My Dad used to say that we as humans can be pretty good at adapting to stress, as long as we only have one stress at a time. Two stresses, and we can cope, but it takes more energy. Three or more stresses, and that's when we start not coping. It doesn't matter so much whether the stress is big or small, its the cumulative effect that counts.
Most of Christchurch, to some degree, is already battling stress from EQC/Insurance issues, roadworks and traffic and in some areas the flooding that occurs with every heavy rainfall. These stresses are affecting the community as a whole.
On top of this you have the various sources of stress that are unique to different people: Health, family, finances, relationships, work, accommodation and so forth. The thing is: we'd probably be able to sort-of cope okay with one or two of these things, but when they come on top of those community stresses, even the small personal stresses can tip the balance between coping and not coping.
I can see the effects of stress among family and friends. Tiredness and exhaustion, getting sick more often, unhealthy weight loss or gain, difficulty sleeping, strained and broken relationships, the list goes on. I can't think of anyone among my circle of close friends who aren't showing at least one of these symptoms.
And me? I’m not conscious of feeling anxious or worried about anything, but the ache in my jaw and worn enamel on my teeth tell me my subconscious is stressed. There’s lots of stuff on, and some days I’m struggling to keep all the balls in the air, but at the same time I’m feeling creative and positive in other areas. It’s not so much the ups and downs, but closer to the twirling around upside down bit sometimes.
Key findings include:
- More than two thirds (67%) reported that they are still grieving for what’s been lost in Christchurch
- 65% of Christchurch city residents reported feeling tired in 2014 – a 10% increase on 2012
- Less than one half (48%) of respondents reported regularly sleeping well
- Almost half (44%) of those surveyed say they’re still struggling to come to terms with all that has happened as a result of the earthquakes
- More respondents agreed that it felt like their life has been normal over the last 12 months (66% in 2014, 60% in 2012)
Let’s see: Tired – Check. Problems sleeping – sometimes. Overwhelmed – on some days. Normal? – define “Normal”?
How about everyone else out there? How are you getting on?