Resilience. 

the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness

I always thought I didn’t have resilience. If I had resilience, I would not have depression. If I had resilience, I would not have such a hard time when something happens and knocks me down. If I had resilience, I could deal with things better. I wouldn’t feel so much stress and anxiety. If I had resilience, I would be a better person. Or so I thought. I always felt bad for my parents, that they tried so hard to bring us up in the best care possible but I “failed” them by having so many problems with life. I think I mentioned before how much it hurt when I heard my dad sharing about a book he read on resilience and how those who lived with their grandparents or other extended family would have greater resilience…but I didn’t.

A conversation with my mentor has reminded me that we are all resilient in some way. She says that I’m actually very resilient. Having made it this far in pharmacy despite it not being something I was passionate in while having to deal with my chronic migraines and depression/anxiety. Having passed all my courses thus far despite having almost failed or having failed and having to write a supplemental. Being able to keep on going despite everything life has thrown at me with family hardships and just a lot of stress from everything. There were so many times that I felt like giving up. But I didn’t. I had believed that every time I momentarily got stuck or had my depressive episodes, my thoughts were right: I was a failure. When I didn’t do well on an exam despite my hard work or did poorly on a lab, I thought I was a failure. Those thoughts were all lies. And I never thought from another perspective that thinking of myself as a failure didn’t mean that I was weak and not resilient. Failing doesn’t mean that I’m a failure. Resilience is based on the actions that I do in lieu of what happened. Whether I get back up and keep going. It is not just a personality characteristic that you have or don’t have. It’s something anyone achieve, although some just might find it easier than others. You can become resilient through different ways with different experiences. There’s got to be a reason why I’m still hanging in there and passing school. And I’m not going to give up until I learn what it is.

How I’ve been working on fixing life: Part 1

I’m sure there’ll be more parts to come so here’s just a few things I’ve been doing to improve/fix my not-so-perfect life. This started after I met up with my best friend and told her the same thing I told my family. We made a list of goals for each other with each other for February to April and a pact to check-in with each other after each month. These goals really helped me to kind of take a look at what I wanted to work on and do for the near future.

The top goal on my list was exercise. I had been having no exercise other than the occasional 20 min walk home from the bus stop since I graduated from high school and no longer had PE class. It was also something that is recommended for overall health (no duh) and would help my mental conditions and hopefully my chronic headaches. We always talk about how 30 min 5x/week is the recommended amount of exercise in school as well. Baby steps. That’s been my favourite phrase. Obviously I would not be able to suddenly become an athlete and will find it hard to complete that amount of exercise. We always learn to recommend taking slow steps towards goals. So my goal was 30 min of exercise 3x/week. And I’m elated to say that I’ve met my goal and even surpassed it, doing 30 min of cardio and 15 min of strength training 3x/week. The next step is to do it 4x/week so hopefully I’ll be able to continue and carry it out this month!

Another important goal was to improve my sleep patterns and not sleep so late. I’ve been using zoplicone pretty frequently especially around periods of stress and anxiety. And yet, sometimes I would still have trouble sleeping even if my eyes won’t open anymore and I can’t walk straight. My original goal was to sleep before 12, which obviously didn’t work out. I still tried to sleep earlier, taking a pill so that I’d start feeling drowsy 30 min later and hope I can fall asleep. But school’s been so tiring and stressful with long days that naps were inevitable and thus threw off my attempt to fix my sleep schedule. I’d say that I’m aiming to be in bed before 1 am now which seems to be a reasonable time considering that I used to sleep at 2 or 3 am regularly.

Other goals included not buying anything online (I have received way too much packages and used much more money) and writing up a bucket list of things I want to do in life. Thinking about the near future (and far) in this way has really helped. I’m pretty satisfied with February, and little steps with success lets me know that I CAN do this. It wasn’t easy, but no pain no gain! It’s time to gear up for exams with lab exam starting next week and it’ll be hard to keep it up but let’s give it a try. Cuz I looveee challenges…

(PS good news, I passed my supplemental! With a pretty good mark too! So I have officially passed 2.5 years of pharmacy. I’m very grateful for the support and comments I received during that time! Now I’m even more motivated to push on and climb uphill to finish it off.)

Why it won’t work out

I hate the way they talk to dad. The way they yell at him like he did something terribly wrong when it was an accident. The way they treat that as more important than his well-being. Dropping and breaking a cup and they ask WHY it happened rather than if he was okay. Then they berate him about being more careful and the way he cleans it up, how he lacks common sense and how “anyone” should know how to do that basic stuff. If everyone knew how to avoid accidents and do things perfectly, we wouldn’t be human. Why do they have to be so harsh. Why don’t they give him any respect as the head of household. Sure, there may be things he’s still learning and things that he doesn’t do that well, but that doesn’t mean you can yell at him condescendingly and verbally abuse him. Then go into the whole “just like your family” spiel. I know there was a lot of hurt and bullying but it shouldn’t be brought onto those who are innocent or the next generation. Heck I feel like I was bullied by my brother because he treats me the same way he treats my dad and everything but I still try my best to be the best sister for him. Because like any relationship, you have to work hard at it. Just because you’re related by blood and stuck with each other for life doesn’t mean that you don’t put any effort. Relationships are two way streets. You give and take, trust, and support each other. My dad doesn’t deserve to be treated that way. My mom talks about how she wanted to take us away because of his family but now I feel like I need to take him away from this family. I guess there’s just this connection with my dad since I was young (I always cry when he cries) and it hurts me seeing him put up with the obvious hurt he feels. I don’t care how nice he is or how strong he is, he shouldn’t be treated that way. I really want to protect him and stand up for him but I’m not strong enough and that hurts me too. To be able to care for and protect someone means that you have to be strong enough. One day I will better myself so that I can protect him from everyone.

On another thought, he himself has been frustrating me. Rather than just looking towards a brighter future, you need to work hard to get that brighter future and the health to live to that day. It’s almost like denial of his declining health. In harsh words, it’s like a slow process of suicide. I know because I did that. When you don’t take care of yourself, you’re just speeding up the dying process. Isn’t that the same as suicide? And when you try to fix it (if you even try), its too late. A simple example would be my cavities. I had 8 cavities because I didn’t brush my teeth for a year. It was way at the bottom of my list of things to deal with when you don’t want to live anymore. It was something that could be fixed but I still ended up going through a lot of pain. But there are things that can’t be fixed. With all those little things happening to him, he really needs to take care of his health. I can’t baby him anymore even though I don’t want to treat him the same way the others do. Because this is important. I “came out” to them about my health, problems and challenges because I wanted to change my life. He needs to be honest with us and himself about his health. Changes need to be made. Changes CAN be made. And changes won’t come just from believing. I’m trying real hard to live and I need him to do that too. I just hope that I can get him to understand that. I know that all my life I’ve been told that “people can’t change” but they can. Because I have.