Why Resilience is Overrated

#2: It creates “good” and “bad” survivors

Nicole M. Luongo
Invisible Illness
Published in
6 min readJan 6, 2021


Photo Credit: Karim Manja via Unsplash

Note: This article was inspired by watching a naked man get shot by the Vancouver Police Department. I am ashamed that I watched the video. I won’t link to it here because the news outlet that aired it should also be ashamed. I am now reflecting on all the times that I “behaved erratically”; that I ‘acted aggressively”; and that people called the VPD on me. I was never shot because I am a petite White woman, an identity that becomes especially salient while in psychosis and on drugs. Fuck — and I cannot stress this enough — the police (in Vancouver, in every major urban centre, in every rural area, on every reserve in Canada, across Turtle Island, and globally). In death, this man is not a success story. The only minor contribution I can make, and the only thing keeping me from completely PTSD — ing out (“I’m gonna leave my body”) is reflecting on what it means to be “successful” when one is left for dead, and encouraging us to say fuck that narrative, too.

I hear it a lot: “Wow, you’re so…resilient.” People mean it as a compliment, but what I really want to say is, “I wish I didn’t have to be.”

We love resilience. It appears in our collective story — telling, it garners awards, and it is seen as an admirable — perhaps the admirable — character trait. There’s even a diagnosis…