People can never really be prepared to deal with the extensive loss that comes with natural disasters. As many of you know first-hand we have experienced two devastating hurricanes in the last few weeks. Even if you are aware that you will be affected, seeing the aftermath can be a very traumatic experience.
How to help yourself and others:
Be sure to acknowledge and validate your losses. Even if others have lost more, your losses are still yours and do give yourself permission to feel grief. This does not mean you do not have compassion for other’s experience. It simply means you are processing your own feelings so that you can work toward eventual healing.
Be sure to accept help. This may be very hard for some people who have identified more with the role of helper and it may be an uncomfortable position to be in. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, rather it is a sign of strength.
Do not fall into the mindset of using loaded words like “I should have” or other negative thoughts to reflect on the decisions you made in preparing for the storm. You made the best decisions to protect yourself at the time. Hindsight is 20/20 and remember we would often do things differently with additional information not available at the time of our earlier decision. We are, after all, only human!
Lastly, remember that grief is a really challenging process and does not necessarily move in a linear fashion from point A to point B. You may cry, laugh, feel relief, and sadness all within one day and recognize that this is normal. You are a grieving individual.
As always, do not hesitate to seek out a counselor to offer professional help. You are worth it!