I find this so tricky to align myself with as I feel that a resilient person would know when and if they’re responsible for a situation and remove themselves physically and emotionally if they were not needed. I cannot do that. I’m wearing everyone’s emotions wrapped tight around me like armour and I can’t shake it off.
However resilience when it comes to making a decision to do something and just go for it, well I can do that. If I decide I want it bad enough I will fight tooth and nail and fall over a thousand times then stand up a thousand and one times. I’ll accept shame and humiliation as the price I have to pay for my failures and try to set my eye upon the prize. And the prize I now seek is recovery. If I knew what it looked like, I would have my eye firmly set upon it right now.
So in contrast to my previous post on resilience, I now concede that in some areas of my life I can become and behave in an extremely resilient manner. There are areas I need to work on, but for now I’m surrounded by professionals who will gladly work with me towards those goals.
So is this girl resilient? Almost.