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Hurricane Anxiety and Trauma

Hurricane Anxiety and Trauma

When you know that a hurricane is approaching, you may start to feel anxiety like shaking, sadness, obsessively watching news updates on it, or even being afraid to leave your home. This is because hurricanes are beyond anybody’s control. By doing everything you can to prepare for a hurricane and making sure you are not alone, you are doing the best you can.

The Anxiety of Hurricanes

Hurricanes have a tendency to make us feel anxious and scared because we have no control over them. It does not help when the news tells us about how the hurricane will hit our area and seeing businesses being closed down. This can make us go into a frenzy where we overspend on groceries, keep our eyes glued to the news, or keep thinking of all of the what-if scenarios. It hurts us more because our fear of hurricanes is not going to keep them away.  

Preparing for a Hurricane

The best way to decrease your anxiety symptoms before a hurricane comes is to prepare. This will give you more control over the situation and will show that you are making efforts to protect yourself and others. This means making sure that you have enough dry and canned food, batteries, water, candles, etc. It also helps to stay up to date on the weather to see how close the storm is and how serious it is. At the same time, though, do not watch the news too much as it will make you more nervous as it gets more serious. Storms can be unpredictable and have a tendency to change direction. Just check every few hours and focus more on preparations for it. 

It will also help to speak to friends, relatives, a counselor, or anyone else about what you are going through. They may help you by vowing to stay with you through the whole thing and giving you some insight on what they did the last hurricane to make themselves feel safe. The most important thing you can do to prepare is to accept what you cannot control. Excessive worrying about the path of a hurricane or the damage that can be inflicted will not prevent anything. All you can control is how to protect yourself. 

What You Can Do After the Hurricane

You may be having difficulty coping from the aftermath of a hurricane when you see the damage of your house, neighborhood, or if anyone you know got hurt. Instead of thinking hard about your feelings of sorrow, you should do something about them. This can mean donating blood to the people who were seriously hurt during the hurricane. You can make care packages to wish them well or volunteer to help the survivors to get a sense of control back. Try to keep up with your daily routine as normal as possible such as showing up to work, eating balanced meals, taking care of your family, etc. 

How to Manage Trauma After a Hurricane

The trauma you may experience after a hurricane can be increased headaches, muscle tension, nausea, and nightmares. It is first important to tell yourself that you can get through this. That you have dealt with hardships in the past and found ways to heal before. You should also limit your exposure to the news as seeing and listening to the damaged areas or the injuries others have suffered will not help. In order to increase ratings and get more people watching, the media will only show the worst-case scenarios. Things could still be looking better in your neighborhood compared to what is being shown in other areas.

You can also express your feelings to others who have been hit by the hurricane whether it is people you know or from support groups in your area who are suffering like you. It will help you feel less alone and you can get tips from others on how to cope. Commit to engaging in healthy behaviors to cope with your trauma like eating well-balanced meals or meditation before you go to bed to avoid any nightmares from occurring. Avoid drugs and alcohol as they will increase your feelings of depression and cause you to neglect taking care of yourself. 

Getting Help From Prolonged Feelings

Having these anxiety symptoms for several weeks can mean that you are dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. Speaking to a psychologist will help educate you on how you normally respond to extreme stress and how to move forward. You can trust psychologists with your worries and feel comfortable sharing your stories. Therapists can also use different types of talk therapy to best address your problems and fits your personality and preferences. Some therapists even use hypnosis to help manage pain and mood disorders. 

It is also important to be there for your children as they could be feeling shock and sadness from this hurricane. Encourage your kids to talk about their feelings as a way of telling them that it is okay to talk about it. Let your children know that you are feeling scared too so that they are aware that even adults can experience fear after terrifying moments like this. You should assure yourself and your children that hurricanes do not happen all of the time. You may not have control over a natural disaster, but you do have control in how to better take care of your mental health.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress-reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.