This past week, as I watched the disaster in Texas unfold and worried about my family living in and around the Houston area – I had periods of time when I felt anxious, anger, sadness, and guilt. I felt the need to watch the stories of rescues and devastation.
I begin planning for my family to have an evacuation plan should we ever experience the need to evacuate with our pets.
The feelings I have experienced started to interfere with my sleep. I would wake up at night worried, sad, and even fearful that my home could be lost like those in Texas.
As I tried to make sense of my feelings and fears, I realized that we can experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and posttraumatic stress (PTS) without ever leaving our homes. These mental health disorders can occur from watching terrorism and natural disasters on television and social media.
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and posttraumatic stress (PTS) include depression, anxiety, and stress reactions. Some studies indicate that PTSD / PTS occurs in 61% of people who view disaster events on television. Depression, fear, and anger occur in 16% of the population who watch disaster events on television.
So how do we move forward?
Limiting the time spent on social media will minimize what we feed our brains. For me, I limited my social media to twice a day – I turned off Fox News. I texted family members and asked them to keep me posted of any changes in their situations, this helped me stay off of social media.
I also prayed – I turned my negative feelings, anger, fear and anxiety over to a higher power. There are some things in life I cannot control, and Mother Nature is one of them. The one thing I can control is how I react. We are not guaranteed our next breath, so wasting our time worrying about things we cannot control, is time we may never get to spend on something of meaning.
It is hard to move forward, even if my home was never flooded and my family was safe throughout the vent. I still have an urge to head to Texas and volunteer. I still want to buy a large enclosed trailer to move my animals. But just like the recovery effort in Texas – my recovery will take time.
I would love to hear from you if you have experienced stress from watching Hurricane Harvey.
~ ConnieKayA ~
A Southern Girl sharing her passion for living an abundantly blessed life