Monitor your sanity as you prepare for Nicole

FORT MYERS

The thought of another storm approaching the state is unnerving as most of us are still grappling with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

The aftermath of Ian takes center stage in Southwest Florida, while piles of debris are scattered along the streets. However, many scars lie buried beneath the surface in the psyche of survivors, who may not realize the depth of the emotional impact.

Stacey Brown is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and conducts many telemedicine visits from her home in Fort Myers.

“It’s a very stressful event, our central nervous system gets really hit by things like this. So when we’re in combat flight or freeze mode, it becomes difficult to eat properly and digest properly, and it can be difficult to sleep at night,” Brown said.

Brown helps people process Ian, but worries that Nicole could hurt people’s weakened mental health.

“Any time you’ve had trauma and then something that feels or looks similar comes up, you’re reactivated,” Brown said.

Dealing with trauma after Ian and before Nicole. CREDIT: WINK News

Whether you’re at home or at work, paying attention to your breath can help calm your nerves. Brown said it’s one of the few things you can control.

While it’s easy, slowing down your breathing can de-escalate the flood of emotions you’re feeling.

“Bringing your breath down deeper will stimulate a relaxation response. That’s just neurology. So our brain talks to our body all the time. And you are responsible for how you think. All right,” Brown said. “Even though there is trauma, you can still remember doing something real; If you think about it, look around, you’ll find three things to look at, I see a plant, I see something green, I see my blue couch, you know, really anchor yourself in what’s there .

Brown suggests focusing on what you see, smell, and hear. To ground yourself in the present and thus prevent a worry spiral. She has dedicated much of her practice to treating trauma and helping others move past their pain.

“You’re okay, you get that, you know, we’re not in any danger right now,” Brown said.

The emotional toll is high, but treating yourself kindly can go a long way in relieving anxiety.

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