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2. Who can I consult who has solved the same problem successfully?

Bad things aren't solved in isolation, yet there is no doubt that our reactions isolate us. We become afraid and depressed. We draw into ourselves. Around the edges we entertain shame and guilt, and once these appear, there is even more reason to shut down.

Finding someone who has gone through the same crisis that you are facing accomplishes several things at once. It gives you an example to follow, a confidant who understands your plight and an alternative to withdrawing into isolation. Victims always feel alone and helpless. So reach out to someone who has proven, through their own lives, that they were not victimized by the bad thing you are facing now.

We aren't talking about hand-holding, shared misery or even therapy. All those activities can be beneficial (or not), but there's no substitute for talking to a person who has entered a dark place and come out successfully. Where do you find such a person? Ask around, tell your story, seek support groups, go online to find blogs and forums—the possibilities are much greater than ever before. And don't stop until you find not just good advice but real empathy from someone you trust.

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