After taking a tumble this week, I am reminded of the power of resilience.
Dictionary.com 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.