Monday, November 07, 2005

Shell shock

Riggsveda, Red Cross volunteer ("Shell Shock"):
I got in last night after a long day in airports via Baton Rouge and Atlanta, and I'm decompressing right now. I'm taking a couple days off from work, and I'm not writing yet. It's turned out to be a much more complicated emotional journey than I expected, and I really need some time to process what I've been through. ARC mental health staff who interviewed me during outprocessing said it's normal, and that I will be working through a grieving period that could last a long time. In addition, the work was physically exhausting, and I came down with strep throat while I was there. I had no internet access, and hardly any access to news of the rest of the world, which was probably a blessing, given what was already on my agenda. Right now, away from the work and the situation and able to finally let down my defenses, I'm surprised to discover that despite a day off Friday and a day to outprocess Saturday, I'm exhausted physically and mentally, and operating on about 20% of my usual brain cells. Everything seems to be happening in slow motion, and a lot of what I'm experiencing doesn't yet seem real. I cry easily when I talk about the people of New Orleans, and it's because I fell in love with them. I don't know HOW I'll be able to go back to work in this state, but I know I need to go...they are short-handed right now.

I have 205 pictures, and a journal to glean stories from, as well as my own raw memories, so I will be telling quite a few tales soon. In the meantime, I really need to take my own time in getting the stories out, for my own mental well-being. That means I'll be writing soon, but not tomorrow, or the next day. I don't know when. Set up an office pool: 'Riggsveda will return on-line on 'X' date'. But soon. Be patient with me.
Later: some of those photos, here and here.


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