woman wearing floral dress blocking sun with hand while walking on sand dune in desert

Mental Health and Resilience

Is it ever ok to give up? Cultures around the world are inundated with myths, lore, and tales of a protagonist overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles and emerging triumphant. They’re admirable, they’re heroic, and we strive to be like them. How do they do it? It’s not that they’re unaffected by tragedy and hardship. Their secret is resilience.

The concept of resilience can be difficult to pinpoint, but I think this quote by Janna Cachola encapsulates what I think of as the essence of resilience.

“Resilience is not about being able to bounce back like nothing has happened. Resilience is your consistent resistance to give up.”

Resilience does not mean that you’re the same after your ordeal as you were before; we’re constantly changing. It means that even in the darkest of times, we either wait for it to pass, or we work to change our reality. These are both demonstrations of resilience- sometimes you just have to hunker down and hold on. But no matter what, we refuse to give up.

TW: This section discusses suicide

September 10th is International Suicide Awareness Day. In the last few days, I’ve been reflecting on what it means to be resilient in the context of mental health.  Cultivating resilience is one way to help us resist hopelessness and feelings of helplessness. It puts the power back in our hands. It says “I can get through this, no matter what.” This line of thinking is in no way a judgment on those who have died by suicide. It’s simply an attempt to continue a conversation started by researchers, therapists, and people fighting mental illnesses every day.

I’m no stranger to the importance of resilience in mental health. I’ve thought about suicide in such detail and for so long, sometimes it seems like an acceptable option. At the same time, the part of me that values hard work and persistence is appalled that I would consider giving up. It’s a dangerous balance that I need to monitor carefully in order to remain safe. Resilience doesn’t mean that you have to do it on your own. Rely on the people who care about you and all of your other resources. Ask for help, and accept it when it’s offered. As the saying goes, you’ve survived every single bad day so far- that’s a damn good track record.

– Love, your brain


“i was not born with roses
in my chest
to be afraid of thorns.i was born to
in spite of them.”
― Vinati Bhola, Udaari

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