Stress blog

Stress: Don't suffer alone, seek support

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. March 12, 2010

As I reflect on the powerful stories people have shared with me, I see a recurrent and powerful theme. Humans are creatures of the herd. We gathered as small clans around fires in the days of the caveman. We hunted game in small groups. The individual who was isolated became prey for some hungry beast. Being part of a group meant survival.

This is one of the reasons programs such as Al-Anon are so powerful. As Barbara A. commented, "I was no longer alone." By sharing our suffering we become empowered to take care of ourselves and not let our lives be held hostage by those who are chemically dependent.

Having lived with alcoholism, I know too well the turmoil and the frustrations of this dreadful disease. I'm often reminded of the comfort of the Serenity Prayer in these circumstances: "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." Simple words. Not easy to live by, but at least they provide a compass to guide us.

Yes, we survive in the herd, and we need to reach out to each other. This is no less true for those struggling with post-traumatic stress syndrome. You can't go it alone. You need professional guidance to find your way.

How else can we help each other deal with some of the unfairness life throws at us?


Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

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March 12, 2010