Hurricane Irma

Hi Brooke,
I live on the gulf coast of Florida, and the uncertainty of Hurricane Irma’s path is creating a lot of anxiety.

I moved here in November of 2015, initially renting an apartment while I looked for a home to buy. Last summer Hurricane Hermine hit the Florida panhandle, which resulted in heavy rain, some localized flooding, and strong wind gusts in my area – but all that didn’t worry me. I had money in the bank and no emotional/financial investment or concerns about the apartment building itself. Also, I moved here from the Philadelphia area and have lived through plenty of hurricanes, blizzards, nor’easter storms, etc., over the years.

After searching for the perfect house for nearly a year, I bought one last fall which has been undergoing major renovations since March and will hopefully be finished in the next month or so. I’ve got almost all my retirement money tied up in this house, so now, the possibilities of what could happen has me worried. Not helping matters are gas stations that have run out of gas, empty store shelves, shortages of plywood to board up windows, lack of knowledge about how to prepare my FL house for what could be a major hurricane, as well as recent news about the devastation in Texas as a result of Hurricane Harvey.

I recognize that it’s my thoughts that are creating my anxiety, but find myself mired in overwhelm in spite of that knowledge.

C: hurricane Irma
T: I could lose everything
F: fear, overwhelm
A: worry, check for weather updates frequently
R: more fear and overwhelm

C: hurricane Irma
T: I don’t know for sure that the storm path will cause significant damage in my area
F: anxiety, uncertainty
A: worry, check for weather updates frequently, try to find gas stations that have gas, go to several stores to buy food, etc., ask for advice about hurricane preparation
R: do what I can to prepare; hope for the best

There are so many thoughts that run in a loop in my brain: I could lose everything, this hurricane has the potential to cause a lot of damage, I don’t have anyone I can count on to help me, I don’t know how to prepare for this, I live so close to the water, my house could be flooded, I won’t be able to find supplies I need, I’m in over my head, etc., etc. Even the realization that there is always the possibility that the hurricane could turn east and reduce the impact in my area isn’t relieving the anxiety.

Any advice on how to derail the runaway train of thoughts creating the anxiety? Feel it anyway, do what I can, hope for the best???

Thanks, Brooke!