Resilience

resilienceThe title of Elizabeth Edwards’s new book, Resilience, speaks volumes about the life she’s been living and the life many of us here are trying to live: one in which we bounce back from adversity of some kind.

Between the untimely death of her (then) 16-year old son, to her cancer diagnoses (plural), to her husband’s infidelity …. the woman knows the word “resilience.”

I watched her interview on Larry King the other night, and aside from my heart breaking for her (knowing her life will undoubtedly be cut short), I couldn’t help but be inspired by her ability to turn awful situations into positives.

Regardless of my thoughts of whether or not this was the time to pen such a book, or whether she should have stayed with her husband or not (I’ll refrain from such judgment, since the mainstream media’s doing such a good job of that analysis 😉 …

… You have to admit, this is a woman who has been dealt three decks of cards that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy: loss of a child, terminal cancer and a cheating spouse (while she was in treatment, no less!)

The whole interview (well as others I’ve seen) was great, and it makes me want to read her book, but this one section stood out where she talks about how all her life she really believed they were the perfect couple, and how shattered she is now that she realizes that isn’t the case.

She admits she was naive … but I think there’s a lesson to be learned here, one that relates to disordered eating/ED recovery. Perfection isn’t real, it’s not attainable, and it’s not healthy to seek it … or be fooled to think we have it.

We’re human and flawed; we’re fallible. It doesn’t mean we can’t overcome challenges, but perfection is an illusion: thinking we have it, or seeking it.

Some of us battle cheating husband and cancer; others battle anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating disorder, or disordered eating at large. But we’re all human, and no one — and no relationship (family, friendship, romantic or otherwise) is “perfect.”

What I think Elizabeth Edwards shows us is it’s how we handle life’s challenges that determines our place in this world. Will we step up to the plate: seek treatment, or anti-depressants if needed, or talk to a friend, or change our behaviors and ways of thinking if we’re battling an ED?

Or will we let life pass us by?

Elizabeth Edwards has had to deal with way more than any human being should in a lifetime … but I think she’s handled life’s adversities with grace and dignity, and she’s stronger for it.

I might not have personally written a book about it (who knows, though, I’m not in her shoes) … but that was her form of therapy. Of making peace with her path in this world. Of bouncing back from adversity.

And I can’t help but admire it.

She that she’ll never be the same, and I can see how there’s absolute truth to that. She now feels frail, insecure … things she never felt before. She admits the affair shattered her to the core (I think it would shatter anyone).

And though she admits it’s not the same as losing a child or being told you have a shortened life-span … all the same, she’s not the same.

While it’s an entirely different situation (and I don’t mean to diminish the grandiosity of hers with my little anaology here), I think many of us struggling with food issues can relate to that notion of not being the same.

Even just experiencing weight loss and disordered eating issues, I think in some ways I’ll never be the same myself — and my “problems” are completely trivial compared to hers.

Regardless of personal feelings about her decision to stay in her marriage, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t look at the trifecta of rough cards she’s been dealt and admire her strength to get through it all.

That’s resilience: the courage to bounce back.

How about you? Is resilient an adjective you use to describe yourself? How have you bounced back from adversity, food-related or otherwise?

2 thoughts on “Resilience

  1. I do consider myself resilient and dedicated. In spite of my health issues and how easy it would be to quit school, I was able to bounce back and continue getting my education putting my ED in the backseat.

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