Houston, Let's Not Forget Harvey

Houston, Let's Not Forget Harvey

Harvey had an impact that went beyond floodwaters.

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Almost exactly a year ago, Houston was victim to Hurricane Harvey's torrential storming and flooding. A year later, recovery has been swift but not complete. Some areas still bear the brunt of Harvey's damage—and some losses, of course, can never be made up.

Harvey taught us, as Houstonians, more about ourselves and each other than we've bothered to know in a long, long time. I live in a neighborhood where I'm lucky if I ever manage to catch a glimpse of my next-door neighbor, let alone have some attempt at a conversation with them.

I remember though, when Harvey hit, how everyone would be out, surveying the water levels, asking each other for the latest updates and evacuation possibilities, and checking in to make sure everyone was all right. It made me understand what being a member of a community can truly be like.

It was also a wonder seeing how much compassion and mercy were still present in people; recovery could have been delayed for much longer without the help of every single person who pitched in. I'm not just talking about immediate relief like providing boating services to shelters and providing food and supplies to evacuees stuck at said shelters.

Even the rebuilding that began weeks later and is still ongoing was supported by people's lives, times, wallets and hearts. Spending weekends helping clean out residential areas and hosting food drives for the homeless became the norm, and volunteer lists overflowed with the number of people who were willing to come out and lend a hand.

Today, I remember Harvey and I realize that it marked a trying period for the city. Lives were lost and many people lost many invaluable things; some people are still trying to recover from the impacts of the hurricane.

Recently, the Carolinas were hit by Florence, a tropical storm that seemed like nature's attempt of irony after Harvey.

Thankfully, meteorologists were able to provide timely enough weather updates that the inhabitants of the worst affected areas were able to evacuate to a safer location before the storm hit. Even with about a million people being told to clear evacuation zones though, almost fifteen people still died and many hundreds were rescued by air and water.

Right now, many people in those areas are in the same position our community was in a year ago; many watched the hurricane take away everything they had ever known and loved, and are in the critical process of rebuilding in the aftermath of the hurricane.

We are proud Houstonians, but what Harvey showed was that we were also proud citizens and very, very human. So Houston, let's take this opportunity to remember Harvey not only for what it took from us but also what we gained from it.

Let's show that we remember and have felt the pain of being left with nothing and feeling broken and helpless.

With our support, whether monetary or material, let us show the victims of Florence that as long as there is humanity, there is hope.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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11 Pieces Of Fatherly Advice Everyone Needs To Be Reminded Of

The greatest man in the world is bound to give the greatest advice.

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Months and months ago my father wrote down his favorite quotes and pieces of advice for himself after reading my favorite book, "Tuesdays With Morrie."

He has always given me stellar advice about love, loss and self-worth. Now, I will share it with the world.

This one is for you, Dad.

1. Be bold but not aggressive

This is a personal favorite of mine, especially as an extrovert. I sometimes worry that being the open person I am that I come off too strong or too abrasive.

With this piece of advice though, I remind myself not to "overdo" it. Just be natural.

2. Be confident with room for humility

If there is one thing I have learned from my father it is humility. A sense of humbleness.

I am proud of the person I am, but I have learned to never think I am above anyone else or that I am more important.

3. Love others with all your heart and family with all you are

We are loving people in this household and this piece of advice proves just that.

Despite who you are or what you come off to be, it is important to love friends and lovers with every part of yourself to ensure you did everything you could.

It is important to love family with all you are because lots of the time they made you who you are in the first place.

4. When it comes to dating, even if you don't love them make sure you at least respect them

Not every person you date is "the one." Not every person you date you are going to marry.

Even so, at least respect that person you are seeing. Be polite, be courteous, be kind — be respectful to their needs even if you can't love them.

5. Be patient when it comes to true love, it is rare but so fine

My parents have a love like no other.

They are true loves, soulmates and life partners, BUT it also took time for them to get married.

6. Reserve the harshest judgement for yourself

Tough love is normal. Critiquing is normal.

What is not normal is being cruel and inconsiderate. Leave the harshest judgment for behind closed doors, in a mirror — not towards others.

7. Be tolerant but not submissive

Be patient and kind, to a point. Do not settle for something you do not deserve. Be grateful for what is fair.

8. Don't sweat the small stuff — everything is small stuff

This piece of advice speaks for itself. Do not stress the things that are out of your control. Do not get upset over little things.

In a short period of time, you won't even remember it.

9. Live with passion

Be motivated in your work, in your love, in your friendships and yourself. Living life to the fullest with joy in your heart makes for the best life.

10. Treat the elderly with honor and respect

My dad says that time is a teacher and knowledge is acquired. If it weren't for our elders, we wouldn't learn from the past.

11. Have courage and be kind — remember all your grace

This has become my motto in life. I think it means to be fearless, do things that scare you and stand up for yourself while still being a good person and better yet a KIND person.

It is important to know yourself and be true to you.

So, thank you, dad, for all your words of advice. I couldn't have lived this beautiful life without you.

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