When you feel like you can’t bounce back

Down for the Count?
– RESILIENCY: Bouncing back from Setbacks –
NOT the usual rah-rah post

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

What IS Resiliency?

of resiliency.com says:

“Resiliency is the ability to overcome challenges of all kinds – trauma, tragedy, personal crises, plain ‘ole’ life problems – and bounce back stronger, wiser, and more personally powerful.”

While I don’t disagree with her, exactly, I would label her definition positive resiliency.”  Over twenty-five years working with the ADD/EFD community have taught me that making the distinction between rising like a phoenix and getting back up AT ALL is IMPORTANT.

hang-in-there-baby-you-ll-get-through-thisThose of us here in Alphabet City need to feel like we have a shot at mastering STEP ONE — bouncing back at all — before we can keep the faith that we can move forward (with or without increased power).

More than simply TIMING

  • Attempts to motivate of the “stronger/wiser” variety may be what’s called for in the neurotypical community and with folks whose lives have remained relatively on-track (although I am inclined to wonder if perhaps they merely tolerate them better).

I’m fairly sure that point of view is not particularly encouraging or effective with people whose lives have consisted of setback after setback.

They strike me as insensitive when said TO those for whom life seems little more than crawling out of one hole after another.

Those are words for them to invent (or not) as they begin to bounce back, not a concept for others to wave in front of their shell-shocked eyes like a red flag in front of a bull.

  • Said TO us as we flounder, those stronger/wiser words tend to hit our ears as they might if we were prize fighters over-matched in the ring, barely making it to the corner in a daze — only to hear our managers tell us that we’ll be better fighters as the result of being beaten to a bloody pulp.

Few of us are particularly motivated by the thought of getting “stronger and wiser” about about the ability to tolerate a continuation of life’s abuses!

We want to somehow be able to keep the faith that we can get through them THIS time!

If we hamstring the resiliency process with “stronger, wiser, and more personally powerful,” many too many of us are likely to stay on the mat (or out of the ring)!


Don’t forget that you can always check out the sidebar for a reminder
of how links work on this site, they’re subtle  ==>

Life is simply tougher for some

DazedPrizeFighterLooking for an illustration for my last point, I came across a WONDERFUL analogy in a Diabetes support article authored by Cotton Rohrscheib. 

With only slight modification, it describes the lives of almost any of us dealing with chronic conditions of many types.

“For the most part [fill in your chronic condition here] is like a prize fighter waking up in the 3rd round of a boxing match with the realization that they have 7 more rounds left and they are getting the crap kicked out of them by an opponent they underestimated.

Oh, and they may have also wet their pants on their way to the mat in the last round.”

Distinguishing Resilience

Although it is NO help with bouncing back into action, a quick check of Websters helps me explain what I mean by Step One Resilience:

: able to revert to original size and shape
after being stretched, squeezed, or twisted

Selected Synonyms: bouncy, flexible,
rubberlike, stretchable, supple

Related Words: (selected) adaptable,
malleable, pliable; limber

Near Antonyms: unyielding; brittle, crisp, crumbly, flaky
Antonyms: inelastic, inflexible, rigid, stiff

I do NOT, however, exactly embrace the concept that returning to our “original shape” is the goal (or even possible or appropriate in some cases) — unless we think in terms of returning to a state where we no longer feel like a nothing so much as a victim as we continue our slide into depression.

Other Points of View

I like the perspective that Patricia Morgan (from Woe to WOW) articulated in her article comparing and contrasting human resiliency and the oft-cited resiliency of a rubber band:

Fortunately, we are not rubber bands. When we snap, crack or break we don’t end up in a garbage can.  We can access help and get back on track. We can bounce back stronger after our personal and professional walks through fire.

Rubber bands demonstrate resilience but we demonstrate even more flexibility, bounce-ability and spring when we practice basic hardiness and wellness strategies.”

She makes it pretty clear that “stronger,” in the way in which she employs it, means less likely to snap and break apart under stressful situations — as long as we work on some strategies designed to help.

