Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Day Five

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  • Jolisa,

    this continuous jaw-grinding, nerve-wearing stress is likely how people with anxiety disorders feel all the time.

    Yes -- a bit like having your own personal Alpine fault, plus a few dozen lateral ones you didn't know were there until they randomly act up. Exhausting. I cannot imagine a city full of people in such a state.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1410 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Amazing you managed to write that for us Emma, thanks.

    Yesterday you tweeted a map showing all the aftershocks after the big one with a time schedule since the quake, and just watching that made my hair stand on end. Being from Bay of Plenty we had some experience of quakes, but nothing to compare with this.

    Hoping like hell for you, and all the relatives and other people I know in Chch, that it settles down soon.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    What I'm finding interesting (for want of a better word) is how thin the veneer of "coping" is and how unpredictable the results when it slips. Yesterday I momentarily lost sight of a child whist shopping (a pretty common occurrence) and I panicked and, once I had reassembled my brood, spent the next twenty minutes holding their arms in a death grip whilst I ranted loudly about the dangers facing children who stray. Then I calmed down and realised the thing wasn't really the thing.

    Like Emma I am in no way ready for schools to be back but I really would lie a definite timetable for things getting back to normal. Something predictable I could plan around.

    I've thought about taking the kids and escaping to family in Nelson for a bit but we'd have to find a way of caring for our diabetic cat which would likely mean my partner staying behind and I can't face that.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 705 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Yesterday you tweeted a map showing all the aftershocks after the big one with a time schedule since the quake, and just watching that made my hair stand on end.

    I honestly can't remember who I got that link from on Twitter, but I think it conveys the experience in a really scarily tangible way. If anyone hasn't watched it, please do.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4340 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    I think it conveys the experience in a really scarily tangible way.

    Yes, by the end of it, I was shuddering uncontrollably every time a sizeable jolt registered. Whatever you have to calm your nerves, I suggest you take more. Well, within known safety limits of course.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Sylvie Zlami,

    Emma, I’m utterly amazed that you found the mental capacity and emotional strength to write this! I simply can’t begin to imagine what it must be like. Seriously.

    Experiencing it all from a distance is strangely odd and unsettling also. It still seems curiously surreal somehow. I thought that would have changed by now, but it hasn’t as yet for me.
    On the one hand, the aftermath of the earthquake is so immediate (well, omnipresent in news & social media). And yet at the same time it seems a world away … because nothing much seems to have changed in Auckland.

    Feeling awfully helpless up here and unable to do much more than to send messages of support. Really hope that it all stops … very soon!!

    auckland • Since Dec 2007 • 31 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    That map is extraordinary - have emailed the link to family in Oz so they can sort of participate (except for the sibling who came home for r&r between the 2nd &the 12th, and is now looking at the demise of the family home (way out of CHCH, in Nth. Canterbury.))

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Rachel Prosser,

    I'm back in Christchurch now, and spent the day (well 11-4) at work in Madras Street.

    Our building is Green Stickered, we're next to and opposite two Reds.

    I had wondered at the Ghost town analogy, but it is apt. As I walked to clear the PO Box past the closed Centennial Pool I heard two leaves rustling and they felt like tumbleweed.

    Lots of shops, even green ones, are not open. The ASB was open, but the BNZ next to it not.

    Oddly, all the car parks along the river were full - I suspect because the parking buildings are closed (and the fact that there aren't any parking wardens contributes too!) A colleague said it's great - no parking wardens, you can park anywhere!

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2008 • 225 posts Report Reply

  • Rachel Prosser,

    I began this morning in Mt Eden, and felt quite apprehensive flying back, and at the airport.

    People are noticeably much much more stressed and strung out and tired than they were when I left. This morning's 5.1 disturbed a lot of people.

    I went straight into work at 11, and have just finished, feeling really good now - work was a great way of dealing with anxiety. Great to have other things to think about. Walking back home now the inapt phrase that spung to mind linked work and freedom - but it's true (in this context) that it feels so much better to be productively occupied.

    I've realised that for my own mental health, I'm best to avoid the TV news and disaster porn. It's better just to get on with stuff, as best I can.

    And a 3 day holiday away from here did wonders for my general adrenaline level.

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2008 • 225 posts Report Reply

  • Rachel Prosser,

    The $350/employee small business grant is good.

    However, there is an asymmetry in that self-employed people are eligible for only the unemployment benefit at most - 240 ish.

    This affects a colleague who like me works part-time
    (in his case only casually) and runs a business part-time in the central city.

    Portfolio careers are great, but hard for government departments to work with.

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2008 • 225 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    My beloved flew down to Chch this morning to be with her family, because she could take no more of hearing their distress at a distance. Luckily, their houses are ok and still on the grid. I expect she will be out and joining the students tomorrow if there's nothing to be done at home.

    What can one say? What has happened is terrible enough, what keeps happening must be intolerable. Best wishes to you all.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2936 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    I've been out helping with the uni student crew and that's been great for giving all this free-floating adrenaline something to do.

    A spot of work therapy might be just the thing for people (some people, those who can and want to do it): something helpful to do, in company, and a giving thing to do. I'd love to be able to shovel some silt myself, or restack books at the library, or turn up with homebaking for the volunteers, or for people at shelters, instead of just sitting here 3000 kms away.

