Coping with Depression After a Natural Disaster
Natural disasters cause more than just physical damage to people and property: they can also cause tremendous emotional and psychological damage. If you are the survivor of a natural disaster, you may have lost your home, sentimental belongings, a pet, or a loved one. You may have witnessed tragic events that will remain in your memory for the rest of your life. These kinds of traumas are difficult to move past, but there are ways to make the process a little bit easier.
In the aftermath of a disaster, it may be difficult to pick yourself up and get back into a daily routine. You may feel tired, hopeless and despondent. However, forcing yourself to maintain some kind of daily routine may help take your mind off of the disaster and help give your life structure.
Treat Your Body Well
Do your best to take care of your physical health after a disaster. Make sure that you are drinking plenty of water, sunlight, and exercise, and that you are eating well-balanced meals. Maintaining your physical health will make it easier for you to maintain your mental health.
Set Manageable Goals
When you are very depressed, it may be nearly impossible to maintain a routine that is just as active and productive as your routine was before the disaster. If this is the case, set manageable goals for yourself, however modest, and make sure that you meet them. Here are some examples of goals you may set:
– Cooking at least one meal per day at home
– Taking a walk at least once per day
– Scheduling time to spend time with friends at least three times per week
Allow Yourself to Grieve
If you are the survivor of a disaster, you may have the instinct to suppress your grief, striving to be strong, help others, and perform your duties despite the internal sorrow you are experiencing. Although this is noble and admirable, in the long-term, allowing yourself to go through the natural grieving process will allow you to be stronger, healthier and more supportive to your loved ones.
Avoid Repeated Viewing of Disaster Coverage
Only view as much disaster news coverage as is necessary to stay informed. You already have enough emotional stress to deal with, without subjecting yourself to reliving or re-witnessing disaster scenes through television or news articles. If you are safe and well-informed without watching this coverage, turn it off.
Know that You are Not Alone
Chances are that you were not the only one affected by this disaster, so join hands with others who are going through a similar process to you. These people may include friends, family, or neighbors. You can share experiences, start a support group, and exchange favors. Be honest and open with one another, and know that you can get through this together. If you do not have access to support in your local area, explore the Internet for online support groups for disaster survivors.
Get Professional Help
If you are in a position to afford psychological care, find a therapist who is experienced in counseling disaster survivors. Especially if you are experiencing recurring flashbacks, nightmares, or panic attacks, it is important to see a professional who can help you regain your emotional health.
This article was written by Wendy, who writes at Depressions Symptoms.