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We all experience storms during our life.

Sometimes these are literal storms such as we experienced just a few days ago. Extreme winds coupled with torrential rain uprooted trees, damaged buildings, caused flash flooding and widespread disruptions to power and telephone services.

We were lucky, we lost a fence, part of a verandah roof and were without power or communication for 48 hours. Many in Victoria were much worse off.

Sometimes storms are social or emotional. The current disruption to connection and activity caused by management or mismanagement of a widespread virus is a social storm. There maybe dissension in your community which is also a social storm.

Emotional storms may occur with family disagreement, changes in relationships, loss of work, retirement or loss of connection with others.

Storms change our hormone and neurotransmitter production and balance. Any storm will increase production of stress chemicals and, consequently, reduce production of calming neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and anandamide. This, of course, will exacerbate symptoms of a chronic disorder.

If we notice symptoms increase, it is vital to ask one simple question – WHY?

Unfortunately, many people will increase medication or see their doctor without first asking why there has been a change in their symptom picture. All too often, doctors also fail to ask WHY.

Keeping your journal is a great way to understand why your symptoms may fluctuate (for better or worse) and allow you to make adjustments to your life rather than increasing medication.

During and following our recent weather events, many people found their symptoms increased but, as we manage damage repairs and community recovery, those symptoms will subside again without need for extra medication.

With social and emotional storms, we may need some assistance to effect repairs – talking to our neighbours or community leaders, or seeking counselors or other emotional support practitioners to improve our health outcomes.

In summary, storms WILL happen from time to time and these WILL affect our symptoms. Our first, vital action is to ask WHY? Once we can answer that, we can take effective actions to reverse the storm “damage” and move ahead on our pathway to recovery.

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