Navigating the Storm: Head-on

R U OK Kalbarri?

You’re OK when you can tell your story without having tears well up.

It’s important for individuals to reach out for help when needed and to remember that seeking support for your mental health is a sign of strength.

A traumatic experience is any event in life that causes a threat to our safety and potentially places our own life or the lives of others at risk. As a result, a person experiences high levels of emotional, psychological, and physical distress that temporarily disrupts their ability to function normally in day-to-day life.

Common behavioural reactions to trauma include:

  • avoiding reminders of the event
  • inability to stop focusing on what occurred
  • getting immersed in recovery-related tasks
  • losing touch with normal daily routines
  • changed appetite, such as eating a lot more or a lot less
  • turning to substances such as coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs
  • sleeping problems

Making sense of the traumatic event

Once the distressing event is over, you may find yourself trying to make sense of the event. This can include thinking about how and why it happened, how and why you were involved, why you feel the way you do, whether feelings you are having indicate what kind of person you are, whether the experience has changed your view on life and how.

As a result, a person’s high levels of emotional, psychological and physical distress that temporarily disrupts their ability to function normally in day-to-day life.

Mental health professionals and organisations are available to provide assistance and support you on your journey to better mental well-being.

There are several forms of assistance that people can seek for their mental health. Here are some options:

1. Therapy/Counselling: This involves talking to a mental health professional who can provide support, guidance and tools to manage mental health challenges. Therapists and counsellor’s are trained to help individuals work through their emotions, thoughts and behaviors.

2. Support Groups: Joining a support group can connect individuals with others who are experiencing similar mental health challenges. Group members share their experiences, offer support and provide a sense of belonging.

3. Medication: In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help manage symptoms of mental health conditions. This should be done under the guidance of a healthcare provider, such as a psychiatrist.

4. Online Resources and Apps: There are numerous online resources, websites, and mobile applications that offer self-help tools, information and guidance for mental health. These can include meditation apps, mental health assessments, and educational resources.

5. Crisis Hotlines: During a mental health crisis, individuals can call helplines such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) or local crisis hotlines (Lifeline on 131114) to speak with trained professionals who can provide immediate support and guidance.

6. Self-Care: Engaging in self-care activities can have a positive impact on mental health. This can include activities such as exercising, getting enough sleep, eating well, practicing relaxation techniques, engaging in hobbies, and spending time with loved ones.

Some of us may have Post Traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

After a distressing event, some people find their reactions are serious and do not gradually subside after a month or longer. Severe, prolonged reactions can be disabling, and can affect a person’s relationships with family and friends as well their capacity to work and function. Such reactions might indicate post-traumatic stress disorder. In this condition, the impact of the event continues to cause high levels of stress.

If you think you might be experiencing PTSD, you should seek help from a health professional. Contact Kalbarri Medical Centre on 9937 1159 make an appointment and your Doctor will assist with your recovery.

The feelings people experience after accepting counselling can vary greatly depending on the individual, their specific circumstances and the progress they make in therapy. Common feelings you may experience:

Relief: Many individuals feel a sense of relief after accepting counselling because they have taken the first step toward addressing their mental health concerns. Opening up and sharing their thoughts and emotions with a trusted professional can provide a sense of relief and validation.

Hope: Counselling can offer hope for positive change. By seeking therapy, individuals are actively working towards improving their mental well-being and finding solutions to their challenges. As they begin to see progress and gain coping tools, their hope for a better future can increase.

Empowerment: Counselling can empower individuals by helping them understand their own thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. It can provide them with tools and strategies to make positive changes and take control over their lives.

Validation: Sharing one’s experiences and emotions with a therapist who provides a safe and non-judgmental space can lead to a sense of validation. Feeling heard and understood can be incredibly validating and can contribute to feelings of relief and comfort.

Emotional vulnerability: Counselling often involves exploring and discussing deep emotions, which can sometimes trigger feelings of vulnerability. It’s normal to experience a range of emotions during the therapeutic process, including sadness, anger, or frustration. However, this vulnerability can also lead to personal growth and healing.

Connection: Building a therapeutic relationship with a counsellor can create a sense of connection and support. Opening up to a trusted professional and feeling understood can foster a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation.

It’s important to note that everyone’s counselling experience is unique and individuals may have different reactions and feelings throughout the process. It’s essential to communicate openly with the therapist about any emotions or concerns that arise in order to ensure the best possible therapeutic experience.

If at any time you are worried about your mental health or the mental health of a loved one, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. You won’t be judged if you reach out. Change takes time and finding the right support is crucial.

Reclaim Wellness

Coping with reminders of very strong winds here in Kalbarri can be challenging, as they can bring back memories of the destruction and fear associated with such events. Here are some strategies to help cope with reminders of cyclonic winds:

1. Acknowledge Your Feelings: It’s important to recognise and validate your emotions related to the cyclonic winds. Accept that it’s normal to feel anxious, afraid, or distressed when reminded of past experiences.

2. Seek Support: Reach out to friends, family, or support groups to share your feelings. Talking about your emotions can help alleviate stress and provide solidarity and understanding.

3. Practice Self-Care: Engage in activities that help you relax and reduce stress. This can include exercise, meditation, deep breathing, journaling, or engaging in hobbies and interests that bring you joy.

4. Create a Safe Space: If strong winds remind you of the destruction, it can be helpful to create a safe and comforting space in your home. If you have cyclone shutters then cover your windows. Surround yourself with soothing elements, calming colours, soft lighting, items that bring you security. Turn on music or TV.

5. Focus on the Present: Remind yourself that the winds are in the past and that you are in a different situation now. Cultivate mindfulness and stay grounded in the present moment, focusing on positive aspects of life.

6. Prepare for Future Events: Take proactive measures to prepare for future cyclonic events. This can include creating an emergency kit, developing an evacuation plan, or strengthening your home against potential damage. Feeling prepared can help reduce anxiety and empower you in the face of the future.

7. Seek Professional Help: If reminders of cyclonic winds continue to negatively impact your daily life, it may be beneficial to seek professional help from your doctor who will refer you to a therapist or counsellor. They can provide guidance and support in managing anxiety, fear, or trauma associated with the cyclonic event.

Remember, it’s normal to react strongly to reminders of past traumatic events. Be patient with yourself and take the necessary steps to care for your emotional well-being.

“Your mental health does not define you; it is a part of your unique story”.