Healthy grieving after April's deadly tornados - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, 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.

  • NewsNewsMore>>

  • Bulloch County vandals face felony charges

    Bulloch County vandals face felony charges

    Friday, January 19 2018 7:09 PM EST2018-01-20 00:09:24 GMT
    (Source: WTOC)(Source: WTOC)

    A few minutes of vandalism have two young people in trouble with the law after someone destroyed several mannequins and an inflatable at TMT Farms annual Christmas lights display

    More >>

    A few minutes of vandalism have two young people in trouble with the law after someone destroyed several mannequins and an inflatable at TMT Farms annual Christmas lights display

    More >>
  • Chatham County asks sheriff's office for help as demerger looms

    Chatham County asks sheriff's office for help as demerger looms

    Friday, January 19 2018 6:52 PM EST2018-01-19 23:52:31 GMT
    (Source: WTOC)(Source: WTOC)

    Chatham County leaders have decided against using the city of Savannah for police services in the unincorporated part of the county after February 1st. 

    Instead, they're asking the sheriff for help in a last-ditch effort to patrol that area. The sheriff says this is the first time they've asked for his help in the whole demerger process. 

    More >>

    Chatham County leaders have decided against using the city of Savannah for police services in the unincorporated part of the county after February 1st. 

    Instead, they're asking the sheriff for help in a last-ditch effort to patrol that area. The sheriff says this is the first time they've asked for his help in the whole demerger process. 

    More >>
  • Good News: McCoy Park dedication

    Good News: McCoy Park dedication

    Friday, January 19 2018 6:37 PM EST2018-01-19 23:37:06 GMT
    (Source: WTOC)(Source: WTOC)

    There was really no other name that would do for the park that was re-dedicated in the Marsh Bluff/Runaway Point community on Friday.

    Neighborhood leaders and members of the community gathered at what is now known as Retha Mae McCoy Community Park renamed for the woman who worked for nearly three decades to get children in the Runaway Point Community a place to play. 

    More >>

    There was really no other name that would do for the park that was re-dedicated in the Marsh Bluff/Runaway Point community on Friday.

    Neighborhood leaders and members of the community gathered at what is now known as Retha Mae McCoy Community Park renamed for the woman who worked for nearly three decades to get children in the Runaway Point Community a place to play. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly