It’s been almost a month since our beautiful coastal area took the brunt of hurricane Harvey. Each and everyone one of us has been affected in one way or another. Thankfully, our area is receiving resources to survive, clean up and start to rebuild. Communities are pulling together, neighbors are helping neighbors and caring strangers are becoming new friends.
We’ve seen the worst of Harvey and the best of humanity.
We must acknowledge that our mental health has been impacted by this disaster. Especially if you rode out the storm or when you first came back and saw the damage to your beautiful town. Evacuees sat glued to TVs/Facebook around the clock watching in shock and not knowing if they had a home or job left. Many survived without electricity, sewer and city water. Many are now battling with insurance companies or FEMA only to be denied help. Many have lost everything.
An ocean of tears were collectively cried and our hearts were broken.
Despite all of that, we are trying to remain positive and thankful, even as we are surrounded by destruction and piles of debris. To recover in a healthy way, we must take proactive and intentional actions. This will help us rise stronger and heal our broken hearts.
Each of you is important to rebuild our towns. Everyone matters.
After a disaster, it’s common for people to stay so busy with clean up, rebuilding, insurance, etc. that they ignore their mental and physical health. We must remember they are equally important and ignoring one of them, will eventually impact the other negatively.
Why am I writing this and urging you to take care of yourself?
Research shows there is an increase in substance abuse and mental health disorders in the years after a community goes through a natural disaster. I do NOT want to see this happen to us.
Acknowledging our thoughts and emotions and talking about the impact of this disaster is important. Stuffing emotions, numbing them with substances or pretending they aren’t there, will only lead to new problems down the road. The emotions intensify with time and spill into our work and home lives in negative ways, often as anger or depression.
Taking time to care for our body/mind is crucial to healthy recovery from Harvey's impact. If we don’t do this, we could see an increase in depression, anxiety/panic disorders, stress related illnesses, addiction, complex grief and PTSD.
Harvey has taken enough from us, let’s not give him more.
Please read the following sections for more information and suggestions. I appreciate you taking the time to read this and take care of yourself, your future thanks you.
Common symptoms, issues, reactions after going through a disaster:
Disaster Distress Helpline (24/7 talk/text, Spanish available) 1-800-985-5990 (text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24/7) 1-800-273-8255
Bayview Behavioral Hospital (inpatient) 361-986-8200
Linda MacIsaac LPC, LCDC (counseling in Rockport) 361-238-0431 lindamacisaac.com
Facebook: If you are interested in more hurricane related recovery information in the coming months, my business FB is: Professional Counseling Linda MacIsaac LPC, LCDC, Rockport
© Linda MacIsaac. All rights reserved 2017. May share article exactly as written.