The word "resilience" and "resilient" sit uncomfortably for me.
I've seen it used for belittling, dismissing, gaslighting, invalidating and bullying more than I've seen it used for good.
How do we measure resilience?
I think we do ourselves a huge disservice as a society by being so fixated on "overcoming".
The incessant and frenzied drive for people to FEEL and BE better than they do and are; the panic around people needing time out from their daily lives meaning they need to be supported to get over it as soon as possible is such a superficial way of supporting people.
We spend so much time sitting around talking about what causes everything and how we can fix it, that we completely bypass the most important factor in developing any kind of emotional intelligence and/or resilience at all.
Sitting with discomfort.
Leaning into our thoughts and feelings.
Exploring what disturbs us and why.
Understanding ourselves and how we operate neurobiologically.
We tend to be so quick to assume that neurodivergent communities lack resilience or courage when we're unable to attend school or work for others (as just a couple of examples of non-conformist or divergent cultural factors) but what we don't understand is that neurodivergent people have seldom had inclusive, suitable and accessible, culturally sensitive and respectful solutions to our challenges, as a result of what has been offered to us by others.
This is because there isn't anything WRONG with us.
We're just divergent.
We're created for different ways, different thinking, different feeling and doing and the many paths that often still lead to the same destination as many of our non autistic peers.
And sometimes, for us, the destination isn't the bloody point!
We have had to develop tools and remedies for our challenges, often alone and after years of trauma.
Yet in comparison to allistic or non neurodivergent solutions, our ways are judged as incorrect.
We are resilient. We are strong. We are still here and this is the point.
Many of us know what works and what doesn't, what feels right for us and what doesn't; and yet we have the looming threat that if we don't get on board with those allistic cultural ways, our children may be removed (school avoidance) or we will be forced into parenting courses.
We become strong because we have had to FEEL.
We become strong because we, even in our best efforts to mask, cannot be anyone other than who we are SUPPOSED TO BE.
We are forced to experience the disturbances, the discomfort, the resulting co-occurring mental and chronic physical health conditions.
Resilience isn't OVERCOMING who we are.
It's showing up every single day, facing a world that is often difficult for us, exploring pathways for ourselves and being who we are.
That is resilience.
Neurodivergent people are already resilient.
Image Credit: Freestocks.org
(Image description: a photo of a young, green seedling sprouting from the ground. The ground is covered in small rocks)
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