The Power of Resilience

Debi Wilson avatar

by Debi Wilson |

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Faith of the Mustard Seed

After taking a tumble this week, I am reminded of the power of resilience. defines resilience as:

“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.”

Yep, that’s pretty much how l felt after my fall: bent, compressed, and stretched out. I was walking up a platform-type of step, and my leg went out on me. One minute I was upright, then I felt a sharp pain in my right knee. I ended up flat on my back with my walker on top of me.

My 7-year-old grandson came to my rescue and pulled the walker off. He wanted to help me up, but I said, “No, I better wait and assess myself.” Luckily, I came away from the fall just very sore. I reminded my grandson that his grandma is “one tough cookie.” I could have also finished that sentence by saying I am also very resilient.

I believe having multiple sclerosis has strengthened my resiliency. Those of us with a chronic illness usually confront many challenges on a daily basis. Experiencing and moving on from those setbacks can make us stronger, leaving us more equipped to quickly bounce back.

An article by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society titled, “Resilience: Addressing the Challenges of MS,” states, “Resilience helps create a mindset of growth and opportunities, of seeing obstacles as challenges rather than threats.” The video included in the article shares insight from MSers on what resilience means to them. Strength, flexibility, and adaptability were all qualities mentioned as being important to resilience.

Having the strength to be flexible helps us to adapt to our new way of life with MS. By knowing our limitations and experimenting with new ways of completing tasks, we can discover what works best for us. By being flexible and lowering our expectations of what we can do, we become more adaptable. It is important to stay focused and to persevere, no matter what our medical diagnosis.

There’s also great advice in an article by the Mayo Clinic titled, “Resilience: Build skills to endure hardship.” It explains that resilience won’t make your challenges disappear, but it can help you to see things more clearly. You can gain the ability to see past your issues and see the light at the end of the tunnel. Plus, having resilience can help you better manage stress.

The article suggests that when building your resilience, it is best to face your challenges head-on, to roll with what you are dealt, and to keep functioning. You still might experience an array of emotions, but the main thing is to keep going. Having the support of others can help you succeed with this as well.

Another key point mentioned in the article is that resilience can help you avoid depression and anxiety. I find this to be true; if struggles are not dwelled upon, you can move forward from them, and depression and anxiety do not have time to settle in.

We tend to become what we tell ourselves. By moving past any setbacks and believing we are “one tough cookie” (strong and resilient), eventually, we will be.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


jude MacMillan avatar

jude MacMillan

excellent article! And really quite true.

Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

Thank-you Jude!

David avatar


I hurt whoever helps me up. I hate that. At 6 4 260lbs I'm big. I need help up 10 to 30 times a day more than I do. I just need to walk a few risky steps each time to rebuild.

Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

Best wishes to you David! I know MS takes a lot of resilience! Thanks for sharing! Debi

cindylou evans avatar

cindylou evans

my mom, gave me a charm over 50 years ago with a small yellow seed visible inside, told me she hoped I would make it grow. thankfully I must have. Although it is still in its little orb, with its unflattering name; the idea of it has spread and grown to support me as one of my talisman and whimsical comforts. Thank You,I am almost 60. I try to ignore my MS daily.

Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

Great story Cindylou, thank-you for sharing! Debi

Catherine avatar


A great article, thank you for sharing! I took a tumble on Monday evening - in the pouring rain, outside a busy London underground station during the rush hour. I could not have picked a worst spot or time. I was soaked, sore and feeling very sorry for myself. However two wonderful people helped me up and one of them, a young guy who offered me his bottle of water, was on a crutch! My overall feelings changed to that of gratitude. I wasn't seriously hurt and the people who helped me renewed my faith in human nature. I'm still sore (and the bruises are amazing) but I am carrying on because for me, there is no other possible option. If this is resilience, then bring it on!

Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

I love your story, thank-you for sharing it! Finding the good in a bad situation and the kindness of others always makes me smile!
I am so glad you are ok! Catherine you are very resilient and "one tough cookie":) Debi


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