I started writing this post the other day. Usually I write posts in a few minutes in one go. If ever I don't finish a post it's because I know it's not working and I trash it.
But this post just sounded.... too depressing. And it's not meant to be a depressing post. It's an insight into something I've been thinking about a great deal: what it actually means to be resilient.
So I'm trying again, whilst I'm in a cheerful mood (coincidentally after a cup of tea and a slice of cheesecake).
To me, resilience is the effort it takes to keep pushing through when times are tough. It is the ability to get up and keep going instead of letting the difficulties beat me. I don't need to be resilient when things are going well. Right now I feel happy and relaxed and am not consciously calling on any coping mechanisms or willpower (other than resisting another slice of cheesecake).
I need to be resilient when I am sad or anxious or scared or exhausted, when I don't think I can cope but I don't have a choice.
And I don't have a choice. Very few of us do. There are days when I'd dearly love to just get back into bed and stay there, and days when I actually do hop into bed for an hour or two. But I always get up. I have to.
But as I said, resilience is an effort. It requires great energy. And anything that requires great energy is exhausting. Running a marathon is exhausting. Cleaning the house from top to toe is exhausting. And pushing through when times are tough is exhausting. Sometimes just getting through my regular routine on a day I feel particularly lonely or burdened takes a huge amount out of me. I collapse into bed feeling like I've competed in the Resilience Olympics, where the challenges are emotional rather than physical, and the only prizes are getting through the day.
I've been depressed in the past and, to me, being depressed is to lack the energy it takes to be resilient. When I've been depressed, I can't compete in that Olympics. I can't push through. I can't get through my tasks and win that prize.
A lot of us need to have a great deal of resilience. People all around you are pushing through their days instead of sailing through. Life is tough, and that's just the way it is. But let's all remember that being resilient takes a huge amount of effort, and to understand their exhaustion and to nurture them that little bit more.
And if they struggle, be there to help them through. Because no-one can compete in an Olympics without a support team, especially an Olympics of the soul.