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Post-Sandy Stress Syndrome: How to cope

Some easy-to-recognize signs of stress, and a few suggestions for coping.

StressBy Debbie Mandel for



I live amidst downed trees, glaring street lights powered up by generators and discarded Sandy-soaked possessions. I am one of the lucky ones. I got my electrical power back after two weeks. However, the utility company in many ways transformed into a futility company.

Meanwhile all around me life is evident in the rebuilding process. My neighbors are ripping out basement walls to ward off mold, fixing roofs while adapting to cold and darkness since many won’t have power for another few weeks. You can smell the stress in the air. Sadness pervades an entire coastal community even if some people have generators and did not get flooded. It is hard to celebrate when your neighbor is crestfallen. Yet it is important to feel joy in small successes.

People are edgy waiting on line at the local pharmacy. Some are cutting gas lines or lining up with an odd license plate on an even day. It’s not that they are selfish or feeling entitled to better service. I believe that they are stressed. It is easier to vent about waiting on a long line or cutting ahead of others to beat the system than dealing with a fundamental loss or grief.

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