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Climbing the Mountain: Finding Resiliency in Recovery

By: Heather Niemas
August 17, 2021
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Climbing the Mountain: Finding Resiliency in Recovery

I ran into the word resiliency while I was on social media. It was a reminder of something I wanted to embody. I thought maybe this could be my word for the year. It sounded hearty and tough. It showed a lot of grit.

Last year and throughout this year, I have held onto the word hope. It has become sort of a mantra for me. Originally, I held onto others’ hope for me. Then, I began to start little by little holding and owning my own hope. I was hoping resiliency could take a special place in my heart this year, and hold the same power as the word hope.

When I think of resiliency, I think of falling down and getting back up even though it is really hard. It is putting one foot in front of the other, and doing the next right thing. It is learning when to ask for help. It is not a sign of failure, but a sign of strength and wanting to get better.

So when I proceeded to look up the definition online several things came up. One was the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. The next part of the definition was the ability of an object to spring back into shape. This definition defeated me. What if I have no shape to bounce back to? What if I am lost, crumbling, broken, falling apart? What if I don’t have a mold to come back to?

I was very discouraged after reading these definitions. I shared this with my therapist and she sent me this description of resiliency.

Resilience is “like climbing a mountain without a trail map. It takes time, strength, and help from people around you, and you’ll likely experience setbacks along the way. But eventually you reach the top and look back at how far you’ve come.”

I realized after reading this, I am scared of the ups. I’m scared of reaching the proverbial top of the mountain. What if it wasn’t what I had hoped for? What if it all comes crashing down again? What if I am too broken? I haven’t experienced the ups very often. I am a professional at holding the downs. The downs are really tough and heavy. The ups feel good, however, there are risks in holding hope. You are very vulnerable. It is scary to put yourself out there. It is uncomfortable when my body is not used to it. So how do I step into the hard, the scary, the uncomfortable? I think I do it by taking the next step. Just do it. One moment at a time. One choice at a time.

So I am climbing my own mountain. The trails are windy and sometimes come back on each other. I think instead of waiting until I get to the top to look back, I will rest along the way. I will need help, connection, and occasionally someone to remind me to look back to see how far I’ve actually come. I’m starting to have some ups along with my downs. I try to step into the hard with my strength and those around me helping to hold me up. I am going to take that step.

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