FEP27 Disaster Fatigue

We are all experiencing compounding stresses this year, from the Coronavirus and related financial, job, and school stresses. In California and the west coast, we are having severe wildfires causing evacuations and uncertainty, along with smoky air. Taken all together, we are reflecting on the strong need for Flower Essence support to help us stay resilient, hopeful, and kind to ourselves and others.

Flower Essences discussed during the show:

Other suggestions and resources discussed:

Herbal teas – nutritive tonics such as nettles, and nervines such as milky oats, oat straw, passionflower, skullcap or catnip to name a few.

Olive gemmotherapy solution

Books – Mind Over Medicine by Dr Lissa Rankin, and Healing Grief When Disaster Strikes by Alan Wolfelt

Related Episodes:

Show Transcript

Rochana Felde: [00:00:11] Welcome to The Flower Essence podcast and join us on an exploration of the healing wisdom of flowers. 

Kathleen Aspenns: [00:00:16] With combined decades of experience in the study and practice of Flower Essence therapy, I, Kathleen Aspenns, and co-host Rochana Felde guide you to reconnect to nature with these potent vibrational remedies.

[00:00:41] [music]

Rochana Felde: [00:00:41] Welcome friends to The Flower Essence podcast. Worldwide, we are now experiencing an extended pandemic with increasing climate crisis and natural disasters on a larger scale than ever before. Every system in our society is in crisis; politics, economics, health care, education, social. Parents are trying to homeschool while still working full time. And the 24/7 bad news cycle keeps everyone in a state of shock and people are at their limits of what they can bear. So we’re seeing complete and total exhaustion, depression, emotional numbness, the effects of prolonged anxiety, grief, and just general ungrounded spaciness in the collective right now. Kathleen and I jokingly refer to this as The Zombie episode that we’re recording today because we just keep noticing the way that this disaster fatigue impacts our own lives, both in little and big ways, often resulting in forgetting how to do just simple things or not being able to process uncomplicated concepts and emotions. So in this episode, we want to offer our stories and messages of support along with the flowers and talk about essences that will help us get through this time. Hey, Kathleen, how are you today?

Kathleen Aspenns: [00:02:19] Hey, Rochana. You are definitely deep, deep into this with your experiences. Just, well, has it been a week now that you’ve gotten home from evacuating after the fires?

Rochana Felde: [00:02:33] Yeah.

Kathleen Aspenns: [00:02:33] I really feel for you. And we were talking a little bit ahead of the episode here, talking about how stressful it’s been and to just all the impacts that go down just from that one incredibly crazy, stressful event. Never mind all of the other stuff that’s going on in the world, how are you doing today?

Rochana Felde: [00:02:54] Yeah, just trying to keep my head screwed on. Yeah, so the pandemic, of course, has been affecting everyone so much. And then in California here, we’ve had all of these wildfires that were set off recently by lightning storms, really unprecedented weather events, and there was another wildfire. So those of you who’ve been following along with The Flower Essence podcast, over the last year, might remember we talked about a wildfire in Sonoma County last fall when we recorded our Emergency Essences episode. And Kathleen and I both had to evacuate at that time with the fire getting very, very close to Kathleen’s house.This time, this new fire got very, very close to my house and my husband and I had to evacuate for a week. There were definitely days we didn’t know if the house would remain standing. And it’s been interesting to observe this process because it’s a disaster on top of a disaster on top of grief with my dog recently dying. So the brain fog and the disaster fatigue, it’s really real. I really have been experiencing it and observing it. So yeah, we’re going to talk about that and talk about some essences. And then with the fire, too, you didn’t have to evacuate yourself this time, Kathleen, but were you in a warning or it was– I mean it was not too far from your house either. So I’m sure that brought up some of the trauma from last fall.

