Dudley, Eunice and Franklin have gained notoriety as storms that cascaded onto our shores and inland, wreaking havoc in parts of the UK. TV news reports and images on social media of trees being uprooted brought home to us some of the damage that was being caused in real time.
I was quite relieved when the area where I live was only mildly affected by Eunice but even so I'd stocked up in preparation as much as I could. What I didn’t anticipate, and couldn't have prepared for, was the stirring up some frightful memories of when I experienced a hurricane as a child. There's something quite levelling and sobering about natural disasters where one’s insignificance is magnified. When you have no control over what's happening and you're at the mercy of whatever may befall.
Living with the threat of hurricanes and earthquakes certainly humbled my experience growing up in the Caribbean. That feeling of being in awe of the magnitude of such events was often paired with feelings of uncertainty. We've seen that uncertainty and anxiety increase since the coronavirus pandemic hit our shores. We also know these feelings have not dissipated and that we may continue to see these increased levels for some time to come. However, while many are recovering from devastation at the tail end of the pandemic, hope is blooming as we tentatively gain some sense of normality in our everyday lives.
Over the past few weeks, I've been resuming normal activities and have visited BACP House a few times to meet with colleagues and see some of the work being carried out by various teams. This may not seem hugely significant for most, but the majority of members would be surprised to learn of some of the activities that take place within BACP - all of which are made possible by the subscriptions we pay as members. I was impressed with how each team functions, how well the teams are interconnected and how passionate colleagues are about supporting members. It was also really exciting to see some of the pipeline projects that will benefit members in the future. Details of these projects are shared through email bulletins, Therapy Today and on the BACP website.
As hope blooms in one quarter, there is despair in another. The war in Ukraine potentially raises feelings of uncertainty and sadness once more and also there are probably feelings of anger and a sense of injustice about what is happening, paired with a fear of not knowing how unfolding events will impact on our daily lives. The images of war that are being shared in real time could also be stirring up past traumatic memories for many members and our clients.
I’ve been reminded many times this week to find the eye in the hurricane – that feeling of calm while the storm rages around. My visit to BACP House is one example of experiencing the eye in the storm, an area of calm, where the purpose of our Association can be an anchor in times of uncertainty. Counsellors and psychotherapists may well be tested to find the eye as we move out of one period of uncertainty and possibly into another. Offering a gentle nudge about the importance of self-care may also be of value.
Views expressed in this article are the views of the writer and not necessarily the views of BACP. Publication does not imply endorsement of the writer’s views. Reasonable care has been taken to avoid errors but no liability will be accepted for any errors that may occur.