Are you resilient? When I was asked to give an ‘inspirational’ talk on resilience recently it had me questioning whether or not I was actually that resilient? 

Watch highlights from my River of Reslience journey with Roger Cheetham

You only need to watch my vlogs to see how I have my good days and my dark days. 

So whilst I have overcome huge challenges and battles in my life and have used them to a positive. I still find myself feeling defeated and hopeless some days when it comes to more recent trauma. 

But then I thought about my daily life. And whilst I’m not a picture perfect image of a “survivor” or somebody who has 100%  “recovered” from life’s traumas, I am still here. I am not just surviving either I am growing and flourishing. 

That doesn’t negate the fact that at the moment I wake up feeling crippled by my anxiety but resilience means that I fight that and I get up and I do my day. 

The dictionary definition of resilience:

i) The ability to become strong, healthy or successful again,

       after something bad happens.

ii) The ability of something to return to its original shape,

        after it has been pulled, stretched, bent etc.

Am I resilient?

I also get over trauma and challenges a lot faster these days so whilst I am still stifled at times, it’s good to appreciate your personal growth. 

“You haven’t come this far, just to go this far” 

So for me my resilience is reflected in the fact that I somehow cope even when I feel like I can’t. I somehow fight those horrid heart palpitations and tears to continue living. 

And I know things will get easier. Which is why when giving my speech on resilience (and when I talk publicly I take myself back to my darkest moments), that I appreciated just how resilient I am. 

It is easy to become a prisoner of your past and a victim of the injustices that you may have encountered, but it is harder to work on being resilient to keep on going. 

Can you learn to love yourself?

That doesn’t mean recovery and life is an upward trajectory of increasing positivity.

To me being resilient is giving ourselves time to reflect and recover then learning and growing from whatever trauma we have faced. 

It’s true that sometimes in times of utter despair and feelings of hopelessness, that we really do find our true meaning in life. 

“Once you know your ‘why’, the how is easy.” 

My darkest times are definitely the moments in my life which have led me to find my calling. From vlogging openly about my mental health to writing a book on my eating disorder recovery. 

Anxiety and Parenting

“Resilience is about taking life from good to great” 

So whilst I am far from picture perfect in terms of “recovery,” I am honest and raw about my mental health and how I manage, how I struggle and how I thrive.

I guess I am what you call “highly functioning” because I push myself and am stubborn not to let my mental illness win.

“No matter how dark things get, you can emerge stronger and more positive.” 

It can still be hard to be highly functioning because often you don’t tick boxes when it comes to getting support and help. And often people don’t realise when you are struggling. But at least I know that the wave will pass and that I will emerge stronger and wiser than before the wave hit.

“I want to stretch you not break you”

So when it came to giving a talk at Roger Cheetham’s event River of Resilience (Roger survived an attempted murder and is now a public speaker sharing his own story of resilience), I realised just how resilient I am to be able to keep battling my demons.

For me, resilience is personal because it is not the big feats of my life where I look back and think “wow I was resilient” to go through that. For me, it is the daily challenge to get out of bed on a morning despite my mood and anxiety. For me, it is to do my day even when I feel like hibernating.

Human connection is important in this day and age of social media

And it is good that I get out into the fresh air because the online world can be too comfortable which limits us to seeing people in real life. Where I think a good mix is needed.

That said, when I am really bad I struggle to phone anyone or see people but I still show up on my vlog and to work. So my resilience journey isn’t perfect but it is doing it my way.

Excitement is the same as nervousness 

Another nugget from the event I spoke at was changing our mindset to see nervousness as excitement as they are similar emotions. So rather than feel nervous about ‘meetings’ or seeing people, I am going to try and be excited about it and try and think of all the positive things. Granted, it may not always work, but we can try.

My favourite quote is “feel the fear and do it anyway,” and everyday ‘I feel the fear and do it anyway’ at least once a day. That way I feel accomplished and it is those little steps of resilience which make me resilient.

THE MANY FACES OF MENTAL ILLNESS

"From feeling like I don't want to be here anymore… to feeling invincible and on top of the world and loving life. "This is me. Just a week in my life living with mental health problems. "The highs and the lows…"I am glad sometimes to be mad. As it makes me creative, crazy and different and unique. "And other times I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. "I want to be as open and honest as possible as you know me, I don't really hide anything (online anyway, in real life I do!). "I wear my heart on my sleeve and I hope that by being as open and honest as possible will help others…" MENTAL ILLNESS COMES WITH MANY FACES: IT CAN WEAR LIPSTICK, IT CAN HIDE AWAY, IT CAN BE ON STAGE, IT CAN WEAR SMILES OR TEARS. IT CAN GET DRESSED OR IT CAN BE HOUSE BOUND. (IF ONLY THE CRISIS TEAM UNDERSTOOD THIS TOO!). WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE FOR YOU? WHILST I WHOLEHEARTEDLY SUPPORT MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEKS – WHAT WE DO NEED TO DO IS PUT OUR EFFORTS ON SUPPORT, SO WE ARE NOT JUST ENCOURAGED TO "SPEAK OUT." SPEAKING OUT IS RIGHT FOR SOME BUT FOR OTHERS DAILY TASKS ARE A HUGE ACHIEVEMENT. AND SPEAKING OUT DOES NOT FEEL RIGHT. SO IF YOU NEED YOUR MASK (HOWEVER THAT IS) TO KEEP YOU SAFE, DON'T FEEL BAD.I HAVE MADE A CONSCIOUS CHOICE TO SPEAK OPENLY ONLINE AS I'M A TRAINED JOURNALIST SO IT'S WHERE MY EXPERIENCE IS. BUT YOU ARE AN IMPORTANT PART OF THIS WORLD WHETHER OR NOT YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH, I JUST HOPE YOU ASK FOR HELP WHEN NEEDED (SOMETHING I AM TRYING TO DO TOO, IT'S A WORK IN PROGRESS). "BE WHO YOU ARE, NOT WHO THE WORLD WANTS YOU TO BE." AND IF YOU SPOT SOMETHING THAT SOMEONE'S STRUGGLING WITH. JUST BE THERE, ASK THEM IF/HOW YOU CAN HELP, MAKE GENTLE SUGGESTIONS AND SEEK ADVICE WHERE NEEDED. Much love and peace xxxx Sophie Mei Lan xxxxPS/ AS EVER THIS IS FROM MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE NOT PROFESSIONAL ADVICE.

Posted by Mama Mei on Friday, 18 May 2018