Recovering your life when you've lost everything

airesflora Jan 10, 2008 Health
Your house has burned down. Maybe a recent hurricane or earthquake has destroyed your home. You are on the streets with only the clothes on your back, or maybe if you are lucky – you rescued a few records, photos, or mementos. So now what do you do now? The sensation of feeling helpless can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve lost a loved one, or have someone in the hospital. Still, you are forced to go on and survive this experience, and often you are left trying to act as if life goes on as usual when around co-workers, friends, and business associates.

In this time of need, you may not think logically. There is an inclination to throw your hands up and give up, but you know that isn't reality. Here is a step by step plan to salvage your life, as painlessly, inexpensively, quickly and efficiently as possible.

You may have feelings of anger, confusion, sadness, and these are all normal symptoms of trauma. You may even experience flashbacks, nightmares, and a tendency to avoid things that remind you of the experience. To deal with these feelings, you need to address your feelings as soon as possible. Never be afraid to seek the help of a professional therapist. They can offer you suggestions for services that help people in your situation. They can help you find channels to work through your grief, anger, frustration, and sadness. If not, six months to a year later, you may find you experience symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. The symptoms from this include: problems sleeping, anxiety, and concentration issues. Accept help whenever it is offered, you will be glad for this help later. The sooner you re-enter a world of control and normalcy, the better you will endure.

Now it's time to find a place to live. Drop expectations for finding the exact place you love. It's not going to happen, most likely, and if it does, count yourself lucky. For now, shelter is sufficient. Once you've found that, you can be more discriminating and find that "perfect place." If you have pets, this will further complicate your efforts to find a suitable residence, especially if the pet is a dog over 50 pounds. Many places will not rent to medium or large sized dogs. You may sway anyone on the fence if you can afford to offer a decent pet deposit on top of the normal deposits. Here is a site that offers help seeking suitable housing for pet owners throughout the U.S.: Another method of locating rentals if you are single may be sharing a rental with another person. This may offer the necessary time to seek a house or apartment where you can rent what you want, or find your own place for a dog. Be aware that you probably will feel a certain irritation with any room mates. After all, you've lost your basic privacy and you will now be sharing your life. On the other hand, you could gain a lifelong friend.

For now, you are simply in survival mode and trying to get by on the basics without going broke. You have no bed and you are too broke to replace that $4000 bed set until you get your insurance check. Purchase an airbed for $20 at Wal-Mart, and buy the automatic pump to keep it inflated. You can buy two and stack them for a more normal looking bed. Pick up some ten to fifteen dollar end tables at the thrift shop and go to Pick and Save and buy two table cloths to cover them. Match your sheets that you either purchase on EBay, or at Anna's Linens, or even Wal-Mart. Joila! You have a basic sleeping arrangement for now. Scan and you may find a better alternative for very little. Now, it's time to pick up the basics. Do you like coffee? Thrift shops always have used coffee makers for around $5.00. They have a nice selection of basic appliances, plates, cups, silverware, and even covers. Not what you had before? Don't sweat it, time will bring that later.

Now it's time to personalize your life. Buy a used computer off craigslist if you can't afford a new one. Even Ebay offers computers for as little as $100. Sometimes simply getting yourself back into the information age feels helpful. Did you upload photos onto the web anywhere? Find them and download them. Maybe you sent copies to your friends or family? Ask for copies. Have them send digital copies back to you. That way you can purchase a few frames and dot them around your place to give you sanity. You will be surprised what a well framed photo of your past does for you. It brings back memories and allows you to feel you haven't lost everything.

You will be surprised to see the advancement of fabrics in stores such as Big Lots and the prices. Figure out a theme for a place you've loved and you'll most likely find some inexpensive items there to create your new look. Don't try to duplicate what you had just yet. It could be too painful. Instead, do something you normally wouldn't do, but that pleases you. Baskets with tops on them for $20 can become coffee tables and storage. Lamps can be found for nothing at thrift shops and you can paint them as well. Yard sales yield televisions, radios, stereos and other electronics for low prices. Then, pick one item that you can't resist and place it where you can stare at it. It may motivate you. Don't overlook that shelf that can be repainted. Add baskets from thrift shops or IKEA and it may become a focal point, in addition to removing clutter. Fabric can become "tapestries" for the wall. Some thrift shops even offer great bargains on all furniture. Don't overlook the 99 cent store for any of those odds and ends you need.

Once you have a few household items back, the journey goes quickly. Stay with your mission and you'll soon be back to normal. Losing your belongings is devastating, but beginning a new life can be enriching. If you focus on the future, you can propel yourself have material to write a book, if you are so inclined. Using your misfortune to help others can be equally rewarding. Good luck in your new path!

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