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Anyone Elses Ptsd Caused From A Natural Disaster? Specificly A Tornado?

Discussion in 'Natural Disaster' started by trav, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. hodge

    hodge I'm a VIP Premium Member Donated

    We were hit with one of the worst snow storms ever out here on the day we moved into our house. We still didn't have our gas turned on so there was no hot food. We walked to the local convenience store in horrendous winds and snow. It literally took away your breath, and it was hard to walk. Got there somehow. They were the only place open in town. Bought some truly awful sandwiches, tried to eat them still in the store, they were really nasty. And we were hungry, so you know they were really nasty!

    But my worst anxiety is about tornadoes. I have had a lot of bad shit happen to me, including some life-threatening things from other people, but nothing, nothing has ever made me shake in uncontrollable fear like the tornado warning we went through. Strong storms are heading our way again atm and I'm anxious.
    littleoc and Abstract like this.
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  3. rdmghstgrl

    rdmghstgrl New Member

    I have an anxiety disorder...I didn't know that PTSD could be Tornado related. Not sure if the below even classes as it.

    I feel kind of stupid because I was through really minor incidents comparatively. I went through a cloud burst (sudden high winds) when I was eight and storms put me in this overly prepared/anxious mode. I honestly think it was a minor tornado that they (we were at a restaurant) tried not to alarm us about.

    Second incident was an F1 tornado that I'm pretty sure went past our house. The rain went sideways then the power just dropped out and I had recurring nightmares/nightterrors about it. I was 14 and playing video games with my friend on my own (parents went grocery shopping).

    I went through an F2 tornado at 16 and while I was older I still had issues. It was looking really bad and I ended up gathering the dogs. I locked myself in the basement. We had a lock on the inside of the basement in case of tornado. I don't know if I passed out or fell asleep. The tornado went one street over and knocked a tree over onto a house (enough that they needed to rip it down) and ripped the entire roof off a new barn.

    Triggers: Any sirens on the tv combined with the creepy mechanical voice. (Amber alerts still bother me). Air raid sirens...They used an old one for tornadoes. Tornado drills (had to do them for all of high school).

    I've never posted on a pstd related forum before so I'll edit if I need to remove something.
  4. Alan Corliss

    Alan Corliss New Member

    Not tornado related...but related. On April 16,2016 my wife,daughter and I were in Canoa Ecuador when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake destroyed our lives...we were buried under the rubble of a three story home. When I came to and realized what had happened I had a visual of my wife buried and trapped all I could see was a bloody left arm. The sound of my daughter screaming haunt me...she was trapped inside...my hip was dislocated and femur shattered...helpless and knowing the people you would give your life for in distress is an impossible feeling, but a reality in a natural disaster such as this...my PTSD is not getting any better.......it is getting worse...I wish I died in that quake
    littleoc, Abstract and hodge like this.
  5. rllysalty

    rllysalty Guest

    Ive been suffering with really bad anxiety with storms since April 27th 2011. The tornado completely demolished my home,not to mention I had a fear of storms already before the tornado. I check the weather a lot, if I'm doing something and I hear something on the news about the weather instantly my stomach starts to ache,I'm really possessive over my things (I carry a lot of things with me in a bag) because during the tornado I lost all my things. My parents tend to act like I'm over reacting even though my mom had ptsd from the tornado as well you'd think she'd understand. I always over think but in my situation can be good because I will expect the worst but I'll feel so much better when it's nothing bad but just a bit of rain. I hope everyone finds a good solution to their problem:)
    littleoc, Abstract and hodge like this.
  6. Myriad

    Myriad New Member

    Please find a professional to talk to. Try a school counselor. Don't stop until you find someone you trust. (Finding someone who uses EMDR is good)
    I lost my home (was covered in rubble afterward), and I went decades undiagnosed by anyone with anxiety, hyper-vigilance, panic attacks, and depression. I was young teenager and everyone just treated me like it would disappear. It never did. I got treatment several years back after trying to track down why I began having unexplained full-on panic attacks. With therapy, mild medication and talking about my experience, I might not be 100% but my life is very different. I still have my weather apps on my phone, and panic when the storm sirens scream, but being vigilant is normal behavior.
    Let me know how it goes. I know the pitfalls.
    littleoc and Abstract like this.
  7. Kopykat

    Kopykat Active Member


    I was hit by an EF 5 in 1990 when I was 6 and I can still remember it to this day. It honestly took a very long time for me to not have extreme panic attacks when it rains. My house was destroyed while I was in it and I could feel the wind pulling me out the door. I have a loud fan on at night that I've used since the tornado bc I couldn't sleep w thunderstorms bc I would panic. I'm always hyper vigilant now w weather and am always aware of where storms will be and how bad. I think I've improved in the sense of not having full blown meltdowns in public but it is still difficult. I've talked w few therapists about it and I was told to do the basic things like find a distraction or think of all the times a storm hasn't hurt me. Not sure if this helps.
  8. Tim W.

