Now that most of us are out of the immediate danger of these fires that ravaged our beautiful community, I’m hearing from many people that they are struggling with sleep: having trouble falling asleep, having trouble staying asleep, not getting restful sleep, waking at specific times, or even having active dreams, nightmares, and flashbacks.
This is due to what is called hyperarousal.
If you've been watching the television news of Sonoma County's horrific fires, you may have noticed that the news teams are NOT at the evacuation centers interviewing evacuees. In fact, the evacuation centers have outright said "NO MEDIA ALLOWED." Interesting, right? Certainly different than in the past. Wondering why that is? Because as a profession, we're not sure if talking about a trauma in an unstructured way immediately after it happens helps -- we think it may make some people worse.
Here's an excellent article from The Guardian, a UK paper, that explains more.
So if you're: hosting survivors in your home; plan to; know someone who has been evacuated; know someone who has suffered immense loss in the last 72 hours; know someone who might suffer immense loss in the next few days; or you fit any of these categories yourself, please read this. There are some useful tips on what you can do instead that truly are helpful.