By Make Lemonade Digital Media Specialist, Janelle Blythe
Christchurch people have gained a reputation for resilience since the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes but is this resilience just a facade ready to crumble during the next big shake?
Cantabrians are generally very proud and humble people so of course they want to be seen as standing strong at the face of adversity. But not everyone has coped so well; many have shifted to new regions, some have committed suicide, many elderly people have simply passed away of apparent old age.
Earthquakes instil a fear at many levels and that fear leads to anxiety. After living through earthquakes and aftershocks for five years the natural human fight or flight mode is at a heightened state of alert.
The increased heart rate as a nor wester blows through the house causing windows to rattle like an unsuspecting 5.7. The initial pause as a truck drives past causing vibrations similar to the long slow rumble of a 6.3. The sweat and nausea you wake up to while on vacation as the rumble, rattle and vibration of a seemingly never ending train travels at great speed shouting warnings to anything in its path, just like a 7.1.
These are natural responses that Canterbury people now live with. Everyone has a slightly different response and everyone deals with the severe jolts differently.
In the right frame of mind, you feel strong and resilient and scream at the earthquake: “Is that all you’ve got?!” When you’re tired however; dealing with issues at work, family dramas or still after five years waiting to settle insurance claims, anxiety can be dangerous, it can get the better of you and can lead to depression.
Depression is when the dark clouds set in and the feeling of hopelessness seethes across your mind like an undetectable virus. The simple things in life are just too hard and that’s when you have no energy or patience left for resilience.
Yes, Cantabrians are resilient but just like dominos, every time there is a large shake, a few more tiles collapse off the grid.
What individuals need to remember is that it’s alright to feel the resilience fade, it’s okay to move to a different region, it’s normal to feel anger and you’re not alone if you’re depressed. You’re only human and you will have times of doubt, but that sense of pride, that stubborn nature and that will to win against Mother Nature stills exists within you.
When you feel the resilience fade that is the time to lean on others. Let other family members take the gearstick for a while; keep your life simple and make positive plans so you always have something to look forward to.
It’s also okay to put the weight on someone else’s shoulders for a while and it’s even more okay to make use of the range of support services offered to help you get through.
Taking a break from being resilient doesn’t make you weak, it’ll just make you bounce back stronger.
Free support services and initiatives available for Cantabrians:
- Canterbury Support Line – 0800 777 846 (7 days a week 9am to 11pm)
- Mental Health Education and Resource Centre
- All Right?
- What’s up – 0800 942 8787 or chat online
- 298 Youth Health Centre
- Kidsline 0800 54 37 54 (24/7)
- Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lifeline – 0800 543 354 (24/7)
- Depression Helpline – 0800 111 757 (24/7) http://depression.org.nz/
- Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (24/7)
If it’s an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.