Notes on Resilience in Crisis
Zaktualizowano: 28 kwi 2020
Resilience is our ability to cope and recuperate from difficulties. In psychoanalytical terms, it the moment when "Ego comes to light after mourning, he is a resilient Ego." It is Freudian "working through" *. It is our psychological and emotional anti-body. But as it is with anti-bodies, they need to be already there to protect us.
It means that in time of peace, we work on the development of resilience and in time of war, we rely on it. Hence, we train mental health workers, firefighters and first responders in resilience before they are going to face destruction and horror. Otherwise, they will be not able to react and overcome their experiences. Accordingly, when we prepare communities for disasters, we start with the preparation of citizens. They can be first responders and crisis interventionists way before the disaster happen. Therefore, I think, now it is not a moment for resilience training, but it is more time to react and help. And the main responsibility lies on the shoulders of resilient friends and acquaintances. They are the first responders.
During our free quarantine consultations, we spoke with a lot of people from different countries, different backgrounds. But they all had one in common: they were ex-pats. And one thing was pretty clear for us: ex-pats is a very special group. It is a group of people who move around, are flexible, have a good ability to adjust to changes and to respond. It means, their ability to react in crisis situation is unique. They are resilient. When we speak with them, they reflect and adjust their behaviours according to the situation. They think out of the box, they use the self-isolation as growing and learning opportunity. Clearly, we can think it is a normal human reaction in wartime. As Freud* said it is normal during a time of crisis to see less "neurotic" behaviours (I am not talking about panic attack, depression and other clinical disorders) but I don't think this is the reason. I think that our ex-pats experiences made us stronger in a crisis. Every moving, every new start in a new country was a stone toward our resilience.
Why do I write this?
Firstly, because I want to thank you, all ex-pats for your support and help in various groups on social media. I want to thank you for being part of the community, which is not even your home community and we probably never met/will meet.
Secondly, I want to remind you that you are the resilient ones. And you are needed in turbulent times. We rely on you. Please keep going and offer your help to others. You, the resilient ones, are the first responders. Keep going!
Thirdly, please be aware that there is also a dark side to your resilience. Resilient people would use the time of pandemic as a possibility to grow, to see new opportunities and create a positive environment for changes. But on the other hand, people who score high on the resilient scale can be perceived as aggressive and persistent when under stress**. Consequently, it is crucial that in the current stressful situation, you observe your friends and colleagues and balance your own eagerness to grow. Take care that others don't feel even more overwhelmed and also more stressed or pushed by resistant and apathetic friends. Care for them and be their first responder in crisis.
* Freud, S. (1915), Trauer und Melancholie.
** Treglown L, Palaiou K, Zarola A, Furnham A (2016) The Dark Side of Resilience and Burnout: A Moderation-Mediation Model.