I stumble to the light switch, nonchalantly fill the jug with water and boil the jug for a cup of tea, open the fridge and the light shines brightly back at me! With phone in one hand watching my social newsfeed and message service fill up with messages and reports, the aftershocks come and I realise how far we have come since Sept 2010! My anxiety was in check and was ready to snuggle back down to bed…………….
Then reports of the Tsunami warning come in and with family up and down the coast line my panic and nausea came in like the waves due in a few hours! Flooding back memories of sheer desperation and heartbreak! Shit are the water bottles rotated, have we got enough perishables, medication and animal food, will there be more? Have I got milk? Is the gas bottle filled up, how is the next door neighbour? How is the community? …… Far out what about the rest of NZ? A million unanswerable questions and I could feel the anxiety taking hold!
Thank goodness for the hugs of loved ones at the door at 3am. We called them refugees as that’s what they looked like. Ripped from their beds with nothing as evacuations begun up and down the coast. Everyone took it in their stride. We are alive, we have utilities and our loved ones are safe.
As things simmer down and the dawn sun arrived, Riwai was off to work. The enormity of the evenings events sets in as Wellington are on a knife edge and our loved Hurunui and Kaikoura cut off from the world. We turn our attention to our wider group of loved ones and supporters, checking on those in the Hurunui, Kaikoura, Marlborough and Wellington Districts. Life ahead for many of them will not be easy and since then I have been sharing the same advice. BE KIND to yourself and others and heres a few survival tips from a pro!
1) Use the Isabella ABC Count – When I was scared in 2011, a young girl called Isabella held my hand and said “Cate just count to 10 before you get scared” And it has worked ever since.
A) Count to 10
B) If you are still moving at 10 move to safety and count again to 20
C) If you are still moving at 20 check on loved ones and execute your safety plan….
This method has kept my anxiety levels down ever since and given me the strength to be there for others….
2) The short of it is that the first few months are shite but you are stronger than you think!
3) Sleep deprivation means your normal gets thrown into disarray
4) Create your own routine and sense of achievement for the day
5) Find a distraction to take your mind off all that is happening – movement, walking, stretching, music, meditation, books, card games
6) It’s ok to feel exactly how you are feeling, don’t let anyone tell you how your should be or feel
7) Find peeps to connect with
8) Don’t trawl social media – get informed using sites like GeoNet, Emergency Services Sites and Civil Defence
– a great plan to do with your families
9) And once again BE KIND! Everyone has their own methods for survival!
10) THANK YOU TO ALL THE PEOPLE AND THEIR LOVED ONES BEHIND THE SCENES who are working around the clock to restore routine and basic needs to those effected by mother natures latest round of rumbles