Feeling emotional from the Huon Valley bushfires?
The people of the Huon Valley can at last breathe out after holding our collective breaths for weeks, not knowing whether we would have a home or community to return to after the destructive bushfires.
In times of crisis, people react in many different ways.
There was a lot of fear, anxiety and bewilderment as we all received messages to leave our homes, to leave the very places where we felt safe and secure, where our memories, livelihoods and stuff collected over many years were at risk of total destruction.
And, the not knowing during this time. Wild and inaccurate reports from ‘reputable’ media sources and from the social media rumour mill.
Had people been hurt?
Were our families safe?
Had our homes burnt down? The ‘not knowing’ was a torture in itself.
People have returned to their homes and businesses in this shaken new reality. People are now feeling overwhelmed, angry, exhausted, unfocused and even numb.
These are all normal reactions to prolonged stress which should subside over the next few weeks.
To help deal with these emotions you should allow yourself the space and time to experience these feelings. Helping yourself through this can include going back to your normal routine, spending time with the people you care about and talking about what happened.
If you continue to feel anxious, feel you have not returned to normal or feel that these negative emotions are getting worse, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
You can also call Lifeline on 13 11 14, RAW Tasmania on 1300 4357 6283 or Beyond Blue.
I would personally like to thank all of the emergency personnel who fought the fires, kept the community safe and helped all of the people of the Huon Valley. I would also like to commend the council, volunteers, community and organisations on an amazing job in setting up the evacuation centre and providing care and support to all of us.
We live in an amazing community and to see the community pull together during some very challenging times is something we should all be very proud of.
Keep safe and well.
Originally published in the Huon News.