I’ve been quiet across social media platforms during the Christmas and holiday period as I’ve felt saddened by the state that this beautiful country is in, I hope you’ll forgive me.
During this time, I noticed myself withdrawing from general day to day activities. This most certainly hindered my ability to engage and interact with people I care about. It left me feeling overwhelmed and confused on what I could do and how I could help.
What I continued to notice from this withdrawal was a feeling of disconnection, isolation and hopelessness. It was an uncomfortable experience and one I’d rather not have again. Though, let’s be realistic, adversity can send even the most experienced into a spiral.
As I re-engaged with the world around me, I gained the motivation to take meaningful action towards things that were important to me and no matter how big or small those actions were, they were a welcomed contribution.
As a family we supported CFA volunteers and families we don’t know by donating an entire boot load full of non-perishables to a relief centre in a local community where it was sorted and distributed alongside many, many other donations. We all felt empowered to help and satisfied that these items were going to those in need.
Recognising you can’t do it all on your own is a profound realisation. Equally as important in this equation is ‘action’ and ‘follow through’. Just bear witness to the comradery exhibited by many communities caring for one another in so many ways. The willingness to help and actions of support have come from many people far beyond local communities reaching into the hearts of the nation and has even expanded into the hearts of our international co-inhabitors (if that’s even a word lol).
Miraculously, together wonderous results have been and continue to be achieved. I hope the many new founded bonds in friendship will continue long after the devastation has passed.
Personally, I knew I needed outside support; several appointments were made, one of which was with a wonderful Kinesiologist. It was instant, and I felt like me again, phew because prior it felt like I was on a mental and emotional rollercoaster!
Professionally I also wanted to help. I became aware of a group of professionals formulating a ‘Safe Space for Kids’ group, I made contact and joined them in their quest in providing support and activities for evacuee kids at the Wangaratta Show Grounds. It was also featured in The Border Mail, perhaps you read it. The Wangaratta initiative recently closed as families started making their way back home. Amidst the devastation I trust they will rebuild their homes and find some ‘normality’ once more.
Many are experiencing the effects of the devastation occurring across the land; physically, emotionally and mentally. Similarly, I trust those directly and indirectly affected are receiving the care and support they require both now and well into the future.
Trauma of any kind be it physical, emotional and psychological has the very real potential to linger and/or be relived voluntarily or involuntarily. It is easy and quite normal to become entangled in our thoughts. Likewise, to struggle with feelings and emotions influencing what we say and do. This can be helpful and equally unhelpful depending on the tools and strategies utilised during times of strain and often hurts the people we care about.
While we may all agree that challenging and difficult times will come and go, my message here is this: that you don’t have to do it alone because you’re not alone though I’m sure it feels like it sometimes. I strongly encourage anyone who may be feeling helpless, sad, angry, frustrated or experiencing a sense of despair, defeat or despondency (or any range of other difficult emotions) to get in contact. At the very least talk to a trusted friend, family member or other professional service such as lifeline, beyond blue or the many mental health helplines.
Take steps to care for you and yours and reach out anytime.