When storms threaten, it's normal to be concerned, scared, or even anxious. But for some, facing another storm can be debilitating, especially if it's not their first go around.
For those who've been through multiple disasters, they're exhausted. Many are tired of the runaround from contractors and insurance, and they're certainly not ready to face another hurricane season.
"So what originally happened, is we used to have hurricanes infrequently. They'd happen, they'd be a major event, and then we'd move on. But because we've had so many things happen to us, we've created this complex trauma." says Marie Collins, the Executive Director of the Family Tree Information, Education, and Counseling Center in Lafayette. She says it's perfectly fine to experience anxiety when disaster looms. She adds, "We originally had trauma, and we had multiple ones after that. So that created this complex trauma. So now we get anxious when it just starts to rain."
So where is the point when people aren't just uneasy about the weather and it becomes something more? Collins says, "When it's impacting your every day functioning. If other people start noticing the anxiety they see in you, that's going to be a red flag." Collins continues, "But if you notice that 'Oh, it's raining today, so I'm not leaving the house.', then we've crossed over."
Not reacting can be just as bad. Collins exclaims, "Apathy! Apathy is very, very dangerous. It's those people who get into apathy, and that's where we start looking at depression. Because they're not even helping themselves anymore."
Your kids are noticing too. "You're the role model!" Collins says, "They're going to mirror what you do. You can be 100% freaking out on the inside, but don't let them see that." What are some other things that you can do to make your kids feel calmer and safer? Collins adds, "Letting the child lead is a good option. Ask them what they think a hurricane is, what they're feeling as a hurricane approaches. What are your friends saying?"
Getting them involved in the preparation process can help too. "Having that sense of control. It's what we want." Collins continues, "That's why we get so scared during hurricanes, because we have no control. So creating any sense of giving back the ability to be in control. If there's no imminent threat at the time, do you preparations. Make sure you have all your medicines. You can go through the list and do your buying now when there's no panic."