Rain PTSD (and other hurricane related things)
It’s been approximately two and a half months since hurricane Harvey hit my home city of Houston, TX (along with lots of other cities that were on its ad hoc southern tour schedule).
Yet still, every time the sky opens up and doesn’t stop right away – like, immediately, NOW – I am on the weather channel looking for the hurricane.
Hurricane “season” supposedly ends on November 30th. Will my nervous weather-checking habit end with it?
I hope so, but I’m really not sure.
My family and I (um) weathered hurricane Allison in 2001. The water came halfway up our lawn, but then receded. We spent the humid three days without power painting the interior rooms of our home.
In 2008, hurricane Ike displaced me and my parrot, Pearl, for three solid weeks. I will never forget standing with other displaced friends on the balcony of a friend’s much safer home watching as the transformers blew one by one, sending sprays of the most unlikely fireworks across the stormy horizon. Luckily, my second story casa remained dry during Ike, but my car got wet and smelled like mold for a year thereafter.
And then Harvey rolled in this past August.
Once again, my second story home stayed dry, and, miraculously this time, so did my car. However, my parents’ home (my childhood home), flooded not from hurricane rainwaters, but from our city’s unspeakable decision to open up the dam reservoirs to release excess water (you can read more about that tragedy and how it has affected my family in this blog post).
This has spawned lawsuits, unbelievably big aid checks (such as $50 million – like, how much money is that, even, and yet still it is not enough?), and so many ongoing health hazards such as airborne city-wide mold, which has bloomed and spread for weeks now inside the wrecked walls of flooded-out homes and outside amongst piles of discarded belongings left on the lawn for city waste to collect.
It has also spawned…apparently….rain PTSD.
There is currently at least one documented case, and I happen to know the patient quite well. In fact, right now as I am typing this, she is anxiously monitoring the progress of the “storm system” (oh how she hates that term!) even while attempting to concentrate on the project at hand.
Speaking of which, it has been raining since last night, and another unacceptably vigorous round just kicked off about five minutes ago.
I had to drive home in the blinding rain last night, and I didn’t enjoy that one bit. I felt incredibly resentful and, for the first time ever, afraid. Then I couldn’t sleep all night long with all the plonk-plonk-plonking on eaves and window units and just everywhere….and just when I thought it was all over this morning, it hit the refresh button and started up all over again.
And I’m really grumpy. I don’t like it one little bit. A part of me understands that rain is necessary to grow green things (which I very much like) and keep pet turtles hydrated (which I very much want). It also helps cute amphibians like frogs and toads and lizards survive to make more frogs and toads and lizards, which this world very much needs.
But I still want whoever is responsible to turn it off already. I’m not ready for more rain. I’m not sure I will ever be.
Today’s Takeaway: Do you have any kind of lingering trauma or fearfulness from any kind of natural disaster or weather-related incident in your past? If yes, how has that affected your life now? What helps you cope? Any ideas or tips will be very eagerly read!!
Cutts, S. (2017). Rain PTSD (and other hurricane related things). Psych Central. Retrieved on November 21, 2017, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/mentoring-recovery/2017/11/rain-ptsd-and-other-hurricane-related-things/