life · social issues

Resilience

I have just finished reading Resilience by Anne Deveson, an exploration into this indescribable characterisitc – ‘we all know what resilience is until we try to define it’ (Dr George Vaillant). Anne writes that it has come to mean an ability to confront adversity and still find hope and meaning in life.

This week my adversity has been searing pain each time I use my bowels, following a colonoscopy to supposedly get rid of hemorrhoids. I’ve had the joy of enduring these for seven years since my first pregnancy. I spent the last week of my last pregnancy living off painkillers to enable me to be. When I asked the doctor if it would effect the delivery process (as far as I was concerned this pain was already torturous!) he just laughed – fortunately (?!) he was right labour pain is of course an entire league of its own!!

This morning I was also awoken with an overwhelming negative attitude. My dreams all night were forebodingly dark and my children awoke before the break of dawn. I’ve given thanks for a family I love (even while I hate!) and a roof for shelter, all whilst apologizing for the lack of strength to shake this mood off. Two hours passed since I was rudely awoken, I yelled at each family member and returned to bed the moment my husband seemed more awake than dead. This week I’ve finally had freedom, study done for the year, hooray! But my resilience felt mighty low.

Tim Costello’s review on the front cover suggests the book demonstrates ‘resilience as a celebration of life’ and as it follows the last days of the author’s dear friend, indeed it does. The Victorian government is currently discussing a euthanasia ‘assisted dying’ bill where I wish it would spend money on palliative care and sharing story’s like Anne’s of all the trauma of death but also the honour and dignity (perhaps not bodily) of the journey.

If you love, you grieve (Thomas Lynch). You fall in love in a thousand ways, and you grieve in a thousand ways (Allan Kellehear). ‘For some…pain filters through more slowly, a little at a time as the body can bear’. I do not believe I am very in touch with my emotions. The months of November and December seem to be harder for me, the end of year rushes and conclusions, so much anticipated but then here and leaving me with the question of what now? And of course the anniversary of my Harry’s birth(death)day.

But perhaps I am learning the art of resilience, I took a walk, I folded the washing, I even played a bit of monopoly and while not on my list of top ten saturdays, today was ok.

How has your Saturday been?

Do you have a definition for resilience?

Have you experienced hemorroids, Dr Google I believe is shocking on this topic so please feel free to discuss here 🙂

 

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4 thoughts on “Resilience

  1. Oh Jen, I feel your pain. I had a colonoscopy over a year ago, and I will not have another one. I had so much trouble afterwards, and seriously exacerbated my lower back pain. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had that trouble.
    My Saturday has been introspective, with a surprise visit by friends to mow my lawn (they know I haven’t been well)!! So lovely.
    Bad health keeps expectations in perspective, I believe. I literally take each day and try not to have any expectations. Perspective is such a big part of resilience, I think. This could be a long chat 🙂

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    1. I;m so glad to hear you’re well supported by your friends! Can’t believe D is due back this weekend already, is that right? I hope you are feeling better.

      I hadn’t thought about perspective in relation to resilience but yes I think the ability to rise above adversity could be measured in regards to how we can put it into perspective? I always wonder about the lowest common (denominator?) though and how they can put life into perspective…

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