The word "trauma" often promotes images of war, accidents, rape or bombings but natural disasters are also a source of trauma. Trauma often begins with feelings of loss of control over the situation and continues into depression and anxiety. Many of the news photo's we have seen this week confirm those feelings on Texans' faces as they reside in shelters or where rescued by boat. Left untreated, trauma can escalate into nightmares, applying these fears to everyday life and other people, and feelings that person has lost complete control of their life.
Healing from a natural disaster is usually less difficult than from other forms of trauma because the cause of the trauma is not human and because you are not alone. Talking about the effects of natural disasters and sharing of stories is often healing. Regaining a sense of control by beginning to clean out a home or seeing the site of the devastation may help to decrease the feelings of uncertainty.
Traumatic stress will not "go away." It must be addressed. Trauma often needs "language" to help decrease its effects and aid the victim in moving forward.
Recovering from a natural disaster will require time and patience. It is important not to ignore feelings of fear, depression, and anxiety. If these feelings are increasing or impacting your ability to function daily, please seek me out for help.