“Not everyone bounces back, some just keep bouncing.”
It’s a quote, regarding the emotional impact of experiencing a major storm like Harvey or Irma. While most people can pick up the pieces and get back to normal, others struggle, sometimes for months.
- General anxiety
- Post-traumatic stress
- Inability to sleep
- Gnawing sense of fear
Studies reveal that 25% of people experiencing a severe hurricane can still be struggling six months later, or longer. It’s especially true for those affected by the worst aspects of storms: flash floods, loss of home and property, witnessing injuries, drowning’s, and storm related deaths.
I read about a woman who was trapped on a roof with her three children. They huddled together as she shielded them from the rain and prayed to be rescued.
During the eight hours they waited, she witnessed four people die. She watched a woman and child trapped in a car as the water rose over and swept them away. She saw a woman clinging to a tree who lost her grip and quickly drowned. She watched as a man was being rescusitated, but died in the attempt.
Those images emerge whenever she closes her eyes. It’s why she’s hardly slept since she and her children moved into a downtown Houston shelter.
People traumatized can feel overwhelmed to restart their lives. There’s frustration with contractors, insurance companies, and government agencies, and with basic needs like medical support and food and water.
Storm victims often lose their jobs due to devastation of businesses. They face financial trouble and then the shame of finding help from government agencies or the community. They know the feeling of standing in lines for help instead of being the one helping.
Here’s some gently offered advice:
- Find a good church, faith and spiritual family will help.
- Join a support group, sharing your story could be beneficial.
- Resist the urge to feel like you’ve failed, you haven’t.
- Pursue positive short term goals, moving forward is healthy.
- Find a good counselor or mental health professional. You may need it.
“Not everyone bounces back, some just keep bouncing.” So, please try to remember these words from Jesus in John 16:33,
“In this world, you will have much trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.”