Taking care of yourself
I had a fire dream the other night. Many of you have probably had similar images in your slumber since last October – orange walls of flame, the feeling of trying to get away, etc. Since the fires, I’ve sometimes caught myself driving too fast. I guess, subconsciously, I’m still escaping. A little (okay, a lot) unsettling for sure.
Psychological trauma from the fires can linger, with many not feeling the effects until now. In fact, experts say that post-trauma feelings of depression, emotional mood swings, disillusionment, guilt – all very common – tend to crop up nine months to a year after a disaster. Of course, it’s all exacerbated now by an early wildfire season, triggered by the sight of smoke from fires miles and miles away.
Many of us are hesitant to ask for help, but even for those “stiff upper lip” personality types, the refrain of “I’m fine” starts to ring hollow after a while.
The Kenwood Press is participating with many other media outlets to get the word out about how to access free mental health resources so people can learn ways to cope and move forward. Maybe it’s seeing a counselor in a group or one-on-one setting, maybe it’s yoga or meditation, maybe it’s talking to a professional on the phone. Everyone is different, but don’t be afraid to reach out.
The media campaign, which begins later this month, is part of the great work being done by the Wildfire Mental Health Collaborative, an extensive team of local mental health professionals and organizations committed to the mental health recovery of wildfire survivors.
To get started, go to www.mysonomastrong.com and take a self-test to learn about post-disaster stress reactions. And there’s a ton of resources on the site you can take advantage of, for both adults and children. Take some time for yourself and check it out. We all need a little help sometimes, and this is definitely one of those times.
Believe it or not, our “Pictures with the Press” summer photo contest is still going on, and we’re a little short on entries. So get on it, people! You creative types can really go to town, because this year we are allowing digitally altered photos. You know, kind of like “fake news.” A copy of the Kenwood Press must be somewhere in the picture though. And, of course, you can submit a traditional, non-altered entry as well, for old time’s sake. The deadline is midnight on Sept. 5, so get to work immediately… right after you read this issue of the Kenwood Press.
Back in April we complained about new tariffs on Canadian newsprint enacted by the current administration. Most of the country’s newsprint comes from Canada. Of course that has meant higher printing costs, putting small and medium-sized newspapers like ours in financial jeopardy. But good news has arrived! The U.S. International Trade Commission overturned the tariffs in late August by a 5-0 decision, so Canada won’t have to pay the tariffs anymore, and newspaper printing costs should come down out of the stratosphere. There’s some real (good) news for you!