Serena Shares Sara’s Story

By Serena Weisner -Community Manager for Canary Peer’s Alumni Community


“I don’t know how long we’re going to be in the midst of this COVID situation.  I can sit around and complain about it and be bitter, or I can do other things to help myself.”  Sara communicated to me.


She said it matter-of-factly, the way most great insights are spoken, and I was grateful for her reminder (and challenge). A few weeks ago, I sat down for a virtual chat with Sara who completed the Better Choices, Better Health workshop in June. Having the opportunity to talk with recent workshop graduates and our alumni community members really drives home the importance of group support and its contribution to resiliency.


Sara lives with chronic pain and has felt a great deal of uncertainty these last few months. She is most frustrated that she can’t do everything that she used to be able to. Although she was initially apprehensive of the group sharing and discussion center components of the workshop, she ultimately discovered that they were what she looked forward to the most.


Sara told me that she appreciated having a support team of people who were going through different things but could validate her struggles and help her through the hurdles she was facing. She said:


“I felt I had someone who was there and who understood what I was going through.  I knew that I wasn’t alone in this journey. Sara went on to say, “Pain is something that I always have had to deal with. The workshop and other participants allowed me to reframe my thinking and to focus on something that I can be grateful for.”


I reflected on how often I have heard comments similar to Sara’s – the sense of both the sheer uniqueness of one’s situation and its utter parallel to the experiences of so many others.


It wasn’t untill the end of our conversation that COVID-19 and the challenging context of current life came up. In addition to the comment mentioned earlier,  she continued offering her take on how to help herself, saying:


“The comments from other people helped open my eyes to things that I have never done before – never tried because I have been too busy or was focusing too much on my pain.”


I was honored to get to speak with Sara and a good reminder that feelings of camaraderie and encouragement – even in the face of the unknown – can increase our sense of resilience and carry us through…together.  


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