Chances are that you or someone you know has been affected by Hurricane Harvey. Whether you swam to safety, had family who lost possessions, or saw the devastation on television, in the days/weeks/months to come, it would be completely normal for you to continue to experience upsetting emotions. These emotions may come up when least expected. They may even be more intense than expected. This is all normal and ok. It is important to understand that everyone experiences and processes traumatic events differently. Everyone recovers from traumatic events on their own timelines, in their own ways.
It would be typical if you were to experience any/all of these:
post traumatic stress
Our brain produces cortisol when we are experiencing acute stress. While this helps sustain and protect us in crisis, the chronic, high levels of cortisol can have emotional and physical effects on our bodies. These effects may include the above list, as well as: headaches, backaches, hypersensitivity to pain, gastro issues, and mood swings. Please know that these are normal.
These intense feelings and their side effects should lessen over time….again, on your own timeline. If you feel like the effects are intensifying or not fading, there are a few things you can do to address them. Once your physical safety is ensured, turn off the tv and your social media and take a break from the news. It can be overwhelming and perpetuate a heightened level of anxiety and depressed mood. Next, take time to eat nutritional meals, force yourself to stop and sleep (if you tolerate Benadryl, it can help with that for some people), and exercise. Your mental health is harder to address if your physical health is compromised. Seeking out support from your social support network may be helpful. If you try these things and are still suffering, please seek out professional help in your mental health community. Houston has a resource list that I encourage you to check out: http://www.mhahouston.org/hurricane-harvey-resource-list/
You’ve seen the outpouring of support from around the country for Texas. These people want to help YOU. Please reach out to them.