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Who is resilient?

We have previously discussed the stigma surrounding mental ill health, yet there is a new label on the block that exacerbates the stigma. Resilience. It is mentioned 15 times in the suicide strategy. Building a resilient society, helping individuals (especially young people) become more resilient.

The implication is clear. Those with mental ill health are not resilient. I am weak, I cannot hack it as well as the rest of society. Do you want to be told you lack resilience? How many people will see the stigma and refuse to step forward with their problems? How many will fear being given yet another label?

That is bad enough but can someone tell me to my face I am not resilient? Is society aware of what I have been through? Or does it want to generalise with a mental health stigma again.

I was resilient in passing my exams despite a very difficult upbringing. My memories of childhood are being the child curled up, head cradled by arms wrapped around my knees. My memories of looking out the bedroom window and wanting to jump.

I was resilient to pass those exams and face university having had to bring up myself, learning bad coping habits. I obtained a degree whilst drinking heavily. I got a job and a career after facing all those difficulties.

I was resilient in passing my professional qualifications whilst struggling with my mental health. Becoming a CEO as my life fell apart. Getting up day after day when I wanted no more than to die. Of ignoring my lack of sleep and vivid nightmares, carrying on with my work.

I was resilient when childhood memories returned with a vengeance. I was resilient when I was made redundant whilst experiencing a mental health crisis then establishing a company and effectively starting a new career.

I am no different to you. You have all gone through severe difficulties and completed day to day tasks whilst suffering from horrendous pressures. No, you too are incredibly resilient.

So please don't tell me I am not resilient. What I want is someone to help me. Someone to tell me how resilient I am and have been throughout my life. Someone to listen and believe.

Words matter. Lets stop with the labels. We must get the suicide prevention strategy right and do so without stigmatising anyone.

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