I read this article at my friend Helga Luest’s, Trauma Informed Linked In post and shared a comment and I thought to dive a bit more, into why I feel the way I do about ‘resiliency‘.
Here is my post comment to the article – Natural Resilience to Major Life Stressors Not So Common – Association for Psychological Science
I am glad they are talking about this. – “Previously it was thought such interventions may not be a good utilization of resources or could be detrimental to the person,” he said. “But based on our findings, we may need to rethink that and to think after the event: What are the best ways that we can help individuals to move forward?” – I have come to the belief, that yes, there is a natural resiliency in all of us…BUT, if one has been knocked down, one too many times, one becomes ‘punch-drunk’…and yes, you may get up off the mat, but, there is long term damage. It is the multiple stressors that tear people apart – ‘death by a thousand cuts‘. And this is why I have trouble with society, treatment providers and fellow trauma survivors in how they treat and view others who are struggling – we cannot compare ourselves to what others have experienced. We have not walked in their shoes…how often do we get the opportunity to sit down with someone and hear their life’s story?
“Great Spirit, help me never to judge another until I have walked in his moccasins.” Sioux Indian Prayer
As human beings, we all have a vast amount of experiences in life and for many, trauma plays a big part in our journey. We love to read the books, watch the movies and hear the interviews of the survivors of trauma, abuse, cancer, war, etc, and how they overcame their obstacles and found a way to find meaning in life and learn to thrive. I too, love to hear of these stories of courage and perseverance.
But…I take great exception to those, who compare the folks who have gone on in life successfully, to those who are still struggling – we do not know, what else they have encountered in life or what may be going on in the present. And all too often, if they lacked love, nurturing and support in childhood, well, that makes the navigating of life and its traumas, even more difficult to overcome. We need more compassion and empathy, and maybe a helping hand, not judgment.
Think of how many people self-medicate on TV, movies, sports, drugs, alcohol, to name a few. Yeah, they are getting by in life, showing up for work and punching in at the clock and yes, some level of resiliency helped them survive, but is this thriving? And what of the disenfranchised, those who look to be broken down, struggling in life – the folks whose spirits have been crushed. We don’t need to look to far, take a visit to the local mental health peer support center and the mental health treatment center they attend. How often do we get the time to sit down and listen for an hour, as this person shares parts of their life? And yes, you can share with them all of the latest peer support info, trauma informed care and practices, but if we are not engaging them wholly as human beings, with no judgment and casting of your thoughts on why don’t they just move on and get over it, because you did, well, that will not help. And how can they move on if they are over-medicated? How do we reach folks and help them up, not hold them down?
People are hurting all over this world and there are great examples of kindness and caring in reaching out to those in a world of pain and suffering, but we need more of that, especially among ourselves, those who have been educated and trained in peer support, trauma informed care, etc – there is still a mindset among some, well, I did it, so you need to. I do believe all can heal…but for some, the journey may take a lot longer and unless you have walked in their shoes, please leave the judgment police at home.
Please take a few minutes to listen to this song – I feel it touches upon what I have shared, thanks! “What A Shame”, Shinedown
Thank you and take care, Michael Skinner
PS Any thoughts, please send them along – Contact Me