Stress blog

Fight stress by reaching out, not retreating

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. November 7, 2009

During the last century, few thought anyone would ever climb Mount Everest, explore the North or South Pole, or swim the English Channel. But men and women have accomplished these amazing feats. The first woman to swim the English Channel was Florence Chadwick.

In one of Chadwick's early swims, she was enveloped by fog and gave up her attempt just 2 miles shy of her goal. Her spirit broken, she was lifted into the support ship, where she was treated for hypothermia and dehydration. Several hours later, the fog lifted. The crestfallen swimmer, still on the boat, said that if she had only been able to see the goal she could have endured the hardships. In other words, when we lose sight of our goals, our courage and fortitude can fail us.

John Donne wrote that no man is an island. We cannot succeed alone. Like the swimmer, we need a support staff and a rescue boat. If we have a heart problem, we need a cardiologist. If we have a kidney problem, we need a kidney specialist. Likewise, if we are struggling with emotional issues, we need the help of an expert — a psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker.

So, the lesson for today is clear: If we feel hopeless and can't find our way, we owe it to ourselves to reach out for help and guidance.


Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

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Nov. 07, 2009