Canada's Wildfires Are A Sign Of The Times; Dealing With Their Aftermath
The Californer/10242472

As a society, we tend to focus so much of our energy on the disaster and not enough on its aftermath.

LOS ANGELES - Californer -- Out-of-control wildfires in Canada's Nova Scotia spanning 25,000 acres have forced 16,000 residents to evacuate from their homes. Fire danger is high to extreme in much of Canada according to National Resources Canada. What happens when people return to their neighborhoods only to find nothing left where their homes once stood?

That's the question asked by author and psychologist Dr. Noelle Nelson in her Phoenix Rising - Surviving Catastrophic Loss: Fires, Floods, Hurricanes and Tornadoes (Amazon). The book explores the trauma of losing a lifetime of possessions in an instant, how to survive the immediate aftermath and how to find the strength to start over.

"As a society, we tend to focus so much of our energy on the disaster and not enough on its aftermath," says Nelson. "People's lives are changing dramatically from nonstop fires, tornadoes and floods. We debate about their causes, shake our heads about the enormity of each disaster but our attention quickly shifts elsewhere and we forget that each life touched by every new disaster will never be the same."

More on The Californer
"Disbelief, despair and hopelessness are the first emotions experienced after a disaster," says Nelson, who lost her home in the 2018 Woolsey Fire in southern California. "What follows next is often left up to the disaster victims."

Nelson offers these suggestions:

--Reach out to your "anchors." These are your close family and friends who you can rely on during the first days and weeks after a disaster. If they offer a room in their home, help you shop for essentials or to drive you to aid centers or meet with insurance agents or bankers, let them.

--Stay grounded. Continue as much as possible with work, school and outside interests. These "normal" things will give you strength and purpose when so much is not normal.

--Accept the kindness of strangers. Remember, as a whole, people are wonderful. Sure, there are a few bad apples, but most people are amazing—generous, caring and willing to help you through your personal disaster. Let them help. Their kindness will get you on your feet faster and reduce stress.

More on The Californer
--Don't be afraid to seek counseling. Attend local support group meetings with others experiencing what you are going through. These groups can be a good source of information, friendship and comfort.

"Everything is different after experiencing tremendous loss," says Nelson. "Trying to re-create the past in the present just doesn't work. It's only by releasing the past can you create a new and satisfying life for yourself."

Phoenix Rising ( is available in paperback, audio and on Kindle.

Diane Rumbaugh

Source: Dr. Noelle Nelson
Filed Under: Books

Show All News | Report Violation


Latest on The Californer