Friday, October 13, 2017

Recovering From Storm Stress

(Written By Don Shetterly)

This has been a challenging past few weeks.  Seeing the devastation in Houston and the Caribbean islands was difficult.  Seeing the floods and earthquakes throughout various countries in the world makes my heart cry for people.

We just experienced Hurricane Irma, and while things could be much worse, the stress of the storm was more than enough.  In the week leading up to its landfall, the stress and anxiety were so thick in the air.  In every store you went to, and on every road, you could see it in full force.  Then the storm hit, and just sitting through the howling of the wind, the shaking of the house, and wondering what will things look like in the morning was more than enough.

We lost power for 5 days, which was not easy in the Florida heat and humidity.  Sleep was almost nonexistent and being choked by the fumes of generators running in the area, I struggled to keep my wits about me.  It was exhausting and tiring.  It felt almost like you were in a daze and delirious.

When we got power back on, it felt so good.  I've never been so happy to flip a light switch on and have a darkened room lit up.  It never felt so good to have working air conditioning.  I was ecstatic not to hear generators running loudly 24 hours a day, and being sickened by the exhaust fumes.  I was happy that the constant emergency alerts they were sending out for anything and everything finally stopped

Body was too tired and stressed...

The first night we got power back on, I thought we would finally get a good night's sleep.  Unfortunately, we did not.  It was almost as if our bodies were too tired and stressed to let go and surrender into sleep.

The next couple of days, we felt exhausted and struggled to focus.  Naps were frequent and not enough.  I had other friends that were experiencing the same things.  The stress of the storm was at maximum levels.  Recovering from the storm stress was not as easy as I thought it would be.

I cannot imagine what people in Houston or the Caribbean Islands or Puerto Rico and other places are facing.  We had our house intact, but their whole world was torn apart in a matter of hours.  While the cameras have faded away from the impact, they are struggling to figure out how to piece their lives back together.  I'm sure many in this state will be doing the same.

Suicide Increases After A Storm...

A friend of mine shared an article published in the New York Times on June 21, 2006, talking about depression and suicide after a storm (hurricane).  After major disasters like what we've seen on the TV, the struggle is so difficult for people fighting to recover.  We've got friends in Houston, and we can tell how much they are struggling.

If you are struggling, keep in mind that this too shall pass.  There is a way forward, and if you keep searching for it, you will find it.  No, I'm not going to tell you it is easy because it is not.  However, don't give up.  Don't get lost in today's moment, because there is hope for a tomorrow that improves little by little.

Don't try to go it alone...

If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, despair or thoughts of suicide, don't try to go it alone.  Yes, these things make you want to hide in a cave and build walls up to everyone around you who care.  While that may feel like the only thing you can do at this moment, don't give in to it.  Seek out help and support.  Seek out qualified therapy and counseling.  In this time of recovery from storm stress, allow yourself to lean on others until you get strength back in your legs.

Recovering from storm stress is not easy.  It is challenging but just know that you're not alone.  Others are experiencing some of the same issues as you, but they may not be saying it.  Sometimes we want to give the appearance to the world that we are strong when we are crumbling inside.  I made that mistake for many years, and it almost cost me my life through Conversion Disorder.

Reach out and ask for help.  You may not get it from everyone you reach out to, but don't let that stop you.  If someone is reaching out to you with a helping hand, grab hold of their hand and let them help you steady yourself as you walk the difficult road ahead.

If someone reaches out to you, realize you don't have to solve all their problems, but be there for them with an extra helping of love and support.  Help them find the resources they need and be conscious, not unconscious in your help and support.

Recovering from storm stress may not be easy, but if we all reach out to one another, it will help lift every one of us up.  It will strengthen us as a human race and make us stronger together.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Blog Post And Images (c) 1/01/07 by Don Shetterly
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