Virtually all of us in Sandy’s path have been stressed, whether we experienced a prolonged power outage and were cold and in nighttime darkness for many many days or were sources of refuge for those who were. The night of the storm we may have huddled against an uncertain and calamitous outcome. Stress hormones in our bodies were secreted in a big and prolonged way, and by itself that neurological/hormonal activation is exhausting. So is the effort to keep warm.
We experienced a level of threat akin to invasion from an enemy, and out response was to band together with neighbors and strangers; the ordinary distinctions that stratify society began to blur as Nature made them irrelevant with one enormous all-powerful stroke. We were left the next morning looking at rubble and devastation, each of us feeling small humbled and helpless; many of us also felt cold.
The big storm cost us in time, lost income, expenditures for repairs and challenged our capacity to cope and adapt. Rebuilding is slow; for many of us the resumption of the income streams we need to make ends meet can’t come fast enough. Anxiety prevails despite the fact that the big storm itself has passed. Now we have to deal with fretfulness about recovering, and find the strength to do that.
Here is my prescription for doing this: don’t do it alone; talk about your stress and your worries with friends and family; rely on each other; build community for emotional and physical support; don’t fail to be actively appreciative of a friend, family member or stranger in the supermarket listening to you; of course be actively appreciative of physical support.
You are not alone. Now more than ever you must see yourself as part of the Family of Man.