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Forums / PTSD & Trauma / Coping with bushfires

Topic: Coping with bushfires

  1. blondguy
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    20 March 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Hey Quirky

    As Elizabeth mentioned above the coronavirus has shifted the focus from one major event to another...and this is painful especially when so many have been directly affected by these awful wildfires as you have

    Local council here in Melbourne's southern suburbs will not allow my neighbor to cut down a gumtree on their nature strip as its a 'Native' specie...

    Eucalyptus trees dont just burn...they are highly flammable yet permission to cut them down is still denied

    They just dont get it Quirky...even after these catastrophic fires

    your thoughts?

    Paul

  2. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    21 March 2020 in reply to blondguy

    Paul,and everyone reading

    I do t know much about trees.
    i do know in my old village people are living in tents and caravans as their homes burnt down but they have no access to grants.

    t o get help you need access to a computer and computer skills.

    i have both but was overwhelmed and was lucky my son could help.

    i have given my own money to help people who have very little.

    People are traumatised and not getting help as they can’t tick all the boxes.

    thanks for caring Paul.

    the mental health issues arising from the fires and the. corona virus are and will be massive.

    quirky

  3. Me&Myself
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    23 April 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    I know it's now late April and I have been telling everyone ( and trying to fool myself) that I am fine after the fires but this week I have been completely overwhelmed with emotional exhaustion and finally broke down after lashing out at someone who didn't deserve it.
    My husband & I lost everything - house, sheds, all fencing....but were blessed to see our cattle & horse survive (a saving grace). We both continued to fight fires and assist on getting fodder out to our surrounding neighbours and have endured some horrific scenes & situations that put our own lives at risk.
    I am on here as I am unsure I can physically go and see someone and I need not to be pitied but just write the things that are going on in my head down.
    The struggle to obtain grants, some insurance is beyond difficult and it continues to be a daily challenge to hold it all together while reliving it with each company that I have to deal with explaining "why" I am trying to get assistance.

    We are in the process of waiting for government cleanup, and the "unknown" dates that they keep telling us, as we are more remote than others currently on the cleanup list, is just another kick in guts. Its difficult to have to visually see all the destruction on our property that I have had to make the decision to stay away from our beautiful place. I am now away from my husband as I cannot handle my emotions any more.

    It has helped reading a few of your posts everyone, and I am grateful for this forum to be able to write some emotions down.

    Stay safe everyone and let hope that the powers to be have learnt a valuable lesson out of what transpired with the bushfires and take the appropriate actions and changes needed in the future so as we never have to have others experience the horrific nature that was encountered.

    Love to you all xxx

    2 people found this helpful
  4. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    23 April 2020 in reply to Me&Myself

    Me&Myself

    Welcome to the forum and this thread.

    I relate to your post as my house my business/shop was destroyed by bushfires on NYE2019 and my life has not been the same. I had no family in my old place so I moved away and now feel lost with my business and my home.

    I too know how many obstacles are out in my way from govt and charities to try and get help.You get asked so many silly questions over and over. I often ended in tears just trying to prove I needed help.

    At least my place has been cleaned so feel for you.

    Can you get some professional help so you have someone to talk to.

    Please feel free to post as often as you like as I will be looking out if you decide to write.

    Take care Quirky.

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  5. Elizabeth CP
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    25 April 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Me&Myself & Quirky, I wanted to reach out to both of you and anyone else reading who is struggling due to the fires. I often think of you Quirky and hope you are getting some support. I haven't written much on this thread because thinking of fires triggers such bad flashbacks for me. I am seeing someone for therapy but because of the isolation most of it is on hold. He commented recently on our session via video that this therapy should have been done years ago. If I'd had help soon after the event I would never have got to the point I'm in now and treatment would have been more effective. I'm sharing that to encourage you both to reach out for professional help. The pain and the memories may fade over time but without help they lurk in the background ready to flare up and create havoc when triggered. At least that is my experience.

    The rest of the world has moved on focusing on dealing with the virus but the virus just complicates the recovery process from the fires it doesn't stop the pain of those like you both are feeling.

    I wish there was something I could do to help I really feel for you both.

  6. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    25 April 2020 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Elizabeth your words have indeed helped me.

    am sorry you did not receive help and therapy when you needed it and are suffering from flashbacks.

