How Can I Be More Resilient?

How Can I Be More Resilient than I Already Am?

We all know that life can throw challenges at you that can knock you off-balance. Even the most mentally tough person can be knocked sideways by events; losing a loved one, being made redundant, stress of moving home. There are a vast plethora of events that can turn your world upside down. Recently it was raised with me that I’m not coping as well as I should be, that despite all the medication and counselling, I’ve not progressed as well as expected. Looking at what’s been going on over the last six months, I can see why. I’ve returned to work, I’ve moved house, I’m battling with an ex over custody arrangements of our children. I’m still learning how to cope with dragging myself to work on days when depression wants to sink its claws in and drag me back to bed. And even though I’m doing it, I’m managing to deal with everything that has been going on, it’s still not enough. Asking for more support in certain areas has led to some questioning whether I’m well enough. It’s also led to me thinking how can I be more resilient? On the days when my ex is being a tool, or when a stranger in the street has reminded me so much of my late dad that I’m tumbling into darkness; how? How can I be more resilient to that other than through what I’m doing already and time?
Who Sets the Standard?
We are all guilty of a ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ mentality. We look at others and measure ourselves against them. Be it their success in work, the big house, the perfect children or the great figure and looks, we all do it. We set the bar so high from what we see others seeming to manage effortlessly, that we set ourselves up to fail.
But there’s a dirty little secret to all this. You have absolutely no idea what is going on in that person’s life. The shiny perfect exterior that you envy so much? It’s just that. An exterior. You have no idea what is going on beneath the surface. For those who suffer with mental health issues, a mask is incredibly important. It hides the struggle and darkness within. The death of Sophie Gradon this week, along with so many others that seemingly have the perfect life on paper, shows that a pretty smile can hide a lot.
When I spoke to a friend about the comments that had been made to me, she cocked an eyebrow at me and asked. ‘So they’re mental health experts now, are they?’ She’s right. The person who made those comments is not a mental health expert. My doctor is. And my doctor says I’m improving. Compared to where I was 6 months ago, compared to where I was a year ago I’ve come one hell of a long way. Yes, I feel I need to find ways how I can be more resilient, but when you look at everything I’ve been through, I’m more resilient than some think.
So how can I be MORE resilient?
That’s the tricky part. No-one is infallible and everyone is different. Yes, there are things we can do to improve our resilience. Taking time out, practising self-care and being more assertive can help improve resilience. They really can. But equally no-one has the right to tell you how resilient you should be. It’s that whole ‘just get over it‘ mentality wrapped up in different words. We are all different. Our resilience flexes with the stresses and strains of life, like a branch of a tree in the wind. We can help shore it up and strengthen it so that it can battle the smaller storms, but sometimes there may be a storm that causes a break. But, just like a tree we can heal, we can grow. New shoots can appear from the break and head in unexpected directions.
So in answer to the question, how can I be more resilient? The answer is this. You will be. It just takes time and no-one can know how long or in what form it will take. But when it’s there, you’ll know.

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