    Tim W. New Member

    I survived IRMA when the category 5 185 mph winds brought a direct hit to st maarten. It was horrifying. Still suffering from PTSD and anxiety.
    freebird, Kopykat, littleoc and 2 others like this.
  9. littleoc

    littleoc Making everywhere I go a better place Premium Member Donated

    Hello :)

    I have advice based on my experiences. Maybe they'll help you?

    I've also had a lot of shit happen. More weather-specific events included snow and ice storms, mild floods, strong storms, and a huge tornado event. The event was so big that it has its own Wikipedia page. More than 70 tornadoes in my county alone, such a beautiful sight... and scary.

    Now days, I'm obsessed with weather. Most of the time I'm more interested in avoiding potential kidnappers and other dangerous people. Other times, I'm obsessed with weather. In high school I even got made fun of for it a few times -- but it worked out fine!

    Somehow I got invested in how weather works. I'm very science-minded and I don't like not understanding how tornadoes work. So, I learned. The exposure helped. I started reading all about them, viewing videos, learning from tornado hunters (who often go through trauma themselves). I still get a little obsessed at times and start viewing all tornado stuff. It helps me feel a little more in control.

    I know now how to be safe in one. I know what to look for in the sky, I know what to look for days in advanced and I know what to look for in a radar. I've spotted potential-tornadoes before authorities have. I've learned that tornado warnings aren't guaranteed on-the-ground funnels -- most of the time, investigators after the fact find that the tornado never made land-fall. :)

    I somehow enjoy storms now... it feels like a test of my knowledge and skills. I get excited when I see lightning, and can use logic to tell myself that this one is guaranteed to be a strong storm -- but with no tornadoes.

    I have a special sleeping spot in case I'm scared anyway. I'm most likely to get scared and panic-y if I can't see the signs in the sky -- so, at night. Having a powerful radar helps me. I can predict how safe I am using a radar by looking for certain signatures.

    The thing with strong storms is that you have no control. Part of the healing process is finding control, and trying to see what happened in less negative ways (which will take help, such as by using EMDR or similar treatments). I have a safe place stashed with food and water, a radar, a battery radio, batteries, flashlights, water, and a reinforced tornado-safe area. I know exactly when to be worried, and I know what to do if I am in a real threat. I will know days ahead of time.

    That in itself helped my dreams. I stopped dreaming ONLY of fear, and began to be prepared in my dreams. I realized my dreams where telling me something and I did my best to accommodate. I still do have nightmares, though, especially in the spring, when I can sense that the weather is right. April is a strong trigger month.

    I also try telling my storm stories to others (who I know, not on TV or something) as a way to help teach others, and occasionally fascinate them. It gives an element of control as well, and allows you to get it off your chest. This works if you're ready. Don't force it.

    My life also doesn't revolve around weather so much anymore. I know when to be concerned. Other times, I check my radar for how long it's going to rain so I can plan my days accordingly :p On sunny days, I might not pull up my radar at all. A little control can allow you to put it on the back burner until you need it. And when you need it, you can be prepared enough.

    And other times I remind myself that it's reasonable to be scared. Somehow I turned it into excitement, as long as nothing sneaks up on me. But if I'm scared, I have a really good reason.

    I hope you're doing okay in 2018. <3
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2018
  10. NOW

    NOW Guest

    i do we had the tornado in 2012 i live in West Liberty Kentucky our town look like a bomb went off me and my daughter was home at our apartment we was hit by 2 of them we lost everything so when 3-2 comes around i get scared to death when they give a tornado watch or any storm.but not snow
    Kopykat and littleoc like this.
  11. freebird

    freebird Active Member

    Always have been terrified of tornadoes since I was a kid. Used to have nightmares constantly about them. When I buy my own house I want to have an underground shelter installed.
    Kopykat and littleoc like this.
  12. Kopykat

    Kopykat Active Member

    For a long time I thought about being a meteorologist and took some classes but then well math happened. I wanted to understand weather so I could predict my fear and not have that bad thing ever happen to me or anyone else again. It’s been 28 years almost since the EF5 tornado but I remember it. I still get edgy w storms. I hate spring time. I don’t have full on panic attacks anymore for the most part. I am taking a weather spotter training next week. I’m not sure that hyper vigilance will ever leave me.
    littleoc likes this.
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