Healing from Hurricane Harvey Trauma

Looking at social media and watching the news is just too much to take in right now. It’s heart breaking to see the city I love being washed away in a sense. But the strength and resiliency of the people is why I love Houston. It has been my home for 10 years now. And to see yet another devastating natural disaster hit this city breaks my heart.

I was away at Podcast Movement (which I’ll talk about in the next season of my podcast) really enjoying myself when things took a turn for the absolute worst. And so quickly.

Let me share how a range of emotions can happen in a short amount of time.

I left Houston Tuesday. I left the heat and humidity for a few days. I thought. I was excited to finally spend some time in California, learn some new things and take a break from the heat and my regular routine. For a brief moment. I thought it would be brief.

Brief.

So I’m in Anaheim enjoying the temperature break. Meeting people. Having fun. Learning quite a lot actually.

I’m watching the news of a tropical storm. No big deal. I live in Houston. We are used to heavy rains.

I get an advisory alert from the airline. I call and they say everything is fine. This was Thursday. So I’m enjoying my day. Literally that was one of the best days in Cali.

The next day I arrive at the airport to a cancelled flight. I’m a little upset I didn’t receive an email or anything before I checked out of my hotel.

They rebooked me to Dallas. No problem. I knew I could get someone to pick my up from DFW airport. Shout out to my cousin and aunt picking me at up 1 something in the morning. Family came thru.

As I sat in the airport extra hours, I grew a little impatient. Let’s just say LAX is the worst airport I have ever been too.

When we finally get a gate and on the plane I was relieved to get back to Texas. I was thinking, I could go home by Sunday at the latest.

Ummm…..that turned into a NOPE.

As I watched and read what was happening in Houston this weekend all I could feel was disbelief, hurt and helplessness. Here I am at my cousin’s house safe and sound while my family and friends are literally trying to survive in the worst natural disaster to ever hit Houston.

I guess you can say I feel some guilt for being safe and they’re not.

I also feel a little numb. Mentally I’m just not here.

I checked in on all my friends and family. And keep checking in on them.

I made sure the members of HAAB are okay. It’s important I help as much as I can to ensure our members get help if they need it.

So I wrote this post on a Monday. Houston is only halfway through this storm.

I don’t know when it’ll be safe for me to get home. I miss home. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss my life before the storm.

I think the saddest part is seeing photos of children and babies separated from their parents. To be a parent who doesn’t know where your child is or if they are safe is gut-wrenching. Or to be a child surrounded by strangers is scary. So many emotions are running through at this moment.

As Houston grapples with recovery and restoring the city, I want people to understand that local officials are doing their very best. They made the right call. It was much safer for millions of people to stay put that get stranded on the road in the middle of the hurricane.

There are too many moving pieces to get millions of people safely out of a city in such a short amount of time.

Hurricane Harvey developed from a tropical storm to a hurricane 4 in such a short amount of time. It didn’t give much time to prep.

You notice the short amount of time I keep repeating???

I am thankful for everyone who is risking his or her life to help those in need. To everyone who is sharing information (accurate) and trying to help people get to safety. This is what makes #HoustonStrong. We come together in a time of need.

And have a Mayor who is exemplifying true leadership. Thank You Mayor Sylvester Turner for all that you’re doing.

As I continue to process my feelings and emotions while away from Houston, I will continue to help and support the efforts as best as I can.

Now these are my emotions and I’m not in the city, wasn’t directly affected (as I don’t know the condition of my apartment) or have had to deal with the constant downpour of rain.

I can’t fathom how everyone there is dealing with life right now. Or even processing what’s going on.

It will take some time for the healing from Hurricane Harvey trauma to happen.

The residents of Houston and all the cities that are affected will have to deal with mental, emotional and financial frustrations for awhile.

This is only the beginning of a new journey for so many of us. How we get through it will show the true sense of Houston Strong.

I will be starting a journaling series to help people heal after Harvey, request to join:  The Truth Confidant w/ Vernetta R. Freeney.

To support the recovery efforts:

For mental health resources: