It was a tough week for many people, looking back at what was happening in Southwest Florida a year ago. So we turned to the experts for some perspective and help. Here are a few tips for dealing with stress and trauma one year after Hurricane Ian. The storm came ashore on September 28th and when the sun came up the morning of the 29th, our region was not the same. And it hasn’t been the same since. The downtown areas for both Fort Myers and Naples were underwater. Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, Captiva, Pine Island, were devastated. Even Marco Island sustained damage.
The storm was so intense, there was so much loss, and so much media coverage this week, that it caused distress for many people. I talked to well known Southwest Florida counselor Dr. Laura Streyffeler who reassured me that it is normal to feel sad, angry and out of sorts on big anniversaries of traumatic life events.
She calls Ian a trauma by nature saying what makes it even harder is that there was nothing any of us could do about it. That gives a feeling of helpless and hopelessness. Those feelings still exist for those who are struggling to get their homes repaired or find a place to live one year later. Our homes are our safe place and when they are under construction or gone, we don’t feel safe.
Trauma After Hurricane Ian
Even for those who didn’t suffer loss of property or life, they lost their happy place, the beach. It will come back but it will never be the same. Dr.Streyffeler says it might not feel good, but it is normal to feel all of the emotions we are feeling this week. The one good thing is that we went through this as a community. There are so many people to talk to and who understand.
She says if gets to a point where your sadness, anger, depression and other feelings are beginning to interfere with relationships, work, and your happiness, it’s time to seek counseling. She says, “Counseling is for healthy people who want to live healthier lives. They just need to process things.”
Dealing with stress and trauma one year after Hurricane Ian, Dr. Laura is taking new patients or you can scroll down for sdditional resources. Please take care of yourself.