    I have support but tried one counsellor but she did not have experience in dealing with fires and trauma.

    our post reminds us of the importance of getting help.

    I know you deal with a lot in your present life. I thank you for thinking of others.

  7. Doolhof
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    26 April 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    HI Everyone,

    I've not suffered personally in the recent fires. The region where I was born and where I grew up and where some family still live, was devastated. Seeing photos of the destruction was heart breaking.

    People there as elsewhere I am sure, are still living in tents, caravans, shed and where ever they can.

    My sister who lives there is very traumatised. Throw the virus on top of that and she is not coping well.

    My heart goes out to you all. I hope you can find the help and support you need, now and in the future.

    I wish I had the words to convey how much I care for and think of all those who are suffering. Words are just words. Sometimes action is required more than words. I hope the action you need for help comes as well.

    Kind regards from Dools

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  8. blondguy
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    12 July 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky

    just bumping up this thread as there are still many people that have experienced pain and anguish during these wildfires

    Finding a person that is experienced in wildfires and the associated trauma isnt reality . I hope you can discuss your thoughts with a qualified health professional that can help you through the trauma you have experienced

    I cant even begin to fathom your pain Quirky...except for the ongoing daily smoke hazard warnings....ugh!

    respectfully yours

    Paul

    Note...I understand that many people are hesitant about seeking help....I was the same..for years

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  9. blondguy
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    13 July 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky and Everyone!

    Ive been struggling with an old PC and using my mobile to post without success last night...bear with me

    Please share your experiences with the catastrophic bushfires and let us know on scale of 0 to 10 how you have been effected by them...Your voice will help many others that choose to read only and not post

    • 1 to 5..........It was an awful period to go through...yet slowly getting back to 'normal'
    • 5 to 7..........Not back to 'normal' yet okay considering others have been through worse
    • 7 to 9..........Having difficulty coping and waiting for funds to be released to enable rebuilding
    • 10 ............Difficulty coping on a daily basis due to personal loss effecting mental health
    • 10 +........... Serious trauma through being directly involved with fleeing/fighting the bushfires

    All members are welcome to help others by sharing their experiences during this catastrophic event

    Paul

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  10. quirkywords
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    13 July 2020 in reply to blondguy

    Paul

    thanks for your scale but I find it hard to put my experience as a number. I am not a fan of the word normal. I will think and come up with an answer as to why I cant fit on your scale as my feelings change from day to day and sometimes hour to hour. I will post later as am busy today.

    I am an individual so many will find your scale helpful.

    Thanks for caring.

    Quirky

    2 people found this helpful
  11. blondguy
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    13 July 2020 in reply to quirkywords
    Quirky

    I don't use the word 'normal' thus the use of inverted commas above.....

    People would be striving to regain some 'normalcy' in their lives after the fires....

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  12. quirkywords
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    13 July 2020 in reply to blondguy

    Paul

    Sorry my bad eyesight thought it was a mark on the computer.

    I just dont now what 'mormalcy' as for me getting back to that would mean having my shop and my old home.

    That isnt going to happen for me. If 'normalcy 'means I have somewhere to live and some routine then I have that.

    I am lucky to have a place to live but doesnt feel like home.

    This is just my opinion and others would feel different.

    At the moment there are 2 quirkys, one is competent and plans things volunteers 3 days a week and is chatty and the other quirky is in tears a lot and fragile. Not sure where that would fit on your scale.

    Thanks for bumping up the post.

    I just have to accept that my life wont ever be the same as before fires and I cope as I can.

    I am fortunate I have a roof over my head, I have people who care. I am safe.

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  13. Matchy69
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    13 July 2020

    I was lucky the bush fire missed my property by 5 kms.At one stage I was told it had gone under.I feel for all those who lost everything and it must be hard still for you.

    Tale care,

    Mark.

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  14. quirkywords
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    13 July 2020 in reply to Matchy69

    Mark

    I think anyone who lived through the fires this year will be affected.

    I find that most people have moved on to covid and dont want to know.

    Sometimes it feels I am living someone else's life it is ok but not the life I thought I'd planned.

    I wonder how people find their lives are affected 6 months later? Can be a big or a small change.

