Trying to combat mental illness and the effects it can have on you can be exhausting, hard, and can even make you feel worse. Nonetheless, resilience, or the process of fighting back and recovering from difficulties, is possible.
Resilience is a way to include positivity in your life and a way to fight back against the negative thoughts that often come with having a mental illness. It’s a way of like telling your mental illness that it doesn’t have more power than you have over yourself and that you can get back up when it knocks you down. There are tons of ways to practice resilience too, from changing behavior patterns or your environment to practicing healthy coping mechanisms.
Resilience acts as a type of protective factor, which are ways to prevent issues like more severe mental health effects from occurring. It’s different than simply trying to overcome your issues though; while it may sound like it’s the same thing as putting on a smile on your face and acting as if nothing is wrong, resilience is more about trying to find a way to battle your feelings and also means embracing that they’re in the first place.
But how does resilience look for adolescents specifically? One study interviewed five teenage girls who were being treated for various mental illnesses such as addiction, PTSD, and depression. Common patterns appeared in what all of them had to say; for example, embracing resilience for them was challenging, but they described the effects that it had on them to be really rewarding.
These difficulties came in the form of trying to find positivity when combating triggers or experiencing nightmares, or feeling like they were alone in their situation and trying to withstand trauma by themselves, especially because of things like stigma or being shut down when they did open up. They were able to find resilience through becoming more confident in dealing with their mental health issues, which led to an increase in self-worth, and it was something that they were able to work on not just with other’s help, but through their own individual determination. They were also able to find the resources they needed and simply just surviving when things felt like they were at their worst.
While it’s a journey, finding ways to be resilient against your mental illness is possible.
What do you think resilience is? How do you embrace difficulties or challenges that may come because of mental health?