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After the December flood, I just can’t seem able to cope


Dear Life Coach,

I’ve been haunted by sadness since the flood in December 2013. I still can’t believe that I’ve lost everything. Sure, I got a bit of help from family, friends, and the Government, but it is still not the same. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, and generally I just don’t feel well. The truth is my whole world has caved in; the disruption, the relocation, the pain – it’s all more than I can bear. I know that I should be thankful because I survived and so did my loved ones (we were spared only with our lives).{{more}} Believe me, I’m grateful, but I just can’t seem to shake the sadness.

Sad Woman (SW)

Dear SW,

You were swept away in the floods and you are grateful to be alive, but things are just not the same; you are sad and you just can’t seem to get over it.{{more}}

Your Situation:

You were swept away in the flood and you almost lost your life. It is clear that you have developed some of the symptoms of depression which is likely to occur in the aftermath of a flood. Some of these symptoms are as follows: problems with sleeping, changes in appetite, feelings of sadness, isolating from others, losing interest in things you once liked, difficulty making decisions, becoming more irritable, and feeling ill generally. These I will address briefly.

Problems with Sleeping

You are not able to sleep well at nights (some individuals may sleep more during the day). In short, your sleeping pattern has been disrupted.

Changes in Appetite

You have noticed that you have no desire to eat at all (some individuals may want to eat more or eat all the time).

Feelings of Sadness

You have experienced feelings of sadness, especially when you look at all that you have lost and the fact that you have had to ‘start over from scratch’. You feel unable to cope and as if you have no energy to go through all this again, re-buying everything and rebuilding your house.

Isolating from Others

You may not be in the mood to see friends or family, and you may want to stay home more than you usually do.

Losing Interest in Things you Once Liked

You may not want to do the things that you usually enjoy, such as going to work or doing things around the house, as you did in the past.

Difficulty Making Decisions

You are feeling confused and you wonder if anything makes sense any more. You are also finding it difficult to make decisions and follow through with them.

Becoming More Irritable

You may find yourself getting upset about things more easily than before and this can spark conflicts with friends and family.

Feeling Ill Generally

You are not eating or sleeping well; you are sad and isolating from friends and family, and you have lost interest in everything around you, so you are definitely not doing well. You are also more susceptible to getting sick from colds and flu, as your immune system will also become ‘run down’ over time.

What to Do:

Be Gentle with Yourself

Recognize that you have been through an ordeal which is not your fault. So, do not blame yourself. You have survived a natural disaster; so, be gentle with yourself. It will take time for you to recover emotionally and otherwise.

Eat and Sleep

Although you may not feel like eating, try your best at least to drink something nutritious, such as broth, milk, or a fruit smoothie. You are also not able to fall asleep, but it is very important for you to just close your eyes, lie still for a while and rest. Playing music that is soothing may be helpful.

Stay Close to your Support System

Although you may not be motivated to see anyone, force yourself to visit with friends and family on a weekly basis. This will help to cushion the negative impact of the disaster and the stress that it brings. You can share ideas together about how to get back on track and just be there for each other.

Normalize your Life

Try your best to return to your normal schedule, including work and recreational activities. This will help to take the focus from off your losses and get you through the process of recovery. Things may never be the same as they used to be, but they may be very close to what was, and you may be able to settle down again and enjoy life.

Seek Further Assistance if Necessary

Find out what other financial resources and non-monetary assistance are available to help with your particular situation and try your best not to give up.

Be Thankful

Maintain a positive attitude and a positive spirit. Things can always be worse, so be thankful at all times. You are still alive and so are your relatives and friends, although now you have the task of rebuilding your lives.

Seek Counselling

Seek counselling immediately. Check with the school counsellor or principal in your area. They will be able to refer you elsewhere, if necessary.

Visit Your Doctor

Visit your local doctor, who may be willing to prescribe medication for you on a short-term basis to help get you unstuck.

SW, the months subsequent to the flood are likely to be trying, but you do have what it takes to make it; so, please hang in there and continue to be strong.

Life Coach


Need help with relationship and other problems? Ask DYNACII’s Life Coach. Email your questions to [email protected] To Chat with the Life Coach, visit: Dynamic Action Center International Inc. (DYNACII) a non-governmental organization committed to social and spiritual empowerment.