Taking Care of Our Own

Running on Riverside Drive this morning, just next to the park, the wind kept kicking up. I had that exquisite pleasure of my body heating up and the tips of my fingers freezing.

Brad Feld’s most recent blog post on depression and entrepreneurship was on my mind. As usual, I focused inwardly first. I know with the trauma of Hurricane Sandy hitting this week, I was having increased anxiety. “It’s normal and to be expected,” I reminded myself. Then I thought about the ways I alleviate my anxiety: “What are you doing to care for your body?” Well, duh, I thought, I’m running now.

“And what are you doing to help others?” That stopped me.
You see, I firmly believe that one of the best ways to give your mind a break is to focus outside the bubble of your own narcissism. And nothing is better for that than helping others.

I can’t reboot servers. I can drain flooded areas but not as well as people who skilled in such things. But I can listen. Really well.

As I thought about the trauma of Sandy, I realized that even as the waters recede and the Number 1 train finally makes it past Times Square, there are going to be a whole lot of walking wounded around town.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a bitch. I know; I’ve been there.
Unexplained anxiety, lack of sleep, loss of appetite are serious conditions and the sooner they are dealt with the sooner you’ll be able to get back to work.

I can’t help everyone, but as much as I’d like to rebuild the houses and lives of the people of  Breezy Point, my people are on Broadway from Madison Square on down town.

And one of the things I love about our community, about Startup Communities around the world, is that, as Springsteen sings, “We take care of our own.”

So this is a call to action. Working with Kevin Friedman and Dan Putt at Cojourneo, I’d like to help organize folks who can help with people who need help. I need coaches, therapists, and other mental health professionals to, perhaps, facilitate peer support groups.

Many people, even some flooded out of their homes and whose businesses are in jeopardy, won’t need help beyond the physical. But some of your friends, some of your competitors, some of your colleagues will. And what will turn the trauma of Sandy into a tragedy is if we ignore our peers in need.

If you can help–if you have the time to help organize free small, intimate, and safe online and offline peer support groups, please send an email to: ICanHelp@cojourneo.com.

If you need help, or know someone who does, send a note to BraveEnoughToKnowINeedHelp@cojourneo.com.

And, lastly, if you’re in neither category…pass the word. Let’s take care of our own.

  • http://sotirov.com/ Emil Sotirov

    Hi Jerry,

    Cojourneo seems to be a highly structured environment. Aidpage (aidpage.com) is the opposite – totally informal, unstructured, open, and mostly public.

    Aidpage may not be of use for exactly what you are calling for – but I thought it might have some value as a non-professional person-to-person alternative.

    I am a co-founder of Aidpage.

    Best regards,

    • jerrycolonna

      Emil…I LOVE aidpage.com This is really, really great. Is there something Sandy-specific that should be created and promoted?

      • http://sotirov.com/ Emil Sotirov

        Jerry… I am absolutely thrilled by your reaction to Aidpage.

        As of creating something specifically for Sandy on Aidpage – you can just make posts and add the keyword Sandy to them. Keywords aggregate posts on their own URLs where people can join the conversation. Here is how such a page looks like:http://depression.aidpage.com/

        Private communication is limited to one-to-one conversations. Aidpage used to be much more complex – with all kinds of private and public groups, blogs, etc… But with the latest version which we launched May 2012, we drastically simplified the system.

        Once you login as a member, you’ll see almost no ads on Aidpage.

        Again, thank you for your “LOVE” for Aidpage.


  • http://kirklove.net/ kirklove

    You always think of others. Admire that greatly about you as well as your words and effort. Thank you.

    • jerrycolonna

      :) I wish I really did always think of others. I try hard though. I’ve found it’s really the only sure fire of dealing with my own personal insanity.

      • http://kirklove.net/ kirklove

        Likewise. I’m truly happiest when I’m doing for others, though my selfishness too often wins.

  • http://about.me/carl_rahn_griffith/ Carl Rahn Griffith

    Lovely message/theme, Jerry – dark days can bring enlightenment – my thoughts are with you all out there. It’s going to be a long hard slog but you’ll all get there and hopefully it will have catalysed a new positive bond amongst people/community that lasts forever. 

    When Japan suffered its recent disaster, via the company I was working at the time I set-up a system of structured hashtags in Twitter to help people locate and help one another – unsure if I have seen something like that happen with Sandy, as yet.

    Positive vibes being sent out to all.