Many of us go through a lot in our lives and for some of us the hardships even begin in early childhood. Be that with the divorce or death of one of our parents, sexual or mental abuse, bullying, frequent and unpleasant changes of environment, alienation, sickness, anxiety or depression.
Others are luckier and have a good and happy childhood only to face adversity and loss later in life. It could be with our own marital problems and divorce, illness, the deaths of our loved ones, problems at work or with our business, bankruptcy, immigration, moving away, litigations, debt and so on.
Yet some of us experience exceptionally traumatic events such as personal assault or rape, severe accidents, natural catastrophes, war or terrorist attacks. Events that deeply traumatize us and leave us feeling raw and bare, vulnerable and fragile even completely shattered, left to pick up our pieces without knowing how to put them back together again.
No two people react the same way to the same events. Some of us may go through hell and back yet bounce back and move on. Others may experience less traumatic events than the first yet get totally floored and become incapacitated for life. What determines this variability in the effects of stress and trauma? Is it simply a difference in strength of character and resilience or is there more to it?
“Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.