TW: A Fiery Hell
31st of December, New Year's Eve, and I wake up at 6:00 am to my mother looming over my bed 'Quickly, pack the things most precious to you, you can't take too much, we need to evacuate.' It is a mad rush as I grab my smallest sentimental items and shove them into a backpack, before running out my room to help prepare the rest of the house. We leave at 10:20 and arrive at our place of refugee at 10:50, and at this time we hear the news, it is too late for people in our area to leave. There is no electricity, all the shops in town are shut, people walk around aimlessly around their cars looking both tired and dazed, in the distance, towards my home, there is nothing but red. There is nothing I can do but sit in my car and worry since my parents don't want me to leave in case we have to drive further. We spend the whole day watching the sky, it turns orange, red, and then black, before settling into a thick layer of smoke. The radio plays in the background, and fear creeps down my spine as I hear that a town not too far from mine has been completely wiped out by the fires. Eventually, the worst, the fire is moving through my area. Waiting, anxiously waiting is all I can do. Finally, many hours later, we get the news that people are allowed back into my town. Quickly, we get into a line of cars that stretches the horizon, full of people trying to check their house. We get through, and there it is, a wave of relief that my home is standing. It isn't comforting for long though, the fire is supposed to return, we throw beds into the back of the car with some linen, and grab some food from the kitchen, before returning back to where we spent the day. We sleep in the car, though I think lay may be the correct term, for I don't remember sleeping a wink. The next morning when the sunrises, we return home. Nothing feels right, everything is a mess. My parents bury fuel in the backyard, while my sister and I push everything away from the windows to prevent them from heating and catching on fire. We wet our garden and cover sentimental items in the bathtub. After a rush through the house, we get in the car and drive to Sydney, fire is supposed to hit our home again in a few days, everyone is required to evacuate. I cry the whole nine hours there, I grind my teeth for every second of my time during my stay, I break down and I feel ill, and all I want in the world is to go back to a home with electricity, food, and water. I want my routine, I want to wake up in my bed and eat a breakfast I enjoy instead of all my food being bland cereal, toast, and instant noodles. I know there are those worse off than me, those that couldn't leave during the fires, those who lost their houses, those who died, but as a person who lives with anxiety and Asperger's syndrome, this experience has been traumatic and terrifying. Everything that helps me feel safe, my routine, my comfort items, my usual activities and foods, has been taken away. I am lost, and I just want normality, I need it to function. I feel so overwhelmed and tired.
Re: A Fiery Hell
@Blurryphaced I'm so sorry to hear about you and your family having to escape from your home due to the bushfires. I can't imagine how scary and stressful it's been for you. I can understand how it can be so difficult trying to adjust to life outside of your home and usual routine. I really have no other words.
I'm thinking of you and your family. I hope that you can find new things and items that can comfort you, although I know they won't replace the old things.
Re: A Fiery Hell
I first wanted to say that your writing is as beautiful as it is deeply moving and saddening.
I cannot imagine how devastating this entire situation would be for you and your family. Any type of change can be frightening, stressful and exhausting. This would only be amplified in your current situation. Fleeing your home for the safety of you and your family would be so deeply jarring and scary. It makes sense to feel the way you described, it makes sense that you cried. While, yes, some people have experienced different losses to you, you should not diminish or dismiss your own trauma. It's really important to give yourself some space to experience the emotions you're feeling, without feeling guilty about doing so.
I can also see that you're really distraught about not having your normal coping mechanisms available to you. I can really empathise how unnerving it would be to have to face such a high stress situation, without any of your normal supports. I want to recognise that this will be a very difficult time for you, but in terms of doing something that might even slightly ease some of your distress, it could be a good idea to come up with temporary coping mechanisms. This might be something like getting lots and lots of hugs and support from your families, doing something cathartic like having a yell in the car, or writing about how you feel. Do any of those things appeal to you at the moment?
Re: A Fiery Hell
Hi @Blurryphaced ,
I just wanted to quickly check in and see how you are doing today. You write so powerfully and vividly about your experiences- you're clearly a gifted writer.
I have friends and family who have also been through some very scary evacuations in the last few weeks, and I can hear your pain and fear. I hope that you are all able to return to your homes very soon.
Is there anything the community can do for you in the meantime? I hope you have been able to get some rest and recover a bit, it sounds like a very traumatic couple of days. We are all thinking of you.
Check out our community activities calendar here
Re: A Fiery Hell
@WheresMySquishy @Janine-RO @Andrea-RO Hello, thank you so much for your support and kind words. In difficult times, a kind community such as this really helps me to feel more positive. Luckily, I was able to get home today and will be able to stay again until Friday. The house still looks very out of sorts as there is no point fixing things up when we don't know how many more times we will have to leave, but at least I've been able to make my room look mostly normal. I am grateful to have a day at home and two nights where I can sleep in my own bed. Still, I can't help but be anxious for what Friday holds as it is recommended people in my area leave home early and go to a more urban town for safety. I really, really hope nothing happens and I'll be able to return home at least over the weekend.
Re: A Fiery Hell
We're so happy that you feel supported by this community during such a tough time. Having a strong community really does make such a huge difference in times like this.
I'm hearing the mixed emotions you're feeling being at home. While I'm glad to hear you have some of your comforts back, I can only imagine how hard it is not knowing what comes next. We will have our fingers and toes crossed that Friday goes as well as it can.
Is there anything nice you can do for yourself today for self care?
Re: TW: A Fiery Hell
Firstly, I also want to comment on how beautifully you expressed yourself in writing. What a gift it is to be able to write out your story and your emotions. I'm so happy that you are able to express yourself more clearly through writing.
Your story is so moving and I am so sorry that you are affected by the bushfires. I understand that it must be terrifying facing not only the evident danger of the fires but also the uncertainty that comes with fleeing your home and having to go through long periods of just sitting and waiting. Thank you for sharing your story. I know it must be really hard for you right now, especially since your comfort items and sense of routine that you use to help get through your anxiety and Asperger's is all a bit muddled right now. Just remember that we're here to listen and to help out.
Today is Friday, and I just wanted to make sure someone checked in with you. Could you please give an update when you are able to? I'd love to be a source of comfort for you in this difficult time. Hopefully you are able to keep all of your comfort items and you can get back to your everyday routine asap. For now, don't forget to use any other methods to calm yourself that don't need the items you had to leave at home. This might be deep breathing or since you are a fantastic writer, you could journal and let out your emotions on paper. There's an app called SmilingMind that I think might help you. It's a meditation app where another person's voice guides you through it. They help you breathe and count with you so that when you feel alone, you can count on hearing someone else's guidance.
Sending love your way
Re: TW: A Fiery Hell
Things to check out:
Stressed about the bushfires? Have a look here for ways to cope
Join in this week's wellbeing activity: Meeting new people!
This week we spoke about handling friendship drama. View the discussion here
Seen something fantastic on the forums?