So my good friend SvD emailed me an interesting article the other day regarding a mental health study. Knowing that i am slightly mentally unstable and very much aware of it, i suppose he thought it might make for some enlightening reading on my behalf. Enlightening ? Not quite, but interesting, yes.
The article was written about a long term study into " hardiness ", the quality that determines how well we cope with change - how well we roll with the punches so to speak. Basically this study broke hardiness down into three sub-qualities:
Control: an individuals ability to believe in, and assert, their control in an effort to influence outcome.
Commitment : an individuals want to have involvement that leads to social fulfilment rather than social isolation.
Challenge: an individuals ability to embrace change as an opportunity rather than a threat.
Basically the study found that those people who believed in their level of control, that they could be proactive in managing or controlling certain events, those people who were ambitious in their social lives, that sought company and social activity, those people who took change in their stride and used it positively - those people were more likely to have come from a supportive family environment; that they may have had stressful events in their early lives; and they were more likely to have had a fulfilling and supportive school environment. These people were deemed more hardy than the others. It seems the more positive your early life, the more hardy you were. If you were from a broken home, if you were a bad student or at least had bad teachers, or if you had suffered any stressful events in the early course of your life, you were apparently more likely to fall into the " less hardy " column.
What i found most interesting about this article is not so much its findings, but rather how they relate to me. According to this study i should be a hardy person.I should be adept at handling change, at lowering my stress, at overcoming burdens and using obstacles to my advantage. But, and i can readily admit this, i'm not. At least, not yet.
* Supportive family unit - check. I have one of the most loving, supportive, unquestioning families that i know of. I was almost always told i could be whatever i wanted, that if you wanted something enough you could make it happen. My family has never strayed from that loving, attentive path.
* Postive school environment - check. I was ( still am ) a feircely intelligent girl. I was Dux of my primary school, and was always encouraged to engage myself intellectually. Academically, i was told the sky was the limit.
* Stressful events - check. Unfortunately. So my brother died when i was almost 6. My uncle committed suicide when i was 11. And for much of my early years my family was what you would call working class - we didnt have a lot of money to indulge in clothes, or holidays, or school excursions, or anything considered a luxury.
So, based on all that, i should be a bonafide hardy person. But i'm not so much. Thats what i find interesting - that this long term study would, based on those life experiences, brand me as postively unstoppable, like a noxious weed that just refuses to go down.
Unfortunately, i find myself more like a beautiful yet fragile tree being slowly overgrown by a parasitic ivy....