The rain came and the flood destroyed all that was held sacred…a safe haven, a home, a life. Many have discovered that the haven is able to be shattered by strong and torrential rains. With massive destruction, PTSD is not to be negated. It must be confronted to be conquered.
A mandatory evacuation alone is traumatic. Imagine, standing amidst a house full of what has become treasure to you and being forced with the daunting task of picking and choosing what you are able to carry. Narrowing down the choices to what can fit in a bag for your back. Leaving behind the home you have built, packing with the knowing that perhaps it will never be what it once was. I can imagine how the head of a household must feel making a list and checking it twice. And this is not some childhood tune that comes to mind, this is the check-list for survival. While picking-up this-and-that running through your mind is, Do I have what I need? Not what I want – what do I need?
The head of the house may also have guilt set-in about the Flood insurance for the house that was never purchased or the Flood insurance that was cancelled to save money. For this reason, the fleeing occurs with a knowing that there can be NO rebuilding of what is lost. While all of the people who will experience loss are in my prayers, I am adding an additional portion of prayer for the ones who carry the weight of the guilt.
I can only imagine the trauma of having to run for your life and having the faith in what is being told is true about the impending danger. Packing-up everything needed to sustain life, or to start one over, in advance of something you cannot even yet see. Noah building the Ark comes to mind…
Then there are those who doubted the reports and decided to ride out the storm from their homes and eventually needed to be evacuated. Some even died in the process. The people who tried to convince friends and family who have died will be left wondering, Did I try hard enough?
And finally, there are the first responders who run TOWARD danger, placing themselves in the path of the trouble from which others run. These brave souls put on a mask to get a job done. By nature, they thrive on being in the middle of the action, with adrenaline pumping they serve, protect, and rescue. When the mission is accomplished, many first responders practice the art of avoidance instead of admission of their Compassion Fatigue.
The myriad of health disorders that will arise due to the storms are my greatest concern. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is at the top of the list. Here are a few steps to conquer PTSD:
- CONFRONT THE LOSS – Do NOT pretend that nothing happened. Take action to move forward.
- CRY AND CRY SOME MORE – The loss is very real, do not hold back the tears. Recovery is an ongoing process.
- NORMALIZE SAD FEELINGS – Process the sadness and losses with professionals who will validate that it is OK to feel sad during this moment.
- WRITE ABOUT IT – Journaling through this process is cathartic. A good exercise for the whole family is to write about their experience and then compare stories.
- BE THANKFUL – Spirituality is a very helpful practice when confronting the traumatic experience. Inhale and Exhale and give thanks.
- SUPPLEMENT – When the blahs just won’t go away, try Bach Flower Rescue Remedy Drops, Spray & Gum. It is effective and safer than drugs.