Dealing with mental health after going through a Hurricane

Reporter: Claire Galt Writer: Jasmine Singletary
Published: Updated:

Surviving a strong category 4 hurricane is something that most people won’t experience but many in SWFL did.

Being in the middle of destruction loss and tragedy is traumatic and many don’t always realize that they need to get help for these feelings before they get worse.

One therapist wanted to remind people that whether you lost a home, loved one or simply went through the storm, it’s a lot to take in, and it’s okay to take a break.

Vanessa McElreath, a trauma therapist said, “Really be mindful of what you’re consuming visually. And conversations be really boundaries around who you talk to not letting you know, too many stories percolate in your ear, go home and make home early protected space where you’re not watching the news. And you’re not scrolling through images. Because your body doesn’t know the difference.”

McElreath said sometimes feelings of guilt can surface for people who survived a catastrophic event, knowing others didn’t.

“What it’s really saying and communicating is, I’m not allowed to feel this because I survived. And that’s not true, you are able to feel all of the height and depth of whatever it is that came out from the event and also feel grateful at the exact same time,” McElreath said.

Feelings of denial may also come up but it only makes things worse long term.

“At a certain point, all of the impact the emotional impact, the physical impact of that night, and those the days leading up to it, and afterward, they’re going to come out at some point, it’s going to come out, either physically, migraines, not being able to sleep, IBS, high blood pressure, anything, you name it, it’ll come out physically or it’ll come out emotionally,” McElreath said.

And the aftermath of Ian doesn’t just affect adults, it’s important to talk to your kids too.

“Really protecting them as well from those images in the conversation and reminding them continually. Yeah, that was so scary. And all of this destruction, and damage and being out of school and not seeing your friends is a reminder of how scary that was. But it’s over. And we’re safe. It’s over and we’re safe. On repeat on repeat,” McElreath said.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.