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18 True Life Examples of Overcoming Adversity with Resilience in Life

Updated on March 2, 2017
Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok is an award-winning author who shares his ideas and inspiration to help others make life happier, healthier, and more enjoyable.

This article is about true life misfortunes and hardships people experienced and shared in response to my research Q&A where I asked:

"What is the greatest challenge you've ever had?" {1}

I requested anyone who wanted to publicly post their story to elaborate on the following question:

"If you had something happen in your life that was an extreme challenge for you, discuss what you did to overcome it."

The stories range from getting on with life after losing a parent to suicide, to learning how to do things we take for granted after being in a coma for 30 days.

Then there are things like being told by your doctor that you’re dying and needing to get your affairs in order.

I found many of the responses heartbreaking and overwhelming, but they all show the fortitude and determination people have with resilience in life that's needed for survival.

The strength to continue and get past any trauma in life is representative of a strong-willed individual. All the people who responded to my survey deserve recognition for their achievements. This article is about each one of them.

So without any further ado, the following is a journal of my thoughts in regard to all the responses I had received.

"From the day we learn to walk, the challenge of life begins." ~  Glenn Stok
"From the day we learn to walk, the challenge of life begins." ~ Glenn Stok

Dealing With a Diagnoses of Death

Sondra Rochelle (TIMETRAVELER2) has had a very difficult life with one tragedy after another. She almost died from allergy poisoning as a child.

Years later she was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis, a lung disease that was certain to soon end her life.

She had to end her teaching career in order to prepare for death. But with proper medication, she was cured. Not without arthritis issues and three mini strokes as a side effect of the medication.

And if that's not enough, Sondra had hip replacements repeated three times and is a breast cancer survivor.

Sondra surely has a positive attitude that keeps her going so that she can enjoy visits with friends, appreciate her days, travel in her RV, and write about it.

Taking Care of Family when Mother Commits Suicide

Linda Bryen (liesl5858) dropped everything when her Mom committed suicide. She took over taking care of the entire family.

As the eldest in the family, at the age of 20 she had to forego her career working as a Midwife to look after her father and her grandfather, who is blind. She also had to take care of her younger siblings, one of which was only three.

Unfortunately she had just completed her education to become a Midwife. The timing couldn’t have been any worse for her career. But she took charge with what was important. She knew where to focus. Family does come first.

Her father eventually remarried. They now have a loving stepmother. Linda made an important point in her reply when she said, “Life must go on no matter what.”

In a Coma for 30 Days

John Connor (connorj) is alive today because of the most significant coincidence. He injured his scapula after hitting a puck playing ice hockey. Somehow this led to a significant brain-bleed and he was admitted to the hospital.

By coincidence a neuro-nurse was on duty that day. Not only the right specialty to help John, but also an amazing doctor whose quick surgical action spared him from brain damage and death. The experience left him comatose for 30 days, but he pulled through.

During recovery John had to learn to swallow, walk, and rebuild muscles again. Later he also had to relearn how to drive.

Relearning how to function is truly an amazing challenge. Six months after his coma, he was once again playing ice hockey.

Ten Years of Incest and Physical Abuse

Peeples is now a wife and mother of three children. But earlier in her life she lived through 32 foster homes. Prior to that she lived through over 10 years of incest and physical abuse.

She made it though only to end up with multiple illnesses, including Lupus. But that didn’t stop her. She got a couple college degrees, became a voice for those who has similar experiences, and is helping other Lupus sufferers.

Peeples has a positive attitude which gives her a strong will to survive and achieve a lot of success in her life.

Becoming a Medical Scientist After Leaving Home at Age 12

L. A. Cargill, (Austinstar) is another with a strong will for survival. She was raped at the age of 12 and left home to get away from that and fend for myself.

Learning to live alone through one's teen years takes a lot of courage. She learned quickly to control her thought process and not use the victim mentality.

Her strength came from her determination to not allow things to happen to her beyond her control. She took charge, educated herself, and now is retired from a successful career in medical science field.

Husband Leaves Marriage for Mother of Daughter's Friend

Billie Kelpin gave an extensive account of her experience with her husband leaving the marriage for her best friend who happened to be the mother of her daughter's best friend.

I can only imagine the emotional grief of both Billie and her daughter. I would also think that this will leave scars beyond repair for her daughter, having had a father go after her best friend’s Mom, leaving her own mother.

She admittedly felt guilty, although I don’t see that she is to be blamed. But the guilt caused thoughts of ending her life by driving off the road. The only thing giving her the courage to persevere was the desire to be there for her daughter.

Learning English from Scratch when Moving to Australia

Raam G moved from Sri Lanka to Australia at the age of 15 to escape civil war.

