Resilience: Building The Ability to Bounce Back

Where did this come from? I pointed to a note someone had left in my husband Vito’s ICU unit where he was lying paralyzed. A serious case of Guillain-Barré, a neurological disease that attacks the myelin sheath around nerves, had rendered his body’s nerves useless. I had gone out to grab a quick lunch only to come back to find a yellow post-it note with some words scrawled on it. Who left this? I asked as I re-read the quote, beginning to tear up. The words landed squarely in a well of vulnerability and need that I hadn’t yet named. Despite my outward facade of having it all handled, I really needed to hear those words. That quote meant someone believed in our family’s ability to handle this latest gut punch, even if I was feeling kind of shaky. The ICU nurse smiled and said that Dr. Jason Litten-our son Nick’s oncologist-had dropped by. He only had a short break from his own duties, but wanted to see Vito and spend some time with him. Jason was especially important to our family. He had been the lead on Nick’s oncology team from the moment that Nick was diagnosed at age sixteen and had seen us through some really hard times. It was precisely that knowledge of who we were as a family and what we had gone through that made his words so powerful. He believed in us and in our ability to get through this. But even more than that – Jason held up a mirror so that we could see it ourselves – our own resilience. He...

5 Traits You Will Want In the People Around You In  A Crisis

For some people, the automatic reaction to a bone-jarring shock or fearsome event is to retreat or hunker down alone.  While that is a very normal initial response, research supports that isolation during a crisis, is associated with significantly worse outcomes than those who chose to  to others. Resist the urge to handle the crisis by yourself.  Pull people into your life who will support you. You probably will not be operating optimally during the initial shock. Having other people around who will can be vital. As the crisis continues, having friends, family and others who can help you navigate the many obstacles, hold onto your hope, remind you of who you really are, despite how you may currently feel, give wise advice, or help you think through important decisions is invaluable. Based on personal and professional experience, there are five characteristics that seem to be most helpful to have around you, when finding your way through a serious life upset. Pick the ones that resonate with you  and then start making a list of those people who naturally exude that trait. Don’t expect to find all five in one person but if you do, you’re lucky!   Supportive in the ways you need: Most of the people who show up to help in a crisis will want to be helpful to you. Unfortuntely, their idea of how to help may not match your own. Do you need someone to get stuff done around the house, take care of logistics? Then having someone who wants to just hug you and talk about how awful it may not be what...
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