Posted by Dr. Vladimir Nacev, Deployment Health Clinical Center clinical psychologist on December 18, 2012
A United States flag flies in the background amidst debris and destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy in Toms River N.J., Nov. 3, 2012. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Nate Hauser)
Exposure to natural disasters — hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires — and manmade disasters — shootings, workplace violence, and war — may place a tremendous burden on our resilience, self-esteem and ability to survive a disaster.
Psychology provides us with an understanding of how we might cope with some of these feelings. For example, it’s normal to experience a wide range of emotional, behavioral and psychological reactions to trauma. Feelings of helplessness, anger, fear and sadness are expected, and allowing yourself to experience these feelings is necessary for healing. Over time, these feelings will begin to fade, but keep in mind grieving is a process that may take months or a year, or more to work through. It isn’t something that can be rushed. However, there are things you and your loved ones can do to encourage healing: