Category Archives: Emotional Resilience

The Second Thanksgiving After Hurricane Sandy

[Note:  “Resources for Clinicians (Part 1)” has been getting a lot of comments.  The comments are from people who are not clinicians.  I’m surprised, surprised in a good way.  You may want to check it out, too].

Last year’s Thanksgiving came in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  Many people were still reeling from the losses caused by the storm.

This year’s Thanksgiving comes more than a year later.   Many, if not most, people have gotten through the worst.

Let’s take a deep breath and enjoy one of our most beloved holidays.  At its heart, Thanksgiving is about “an attitude of gratitude”.

You know what you are thankful for.  Maybe you say it out loud.  Maybe you keep it to yourself.

Do you have time for a quick read?  If so, check out the following:

Thanks to AOL for giving us a place to post decor photos:slide_325289_3115270_free

  When Turkey's on the table laid, 
  And good things I may scan,
  I'm thankful that I wasn't made
  A vegetarian.
A class of third graders were asked to write what they were most thankful for.  Jessica wrote, "I'm thankful I'm not a turkey".
  •  Thanks to “Boys’ Life” for giving us this joke from Danny Z:
  Danny: Why did the cranberries turn red?
  Jake: Beats me.
  Danny: Because they saw the turkey dressing!
  • Thanks to Verses4Cards for giving us “A Child’s Thanksgiving Prayer”:
  Thank you God for all that grows,
  Thank you for the sky's rainbows,
  Thank you for the stars that shine,
  Thank you for these friends of mine,
  Thank you for the moon and sun,
  Thank you God for all you’ve done
  Amen

Thanks to Sandy Storyline for giving us an account of Belle Harbor Manor evacuees.

Do you have a poem, a joke, or a story  to share? Thoughts on this year’s Thanksgiving?

There is room below to comment, question, or share.  Don’t be shy!

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A Tip For Self-Soothing

Do you have trouble calming down? Check out How to Treat Trauma: Helping Trauma Survivors Feel Safe Again.   This easy-to-understand video is by Peter A. Levine, Ph.D.

Want to learn more about what Dr. Levine has to say?  Check out his book,  Waking The Tiger–Healing Trauma:  The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences.

Feeling Safe Again will be a better resource for survivors of Hurricane Sandy and other natural disasters if many people contribute. There is space below for your thoughts, reactions, and/or questions.

The Sandy Cup of Coffee

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A woman–let’s call her M.–spoke about “the Sandy cup of coffee”.  What is it?

It’s the first hot coffee she had after Hurricane Sandy.  More than a year has passed.  She still feels deep APPRECIATION remembering that one cup of coffee.

Do you have a similar experience?  Does a post-Sandy memory fill you with wonder?

Is it the moment when the lights went on? Something else?

Please share the special moment.  There is room below to leave a comment.

You can “follow” Feeling Safe Again.  Simply sign up below:  Resources will be delivered straight to your Inbox.

What is true for YOU this morning?

What is true for you this morning?  It’s an important question, but one that only YOU can answer.  It’s an important question to ask even if you do not have an answer.

I will tell you what is true for ME this morning:  I do not want to write a post for Feeling Safe Again every day in November.IMG_0818 (2)Thanks to National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo), I was encouraged to try.  I wrote seven posts in seven days.  I did not finish the marathon, but I finished a sprint.

Before NaBloPoMo, I did not know I could manage a week of daily posts.  I did not know that I could–at least once!–write a post in an hour.

However, the pace meant putting off things I enjoy.  It meant ignoring a painful wrist, a repetitive stress injury (RSI) caused by too much computer time.  It meant living with a lot  degree of unnecessary pressure.

Do you put unnecessary pressure on yourself?  Do you decide to reach a goal within a certain time?  Is the result unnecessary pressure for yourself?

If so, do you adjust the goal?  Do you extend the time frame?  Do you do a little of both?

Please share.  YOUR experience may help other people.  There is room below to leave a comment.

You can, if you wish, sign up to follow  Feeling Safe Again.  As a follower, resources from Feeling Safe Again will be delivered directly to your Inbox.  Scroll way, way down to follow this blog.

A final note:  I do not know Nicole, but feel that I’ve met her online.  She is a talented Mom and the creator of Champagne To Crayons.  We have different styles, but  we share a belief in making things better.

Nicole believes in using November as a month of thanks.  If you need inspiration to feel an “attitude of gratitude”, check in with Nicole at 28 Days to Celebrate Thanks.

After Hurricane Sandy: A Question For Clinicians

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Hurricane Sandy raises important questions for psychologists, social workers, and other mental health professionals. How can we help the people who do not get to our office?

What is your best advice for people struggling with bad dreams, fear, and depression? For people who are self-medicating?

My top suggestion? People affected by Hurricane Sandy should tell their story.

The United States Department of Veteran Affairs has a handout.  It is detailed and soothing.

Some people are not used to talking about themselves. The handout tells them how to.

Its title is “Connecting With Others”. To see it, click the “Handouts for Survivors” link.

Here is my question for you, my fellow clinicians: What is your best tip for people who–more than a year after Hurricane Sandy–are still struggling emotionally? Is telling their story numero uno? Is there a better starting place?

You can “comment, question, and share”. There is a box for this purpose below.

You can also “follow” Feeling Safe Again. As a follower, you will have future posts delivered to your e-mail address.

Be forewarned:  To “follow”,  you have to scroll w-a-a-ay down. I look forward to hearing from you!

Resources for Clinicians (Part 2)

Leave your PC, tablet and smartphone home.

More than a year has passed since Hurricane Sandy.  If you’re a clinician, you may already be treating those affected by the storm.  Another scenario:  You are just now getting calls from survivors.

