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  • janetgoncalves

Hurricane Fiona packs a punch before, during and after her arrival

Nature is powerful. Hurricane Fiona was just one recent example of this concept. The destruction left behind varies, depending on where Fiona hit. Deaths have been reported in certain provinces hard-hit by Fiona. This disaster is a crisis that has negatively affected our society and our environment.

Warnings went out days in advance to prepare for the hurricane (or its lesser versions), and people did. We stocked up on water and non-perishable foods, replaced batteries in our flashlights, found our crank radios, charged our electronic devices, set out candles and matches and extra blankets, filled our bathtubs with water so we could flush the toilet, secured outside furniture, attended to any other necessary details, and may even have packed a go-bag. After the event we waited for our power to come back on and then surveyed the property for damage and checked on our loved ones and friends. Life began to return to normal for some rather quickly, but for others it would not.

During the weather event our adrenaline surge helped get us through the days and nights and the clean-up of the property. One thing we may not have kept in the forefront of our mind was that the end of the weather event does not equal the end of the effects on our body. The emotions that set in afterwards should not be taken lightly. Depression, despair, grief, confusion, fear, and anxiety are very common side effects of any natural disaster. For some, these changes in emotions may turn into post-traumatic stress disorder regardless of the extent of damage. Some symptoms may present physically and be stress related. Regardless of the nature of the symptoms they can be particularly acute in the sudden aftermath of a disaster when one is still in shock.

Some people are dealing with this disaster firsthand as they will need to rebuild. Some people are aiding with the cleanup or restoring power or providing emergency first aid or other immediate needs.

There is endless media and social media coverage about the aftereffects of Fiona. Secondary traumatic stress can occur in people who have not experienced the disaster, because the constant media stream brings with it stress and uncertainty.

We all have our own unique strengths and skills to rely on to help up deal with the stress caused by Fiona. Be aware of the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) and know that they are not linear. Ask for help if needed.

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