    Take care everyone/

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  15. blondguy
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    14 July 2020 in reply to quirkywords
    Hi Quirky

    No worries at all 😀

    SkyNews reported that many people are still waiting for funds to rebuild! (Through Charitable donations)

    That would be an awful place to be in

    I hope you are having a good day

    my kindest always

    Paul
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  16. blondguy
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    14 July 2020 in reply to Matchy69

    Hi Everyone!...... Matchy69 and a wave to Quirky..anyone that has been effected by the fires are welcome to post!

    Thanks Mark for keeping the Bushfire thread 'on the air' as there as many people that are still doing it hard just a few months later...

    Matchy69 (Mark) kindly posted "I feel for all those who lost everything and it must be hard still for you"

    Quirky asked ' I wonder how people find their lives are affected 6 months later? Can be a big or a small change!

    Quirky has asked an question above...If people can let us know how their lives have been effected by the bushfires it would be really helpful!

    my kindest....Paul

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  17. Soberlicious96
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    15 July 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky and everyone,

    I found myself feeling quite angry at work the other day because a customer came in wanting to buy a replacement bed frame for the one she had just thrown away, and she was angry at us because she didn't have a bed to sleep on. And I couldn't help but think to myself "You better have given that bed to someone who is still sleeping in a TENT because of those fires earlier in the year, otherwise you can shove that anger you're directing at us ELSEWHERE!"

    I was just so mad! I thought 'Gosh people just don't THINK sometimes'!

    I for one, have certainly NOT for gotten about the fires, having had my own lived experience of the Ash Wednesday fires in 1983, and can certainly attest to the whole 'up one minute and down the next' thing. Sure it has lessened plenty in its intensity over the years, but nonetheless, trauma like that ....... well, it kinda sticks.

    Anyway, you're always in my thoughts, is what I really wanted to say. As are all the other survivors. Always.

    Much love and cyber hugs, Mel. xo

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  18. quirkywords
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    15 July 2020 in reply to Soberlicious96

    Thanks Mel,
    you have really helped as you have been through what i went through but much worse than me. I think it isnt something you get over and I feel as you were so young it must affect your life.

    The thing is everyday my experiences chnage and I know I am lucky to be alive but I sometimes feel because of covid, people feel they are over the fires.

    Thanks Mel for your support to me and everyone.

    1 person found this helpful
  19. blondguy
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    2 September 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello Everyone

    I know several people that have suffered through the wildfires this year that are still waiting for financial assistance through public/corporate donations to be allocated to them so they can rebuild their lives

    Is any else experiencing difficulty waiting for financial assistance to rebuild or for the necessary counselling?

    my kindest always

    Paul

    1 person found this helpful
  20. quirkywords
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    2 September 2020 in reply to blondguy

    Paul I know people who were promised free DAs but now they have to pay a lot and it takes forever to get all the paperwork to rebuild.

    our neighbours were promised an interest free loan then were told no.

    i moved away from my town and had a place to live in. I was fortunate. When you are starting from nothing everything is expensive.

    The Red Cross were very generous in their grants to me and many people I know.

    I lost my business my shop but get no help with that.

    Paul I feel because of COVID the people affected by bushfires have been affected have been forgotten and many of the things promised have not been given.

    i still get Foxtel sending me bills even though I explained back in jan everything was destroyed and no I don’t have black box. They keep ringing and emailing me to say I owe money. It is so distressing.

    I know I am better of than most but the loss of home and business is very difficult.

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  21. Elizabeth CP
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    3 September 2020 in reply to quirkywords
    I wish I knew some way to help but all I can offer is my thoughts & encouragement. I want everyone who suffered loss of any type in the fire, including loss of feelings of security & well being, I an thinking of you. Reach out for any support you can get because you need it & deserve it. I don't understand why some people & some businesses are so thoughtless making it difficult for people to recover & rebuild their lives
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  22. quirkywords
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    3 September 2020 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Elizabeth you went through a lot in the past and are struggling how with COVID, so your compassion for others is wonderful. I appreciate it.

    There are thoughtless people but far more kind people out there that makes life easier.

