Free Resources

In the wake of the Dixie fire, which resulted in so much loss, displacement, and stress of so many people in and around my hometown, I have created this page for free resources I feel might be relevant or useful. 

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Take a moment to notice where you are in this process now. It's possible to jump around these stages as well, so don't feel discouraged if you find yourself back in shock, or depression for a time before being able to be more consistently in a place of acceptance. 

Trauma and PTSD

Any event that causes a real or perceived threat to health and safety would be considered to be traumatic, and trauma can result in PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). You will likely have to deal with the challenges resulting from trauma even if it doesn't develop into PTSD. 

Trauma can be complicated to handle, especially if there is already a history of other traumatic events in your past. This is where a professional can be a great asset.

 

However, there is still a lot that you can do on your own as well:

1. Seek support and talk about your experiences with those who care and are able to listen. 

2. Be kind and gentle on yourself, especially if you're feeling anxious, tense, or irritable. 

3. Notice and pay attention to when you feel "triggered" or start to experience heightened anxiety relating to the trauma you experience. Simply being aware that the danger you're worried about has already passed can be a helpful tool. 

From https://www.mhanational.org/coping-disaster :

Common Reactions

[to disasters]

  • Disbelief and shock

  • Fear and anxiety about the future

  • Disorientation; difficulty making decisions or concentrating

  • Apathy and emotional numbing

  • Nightmares and reoccurring thoughts about the event

  • Irritability and anger

  • Sadness and depression

  • Feeling powerless

  • Changes in eating patterns; loss of appetite or overeating

  • Crying for “no apparent reason”

  • Headaches, back pains and stomach problems

  • Difficulty sleeping or falling asleep

  • Increased use of alcohol and drugs

Tips For Coping

It is ‘normal’ to have difficulty managing your feelings after major traumatic events. However, if you don’t deal with the stress, it can be harmful to your mental and physical health. Here are some tips for coping in these difficult times:

  • Talk about it. By talking with others about the event, you can relieve stress and realize that others share your feelings.

  • Spend time with friends and family. They can help you through this tough time. If your family lives outside the area, stay in touch by phone. If you have any children, encourage them to share their concerns and feelings about the disaster with you.

  • Take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest and exercise, and eat properly. If you smoke or drink coffee, try to limit your intake, since nicotine and caffeine can also add to your stress.

  • Limit exposure to images of the disaster. Watching or reading news about the event over and over again will only increase your stress.

  • Find time for activities you enjoy. Read a book, go for a walk, catch a movie or do something else you find enjoyable. These healthy activities can help you get your mind off the disaster and keep the stress in check.

  • Take one thing at a time. For people under stress, an ordinary workload can sometimes seem unbearable. Pick one urgent task and work on it. Once you accomplish that task, choose the next one. “Checking off” tasks will give you a sense of accomplishment and make things feel less overwhelming.

  • Do something positive. Give blood, prepare “care packages” for people who have lost relatives or their homes or jobs, or volunteer in a rebuilding effort. Helping other people can give you a sense of purpose in a situation that feels ‘out of your control.’

  • Avoid drugs and excessive drinking. Drugs and alcohol may temporarily seem to remove stress, but in the long run they generally create additional problems that compound the stress you were already feeling.

  • Ask for help when you need it. If you have strong feelings that won’t go away or if you are troubled for longer than four to six weeks, you may want to seek professional help. People who have existing mental health problems and those who have survived past trauma may also want to check in with a mental health care professional. Being unable to manage your responses to the disaster and resume your regular activities may be symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a real and treatable illness. Help is available. Make an appointment with a mental health professional to discuss how well you are coping with the recent events. You could also join a support group. Don’t try to cope alone. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.

Additional Resources

The national Disaster Distress Helpline (call or text 1-800-985-5990; for Spanish, press “2”)  is dedicated to providing crisis counseling and support 24/7/365 for anyone in the U.S./territories experiencing emotional distress or other mental health concerns related to any natural or human-caused disaster. Callers can connect with DDH hotline counselors in 100+ additional languages via third-party interpretation services. People who are Deaf or hard of hearing can use the text option, or for TTY, use their preferred Relay service or dial 7-1-1 and then 1-800-985-5990.

Worksheets

Self-Care Idea List
Click Here

Intro to Mindfulnes
Click Here

Tips for Better Sleep

Click Here

Self-Help Resources

Two psychologists that have some good videos on YouTube I have found very helpful for general personal development are :

 

Dr. Russ Harris

Dr. Brene Brown 

Therapist Resources

Finding a therapist doesn't have to be difficult or expensive. Now most therapists will do teletherapy from anywhere in the state, so you can do it right from a smartphone or any computer with an internet connection! If I'm not available to take on new clients, or you would prefer to find a therapist that you think would be a better fit, I recommend these sites:

 

Open Path Collective: https://openpathcollective.org/ is a site dedicated to listing therapists who only advertise sliding scale thearpists (from $30 -$60). There is a one-time fee to become a member but it is a very reputable site.

Therapy Den: https://www.therapyden.com/ is a good site for seeking other therapists. You are able to search for therapists that take your insurance. 

Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us is the number one used resource for finding therapists and psychological articles for the general public. They have a great ability to search for therapists on many different criteria, including specilties, location, gender, and many other factors. 

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