    I watched the endless sequence of aftershocks on that map too - I kept on wanting it to stop.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1303 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Its OK. Gerry said that 80% of Chch is OK. It is only 20% that has a few problems.

    Hmmm. After watching JC tonight down by the Avon.....No wonder we haven't heard from the Rocket Man.

    Its not so much "Up Front".

    It's what "Out Back" we ain't seeing.

    Keep holding those hands kiddo.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1491 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Yes we do care but it is difficult to do anything when you are stuck on the other side of the world
    First thing my sister said when she rang me to say she had arrived in France
    "Any news from Chch"
    She still sounds in shock and said it is unusual to feel better after a 20 hour flight
    "You are the news sweetheart" and that goes for you too Emma

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 535 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I've realised that for my own mental health, I'm best to avoid the TV news and disaster porn.

    I was actually thinking that all this media, including social, isn't very good for people as it acts as a feedback loop. Maybe earthquake advice should involve switching off radios, televisons and internet.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4422 posts Report Reply

  • Kris V,

    Whatever you have to calm your nerves, I suggest you take more.

    I'm drinking tonight. I don't do that terribly often but I think it's both needed and deserved at the moment.

    We're all in this horrible, shaky limbo and just when you think things are returning to normal (I had meetings at polytech planned for today, we were reopening 2moro), the ground burps again and everything alters once more. And the experts are still warning us to expect an aftershock of around 6.1 or so, 'cos that's what past experience bears out.

    We're all so terribly over it. If it's been surreal for the rest of NZ, it's certainly been super-crazy-weird for us down here in shakeytown.

    I'm starting to understand the whole post-traumatic-shock thing a lot more clearly now... but the truly awful thing is we're not at the post-anything stage cos it's still. bloody. happening.

    around 300 aftershocks and counting.

    I'll 2nd (3rd/4th) other locals' thanks for all the supportive messages - they help warm the heart.

    now pass me another drink

    Shakeytown • Since Nov 2008 • 61 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Kris V - alcohol works. Slainthe, kia ora, prosit, kempai!
    Without wanting to sound anything but totally supportive, please make sure you also have the torch, the water, & all other essential items close to your bed (include good rubber-soled shoes/slippers! I've just heard about one of my distant whanau who jumped out of bed at the original jolt, and scrambled through to his kids- cutting his feet so extravagantly, he's still in hospital.)

    Kia ora tatou i Otautahi e!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    That's no good Islander.Hope he comes through ok.
    Sending positive vibes to all tried and tested down there.Here's hoping Joe makes it to a bed tonight.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6025 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Sof', I just wish I could get over there - aside from the fact i love the bugger (he is one of those sooo cuddly fathers I wish I had had) I have the ultimate donor's blood (ORhdneg) - and I am here, and he is there-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Sounds like he reacted the way I'd like to think I would react: kids first. I hope he recovers well, and that his precious children are doing okay.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1303 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Deborah - kids fine (9yrold girl, 7yrold twin girls, 4 yrold boy - the bub was sleeping with him & his wife): he & whanau are now sleeping tonight with rellies out of the city (in Rangiora, which has been - so far! not much affected.) Plantar tendon cut in left foot, and 'sundry veins' in right foot. It'll be a while before he's back on his (self-employed - hello? are you listening out there pollie babies?) tree surgeon beat-

    Deb - yep. We all hope we all will react the way we should - and- majorly - this has happened in CHCH & environs.

    Now, why dont we have roving blood donor depots for this kind of event? Flying ones?

    I'm really really serious about this: I have no intention of donating blood on a regular basis (aside from anything else I have the kind of veins that you can view swimming out of needle reach) but in an emergency - happy to give-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    I was actually thinking that all this media, including social, isn't very good for people as it acts as a feedback loop.

    Social media has been a big help to me in the last few days, not so much the TV and newspaper coverage which scares the crap out of me every time! Certainly something to be said for limiting exposure to the more sensational stuff, but sharing information and experiences is good for the mental health. Or it's been good for mine, anyhow. Also helpful has been distracting myself with DVDs, books, short walks, tai chi on the lawn, anything that changes the focus, even for a little while.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3419 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    tai chi on the lawn,

    I was thinking exactly that today, if I was in a similar position. I thought I would need to go out to a beach and up hills for something to ground me and I thought Tai chi would be perfect to help the mind, along with a bloody good joint.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6025 posts Report Reply

  • Pete Sime,

    Yesterday you tweeted a map showing all the aftershocks after the big one with a time schedule since the quake, and just watching that made my hair stand on end.

    You know, for extra effect you can go to that page and hold down your F11 key.

    Dunedin • Since Apr 2008 • 144 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Now, why dont we have roving blood donor depots for this kind of event? Flying ones?

    I'm really really serious about this: I have no intention of donating blood on a regular basis (aside from anything else I have the kind of veins that you can view swimming out of needle reach) but in an emergency - happy to give-

    I think because all the time is close to a crisis for the blood donor service. I get dragged in as soon as the three months is up from the last time, and they're always desperate for new donors, particularly people who will consider platelet donation at the moment.

    Their blood needs from the earthquake probably aren't much higher than any other weekend, ie. always high.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

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