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  23. blondguy
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    6 September 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky and everyone

    I mentioned the allocation of charitable donations as there are many people still waiting for assistance that have suffered similar to yourself

    This is and will a difficult period for so many others that are trying to get back on their feet

    I respect that the Red Cross were trying to sort out the real claims from the 'fake claims' ..which has blown out the waiting period. I feel for the people that are still waiting for assistance. I dont think that Covid would have an effect the bushfire donations...(just my humble opinion)

    Anyhow....just trying to provide a 'voice' to the people that are trying to rebuild

    Thankyou Quirky for helping out with your experience

    my kindest....Paul

  24. quirkywords
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    7 September 2020 in reply to blondguy

    Paul

    there Re people who need to get help after the fires. If you or anyone reading know people who are waitinFir help but have no access to computers or have little or no skill,s, maybe we can help these people,

    many People are living in caravans or shipping units but many have moelectricity let alone computers. So they need people who CZ tell them of what is available and maybe contact the Red Cross or other groups.

    i fear people are missing out on lots of grants because they have no electricity no access to computers and or no technological skills.

    the irony is most of the discussions about how to get help are all online. So people need to get info out. I have helped friends who did not have a computer and had no idea what were would be able to get.

  25. blondguy
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    9 September 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello Quirky

    you mentioned an excellent point that most discussions re help are only available online..and as it doesnt help folk that dont have a computer/have internet access and hopefully we can provide some help as you said

    just a point from my last post above for you Quirky..The head of PR for the Red Cross (Bushfires - Operations) mentioned that the delay in releasing funds was due to trying to sort out the real claims from the 'fake claims'

    I have found this disturbing as it impacts many people who are trying to rebuild their lives after these wildfires

    Is there a phone number that people can call for assistance Quirky?

    my kind thoughts

    Paul

  26. quirkywords
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    9 September 2020 in reply to blondguy

    Paul ,

    that is stressful when you apply for a grant or help you have to have so many forms that you don’t have as they were burnt, it is as if none believes you are genuine. So this adds to your stress when you are treated like criminal at first, I got my children to deal with grants and debts.
    not sure what number you want, Red Cross or others. There is service nsw and everyone whose home was destroyed should have a case worker by now.

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  27. quirkywords
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    9 September 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Red Cross details
    Applications for the above grants will be open until 30 September 2020.
    There will be more assistance available for those facing severe hardship.
    1800733276
    if someone isn’t confident get a friend or family member to help with the phone call.

    phone Service NSw local council, local member, Anglicare 02 8624 8600

    one would need to apply soon .

    thanks for you concern Paul.
    quirky

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  28. Ggrand
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    9 September 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello Quirky, Paul and everyone..

    It’s so wrong that your being treated so unfair Quirky...Surely the organisation that gives the grants and help...would be aware that all or most of important personal documents and papers were also lost in the fire...

    Last I heard from my eldest son..is that his neighbour who lost his home in the fires...is still waiting for his insurance company to clear away their property so they can start to rebuild their lives again..

    Its not fair that this is taking so long for you to get the help you need....My heart goes out to you dear Quirky...you’ve had so much heartache this year...I’m very sorry that you have...

    Grandy..

    2 people found this helpful
  29. blondguy
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    9 September 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Hey Quirky and Grandy!

    Quirky mentioned 'If you or anyone reading know people who are waiting for help but have no access to computers or have little or no skill,s, maybe we can help these people'

    Just to clarify that I was responding to Quirky's helpful post above which I have quoted..ummm just providing a opening if anyone wanted to help other people that have suffered as you have and especially those that are still waiting for charitable funds to be allocated so they can rebuild

    Whether people who suffered are from Victoria or NSW isnt relevant. If anyone wishes to provide readers with any support numbers it the thread topic is still open

    Kudos to all the Australian firefighters that have flown to the US with the horrible wildfires in California

    Paul

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  30. quirkywords
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    10 September 2020 in reply to Ggrand

    Hello everyone.

    grandy I am sorry if I gave the wrong impression. I did get help it just took time. Thanks for your kind words. I had the help from my children but people who don’t have computer skills , telephone skills or family or friends who can help them find it even harder,

    I am sorry about your sons neighbour and the clearing. Our clearing was done by service NSW in March.

    Paul ,

    I am sorry I only gave NSW numbers of course many other states were affected.. I think earlier in this thread are other numbers.

    The point is there is help there but people need help to access it.

    1 person found this helpful

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