Connect with others to address hurricane anxiety
Many in Southwest Florida are feeling the weight of Hurricane Idalia as it resurfaces relatively fresh wounds left by Hurricane Ian’s devastating impact last September.
Whether it's anxiety, grief, anger, or frustration,Stacey Cook, president and CEO of SalusCare in Fort Myers, says to acknowledge these thoughts and reach out to others.
“Oftentimes, we feel a little reticent in doing this, it feels very forward," said Cook. "But everybody is in a position right now, or many people I should say, where they're feeling very much the same."
"And so it's mostly this magnetic connection, when that door opens, we find that there are others that feel very much like we do, and who are also ready to connect as well. So there's nothing like reaching out to the community.”
Cook says to be careful about leaning on alcohol or substances to relieve post-traumatic stress, as they can exacerbate an existing problem.
"Essentially, we don't want to inadvertently cap these feelings, but we want to help to uncap them," said Cook. "They're very real. And for many people, they can become exacerbated as a result of some unresolved trauma from Hurricane Ian."
Those who directly experienced Hurricane Ian are not the only ones who may be battling symptoms of PTSD, according to Cook.
"This doesn't have to be directly experienced, it can be vicariously," said Cook. "It can be experienced by simply watching the news or hearing someone else's story.
She emphasizes that if uncomfortable feelings or intrusive thoughts are disrupting work or home life, reaching out to a professional is strongly advised.
Hear more from Stacey Cook, president and CEO of SalusCare in Fort Myers, in this episode of Gulf Coast Life: Ways for those impacted by Hurricane Ian to cope with anxiety as Hurricane Idalia moves through the Gulf of Mexico
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