He had to get accustomed to many cultural differences in addition to needing to learn English and starting school as the only Sri Lankan among Australian children.

Within a couple of days at school Raam had to perform in "Romeo and Juliet" with the little English that he knew. Very challenging indeed!

He quickly made friends and got involved in sports as a way to interact with others. Being social helped with learning English.

Today Raam is a graduate Civil Engineer!

Raam’s analogy is a great lesson for all:

You have to get in the pool, sink a few times, and choke a few times! You'll be a master swimmer one day!

— Raam G.

Watching What Goes Wrong with Children

Lisa H. Warren (Lisa HW) talked about feeling hesitant to speak publicly about aggressive and ignorant behavior of others. But she had a need to speak up in an effort to avoid having her own children follow a path to destruction.

I can understand that. It's hard for me to bite my tongue when I feel I can help someone by voicing my opinion. It’s even more difficult when people don’t want the advice and would rather lead a life of failure. I had so many experiences with this that I wrote an article about why people don’t listen.{2}

Lisa continued to explain that any normal, loving, parent could not watch their kids suffer without interjecting, despite the challenge of getting through to them when others put their own needs first.

Developing Independence When Mother Passes Away

Kristen Howe learned quickly to be independent and take care of herself when her mother passed away.

She had open-heart surgery and dealt with it without a mother by her side. Her brother and cousin were proud of her.

Making a Life Despite a Negative Background

Yoleen Lucas (Say Yes To Life) had described her history as a negative background that led to a nervous disorder. This can set anyone on a difficult path. But she was proactive with seeking knowledge to learn how to deal with it.

She also knew how to recognize where people are coming from when they offer advice that may not be so well intentioned.

Ignoring Own Needs to Help Gambling Dad

Peachy (peachpurple) had a Dad who gambled and lost his business. Her Mom refused to work. Her brother was busy studying for a career.

Instead of thinking of herself and studying as her brother, she instead worked three jobs to pay off her father’s gambling debts, her bother’s school fees and the monthly rent.

Unfortunately no one appreciated her assistance and she did it anyway. It’s a challenge to keep the desire to help family when they couldn’t care less. It’s still family and she knew that.

Never Too Late For College

Jackie Lynnley got over the nervousness of attending college late in life after her children were grown.

It’s a challenge to start something new, such as considering college, when so many years had already passed. But Jackie focused on her future and dealt with the tough courses, getting excellent grades.

Relationship and Communication Issues

James Bowden (Jlbowden) says his greatest challenge is with communication in a long distance relationship with a Russian lady.

He didn’t mention any particulars but he said he plans to write a hub about it.

Grandson Taken Away by Social Services

Dale Mazurek and his wife did everything they could to try to get their grandson out of the social services system when they took the child away from his parents.

It surely had to be a challenge but they finally succeeded and Dale says he plans to write a hub about the ordeal.

Struck By an Uninsured Driver


Sandra Welch was hit by a mini-van while crossing the street as a pedestrian. She had complete destruction of her shoulder and knee. This immediately changed her life from being an independent business owner to one who is totally dependent of her family.

Just imagine the feeling of not knowing what the future holds and not knowing if you will ever recover. In addition to that, try to comprehend the depression that can come from discovering that close family members turn away in time of need. This is what Sandra went through.

Moreover, the driver who hit her was uninsured. She had to cover her own medical expenses, which were over $100,000. Her surgeon removed a crushed tibia bone. Her knee was reconstructed with pins, a rod, and a metal hinge like device, as she described it.

She lost time from work, time from play, time from being with her grandchildren. After all is said and done, she is a strong person with a desire to live and get back to a normal life.

Writing Career is Never-ending

Emunah La Paz (swilliams) explains how writing is a never-ending process. There is always learning something new to write or something old to edit. It’s true – a writer’s job is never done. Good writing involves attention to detail.

Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun Ready to Shoot

After J Michael Krivyanski (Readmikenow) had been in the military, the last thing he imagined would happen in civilian life is having someone aim a gun at him and saying he will pull the trigger.

Thankfully someone intervened. It's experiences like this that one will never forget.

It's a challenge to get through life without that constant reminder of a time when one thinks is the last moment of their life. I know the feeling, although quite a different event.

The Last Moment of My Life

This is my own account to add to the list of challenges. I’m the lucky one since for me this was a calamity that is nothing compared to those of the others.

When I was young I used to go horseback rising. One day I lost control of my horse and it started galloping at high speed. With each gallop I bounced up and down on the saddle and my feet were hitting the sides of the horse. Without me realizing, my feet hitting the horse was making him run even faster.

I must have bounced off the saddle up towards the horse’s head, because I was quite close to the ears of the horse. As I watched the ground go by between the horses ears. I remember having the thought that this is the last moment of my life.

