Trauma Recovery

My air conditioning events this week were tough, but easily overcome, relative to the trauma that some have to endure.  Watching the coverage and reading about the issues that are going on in Texas has been hard this week.  The rain has stopped, and the clean up can begin, but the trauma that comes with the flooding and loss is still fresh.  Recovering from trauma takes time, support, help, and patience.  To the survivors in Texas, know that we are thinking about you and hope that as you put things back together, you can make things better than before.

Over the years, I have worked with so many people recovering from different traumas.  Some of them are so strong, and have already done a lot of work even before they come to see me.  Others are still picking up the pieces years after the events, but they are still so strong because they are still surviving, and coming to therapy, they are moving to trying to start living again.

As a country, we have endured more trauma in the ten years, with the events on 9/11, hurricane Katrina, hurricane Harvey ( and all the hurricanes in between), the violence that has cost lives, the losses suffered by our military, and so much more.  There will surely be other traumatic events that we will need to overcome, the positive part is how as a nation we usually come together, to help repair and recover.

Last year, when hurricane Matthew hit the east coast, I watched electric companies from all over the states, come to Florida to help in the recovery.  The state pulled together and there were heroes that came to the rescue, just like all the heroes that are helping people in Texas, because it’s the right thing to do.  On Facebook, there are stories of donations, and teams coming to assist and relieve the  heroes who continue to work to save people.  I read articles today about Veteran’s Administration employees going to provide assistance to Veteran’s, and to help the already overworked first responders.

Even with all the rescues, and the people who are helping, and coming from other states to assist, it will be incredibly hard for the people in that area to put their lives back together, with what ever they will be able to save.  As they return to their homes to salvage what’s left, they will grieve, and cry, and need more help than just the donations over the next few months.

Everyone goes through trauma differently, and everyone recovers differently as well.  As people return to their homes, and start putting the pieces back together, it’s unclear if they will have houses to return to, jobs to return to, and whether their families are complete or whether there was a loss during the storm.  We can’t all go to Texas to help in the recovery, but we can keep them in our thoughts and prayers.

If you have family in the area, keep talking to them and checking on them.  In the next year, they will need you as they try to put their lives together.  But as this traumatic event moves into history, don’t forget to keep thinking about supporting the causes and the people that will be there for the next event.  The first responders around the country have been there for us, helping people out of bad situations, being the heroes that we expect them to be, but they see and manage trauma on a regular basis.  When you see them, say thank you.

If you can’t make it to Texas to help in the relief efforts, help in your own community.  Give blood.  Donate to your local food bank.  Volunteer at a local agency feeding the homeless.  Donate to the Red Cross, or to other agencies that help people going through horrible things.  Take cookies to your local fire house to say thanks for all they do.  Although I hope this is never the case, we all may need the kindness of others some day.  So give of yourself.  It’s the best gift that we have to give.