BOSTON (CBS) – For the first time ever, psychologists will be stationed along the Boston Marathon route this year to talk with people who may feel emotionally overwhelmed.
Between now and race day, Dr. Chris Carter of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital says it’s likely we’ll feel a range of emotions.
Carter believes people may be more reactive.
“They may be feeling a little more on edge. A little more tearful perhaps or a little more irritable and less patient,” he told WBZ-TV.
Carter says it may not be obvious that these emotions are linked to feelings about the upcoming anniversary of the marathon bombings especially for someone who may not have experienced the trauma directly.
You may wonder why you feel the way you do if you weren’t actually on the race course or at the finish line at the time of the explosions.
Dr. Carter explains the attacks were traumatic for almost everyone. And reliving some of those anxieties is normal. But he also says this is a good time to assess just how far we’ve come in the past year as individuals and as a community.
“As bad as it was, what are the positives that have come out of this? How can we use this as an opportunity to grow and be stronger?” Carter said of questions needing to be asked.
Dr. Carter saw the strength in many of the survivors first hand. At Spaulding, he met with survivors once a week for almost two months. He watched their sadness and fear become anger and then resilience and gratitude.
“The progress these guys have been able to make is largely because of the generosity of strangers. In the midst of the horror and all the evil that was there, look at the good that’s been coming out,” he said.
Carter adds that when we were feeling our most helpless, we came together to support survivors through the One Fund. And what a difference that collective effort has made.
“I think seeing people like Jeff (Bauman) and some of the others moving on with their lives, I think it gives us hope for the resilience of the human spirit,” Carter said. “If he can overcome that, I can overcome this. When we come together in a positive way, look at what we’re able to accomplish.”
Dr. Carter will be at the starting line in Hopkinton on Marathon Monday supporting the team of runners raising money for Spaulding. He’ll then go to Boston to cheer them on when they finish.
He says it’s important to remember that Boston Strong is a mantra with real meaning.
It doesn’t mean that we don’t have moments of sadness and anxiety.
In fact, Dr. Carter says, strength means that you feel all of the emotions that come with the trauma of that day and yet you still keep moving.
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