Kathleen Aspenns: [00:04:45] Yeah, we didn’t have to evacuate this time, thankfully. But just the prospect of it and just the thought of like, “Oh, God, again.” Having done it for multiple years, multiple times a year, it’s been exhausting. And just the prospect of having to go through that list of like, “Okay, all that stuff needs to go into the car. Let’s get the animals together. Let’s get the things,” and just that worry even though we were able to stay home this time, just that worry of like it could happen again, it really does bring up a lot of that trauma. And I was really relying on essences for myself, and also I was noticing the animals were distressed about it as well. So thank goodness for the essences, but still, it is quite an endurance feat to go through again.

Rochana Felde: [00:05:36] Yeah, that is the one saving grace of my dog passing away before this happened, because then we didn’t have to put her through that and have to find a place to stay that would take a dog and all of the other complications that arise with evacuating with animals. So, yeah, I mean, it sucks that it was her time to go, but at the same time, it was kind of perfect timing.

Kathleen Aspenns: [00:06:05] If there is such a thing. Yeah.

Rochana Felde: [00:06:06] Yeah, yeah. And then since then, since the fire, we’ve been back and the fire is mostly contained, but of course, it’s still burning. And the air quality has been horrible in the Bay Area for weeks and weeks. So that’s another part of this that not being able to go outside and not being able to have those nature walks for grounding, yeah, it just adds another dimension of being able to limit what you can do for yourself. That’s something that I would normally do to get grounded again and to feel better. And so I’ve not been– I’ve hardly been able to go. It’s only been a couple of days of relatively clear air since the fire started.

Kathleen Aspenns: [00:06:59] Yeah, that was certainly something that I really noticed. Having experienced coming on six months of the pandemic and not being able to go about normal daily life, that was sort of the outlet was being able to walk and having that pulled away, felt disproportionately big, like, “Okay, now that, I can’t even have that.” There was a part of me that was really struggling with that because that has been sort of a, I call them my sanity walks. And it’s not just the modern notion of sanity. It’s the classic root of the word sanity, which is of health, to be able to be in nature, and to be able to be outside a little bit was taken away for a period of time because of the bad air quality. And it’s been really a challenge. It’s been a challenge for everybody. Everybody I talk to is really struggling with it, whether or not they were imminently in danger. And that was all over the West. I know people in Santa Cruz who lost everything. It was not just the North Bay that was struggling here. It was a great deal of California, at least that I know of. And quite frankly, when I saw an image of fire map from the whole West was getting hit in various and sundry ways and places. So it was really a challenge, especially with the fire crews not being able to support protecting people the way that they normally would. And also, with the pandemic going on, there aren’t as many people available and there’s issues with that as well. So it’s really been– it’s a tough time. It’s really a tough time.

Rochana Felde: [00:08:48] Yeah, and to top that off, we are really only at the beginning of what they call fire season here in California. Normally, these kind of fires happen later in the season so just the idea of having to kind of stay alert and stay packed with a go-bag and making it through the next few months. And today, this coming weekend, we’ve got more record-breaking temperatures on the way and possibly what they call fire weather. So with the fire not being totally out, the chance for sparks happening. So all of this is– there’s a lot to pay attention to and be aware of and watch whatever news feeds you watch to stay informed. And it is exhausting. It really is exhausting. And then when you hear something about something else happening, it’s like, “I can’t even take it.” When this fire happened, I knew there were fires happening in other parts of the West like Santa Cruz. But it was like, I couldn’t even look at those. I could only focus on my own area and I couldn’t even pay attention to any other news about anything whatsoever for over seven days. You go into a state where you just can’t take it.

Kathleen Aspenns: [00:10:19] And that’s a well-known thing, and it’s normal to have that. And then on some level, we’re kind of beating ourselves up a little bit that we’re not more concerned about other things that are going on in the world, but that’s just part of surviving something really stressful and traumatic that you really do have to dial in to, “Okay, this is my problem. This is what I have to deal with right now.” And you only have so much bandwidth. That’s certainly something that I’ve noticed, is that I’ve had less bandwidth to cope with new things coming up or supporting people in certain ways. It’s like I only have so much available. I’m sure you’ve noticed that with working in projects and you just don’t have as much as you would normally.

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