Just less than two weeks after the Super Typhoon Rolly, when people were still recovering from the devastation brought by Rolly, another destructive Typhoon named Ulysses caused whipping winds, heavy rainfall and massive flooding in many areas of Luzon. These consecutive traumatic typhoon, not only destroyed homes, or the livelihood of many people, but also took a toll on their mental health. These events create a tremendous impact for those directly and indirectly affected.

Tens of thousands of houses from parts of Luzon were and are still submerged in floods.  Merely seeing all the posts on social media from different places that was greatly impacted by the flood is heartbreaking for us already. What more for those people affected.

Years ago, when Ondoy hit Marikina, we were one of the families who was trapped and barely survived the night the flood continued rising.  We walked on top of roofs after roofs of submerged houses to get to a safer place. The majority of us were children and senior citizens. That night was the longest one I’ve ever had. It was frightening and traumatic, especially for someone my age that time.

Now, this Typhoon Ulysses brought back the memories I had with Ondoy. And some of my relatives were greatly affected by this extensive flood. So, I thought I’d write this because I know and have seen first hand what It’s like to survive a devastating typhoon.

Common reactions of people who experienced a traumatic typhoon…

The impact caused by the disaster— the number of fatalities and injuries, houses and buildings destroyed, the cost of repair and rebuild — doesn’t often account for the emotional wounds inflicted on people. People who experienced a traumatic typhoon usually struggle with some of these:

  • Shock and disbelief
  • Combination of fear and distress
  • Worry excessively about safety
  • Nightmares and reoccurring thoughts about the traumatic event
  • Sadness and depression
  • Stress and anxiety about the future
  • Crying for ‘no apparent reason’
  • Anger or mixed emotions
  • Feeling powerless
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or falling asleep

Tips for managing mental health after a traumatic typhoon

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 I will share some points on how to cope or manage one’s mental health after a traumatic typhoon:

Take care of your safety

Make sure you find a safe place for you and your family to stay after the typhoon. Go to an evacuation center or relative’s house. Always put your safety as your number one priority.

Talk about it

By talking with others, especially with your family or anyone that shares the same feelings about the event, will help relieve distress caused by the disaster. Also, encourage children to share their concerns and feelings about the disaster because it’s also difficult for them.

I remember we used to talk about the experience we had despite having no electricity and only a candle in the middle was lit to light our living room. It helped us cope. Talking always helps.

Stay connected with family and friends

Who else can help you through tough times? Spend time with your family, and talk to them. You will likely clean up the house and mess left by the flood together anyway. Use it to spend time with them.

However, if your family doesn’t live with you, stay in touch with them by phone. Then spend time with people you cared for and who cared about you. It’s easier to cope when you are with people who understands you and the situation.

Take care of yourself

It’s difficult, but don’t forget to take care of yourself. With so much to do after the typhoon, it may be difficult to get a rest or sleep or even eat. But it is important to have a break and rest. Doing so will boost your ability to cope with the stress you may be experiencing. You’ll get through this.

Take one thing at a time

“After a natural disaster, your entire routine in life is disrupted,” say an assistant professor of environmental studies. There are surely huge changes, especially for people who were most affected. Recovery is harder for some people because they tragically lost their pets or loved ones, homes, jobs or livelihood. Taking one thing at a time will make things feel less difficult and overwhelming.

Ask for help when you need it or give support to others

This is the time we should help each other out without asking for anything in return. Gather information about assistance or resources that will be of help for you and your family for disaster-related needs. While, reach out to a loved one or better to a professional if you feel that your mental health is not getting any better after some days. Remember that asking for help is never a sign of weakness.

You can check or recommend this to someone who needs a free online emotional support.

Send help and donations for Typhoon Ulysses victims

If you’re not much affected by the typhoon, please help and send some donations to any of these donation drives below. Our fellow Filipinos need us.

GCash #UlyssesPHAid

PAYMAYA #UlyssesPH

LazadaForGood

Kaya Natin Movement

Caritas Manila

Philippine Red Cross

UNICEF

Check this to see more donation drives.

You may donate: Food, drinking water, medicine, vitamins, clothes, face masks & shields, hygiene kits, alcohol, beddings/blankets or other essentials.

Let’s all help each other recover from all these disasters we’re experiencing. A little amount would help. Or simple share posts on social media to reach more people. Stay safe everyone!

Check these out:

what is a mental health kit and why we need one

getting through the day when you’re down in the depression pit

this pandemic is hurting the mental health of filipino youth

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