September 13th, 2021

I just wanted to share my story and see if maybe my experience can help others. Since the fires in 2020 I have been super anxious and worried about everything especially anything related to the weather. It started off with heightened anxiety about more fires but recently I have been panicked about the chance of flooding and even landslides and trees falling on my car. This was impacting my life, relationships and work. I actually had to give up work and my parents have had to help me with my kids. They help with home schooling and generally day to day stuff.
First of all I talked to my local GP but he really didn’t understand how bad things were for me. He told me it was good to be careful and "on watch" for more fires or a flood. I went to another GP and had to go to Traralgon to see her. She listened to me and was very understanding. She helped me to realise that it’s okay to feel what I am feeling and others are going through it too but there are ways I can be helped. I didn’t feel crazy after talking to her.
I was referred to a psychologist and had to go to Traralgon to see her and a lot of my visits were over Facetime because of Covid. I learned mindfulness, journaling and reflection and these were words that were not in my vocabulary before this. I also had sessions of CBT which is cognitive behaviour therapy. This helped me to change my thoughts and actions and when I feel negative about the weather I know how to process my thoughts and understand why I am doing this. I had to face the fires all over again through counselling and this really helped put everything into perspective.
I would recommend for anyone who is struggling since the fires to see a caring GP and to think about counselling and CBT. It helped me and I will soon be returning to work and feel more comfortable about managing everything.