The second anniversary of the February 22nd earthquake in Canterbury will be a time for reflecting and remembering for many. Like all anniversaries we will all approach it in our own unique way.
For some it will be a time of immense pain and loss, and for others a marker that identifies the day that changed so much in their lives and community. For others it will not be the day itself but the challenges and loss that have followed. For others it will be just another workday or month. For many, it will be a mixture of much of the above, as well as a wide range of other thoughts and emotions.
Although we went through the same event together, the way we adapt and move forward with our lives is unique. We invite you to be aware of your own needs and those around you at this time.
The earthquakes have taken a toll on many relationships – tolerance buckets have been emptied and perhaps your resilience reserves have run low. The daily stress of decisions and living with uncertainty has challenged usual coping mechanisms. For many people, the changes in family roles or lifestyle have led to complete readjustments in how they relate to their partners, family and friends.
Take care of yourself and those close to you – respect your differences and the differing ways you are responding. Be compassionate with yourself and others. Within the collective commemorations and remembrances around the city and in the media find time to do what it is that will assist you in your own way.
One of the challenges in post-earthquake Canterbury is to keep finding ways to sustain ourselves, to take every opportunity to refresh or to appreciate the changes around us as the City readjusts to this new way of being.
Sometimes we need reminding that our reactions two years on – whatever they are - are still perfectly normal and expected. Two years is a very short time in terms of the impacts of such widespread destruction, so one of our messages is to stay kind to yourself and those around you. Reach out and lend a hand or a friendly face, take every opportunity to refresh or sustain friendships and community links.
If you are worried about yourself or someone else reach out and seek help. It is very normal to need a little assistance to make sense of what you are experiencing and there are people who can help you on your journey. You might think that compared to other people, you’re not so badly off, and that they should get access to resources first. But your needs are important too – and there are enough people willing to listen and help to go around. So don’t let that get in the way of contacting us – we are keen to listen and help– if that’s what you want.
Thousands of ordinary Cantabrians have received free earthquake recovery counselling since the earthquakes – tips to help children and adults to sleep and manage anxiety, ways to manage the overwhelming exhaustion and sadness, help with irritability and flashbacks, managing the stress of EQC and insurance and the ongoing sense of lack of control over property and lifestyle. Sometimes it is as simple as being able to make sense of ‘why am I feeling like this now?’ when it is nearly two years on….
That is the thing about anniversaries – they can feel as close as yesterday or as distant as 100 years away – the feelings can be overwhelming or non-existent.
What is always true, is that we all deserve support and understanding, and that is what we can offer those around us this February.
Free counselling support is available...click here