I feel like a zombie. I wake up and go through the motions of taking care of things. I used to be mad, then I was sad and now I just don’t feel anything anymore. Am I alone out here in my FEMA trailer?
Margaret B., Lakeview
No, the vastness of the changes to our lives is mind-numbing indeed. I’m grateful that my brain allowed me to shut off the emotional trauma long enough to deal with my insurance adjustor and roofer, while negotiating an apartment lease and selecting a school for my kids. But ignoring your feelings is not a healthy long-term option. Reports are widespread that we New Orleanians are drinking more than ever. I, too, can attest to frequent visits to Dorignac’s for cartfuls of wine and vodka upon returning to the city, especially since most restaurants weren’t open yet. Of course, “Ask Linda” would never suggest drinking as a solution to any problem. But I can admit that a good Cosmopolitan has done wonders to relax the stress after picking out carpeting all day. And the time I’ve spent with good friends over a glass of wine has given me an opportunity to find, and give, much-needed support and encouragement. Looking to the future is not easy, especially since we’re still picking up pieces to make it through today. Now is the time, however, that you need social activity more than ever. I often liken my life now to that of a pioneer in the Wild West: I’ve replaced my uncertainty about the future with a resolve to be part of building a thriving place to live and raise my children. I have learned that keeping perspective is impossible without the exchange and discussion of ideas and problems with others. Spending time with friends will rescue you from feeling zombielike. But be careful who you spend time with, and always remember how important it is to be with wise people when analyzing your situation and crafting your future. Pre-Katrina, I was more tolerant of being with people who dragged my spirit down and didn’t contribute to making New Orleans better. Now I am committed to being with people who give more than they take. Rekindle friendships with your wisest friends. And get out and meet new wise people who can help you to grow and learn about yourself and the future of our city.