Dealing With Disaster – How to Deal With Your Emotions After a Disaster

By Mary Bodel

Listening to the reactions of people after a disaster can only give you a hint of what to expect. While each of us is different, chances are pretty good we’ll all feel the same emotions at some point after a disaster.

Fear: While you’re waiting for authorities to let you back into your neighborhood, expect a lot of fear and anxiety. Will your house be spared or will it be gone? If you had to leave pets behind, what happened to them? These questions will go around and around in your head.

Frustration: Not having an answer to basic questions is frustrating. Dealing with children and/or animals who can’t understand what’s happening is also frustrating. Add to that dealing with authorities, officials, insurance companies and reporters.

Anger: Some disasters don’t have to happen. Some of the problems in a disaster don’t have to happen. It will make you mad. On top of that, all the other emotions combined are enough to make anybody angry just because it’s happening.

Loss: Even if you have a chance to take a few family treasures with you, you probably can’t take them all. If your house is damaged or destroyed, you will feel an acute sense of loss, and it may be over items you never thought you’d miss.

Grief: People and pets who are injured or killed in a disaster will cause grief, but they aren’t the only things you may grieve. I’ve lived in my home for 28 years. I would mourn its loss also.

Peace: If you work through this process, there will come a time when you will be at peace with it. It will take time and it may take counseling, but that day will come.

Preparing for a disaster is more than storing necessary items. It’s also wise to prepare your mind for what you may feel during and after it occurs.

Read “Disaster Preparedness: Are you Ready?”

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