Either way, you may want to bone up on PTSD.  Why not start with “Resources for Clinicians“?  This June 30, 2013, post focuses on assessment.

Then check out Effective Treatments for PTSD: Practice Guidelines from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, 2nd Edition.  It is an excellent book.

It is edited by Edna B. Foa, Terence M. Keane, Matthew J. Friedman, and Judith A. Cohen.  According to Marsha Linehan PhD, ABPP, Professor and Director–Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics at the University of Washington, “Foa and her colleagues are the best in the business!”

The book covers assessment and diagnosis, cognitive behavioral therapy,              psychodynamic therapy, or creative therapies, and more. It has separate chapters for work with adults and work with children. It has a separate chapter entitled “School-   Based Treatment for Children and Adolescents”.

Any thoughts about the challenge and satisfaction of  your work?  Why not let others in on what you’re thinking?

There is space below to “comment, question, and share”.  Want updates from Feeling Safe Again delivered fresh to your Inbox?  Click “Follow”.  (It’s way, wa-a-ay down on the page).

Hello, Long Beach

Long Beach is on Long Island’s South Shore.  It is East of New York City.  It was one of the areas most devastated during Hurricane Sandy.

Dark Water:  A Year After Hurricane Sandy” appeared in the New York Times on October 2, 2013.  The article talks very honestly about the struggles of Long Beach residents.  They are re-building their homes, struggling to handle losses and fear of another storm, and trying to decide whether to stay in Long Beach or go elsewhere.

Several comments from outsiders were mean-spirited.  Long Beach residents were understandably hurt and angry:  They spoke up for themselves quite well.

I will not summarize the article and the comments that follow it.  You can read these for yourself.

As often happens, Comments must be made within a certain time frame.  As a result, I was unable to add my comment to the New York Times article.

I am, therefore,  using this space.  Here are some thoughts and feelings I want to share with you, the people of Long Beach:

  • Do not believe for even a minute the mean-spirited comments.
  • Do not believe that they represent how most outsiders think or feel.
  • We find ourselves at a loss for words when we think of your situation.
  • We wonder how we would do if faced with comparable hardships.
  • We are saddened by your losses and by the slow response of FEMA.
  • We are inspired that you keep putting one foot in front of another.
  • We wonder what, if any, help you want from outsiders.
  • We, too, worry about the next natual disaster.
  • We  hope that you will share the lessons learned through your experiences.

There is space below for you to comment, question, or share.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Hurricane Sandy and “The Serenity Prayer”

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are 12-Step Programs.  The Serenity Prayer is a spiritual tool:  It helps members recover from lives that “had become unmanageable” due to drinking and/or drugging.

The Serenity Prayer, however, is not just for alcoholics and drug addicts.  It is for everyone.

Are you still struggling to recover–physically and/or emotionally–from Hurricane Sandy?  If so, have you tried praying?

The Serenity Prayer is easy to memorize and easy to use.  Many people have found it  helpful when they feel overwhelmed.

Your thoughts and feelings, if shared, can help others.  Please leave a comment below.

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Local Residents Step Up

When a tornado hit their hometown of Monson, Massachusetts, Caitria and Morgan O’Neill jumped into action.  They were inspired to “leverage technology for a faster recovery”.

Caitria and Morgan O’Neill gave a TED Talk.  Their video is a gem.  It takes less than 10 minutes to watch.

Recovering from a major disaster such as Hurricane Sandy is a long-term process.   Did you know that “50% of web searches happen in the first 7 days” after a disaster? Until I watched the video, neither did I.

What does this statistic mean? It means that local residents are unlikely to benefit from the concern of outsiders over what may be months or even years of recovery.

Major organizations like the American Red Cross arrive right during and right after a disaster.  Then they leave.  It is up to smaller organizations to carry on.   These smaller organizations–many of them religious–often struggle due to inadequate funding.

Did you know that the work done by local volunteers has a dollar value?  Until I watched the video, neither did I.

The dollar value of volunteer time  can help a town get money from FEMA and State governments? However, it needs to be documented.

There is always room for better thinking and new learning.  Please leave a question or a comment.

Is Your Household Ready? (A Quick Poll)

Easy-to-read.  Readily available.
Easy-to-read.  Readily available.

There are many types of natural disasters (e.g., hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes). Sometimes, as with Hurricane Sandy, we have advance warning. In other words, we have time for last minute preparations.

Sometimes, we do not. On a beautiful sunny day in June, 2010, a mini-tornado hit the North Shore of Long Island. It appeared out of nowhere. It lasted for about 20 minutes.

During that brief time, it knocked down trees. It stopped electricity. It damaged property. No lives were lost. Nonetheless, it was scary.

The Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University has an article entitled “The 5 Action Steps to Personal Preparedness“. It states: “Government officials tell us ‘Plan to be on your own for 72 hours'”.

Hopefully, the next emergency will be nothing like Hurricane Sandy. Nonetheless, it makes sense to prepare yourself, your family, and your pets for whatever comes. Better save than sorry!

Some things do not consciously bother us. They are tucked away in the back of our minds. Nonetheless, they feed our overall level of anxiety.

Lack of personal preparedness is that kind of thing. There is an overlooked benefit to planning ahead: We become less anxious.

Let’s agree: Personal preparedness is a responsible and grown up kind of thing. It may be somewhat boring, but it is, nonetheless, a responsible and grown up kind of thing 🙂

I can’t help but wonder: How many of us are prepared? How many of us are well prepared?

Here is an eight-item poll. It’s quick and easy. Check off just the items that apply. Then press “Vote”.