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Resilience. Wednesday March 18, 2015

This last Christmas saw two intrepid climbers, Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell, ascend El Capitan in Yosemite without using ropes (other than safety harnesses). We all thought "how brave" and admired their courage, their strength and their skill. None of us (unless we are climbers ourselves) would think to put ourselves in their position.

But perhaps we are more like them than we know.

On Monday Lex talked about the three Rs; Resources, Resourcefulness and Resilience.

It was the last that grabbed me. Resilience is getting up when we've been pushed down, coming back after we've been defeated and the ability to spring back into shape after we've been squashed.

For those of us who suffer with depression we are most familiar with that state of down, defeat and squashedness (and no – I don't think that's a word either) and when we are there it seems impossible that we will ever be able to bounce back. But let's think about it as climbing the biggest granite monolith in the world.

Kevin and Tommy did not scamper lightly up that rock face. They did not grow wings and soar effortlessly to the top. Instead, the BBC says: "During their climb up the notoriously difficult Dawn Wall route, both took rest days to wait for their skin to heal and used tape and even superglue to speed the process.

"At one point it seemed unlikely that they would make it to the top.

"The pair suffered bruising falls, when their grip slipped, and they would bounce off the mountain face.

"Only their safety ropes saved them from further harm.

"As disappointing as this is, I'm learning new levels of patience, perseverance and desire,'' Jorgeson posted online at one point.

"I'm not giving up. I will rest. I will try again. I will succeed."

So we, climbing our own personal El Capitan, need rest days. We need to give ourselves time to heal, and to use whatever helps us heal – whether that is conventional medicines or the superglue of alternative therapies.

We will inevitably fall down and hurt ourselves and we need to make sure we have a support harness of friends and family to catch us when we do.

We need to learn patience, perseverance and if not desire, then resilience or faith to know that we can keep on climbing. Let's not give up. Let's rest up and try again.

The great thing about Moodscope, if we are faithful and do it every day, is that we know there are good days when we make good progress, as well as bad days. On the bad days it's hard to remember that, but they are there.

And no – I have no idea what's at the summit for us, or even if the summit is in this life or the next. I just know, that in this analogy, we're on the rock face and the only way is up.

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Wed, Mar 18th 2015 @ 6:38am

Thank you x brilliant as always. Will keep on up this rock face another day xx

Anonymous Wed, Mar 18th 2015 @ 8:04am

Mary thank you for your beautiful blog. I took up climbing some time ago purely because of its metaphor for life. There are moments, splayed out on a wall when you feel as if you cannot move one foot or hand without falling, then something will come to you (or in my case as a learner someone would call out), and just one shift of the knee would change everything, and you'd push yourself up to the next hold. That feeling of rising after feeling stuck was amazing. I haven't climbed for a long time but your post has made me want to take it up again. It is exceptionally good for cultivating resilience, perseverance and self belief. Thank you. Anna

Hopeful One Wed, Mar 18th 2015 @ 8:15am

Hi Mary- well said and beautifully written as we have come to expect from you if I may say so. My way of climbing out requires resilience too but, as that commodity is not infinite in my case, would you mind if I climbed out more in a crablike fashion?

Rupert Wed, Mar 18th 2015 @ 8:19am

Good blog Mary. I think it describes our situation perfectly. Today I have fallen a bit but am hoping that by the end of the day I will achieve some sort of grip and start climbing again. Rupert

Anonymous Wed, Mar 18th 2015 @ 9:19am

Thank you Marydoll, I'm low all the time but Feb/March seem to be the worst for some reason. I could run and not stop. I'm clinging to that rock face and you've made me realise I am more resilient than I give myself. I'm on more of a 'heal' time than normal and thanks lovely for pointing it out. Will try to take in the view x.

Anonymous Wed, Mar 18th 2015 @ 9:35am

A brilliogs blog as others have said. I feel I am teetering on the edge all the time, but also know, this soon will pass...but most of the time, I darent look down. It's like having perpetual vertigo (keeping the analogies going). Have also had a rough week of very bad cold and not much support at home and I feel even worse then, when I ask for help in the home, I get moaned at as they have all been out at work all day. I feel continuously tired but am starting to see a Liddle chink of rock jutting out...waiting for me to grab onto...I upped my walk with the dog today and spirits were higher when I got back home...then have to face last night's washing up as no one thought it was their turn to help out. Sorry, this has turned into a complete moan, but I get up when they leave for work and I work at home, cleaning, gardening, washing and doing their's just unpaid so it's not worth as much to anyone here. And this winter has been worse for my depression since losing my mum. K

Suzy Wed, Mar 18th 2015 @ 1:45pm

Bloomin' marvellous!! Really hit the spot today.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Mar 18th 2015 @ 4:27pm


Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Mar 18th 2015 @ 4:31pm

Hello K, I feel for you. Tending a family and house is still, even in this day and age, hard and unrewarding work, especially when you feel you are taken for granted. I know it's a little thing, but get yourself some reward stickers from your local stationers and give yourself a sticker for doing the washing up, the laundry, walking the dog. It can make a difference and sometimes it helps if your family actually see what you've done when you "accidentally" leave your sticker chart out. Wishing you well.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Mar 18th 2015 @ 4:32pm

Yup - April/May for me. Let's rest up and carry on climbing when the outlook improves!

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Mar 18th 2015 @ 4:33pm

Hoping that you have gone up a bit now Rupert. It''s 4.30pm and I'm wishing you sunshine on this grey day.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Mar 18th 2015 @ 4:34pm

I have a lovely image of a beautiful orange crab on the mountainside. Crabs are terrific climbers as you will have seen at the seaside as they scramble around the rocks. Walking sideways is often good.

Anonymous Wed, Mar 18th 2015 @ 4:57pm

Thank you Mary...would feel an absolute plonker if I gave myself stickers but a kind thought! I don't mind doing all the jobs most of the time, but the minute they ask for something or some help...I'm there...if I ask for them to wash up - its a battle! Ridiculous especially when I'm holding dinner on for them and what they are doing so that it's nearly half eight when I sit down. I might take a stand this evening...use paper plates and plastic cutlery! Lol! :) K

Lexi Wed, Mar 18th 2015 @ 5:54pm

Brilliant Mary. Sent this to my sister, who isn't on Moodscope yet but I hope she will be soon. She is really suffering right not and constantly beating herself up for not doing more, when she really needs to rest and figure out which path she wants to take up the mountain. Thank you!

green Jean Wed, Mar 18th 2015 @ 6:25pm

Hello Mary you must keep writing your amazing messages. Having been to the depths again in recent weeks I know that at least I have reached base camp today and know its ok to recuperate here getting stronger and ready for the gradual climb back up. its not easy to carry the tremendous heavy ruck sac but only need a little to manage the foothills. Thanks Mary bless you for giving us all hope

Laura Thu, Mar 19th 2015 @ 7:49pm

Mary, thank you. This post is brilliant! We are a strong bunch, though we don't always realize it or give ourselves credit for it. It doesn't matter how many times you fall down, as long as you get back up, eh?

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