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Traumatic Ripple Effects Of Hurricane Harvey

Written by Dr. Christopher Marquart, PSB 94022615

A mentor of mine used to say that, “life will mess with your mental health.” Hearing about the recent event of Hurricane Harvey is a perfect example of life events that can even give pause to people who might never have experienced significant trauma. The devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey might naturally evoke a range of feelings including anger, confusion, fear, and helplessness. However, for those who have already experienced trauma in their personal lives, events like this can trigger old feelings and compound the pain they are in.

For people who have experienced past trauma, hearing about current traumatic events might cause them to slip back into old behaviors. People might become hypervigilant about earthquakes, illness, or other potential threats to their safety or the safety of their loved ones. Additionally they might become more irritable or even hostile, or become more avoidant of others and isolate themselves. While these are all natural responses people use to protect themselves in a crisis, they sometimes persist after a traumatic event or can be triggered after learning about another traumatic event. After a crisis has past, these behaviors can make it difficult to feel like your old self again, can disrupt your ability to work or study, and damage your relationships with those you love.

Resilience is defined as, “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.” Seeking help after experiencing trauma can be an essential part of the healing process and building resilience. Being able to talk with a therapist can help you process what you have been through or what might be triggering your past trauma, and can help to create a sense of closure, build resilience, and help you get back to your old self.

If you are looking for support processing your experience of a traumatic event, or know someone who is looking for help, you are welcome to call me (262) 607-2226