With all the recent devastation from hurricane Sandy, I thought it appropriate to have my friend and colleague, Dr. Alsop–a clinical psychologist specializing in trauma related disorders–prepare a post on her experiences dealing with the lasting emotional effects from hurricane Katrina. Here’s what she had to say:
As a proud New Orleans resident, I have been concerned and worried as I watch the news on Hurricane Sandy. I have seen the photos of devastation and know that the Northeast is really in need of support at this time. My thoughts are with everyone up there as they face this challenge and all of the aftermath.
I grew up in the South, and lost my home and many belongings in Hurricane Ivan and spent a year living on the couches of friends’ and family’s homes as I waited for the house to be rebuilt. I remember feeling frustrated, sad, and mostly unsettled. Much of my family was displaced from their homes and the city of New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina. I had moved to Maryland the week before the storm hit, and felt terribly helpless and scared watching from afar and hearing about the news and slow progress from loved ones. I know the experience well of wondering if your city will ever be the same and mourning the loss of normalcy as recovery begins… because New York, Maine, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Delaware, Vermont, Pennsylvania and all of the Northeast and tropical areas affected, from the islands of Cuba and the Dominican Republic, to rural, small towns and the large, bustling cities, YOU WILL recover. Things will not ever be the same, as is the case with any major event impacting so many people. Such natural disasters—traumas—are scars on the human soul; with time those scars will lighten and look different than they do now, but they will always be visible in certain light.
As a clinical psychologist, I specialize in working with those that have survived traumas, from long-term, prolonged relational traumas to massive, natural disaster traumas. My experiences living in the South, and knowing what it is like to sit without power and hope that everything will be okay has left me well-acquainted with the multitude of feelings and reactions that such events can bring. I hope those that are struggling now and find themselves further affected in the future, will seek needed help from a family member, a trusted friend, and a mental health professional. Coping with trauma can be a challenge, but there are ways that can lead to alleviation of the pain, and people that can help guide you in that direction.
For those that suffer from addictions, whether it is to substances, or other compulsive behaviors that harm the self, I hope that you will speak up about your emotional experiences, reaching out for the first time to others or following plans to contact supports in particularly difficult times of urges or impulses. You are not in this alone.
Here is a list of resources for those needing support from this devastating storm:
- New York Resources
- Main Resources
- Massachusetts Resources
- Connecticut Resources
- New Jersey Resources
- Pennsylvania Resources
Dr. Megan Alsop is a Louisiana licensed Clinical Psychologist specializing in trauma-related disorders, including Posttraumatic Stress, Acute Stress, Dissociative Identity, and dissociative disorders. Upon completing her formal education and training at Loyola University in Maryland, she returned to her storm-battered city of New Orleans to help people rebuild their lives and recover. She works with those experiencing depression, anxiety, difficulty controlling thoughts and worry, grief, relationship issues and more. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about Dr. Alsop and the great work she’s doing in New Orleans please visit: