The road to resilience

I recently lost a very dear friend to brain cancer. I watched her health deteriorate, she maintained the strength to fight. Because of my own experience with my body letting me down, I initially was able to identify with her discouraging moments. After a while though, death approached and although I was not able to know what she was feeling, I was there to be with her. I promised to meet her where she was and be honest. I’ve been able to be resilient with my own physical challenges, but losing a loved one is taking me to new lows and reminding me I have to move forward. I found a helpful article that many of you might identify with as you face your low days and disappointments. When we feel depressed, it’s important to feel those feelings and be true to the down times. We also must try to be resilient.

What is resilience?

Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.

Here is an interesting read on resilience from the American Psychological Association:

From The Road to Resilience: Factors in Resilience

A combination of factors contributes to resilience. Many studies show that the primary factor in resilience is having caring and supportive relationships within and outside the family. Relationships that create love and trust, provide role models, and offer encouragement and reassurance help bolster a person’s resilience.

Several additional factors are associated with resilience, including:

  • The capacity to make realistic plans and take steps to carry them out
  • A positive view of yourself and confidence in your strengths and abilities
  • Skills in communication and problem solving
  • The capacity to manage strong feelings and impulses

All of these are factors that people can develop in themselves.

Strategies For Building Resilience

Developing resilience is a personal journey. People do not all react the same to traumatic and stressful life events. An approach to building resilience that works for one person might not work for another. People use varying strategies.

Some variation may reflect cultural differences. A person’s culture might have an impact on how he or she communicates feelings and deals with adversity — for example, whether and how a person connects with significant others, including extended family members and community resources. With growing cultural diversity, the public has greater access to a number of different approaches to building resilience.

Some or many of the ways to build resilience in the following pages may be appropriate to consider in developing your personal strategy. Read full article here

I’m bored of this ostomy game…

Do you find having to change your ostomy appliance an emotional hurdle? If you don’t, I’d love to hear from you. No matter how many years I’ve managed my ostomy, I find the process of refreshing my adhesives and pouch to be draining. Yikes, no pun intended. I do, I just don’t like it, put it off until I’m tired, or I’ve had coffee or I just want to go to bed but I can FEEL it MUST be changed. Thoughts on that? I try to do morning management but the early part of my day is packed already, let alone stopping to stare at the part of my body that’s always on my mind anyway…

Good Form

art

When I was in the hospital recovering from ostomy surgery, I was very low emotionally. Despite my attempts to cope, some days I just couldn’t muster up a smile, and felt little comfort in the smiles of others. Some days I felt shame, dull sadness or simply felt sorry for myself.

One day, perhaps on a whim, my parents brought me an artist’s figure. This simple gift turned out to be a coping mechanism for me, helping me face the day. Not only did I spend hours bending and twisting it’s joints, this figure became a tool for communication – acting as a barometer for those that entered my life and my room. Each day I would pose it to reflect my mood. Typically the form’s head was low, or arms crossed, some days the face was in the hands or cradling it’s belly. Other days I lay it face down flat on it’s stomach – something I imaged I would never do again.

One day the fog of my misery cleared and I felt hopeful. I thought about sketching my little wooden friend and about all the other things I would do once I was released and able to restart my life anew. I’ll never forget that day my parents entered my room and saw my little figure, back arched and arms stretched – palms up to the sky. They smiled knowing I’d turned the corner. 

Get one for someone you love who’s suffering. It’s the simple things that can turn the day around.