Stress blog

Overcoming adversity

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. September 15, 2010

Need more help?

If the stress in your life is more than you can cope with, get help right away.

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Go to the nearest hospital or emergency room
  • Call your physician, health provider or clergy
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
    1-800-950-NAMI (6264)

It's obvious from the blog comments that everyone struggles with similar issues regardless of where they live or the diplomas on the wall. So how do people overcome personal violence, sexual abuse, unfairness in the workplace, or the horrors of armed conflict?

It's not a question of willpower. It's not a question of just pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. When the scars run deep, there's very little resiliency and it's hard to bounce back.

However, the lives of those who've somehow overcome adversity may hold clues. Studies reveal some common themes in their life stories:

  • Having that one person — a coach, minister or confidant — who provides guidance and support during hard times.
  • Feeling a sense of community or connectedness. In other words, having a safety net of individuals to share concerns with, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon or another group.
  • Believing in one's self. A deep-seated notion that, "I am a good person. What happened to me is not right or fair, but I can't let this define me or my life."

It's also clear that many individuals need the guidance of professionals to help them find their way out of the darkness. Yet all the professional help and all the support groups can't replace the one-on-one support from someone who knows and cares about you.


Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

Join the discussion at #Stress.

7 Comments Posted

Sep. 15, 2010