Weeks After Hurricane Sandy: The Traumatic Stress Lives On

Area resident Judy Shepps Battle shares her lingering post-traumatic stress response to the recent hurricane and nor'easter that pounded our towns.


Just checking in from Insomniacs-R-Us territory here in Central NJ.  

Although my mind knows that this sleep pattern of falling dead-asleep for 4 hours and then being wide-awake for 2-3 more hours (until yawns make it impossible to stay awake) is totally post-Hurricane Sandy/nor'easter-related, my behavior remains unchanged.  

The worst thing is that I am not even remotely productive during these night hours. I'm just stuck in a "can't sleep, can't focus" kind of hell.  

I'm told that everyone has their own special post-major-stress response to the storms. Apparently, this is mine.  

Maybe it is better than my usual coping mechanism of mindless eating. Or than my sometimes stress-related mindless shopping (though gawd it would be easy to do with Black Friday sales already flooding my in-box). Maybe it is better than being curled up in a ball under a bunch of blankets craving warmth, though that seems very attractive at the moment.

 Or maybe not.  

Maybe it just is and I have to honor this reality with self-care and self-compassion until the part of me that can heal the PTSD of the two storms completes its work.  

Lots of maybe's to ponder this beautiful star-lit night on a cool but comfortable Tuesday morning two days before Turkey Day here in Central NJ, USA. At least, I know I am not alone in experiencing the invisible after-effects of this environmental trauma.

How are you doing? 

Judy Shepps Battle is a New Jersey resident, addictions specialist, consultant and freelance writer. Her weekly column "It Takes a Village" appeared in the South Brunswick Patch for a year. She can be reached by e-mail at writeaction@aol.com. Additional information on this and other topics can be found at her website at http://www.writeaction.com/. 

Copyright 2012 Judy Shepps Battle

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