I also resonate with the musings of

Sure, you’ve lost your husband, you just got fired, and your house burned down with your dog inside – but damn if you aren’t resilient for being able to bounce right back.

No matter what happens, “All is right with our world as long as [other] people can just ‘put it all behind them and move on.’ ”

But is that really resilience? Or is it just denial?

And, I have to ask, WHOSE denial?

Isn’t some of the advice ’round the world actually more of an insistence of sorts that the victim collude with our Panglossian fantasy that we ourselves live in “the best of all possible worlds.”

Resilience, the Opposite of Depression (but not Happiness)

Over the next few articles on this topic, I want to explore what others have found helpful in their “keeping on despite struggle” lives as I attempt to come up with some basic dos and don’ts that will encourage us to believe that if we get up again it might be worth it!

I KNOW that a great many of the readers of ADDandSoMuchMore.com persevere despite daunting circumstances that would bring many of the resiliency gurus to their knees.

How do YOU “keep the faith,” as it is often described — how do you keep from giving up in despair?

  • I am especially eager to hear from those of you who struggle with chronic pain, clinical depression and bipolar disorder.
  • How do you keep from making what is too often labeled insensitively as “a permanent decision to a temporary problem”

PLEASE share how you cope with the rest of us — down there in the comments, or by giving us a link to an article you have written on your own blogs or websites.

Keep it to one link per comment or you’ll be auto-spammed, most likely, but you are invited to leave as many comments as you have articles that relate.

Meanwhile, I’m going to continue to troll the ‘net using my personal and practiced emotional geiger counter to see what the gurus have to say that those of us with neurological struggles that lead to domino problems might find useful.

It takes a village to transform a world!

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IN ANY CASE, do stay tuned.
There’s a lot to know, a lot here already, and a lot more to come – in this Series and in others.
Get it here while it’s still free for the taking.

Want to work directly with me? If you’d like some coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this Series (one-on-one couples or group), click HERE for Brain-based Coaching with mgh, with a contact form at its end (or click the E-me link on the menubar at the top of every page). Fill out the form, submit, and an email SOS is on its way to me; we’ll schedule a call to talk about what you need. I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!)

You might also be interested in some of the following articles
available right now – on this site and elsewhere.

For links in context: run your cursor over the article above and the dark grey links will turn dark red;
(subtle, so they don’t pull focus while you read, but you can find them to click when you’re ready for them)
— and check out the links to other Related Content in each of the articles themselves —

Related articles right here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com
(in case you missed them above or below)

Other supports for this article – on ADDandSoMuchMore.com

A Few LinkLists by Category (to articles here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com)

 Related ‘Round the ‘Net

About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

19 Responses to When you feel like you can’t bounce back

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  12. wendy says:

    One of my most (cough) favorite things I’m told is: “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.

    Well I should be the strongest person in the world by now!

    I’ll look through my blog and see if there is anything I’ve written that says how I really deal with things.

    One thing… as was commented earlier…adapt.

    I have said, this life isn’t what I expected, so I change my expectations….often if needed. 🙂

    I think you know that mindfulness has changed my life. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction has really helped me. Being more mindful and not judging myself has helped me deal with all of my chronic illnesses.

    I had a hard time with the judgmental part. Even recently, when I had a mess up with my meds, I felt that come back, but practicing mindfulness changes you. You live in this moment and do not judge it. It’s hard at first, but you keep practicing and things change. It has helped me so much.

    Just accept this moment. Don’t beat yourself up over the past…that is also a big thing with being bipolar, I couldn’t remember a lot about the past, what I may have done to hurt others, so letting go of the past has been huge!

    Also, not living in the future. With a chronic illness that has changed my future plans so much, it was hard to not live in the wishes of the future that wouldn’t happen. Or keep planning for a future that couldn’t happen, and keep getting let down.

    Mindfulness teaches you cannot live in the future. The future cannot be predicted; it will happen as it will. You can make plans, but you must be able to change as things change and because they will….that is the only thing that is certain, change. There will always be change. We must live in this moment, it is the only time we really have.

    That is how I really handle my life. I live in this moment. I know the next moment I cannot predict and it could be completely different.

