Another earthquake for Christchurch

Christchurch had another earthquake yesterday; the biggest in quite a while and just another in the earthquake sequence which began on the 4th September 2010. I remember that first one well. It’s the reason we now live in Scotland. It was the middle of the night and we were all asleep. The sound is more terrifying than the shaking in some ways. It’s so loud you can’t hear yourself scream. There’s the noise of the house shaking, the furniture toppling over, and glass breaking, but there’s also the deep rumbling sound of the earthquake itself, of rocks shifting and cracking.

No-one was physically injured in this latest quake but the trauma will be psychological. This is why I think people, especially people from outside the region, telling Cantabrians how strong and resilient they are is counterproductive. I’m looking at you John Key. It’s akin to telling them, “you’re fine, get over it”. But this isn’t going to help them in the long term. I’m no psychologist but I believe that psychological ailments cannot be repressed and have a way of making it back to the surface where they will sometimes present as physical illness. It’s no surprise that mental health issues have increased in Christchurch since the start of the earthquake sequence and this includes anxiety, substance abuse, and depression.

I think it’s perfectly ok to admit to being terrified. It’s also ok to admit to being unable to cope. It’s also ok to talk about it and to expect the people who love you to listen. I don’t think anyone has to pretend to be strong and resilient if they don’t feel that way. Sometimes it takes more strength to admit to being afraid.


19 responses to “Another earthquake for Christchurch”

  1. Living in California all my life, we just accept the fact that there will be earthquakes. Nerves definitely do get rattled, even here in California. It’s all about preparation, where to go, what to do when it comes.

    • Do they prepare you for the aftershocks? I was not prepared for those – for the almost 24 hours of non-stop shaking in the first day afterwards and then the fact that one of the aftershocks can be more deadly than the initial quake which is what happened in Christchurch. Then there’s the damage to things we take for granted like our water supply and sewerage systems.

      • Yes, we know that the first jolt is just the beginning, and then the aftershocks. Some can be even stronger than the first.

        Water, canned foods, all part of the earthquake preparedness drill.

    • Sorry to hear about another earthquake. It’s a good point about preparedness, I guess it helps to restore a sense of control vs being out of control when unexpected things happen around you.
      I can’t even imagine living in the shadow of a quake though. So much I take for granted.

  2. I stopped reading Herald for a while. There is too much negative news in it. That’s how I missed this latest earth quake news.

    Yeah, there is no point in saying to the victims that they are strong and resilient.

  3. Yes, well said. Bravery comes in all sort so ways and neither weakness nor strength alone connote bravery any more than it’s a weakness any more than a strength to admit fear and worry. I’m glad all are well at least physically.

  4. Rachel you are so right. I thought it was over and got such a shock as the violence struck on Sunday. I would not go to bed that night and yesterday my system reacted with an intense migraine. Am resting now but jittery, waiting for more.

    • I’m thinking of you Lorraine and hoping things settle down quickly. Writing about it helped me a lot and also acknowledging how it made me feel. Sleeping somewhere different in the house was also good because we chose somewhere away from our chimneys and brick walls. Getting sleep is important even it it means sleeping on the sofa in the lounge room or where ever it is that you feel safe.

  5. The Nepal earthquake came as a shock for me, to see places I’ve trekked through devastated, folk I’d meet probably dead and the whole tourist industry, so important to the country, totally disrupted. It does make me glad that earthquakes in Scotland are so minor and relatively rare.

    • I too am glad earthquakes are rare in Scotland and relatively small. It’s not on a plate boundary which makes it much less of an earthquake risk. This is why I’m very happy living in a stone building in Aberdeen ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. So sorry when I heard this news Rachel, I thought of you and remembered how traumatised you were. It’s no wonder mental health issues are on the increase in Christchurch and I agree with you, admitting fear and anxiety and asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. I hope your family there are safe and well…

    • I just realised I never replied to this! Sometimes I read comments on my phone when I’m in bed and it’s too tricky replying on my phone so I plan to wait until I’m at my computer but then I forget!

      We don’t have any family in Christchurch. Ben has family in NZ in Dunedin and Wellington and neither place has been affected by the Christchurch earthquakes fortunately.

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