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I read one of those pop psychology articles which painted a resilient person as someone who can tough it out because he has a genetic background which makes him less susceptible to depression. Or vice versa, some people are predisposed to depression, to being overwhelmed, to self-doubt and are the victims of their own genes.

I'm not denying that some people are susceptible to depression and anxiety because of their genetic makeup, but I also argue that people who have previously faced adversity and dealt with its fallout develop the self-confidence and the skills to cope with it in new situations and also develop strategies for managing a disaster.

When you know you've lived through it once and come out the other side perhaps scarred but still alive and sane, it's not easier to deal with an adverse situation, but it does help to know that you survived it once, you can survive it again. You can fight the feeling of being overwhelmed and helpless.

The more of these situations you deal with, the tougher you get? Up to a point. There comes a time when you're just plain exhausted by coping with emergencies like divorce, death (someone close to you), serious illness (yours or another's), job loss, natural disaster (Katrina comes to mind).

What often trips people up is that they try to apply previous solutions to new circumstances. The lessons that should be learned from earlier crises are not a series of band-aids, but methods for breaking down the emergency into solvable steps, prioritizing them, and then tackling them one at a time.

What also helps is having a circle of friends for support, something that women more than men are likely to have.

I'm interested in your comments on this topic.

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