Recovering after a natural disaster
"Remind yourself daily: This is what I do, this is what I love and this is what I'm proud of." Broken Hill Sheep Station owner, Brendan Cullen in Lifeline's Holding on to Hope podcast.
Natural disasters like drought, bushfires, floods, cyclones and other traumatic ‘natural’ events are extremely challenging for the people directly affected. The stress caused following a natural disaster can lead to ‘burnout’ and physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. Some people will be able to manage the stress but for others it may be difficult to cope. Most people eventually heal and recover and go on to rebuild their lives.
Recovery takes time. It is important to allow yourself time to process your circumstances and regain a sense of normalcy. There are things you can do to heal and rebuild.
Everyone knows that rural depression is an issue. But few have considered the issues that cause it.
Farmer Brendan Cullen reached such a dark place he regularly sat in his car shouting at himself or on his bed sobbing.
Today, it’s hard to believe the cheerful sheep station manager from Broken Hill found himself in such pain until he lists the many factors that caused it - isolation, being on duty 24/7, feeling reluctant to ask for help during drought, dealing with so much animal death he felt numb, constant pressure of new technology, being responsible for “the heartbeats of 10,000 sheep”, and burdening himself with unnecessary pressures.
Here he gifts us with his experience and the strategies he keeps in his 'tool kit' to keep mentally healthy.