Coping with reminders of the floods

Coping with reminders of the floods


It’s raining, and has been for awhile.

Yesterday morning I woke from a weird dream that our backyard was flooded. And then yesterday afternoon, weather warnings were made. This is the second lot of heavy, persistent rain since the Townsville floods. The bout of rain last year on the anniversary of the floods raised anxiety for a lot of people; this weather can be a strong reminder.

It takes years for a community to recover from a disaster. There are the practical issues such as obtaining housing and rebuilding- which can be drawn out. There’s also the reminders. These can be small and often, or occasional and stronger- like our current weather.

If you are caught up in reminders of the past, it can be helpful to do the following:

      • Continue with your daily activities as much as possible. Even the simple things like eating regularly can help how you feel.
      • Orient to the present, rather than the past. Ground yourself in the current moment. Try noticing 5 things you can hear; 5 things you can see; and 5 things you can feel against your body. This can help take you out of your thoughts, even if for a brief time.
      • Tell someone how you are feeling- talking to a supportive person does help.
      • Remind yourself about what is different regarding the current situation and the floods. Actively hunt for, and think about these differences. Write them down. They may include things such as where you live now, dam levels, differences in the rainfall (it’s far less currently), no shelters being opened- and there’s more still. There will always be reminders, but this does not mean the past is repeating itself- so ground yourself in the differences which prove this.
      • Avoid cabin fever, if possible. Take your kids out, or go out yourself. Create opportunities to get distracted from your thoughts about the past and to feel good. This can be achieved through doing enjoyable activities or spending time with people you care about.
      • Practice relaxation. Safe space visualisation or progressive muscle relaxation are helpful (and youtube can be a great resource for this).
      • Exercise, even if briefly (say 15 mins) and flexibly (say, in your lounge room). This can help relieve stress and improve your outlook.
      • And if it all feels like too much- please see your GP or access a therapist. Things can get better.
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