THIS WAS IT! The moment I have been preparing for, for most of my adult life. That moment when my anxiety and obsessive-compulsive over preparation would finally be put to good use! Hurricane Matthew.
Now, I had never been through a hurricane before, at least not one that I remember, so this was my “Threat Level Midnight” (with thanks to ‘The Office’ for that one.) Batteries – Check. Flashlights – Check. 900 gallons of water – Check. Candy, wine, doggie treats, cards, first aid, rope, glow in the dark necklaces, you name it – IT WAS IN THE WATER PROOF BOX! My tubs were filled with water. Ice was in the freezer. Dinner was cooked in case we lost power. And so I waited…
Now, I’m not afraid of weather. I absolutely despise lightening, but rain. Nah! We’re cool. But having no idea what to expect, I needed to keep me and everyone around me safe. Finally, this bad boy arrived…
The proverbial “calm before the storm” was replaced by the newly found “calm during the storm.” I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t nervous. I wasn’t alarmed. No panic. Nothing. Odd, no? But I get it. Anxiety tends to surround fear of the unknown. Anticipation. Guess-timating the results. Anxiety is not rooted in logic. Anxiety is not even rooted in anything that makes sense. It’s all based primarily on irrational fear. Wait. Stop. Don’t confuse anxiety with rational fear with anxiety with irrational fear. Not the same subject.
I was as cool as a cucumber; not only was I super-duper-overly-prepared to save the world, but I knew the worst or at least had a sense of what it could be. In the worst case scenario, I already mapped out how my husband was going to get the surfboards out of the garage to start rescuing our neighbors while I handed out snorkels, kickboards, and floaties to the kids so we could drift to safety. In case you were wonderin, I had the giant yellow rope to tie us all together AND glow-in-the-dark necklaces to put on the kids in case I needed to find them in the darkness (see, I told ya. I thought of everything!)
But in the end, the storm was just immense rain with whipping wind in my area. Other neighborhoods just a few minutes away lost power, had tons of down trees, and other extensive damage. Some of our favorite communities, state parks and natural preserves experienced catastrophic damage. To say we were very lucky to make it through with nothing more than a very full tummy and the Empire Strikes Back is an understatement.
Now we wait for the sunshine to return. Now we think about our friends who were displaced, have no power, and sustained significant damage to their homes and cars. Now we worry about how we can help those in need. And now I worry how those who suffered extensive damage including job and home loss will have their mental health affected. My fellow mental health cronies have seemed to weather the storm just as well as I did, keeping their sense of humor and appreciating everything they have. It’s time for us to go out into the community and rebuild homes, places of work and a positive mental state to all who surround us.