Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Dealing with the After The Disaster

The east coast keeps getting hit hard by storms and the storm related trauma.  The trauma begins during the storm and continues for long after the Red Cross has packed its bags and gone home.  No one who sees a disaster is untouched by it - even those who never lost electricity, never had to evacuate, and never opened a refrigerator to discover spoiled food.  No one who sees a disaster is untouched by it.  And almost everyone experiences some degree of trauma either as individuals or as entire communities.  Most people pull together and function during and after a disaster but even the highest functioning of those individuals may not be functioning on their usual high level.  Disaster stress and grief reactions are normal responses to an abnormal situation.  And nothing about the storms in New Jersey and New York has been normal nor has the destruction that has changed lives forever.  Those of us so far removed from the damage still think of the east coast as being there.  While the residents of Hoboken or the Jersey Shore or Staten Island or Long Island wrap their lives around their realities the rest of us must wrap our minds around the fact that there is no longer a there there.  That there is gone and yes there will be a new there but not now.

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