Dealing with Catastrophic Events in Life

Hey everyone! I hope that if you were affected by hurricane Irma by now you have electricity and things are coming back to normal. Unfortunately, in our current world no matter what you live there are some form of catastrophic events happening around you. The aftermath of a natural disaster or a man-made disaster bring along effects such as shock, anxiety, distress, PTSD, or other mental health related issues. By the time I finished writing this post Puerto Rico was devastated by hurricane Maria and it reminded me of the terrible feeling of not knowing if your loved ones are doing OK or not….. this is an added piece to the trauma inflicted by catastrophic events! 

If you decide living in Florida you have to accept the fact that for a few months every year you’re going to have to deal with the fear of experiencing a hurricane. Florida is the sunshine State and we barely have winter, so for me having few months of fearing in hurricane is not such a big deal. I guess I have to say it used to be not a big deal before I had children. Now that I have children things are a little bit more complicated. Knowing that you have to make sure that your kids have food to eat and have electricity to be able to put their lullaby to bed or AC so they feel comfortable in the heat of Florida can get a little bit overwhelming. Anticipating an hurricane can become even more stressful event than experiencing it itself. I believe that it is safe to say that even people who don’t suffer from an anxiety develop some form of anxiety due to listening to news report and watching the panic of the community around them. Entering Supermarkets and gas stations to find out that there’s no gas, water, bread, and other necessities can become stressful. i.e. hurricane gas lines…

Few weeks before hurricane Irma attacked the state of Florida, Texas was attacked by hurricane Harvey and the devastation was terrible. Many of us donated money, resources, or time to help the community in Texas. Now, I have to watch as the state I call my own experience such devastation as well. Watching the pictures and videos from the Keys and even the West Coast and Miami is very heartbreaking. When working with trauma, catastrophic events are one of the things that are important to consider with the general public and first responders. Seeing so much devastation, losing your home, losing a pet, and other forms of loss in the mist of recovering from an hurricane can become very traumatic .

As a counselor I received numerous emails asking to come and help the public. All my life I volunteered in the community in one form or another. However, as a mother now for two babies (both are under 2 1/2 years old), I cannot allow myself to leave them and come out to help the community, and that by itself heartbreaking for me. It is important to know what are the available resources in the community to receive help after experiencing a disaster. You can read some information hear about it from the American Psychological Association (APA). In the APA they specify some of these symptoms as related to the aftermath of a trauma: feelings that become intensified and at times unpredictable (such as anxiety, irritability, depression or mood swings), flashbacks, confusion or difficulty making decisions, sleep or eating issues, fear that event  will repeat, changes/interruptions in interpersonal relationships, or physical symptoms such as headaches, etc. 

Also, keep in mind that Red Cross and all major hospitals should have some available resources. If you have health insurance, make sure to reach out to a mental health counselor and schedule an appointment. If you don’t have health insurance look for available community mental health facilities that offer Low cost counseling such as the Faulk Center for Counseling (link here). Some other professionals would also offer pro-bono counseling if they’re available to do so. If someone reading this feels they have been strongly negatively affected by this working I need assistant. I have one spot available for somebody in need of cannot afford counseling and doesn’t have insurance in my Boca Raton office. (GO to my website)

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