    This moment I could be very depressed, but the next could be so much better. This moment I could be having very bad vertigo, but the next it could stop. Also, this moment I could be having a great time, but the next I could fall.

    So I will make the most of this moment. I will live in this moment and do everything I can to make this moment count. Because this is the only moment I can do anything about.

    No sense in worrying about the past or the future. I live in this moment without judgement.

    So that’s what I do now. That hasn’t always been how I dealt with things, but it is how I deal with things now, and it has changed my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Wendy, I was SO hoping you would feel well enough – and have the time – to ring in on this article. Thank you SO much.

      And I hope you know that ANYTHING related on your blog will be welcomed here with open arms. (hope you don’t mind that I added some emphases and white space to your comment. I want EVERYONE to be able to read what you have to say!)

      READERS: Wendy is THE guru where staying positive despite being beaten bloody in the ring is concerned! When my own life gets tough, a quick read of Wendy’s blog – positive without being Pollyanna, with ALL the health issues she has to work with and around, physically and mentally – is one of MY coping strategies.

      Click over to Picnic with Ants and read a about what she always finds a way to soldier through, and you’ll immediately feel better too. (also check out ABOUT ME while you’re there)”

      She tells it like it IS – but with such grace and humor – and finds time to support everyone else, most of us struggling with so much less. [WENDY: I would add “helping others” to your particular list of coping strategies]

      Hugs, love, kisses, white light – and an entire year of RADIANT health (with a bunch of doctors committed to same) is my prayer for you in 2015.
      PS. Implant – YES! Does that mean that someday we could actually talk on the phone?


      • wendy says:

        Madelyn, I would never mind you using anything I say….especially on your blog…haha!

        I was thinking about this…a lot actually. I want to write about how I deal with things as a bipolar person….more so, how I dealt with things as a bipolar person right after I was diagnosed…..and how it has grown…

        I’m going to reference your post, if you don’t mind, at the beginning of mine….talking about how it was the catalyst for my post. And link back to it.
        I think you will like it.

        Thank you for all the lovely things you said about me….aw shucks!
        To think I was thinking about walking away from blogging….how could after reading that?!
        You are inspirational yourself ya know!

        xo -w

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m SURE I will like it – and OF COURSE you can reference this post (even grab portions of it, if you like). I’ll link BACK once yours goes live – so be SURE to let me know.

          I’m right with you about debating the place that blogging has in my life – given the time it takes and the relatively little feedback I receive. The jury’s still out for me – but people like YOU make it awfully hard to fold my tent and walk away. If YOU can manage it, who am I to bitch and moan?! (I WILL probably have to scale back, however)


      • wendy says:

        oh….Implant….yes, it does mean that someday I might be able to talk on the phone. I have blue tooth capabilities with my new Cochlear Implants, but I haven’t been able to hear with enough with them yet to understand a conversation on the phone. My hearing fluctuates, it really shouldn’t, I’m an anomaly, they don’t understand me at all. Some people with CI’s and Meniere’s do have some fluctuation after a vertigo attack, but I have a lot more fluctuation than that! *shrug* Who ever said I was normal? I do text. and I had a speaker conversation with a friend once, but had my husband help me with it…A LOT. It was a good birthday surprise for her though! But the short answer…hopefully I can talk on the phone in the not too distant future! I need to practice!! I’m so tickled you would want to talk to me on the phone. xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

  13. janetkwest says:

    My one word: Adapt. When raising my intense children and dealing with my intense self, it’s taught me to evaluate what is truly important and prioritize. Then I adapt everything around the important stuff. I appreciate the Distinguishing Resilience above. not everyone understands what it means. Thanks for your efforts. You put a lot of it in your writing and it shows.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m still stuck in a decision-loop about how much time to spend on ADDandSoMuchMore going forward. It’s helpful to see evidence that others are reading & find it helpful.

      THANKS!! After the year I’ve had, resilience is MUCH on my mind (and in my pins) – and so much of what I’ve seen online (written meant to motivate) leaves me, at least, despairing. Figured I wasn’t the ONLY one – lol.



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