Now it sounds silly that I would think such a thing. But I guess when one has no other choice and no power to do anything about it - reality sets in.

Needless to say, I’m alive today because the owner of the stable saw me and caught up to me with his horse. While galloping alongside me, he told me to hold my legs out and pull hard on the reins. It worked. My horse slowed down, I readjusted myself back in the saddle and continued on.

And yes, I got back on the horse several times in those days when I rode horses.

I leave you with my final thought:

When we have no other choice and no power to do anything about it - reality sets in.

— Glenn Stok

Overall Observation of Challenges

Padmendra S R (padmendra) offered her observation of the other challenges people had voluntarily posted as answers to my Q&A. Here is her assessment of her findings:

“There are many things that comes up in life and seems to be so strong in nature that we will not be able to overcome it. But what I have learned is that with the urge to win over the difficulties and breathe free again, and with the support of loved ones, things become easier to tackle.

I found in their stories that they fought their problems with the zeal and willpower to survive and be successful. I truly believe that it's all that we need to overcome every step.”

Thank you Padmendra. This is a perfect conclusion to this anthology of misfortunes and hardships experienced in life.

All images in this article are courtesy of Pixabay [CC0 Public Domain]

© 2015 Glenn Stok


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    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 23 months ago from Queensland Australia

      This is a wonderful hub Glenn, and great concept having collected this list of people's greatest challenges and put them into a hub. I take my hat off to all of the responders who shared their stories. I haven't been through anywhere near as much as some, but I could still write a whole hub on the challenges my wife and I have faced collectively. Good work.

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 23 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Glenn - Great hub of challenges. I wrote a hub once on answers to a question, among other information, and it became a popular hub. How other people face challenges and other stories about their lives makes an interesting hub. You did an outstanding job, and the layout impressed me. Blessings, Audrey

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 23 months ago from Long Island, NY

      Jodah - Thanks for your kind words, John. The credit goes to all the responders to my Q&A.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 23 months ago from Long Island, NY

      brakel2 - Starting with a Q&A can be very helpful with getting material to write a hub, Audrey. What was the topic of your hub? I'll try to find it. I had such an overwhelming response and views with the Q&A on this subject in just two weeks that I decided to write this hub about it. None of my other Q&A ever attracted so much traffic.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 23 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      These are some awesome stories that tell us of the indomitable spirit that we as human beings have. When faced with insurmountable challenges, we are able to summon strength, will-power, and determination that we never knew that we had.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 23 months ago from Long Island, NY

      denise.w.anderson - Very well said Denise. Thanks for your wonderful comment.

    • Kate Mc Bride profile image

      Kate McBride 23 months ago from Donegal Ireland

      Glenn Stok,

      Such comprehensive and uplifting true stories & testimonials. A pleasure to read-have shared on facebook. Have a good day.


    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 23 months ago from Long Island, NY

      Kate Mc Bride - It wouldn't have been possible if it weren't for the detailed responses to my Q&A. I appreciate your kind comment Kate. Thanks for sharing this one too.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 23 months ago from USA

      This was a terrific description of personal challenges and a testament to how strong and resilient people can be.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 23 months ago from Long Island, NY

      FlourishAnyway - Yes indeed. When I read the answers to my original Q&A I felt the same way, which is why I became motivated to write this hub about them.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 22 months ago from The Caribbean

      This is the first hub of its kind I have read, and I'm glad I did. Great acknowledging the strength and courage of these writers, and your thoughtfulness in sharing their stories. Thanks for everyone's courage and best to all going forward!

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 22 months ago from Long Island, NY

      MsDora - It was a lot of work elaborating on all the responses I received. But their courage and strength, as you said, deserved acknowledgement.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 22 months ago from The Caribbean

      Congratulations on your HP Lifetime Achievement Award. It seems like a qualifier for you to do a hub like this so well.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 22 months ago from Long Island, NY

      MsDora - Thanks for the compliment.

    • letstalkabouteduc profile image

      McKenna Meyers 22 months ago from Bend, OR

      This is an inspirational hub, Glenn. It's amazing how resilient people are. I think the key is to keep getting up and going no matter how many times you fall.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 22 months ago from Long Island, NY

      letstalkabouteduc - That's right. Thomas Edison failed hundreds of times to create the lightbulb. It's not easy for everyone to do that though. Some people give up too soon.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 21 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      This was a fascinating compilation of the challenges that people face and their ways to overcome the obstacles. I like the way you presented each person's response to your question and paraphrased their stories. What a tribute to the strength of the human spirit and an inspiration to others.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 21 months ago from Long Island, NY

      PegCole17 - Thanks, Peg, for your wonderful review of my hub. It was a challenge for me to rework the various stories into a single hub. But I enjoyed doing it.

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