Throughout time, hurricanes have served the earth as a ruthless and abusive reminder of nature’s power. When the storm passes, which it will, what’s left behind internally in the lives of those affected is just as catastrophic as the external damage to the land.
Emotional effects may not hit hurricane victims right away. Surges of adrenaline act like a foggy haze, blurring the dangerous truth. Once the scramble to clean up is over, the reality of the situation appears.
Regions who have previously suffered from natural disasters serve as haunting reminders of how long it takes a community to bounce back. What we’ve seen of hurricanes in the last decade has molded and shaped our perception of natural destruction, strength, humanity and sovereignty. But there is hope.
Coping mechanisms such as these below can be weaved into your daily life once normalcy is found again. It will be found again.
- Discuss your fears with people you trust and listen to theirs. See that you aren’t alone, and what you’re experiencing is a normal process.
- Remember what brings you joy and peace; let it fill your free time.
- Do not discredit the effectiveness of a balanced diet and sufficient sleep.
- Practice self-relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, walking, yoga or meditation.
- Keep your lines of communication open to others in your life.
Even if a hurricane hasn’t turned your life upside down, you still play an important role in other victim’s recovery. In the absence of well-designed care, victims may experience lasting depression, anxiety and other emotional problems. Watch out for loved ones that may be experiencing posttraumatic symptoms:
- Feelings of helplessness and vulnerability
- Increased drug and alcohol use
- Grief, mourning, depression or despair
- Social withdrawal or paranoia
- Anxiety, nervousness or confusion
- Moodiness, easily angered or excited
The names change, but the devastation doesn’t. Prepare yourself for the aftermath, in all its ugliness, and reclaim your life. Always keep in mind that emotional change is part of the healing process when getting back to normal after a traumatic event. Mother Nature is strong, but so are we.