These last weeks have been some of the most difficult I have had in years, in regards to the fires.I should also warn you, that I have given some detail below (third paragraph) which could be triggering, so if you don't want to read ahead, then please don't. My experience of what happened many years ago is the reason for my current struggle.
While I have not been directly impacted as such in these current fires - as in had to evacuate - I most certainly have been impacted with my mental and emotional health. I live fairly close to the recent fire activity and have had LOTS of smoke in the area, and plenty of breathing difficulties. There's been (was, but not so much now) MANY emergency warnings on the local radio, and, because I work in furniture retail, plenty of evacuees who are now without homes, coming into work, looking so devastated and exhausted ......
So why does that affect me so much? Well, I was directly affected by the Ash Wendesday fires in 1983. We were not able to evacuate the area in time, and became trapped in burning building. And in that building, a man died in my arms because he could no longer breathe. We laid under wet blankets, listening to the horrendous roar outside ....... and then, at about 4am we were rescued by a bunch of VERY BRAVE firefighters and bus driver who drove us out and away from the fire. And we lost EVERYTHING. Imagine, if you can, not even having any underwear or a toothbrush. Myself and our family had literally run for our lives. Our pets were also lost in the fire.
Having said that, I am very lucky that I did not lose any family members. We did rebuild a new home and manage to 'get on with' our lives ........ but it's at times like these I feel permanently scarred. I struggle with nightmares, a lack of sleep and depression and anxiety in the 'mid to high' range.
But I've seen my doctor, I have a GREAT support network, and I know I'm gonna get 'well' again ..... as in, the nightmares will ease up and the depression and anxiety is being treated as I write this.
I'll be okay.
After all, my Christmas present to myself this year was my motorbike licence, and getting a motorbike!!!
Oh, and a chocolate frappe a day helps too!
Anyway, am keeping everyone in my thoughts and prayers. Including myself. Take care. And I promise I will to.