Juggling your own recovery:
For those working in recovery who are local and are affected by the disaster themselves, a whole other layer of bricks are added to the bundle. Juggling support of others, the demands of life as usual and managing your own rebuild, repair, housing needs or emotional recovery from disaster featured amongst the most commonly described challenge, and one that is not currently provisioned for in existing guides concerning stress management in workers.
There was the supporting my parents, dealing with the red tape, getting into temporary housing, In addition to dealing with the problem at hand there were emerging issues stacked on top. I don't think this has really stopped and all the things you've neglected in the meantime stack up and you have to play catch up, all the things I let slide, tax returns, business and family. From the time of the fires I had a job to sort my own house but also my parents.
Also you volunteer in a community sense but also in a friend sense with needing to have your radar out for those who need a hand. And you worry about your kids who have blocks of learning gaps in school traceable back to the fires. There is buckling fear for your kids and their well-being and frustration of not knowing what to do.
You are building a house, which is on the list of one of the most stressful things you can do in life and you are not doing it by choice because all you want is what you had back and the people you had around you. Plus you've had your brain taken out, sloshed around and put back in – and now build a house. You are thinking about your immediate concerns and then you run into someone who has lost a child and you need to have a supportive exchange that's meaningful.
And you are pressed onto a committee and charged with deciding things for everyone. All eyes on us and I do not even have the capacity to make my own paint colour decisions!
It all comes back to the combined, when you are volunteering, working in an emergency situation and rebuilding your life and protecting and supporting people around you all at the same time and you are doing it when you've got chinks in your armour... It is a big gig, and I don't know anyone who did it easily. Fiona Leadbeater – Volunteer, Kinglake Ranges