Emotional resilience is the ability to adapt to stressful situations and to overcome adversity. I’m recently experiencing a recurrence of depression that had been well managed for many years. I’m grieving, living with health problems, and dealing with major stressors at home and work. I think it’s the combination of those factors all happening together that’s capsized me. I know that I’ll be okay eventually, but I’m finding the depression very hard to deal with. I feel my resilience has become exhausted.
I believe resilience can be restored and grown. Here are some commitments I’m making to myself based on common factors that build emotional resilience:
Resilience: I will make a conscious effort to cultivate resilience in myself and to acknowledge the resilience that I have.
Acceptance: I will accept these struggles, hard times, and losses. I will accept myself and those around me as we are. I will accept that this is an incredibly painful and difficult time. I will not expect myself to bounce back immediately. This will take some time.
Faith: I will have faith in future possibilities and joys that are to come. I may not know what they are yet, but I know they will come.
Perspective: I will strive to remember that this acute pain is temporary. I will feel better. I will also remember that these problems are not me. I am having to reshape my identity, but I will not be defined by my problems. I will practice mindfulness to help maintain perspective.
Perseverance: I will let go of many things, but I will never give up on myself. Even if I have to let go of some hopes and dreams, I will try everything in my power to achieve them. I will overcome obstacles if possible using faith and creativity. I will shape new hopes and dreams. I will get through this.
Responsibility for Myself: Although I am not in control of anything except myself, I will be in control of myself even when it feels like I can’t. I will take responsibility for myself, my actions, and my responses. I will not blame myself for things beyond my control and I will not be a victim. I will identify the choices available to me and will change the things I can with courage and wisdom.
Self-care: I will take incredible care of myself. I will meet all of my basic needs for sleep, food, water, and exercise. I will seek the medical care I need. I will read and write about my challenges and find healthy ways to release the pain I feel. I will find ways to have fun and pamper myself.
Support: I will seek support from friends and family. I will be more open about my challenges and I will be more direct about asking for support. I will continue to reach out through blogging and other online resources. I will reach out through my faith.
Emotional Awareness: I will do my best to identify my feelings and why I feel that way.
Humor: I will continue to laugh at myself and life’s difficulties as a way of coping.
Care for Others: I will tend my important relationships, especially with my husband who is living through these challenges with me and experiencing his own hard times. I will find ways to get out of my own head and my own problems by providing care and support for others.
Image: Weeping willow (Salix babylonica) by Pierre-Joseph Redouté, public domain. I chose a weeping willow because of the weeping (obviously!), but also because of the resilience willows show to bend in winds and floods without breaking.
Text copyright Snowdroplets, 2015