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Finding Camaraderie in the Face of Adversity

In life, adversity (whether it be in the form of minor curveballs or huge disasters) is an inevitable reality for all of us. In tough times, you can feel alone and that the world is against you; you may feel that you’ll never overcome the issues you are facing. This causes different reactions within different people.

Some people handle hard times well and are able to rationalise and assess the situation with a cool head, but may lack empathy for others. Some will be more irrational and panic, but may be able to empathise with others, who are also suffering from the same issue.

Adversity is an ominous force, whether it be a roused by a natural disaster, a financial crisis, a government decree or a power outage; it drives our lives into chaos. Amongst that chaos though, camaraderie is born.

So what exactly is camaraderie? According to the Cambridge English Dictionary it is as follows...

In the bleakest and harshest of times, people come together. If you have always had a pessimistic view of the world, you would perhaps think that people would devolve to their primal instincts and would only care about themselves. However, from what I’ve seen camaraderie always breaks through.

We all see evidence of this daily in the news and via inspirational posts on social media but I have experienced this firsthand; most prominently at Christmas 2016. Around the North West, there was a huge amount of rain on Christmas Eve which caused flooding around the region. This lead to a very wet and bleak Christmas morning and as they came downstairs to open their presents, they were met with a foot of water on their kitchen floors. This, of course, might be the end of Christmas for most, or so you would assume. However, people pulled up their socks, donned their wellies and a Christmas miracle occurred! Neighbours and friends found their biggest buckets and came to the aid of those in need.

They all got stuck in, dragging out buckets of water from peoples’ homes, giving food and warm clothes to the families affected. With smiles on their faces, they veritably saved Christmas day. That night, everyone had enjoyed a Christmas meal and as they got wrapped up warm in their now dry (or drier) homes, they still managed to enjoy the festive season.

These were heart-warming scenes to witness and be a part of, and although it may have not been the best Christmas ever, it was definitely the best representation of spirit within adversity. Although this tale may sound like a Christmas special you watch on the BBC in December, it truly does help illustrate how so much good can come out of a bad situation. Things do and will go wrong, however much we try to avoid them, but ‘camaraderie’, ‘teamwork’, ‘friendship’, however you label it, will certainly make a lousy day a lot better.

Using this principle, we can also see why most issues (including the ones within yourself), whether it be depression, anxiety, paranoia etc. can be helped by another person. When suffering from mental health problems, a lot of the time the last thing you want is to interact with another human. However, the worst thing you can ever do is isolate yourself - most negative feelings feed on loneliness and become stronger and more all-consuming. Find someone you trust to share your feelings with and watch the camaraderie work its magic. As the saying goes, ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’!


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