Healthy grieving after April's deadly tornados - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Healthy grieving after April's deadly tornados

DECATUR, AL (WAFF) -

The images of the aftermath of the April 27th tornadoes are disturbing just to look at, so for people who've lived through it, feelings of grief and anxiety can linger for days and even weeks.

Emotional responses like shock, anger, fear and sadness are all normal, but when those feelings don't seem to go away, even months later, that's when a person may need more help than they realize.

"Then, that kind of switches over to what we call post traumatic stress disorder," said Debbie Gibson, a licensed professional counselor with Riverside Counseling and Consulting in Decatur. "That just means the symptoms have not resolved themselves and they may need someone to talk to about it."

Gibson said symptoms include mental and physical responses that many people wouldn't recognize as being aftereffects of the trauma they've experienced.

"Being confused, not being able to make decisions, being forgetful, extremely forgetful, are some of the mental symptoms, and then the physical, what you would probably expect. Not eating or sleeping. Stomachaches, headaches," she said.

Gibson said for those who haven't suffered a huge loss, like the loss of their home or a family member, they can still be dealing with serious forms of grief.

"I tell them your feelings are valid. Just because you didn't experience all of that doesn't mean you're not experiencing some second-hand trauma," she said. "And a lot of people are experiencing survivor's guilt. You know, ‘Why was I spared?'"

In children, parents should look for behavioral changes like increased irritability, fear of being alone and withdrawal from others, because Gibson said kids often act out what they can't verbalize.

Copyright 2011 WAFF. All rights reserved.

  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • The Latest: Irma weakens into a tropical depression

    The Latest: Irma weakens into a tropical depression

    Monday, September 11 2017 3:27 AM EDT2017-09-11 07:27:29 GMT
    Tuesday, September 12 2017 2:42 AM EDT2017-09-12 06:42:09 GMT
    Irma weakened to a Category 1 storm as the massive hurricane zeroed in on the Tampa Bay region early Monday after hammering much of Florida with roof-ripping winds, gushing floodwaters and widespread power outages.More >>
    Irma weakened to a Category 1 storm as the massive hurricane zeroed in on the Tampa Bay region early Monday after hammering much of Florida with roof-ripping winds, gushing floodwaters and widespread power outages.More >>
  • Input needed to revitalize Matt Wilson area

    Input needed to revitalize Matt Wilson area

    Thursday, September 21 2017 8:37 AM EDT2017-09-21 12:37:10 GMT
    Community leaders want to make some improvements to this area known as New Front (Source: WALB)Community leaders want to make some improvements to this area known as New Front (Source: WALB)

    After a successful revitalization of downtown Tifton, community leaders say they're ready to take on a new project. They're now going to focus on the Phillipsburg and Unionville neighborhood near Matt Wilson Elementary School.

    More >>

    After a successful revitalization of downtown Tifton, community leaders say they're ready to take on a new project. They're now going to focus on the Phillipsburg and Unionville neighborhood near Matt Wilson Elementary School.

    More >>
  • Farmer Fredo to host 'grow your own groceries' class

    Farmer Fredo to host 'grow your own groceries' class

    Thursday, September 21 2017 8:33 AM EDT2017-09-21 12:33:30 GMT
    Participants will learn how to grow their own groceries (Source: WALB)Participants will learn how to grow their own groceries (Source: WALB)

    As the new urban planning director for the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation, Fredando "Farmer Fredo" Jackson has made it his mission to make South Georgians better gardeners.

    More >>

    As the new urban planning director for the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation, Fredando "Farmer Fredo" Jackson has made it his mission to make South Georgians better gardeners.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly