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My dad taught me how to box and dance salsa; with these two skills—salsa and boxing—I learned how to defend myself and to never give up. I learned to always take notes on movements and to dance my way to resilience.

Have you ever had the biggest hiccup that you just couldn’t get rid of? The kind you think you’ll never get rid of. But here’s the thing: hiccups come and go. My late brother would always tell me when I was feeling down and out, “it’s just a hiccup…you will be okay.” Life is full of challenges that will come and go, just like hiccups. Breakups, failing a class, losing a job, having a fight with your best friend, losing a loved one… or receiving the news that your child has a chronic illness. In the moment, these “hiccups” can feel like the worst thing in the world, but that feeling is only temporary. You can wave goodbye to those feelings; but if you’re going to do that, you have to learn resiliency.

Resilience is defined as the capacity to “bounce back” or recover in the context of trauma or adversity. Resiliency is all about adapting in the face of challenges and “bouncing back” from difficult experiences. When it comes to resilience, you’ve got to press on. I want to share a few tips that have helped me find resilience:

  1. Keep laughing because having a sense of humor is needed when faced with hard times. Watch a funny movie or go to a comedy show.
  2. Learn lessons — As my twin sister said, “experience is the teacher.” Let go of asking “why” and focus on the now. Focus on the positive lessons.
  3. Stay connected with people you care about.
  4. Write in a journal — It really helps! Or speak into your phone and take time for yourself. Even if it’s just 10 minutes a day, take time to get connected with yourself.
  5. Release tension and relieve stress by exercising, dancing or even walking. Just take a moment for you to let go the tension.
  6. Finally, meditate and/or pray…whatever works for you!

Becoming more resilient takes time and practice. If you don’t feel you’re making progress — or you don’t know where to start — consider talking to a mental health provider. With guidance, you can improve your resiliency and mental well-being.

I’m so proud of the way Omar faces the challenges of hemophilia with, resiliency, humility and empathy. I think he picked that up at a very young age. My aha moment was when Omar was around 3 years old and we were living in Florida; I would always take Omar to watch the football games, not realizing he would be inspired to be a football player. We would always go and cheer on my students as they play the games. My son said he wanted to be a football player. I gulped for air. I remember calling my husband over phone saying what Omar wanted to do, “No worries… He will be on the school’s band and DJ, you’ll see.”

Today my son is 14. He loves to DJ (he learned this skill from his dad), golf, piano, the school band, and video games. He’s a neat freak, like his mom, and has all his Legos and Pops collection lined up neatly on shelf. And now that he’s in high school and is facing new milestones, he’s realizing that he has to face the music about his limitations. He wants to play hoops, but he’s prepared if he doesn’t make the team. He has a backup plan of playing golf—but for now I’m letting him pursue his dream, because I know he always has a plan B. He sees me working with kids with cerebral palsy, autism and other serious conditions, he knows he has it lucky. He tells me, “Mom, I think I’m going to be okay.”

Omar also knows there are options available to him. He’s looking at his future and what he wants to do and what he has to do to get there. He’s already talked about wanting to go to universities based on if there are HTCs nearby, because he doesn’t want to worry me. I feel like I’m talking to an adult sometimes! Now that’s unstoppable resiliency.

 

Mily lives in New Jersey with her husband, Harry, and her son, Omar.

*Note: “Infusing Love: A Mom’s View,” is a blog collection of personal opinions and a representation of individuals experiences. While extensive efforts are made to ensure accuracy of the content, the blog entries do not represent HFA or its Board of Directors. The blog is also not intended to be construed as medical advice or the official opinion/position of HFA, its staff, or its Board of Directors. Readers are strongly encouraged to discuss their own medical treatment with their healthcare providers.

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