[Continuing the Your life back on track article series from Jessica Kasevich of JK Therapy...]

How do deal with stress and anguish from Hurricane Sandy

By Jessica Kasevich

Dear Fellow Hobokenites,

I am sorry that many of you have experienced such tragedy as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

It is sad to see our town is in such disarray and our citizens struggling. It is my goal that this letter will help you understand many of the normal feelings that arise as a result of being exposed to such a traumatic event such as Hurricane Sandy, ways in which to manage these feelings and or symptoms and community resources available to you. I hope that this information will decrease any stress you may have and increase your vision for a better future for you, your family and the community of Hoboken.

Many of your are probably feeling STRESSED, tired of wondering if your power and heat will be turned on or wondering how long you will have to wait in line at the gas pumps, hoping that the stressed out motorist plowing through the intersection will stop, wishing for a warm home cooked meal and a hot cup of coffee.

Some of you are dealing with the loss of a loved one, your home, car and possessions. Whatever losses you are dealing with know that it is normal to feel an array of mixed emotions: anger, frustration, fatigue and sadness.

Please monitor these symptoms in the upcoming weeks and months and know that if they persist you may be experiencing Depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and know that this is common after such a horrific and stressful tragedy.

How do you know if you are experiencing Depression or PTSD?

According to the National Center for PTSD the following are symptoms that you are experiencing:

DEPRESSION:

  • Feeling sad most of the time
  • No longer enjoying activities you use to engage in
  • Change in sleeping or eating patterns
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing
  • Feeling down on yourself

PTSD:

  • Nightmares or flashbacks of the tragic event
  • Something you hear, smell or see triggering you to feel like you are reliving the event (police siren)
  • Avoiding situations that remind you of the event (Downtown Hoboken, 2nd and Madison) or thoughts, (keeping busy so you don’t think about the trauma you experienced)
  • Feeling Numb: Difficulty expressing emotions, not having positive feelings toward others
  • Hyper-arousal: Feeling keyed up, trouble sleeping, feeling jumpy

How to decrease onset of Depression and/or PTSD?

According to the National Center for PTSD, Survivors should:

  • Decrease exposure to media coverage as watching the events over and over again increasing the likely that one will develop Depression and or PTSD
  • Take deep breaths to decrease anger if the feeling surfaces
  • Plan ahead for future hurricanes to increase sense of safety
  • If children are watching media coverage point out the helping professions, fire fighters, police to increase sense of safety instead of fear
  • Solicit questions from children. Fear of the unknown is worse than knowing
  • Spend time with others: Social support or lack there of is a major factor in recovery from Depression and PTSD. Those without family or social support have a higher rate of lingered symptoms then those who do

Other Resources:

  • If symptoms of Depression and PTSD linger and life becomes difficult to mange it is advisable to seek help from your doctor and or a therapist
  • Local support Group in the area The Depression and Bi-Polar Support Alliance located at 880 Bergen Avenue 6th Floor Jersey City. Contact: Randall Goya: rgoya@yahoo.com for more information
  • Hoboken University’s Out Patient Mental Health Center: 506 3rd Street Hoboken 201-792-8200

I hope this letter has helped and I welcome the opportunity to get your life back on track by fielding any concerns or questions you may have about Depression or PTSD.

Feel free to contact me at: www.jktherapy.com or via email at Jessica @jktherapy.com

Hoboken NJ

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