You may be feelings overwhelmed with all that has been happening in Houston. When natural disaster hits and so many have been affected, it may be hard to know what to do or where to go. Perhaps you are reeling from your own trauma, or perhaps you want to help others. You may not know where or how to help. Here are some common reactions and things you want to do to help when there is a disaster.

Survival Mode

If you or someone you love has lost your home due to the flood, you may be in survival mode. Taking care of your basic needs come first. After that, there is cleaning up the mess in your home, from packing up your belongings, to tearing out carpet and drywall to try and save what is left of your home. If you are in this situation, hopefully you have people to help you with this arduous task. Also, hopefully you have flood insurance. If not, you can reach out to FEMA for disaster recovery.

Emotional Fallout

After you get through the things that you need to do to survive and you are safe, all the emotions may come flooding in. Some people who are in the cleanup stage are saying that they are fine, and are surprised that they aren’t feeling it more. That is because they have tasks to do to move forwards towards a normal life. When the dust settles you may become overwhelmed with loss and grief, as life is no longer the same. Seeing a therapist can be very helpful at this point in time.

Survivors Guilt After Disaster

Survivor’s guilt is a common reaction when you are safe and others experience harm. You may wonder, why them and not you. It is a normal feeling after any type of disaster or trauma.

Gratitude

You may be so thankful that nothing happened to you. Perhaps you are counting your blessings and feeling relieved. This is also a normal reaction. So many feelings come up with these types of situations. You may be feeling this, or not, based on your situation. Or, if you lost your home in the hurricane, perhaps you are grateful that you are alive.

Volunteer

Many want to help out. If you are feeling survivor’s guilt, or feeling helpless, this is a wonderful antidote. Knowing that you are helping others is a wonderful feeling. A natural reaction is to ask yourself, what can I do? Volunteering is it. You can contact any place of worship and they will let you know how to help out. There is also the Red Cross, or just Googling volunteer Harvey.

Donate Money

Perhaps you are unable to volunteer, don’t want to or don’t have time. This is also another way to help if you are feeling helpless or feeling survivors guilt. Money is probably one of the things most needed to help people and get the supplies that they need. If you are donating money, be sure it is a reputable source, as you don’t want to donate to a scam. You may want to Google the organization and see if there are any reviews.

Take Care of Your Own Mental Health Needs

Remember that you are only one person and can only do so much. The needs are so great at this time. Remind yourself that if everyone does a small part, it will make a big difference. So do your small part and try not to be overwhelmed with all that is going on. Perhaps you need to avoid the TV or Internet for a while, as there are photos of damage all over the place. Practice stress management. What is it that helps keep you centered or relaxed? Is it yoga, being in nature, meditation, exercise, time with friends, engaging in a hobby? Whatever it is, be sure you allow for some of that.

This is just a small list on how to recover after a natural disaster. Your feelings are probably all over the place, and you may be feeling a bunch of different emotions all at the same time, and it is all normal. If you are feeling overwhelmed and need someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to reach me at 713-304-6554.

Take care,

Debbie