11/1/12 - From October 28th into the 29th, New York City was hit with hurricane Sandy. The bull’s-eye locally was the eastern shores of Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, lower Manhattan and the Jersey Shore. At the height of the storm, water surges flooded whole communities, gutted neighborhoods and took the lives of over 40 people in New York City
alone. In its aftermath, the storm left millions without electrical power and basic services.
Traumatizing events like hurricanes can destroy our sense of the world as safe and predictable. It is common for people to feel grief, sadness, shock and anger. These feelings are then later followed by resignation and a resolve to return to normalcy—the need to get back into the routine of daily life, the desire to rebuild homes and neighborhoods, and restore connections among family and friends- ALL OF THESE ARE PART OF A NORMAL PROCESS.
The notion of a disrupted routine, especially in the midst of a disaster, can wreak havoc on our psychological and emotional
well-being. While we are physically rebuilding, we are also desperate to mentally rebuild. We crave our creature comforts; cell phones, internet, commutes to work. For some of us, these things will be restored quickly. For others, it will take time.
The scope of loss has varied greatly in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Some have lost loved ones, others have lost their homes or have had serious damage, some have lost power, or internet and phone service, and others have been inconvenienced. The widespread, varied damage can lead to feelings of guilt, and leave us wondering why we may have been spared, while our neighbor has lost everything.
It is important to understand that "normal" is not black or white, especially during disaster recovery. Most disaster survivors are NORMAL PEOPLE responding to an abnormal event and we need to avoid pathologizing or viewing people as sick because of their response to the event. How soon is too soon to begin to get back to normal? Go on with planned events? What is the line between resilience and respect?
For more information on how you can help in the relief effort, go to the following websites:
NYC 311 - http://www.nyc.gov/apps/311/
Feeding America - http://feedingamerica.org
NYULocal - http://nyulocal.com/city/2012/11/05/where-to-volunteer-for-sandy-relief-this-week/
Disaster Assistance - http://www.disasterassistance.gov/
American Red Cross - http://www.redcross.org//support/volunteer/interest-form
Direct download: DR_FRITZ_THURSDAY_11-1-12.mp3
-- posted at: 11:10pm EDT