Monday, March 28, 2011

Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome

There are many things that contribute to stress levels in post-earthquake living. Dealing with insurance is one of the greatest of all stress-inducers.

Now I don't want you to think our insurance assessors is a nasty chap. Nothing could be further from the truth, I mean this guy is just plain nice. We stood outside the Dallington house making jokes about disappearing down the fissure if there was another earthquake. The guy has a great sense of humour. But I wasn't laughing when we started talking about our insurance coverage.

Why is that an insurance assessor wants to make it feel like they are doing you a favour if they do what your contract says they have to do and what you have for paid them for years to do if you needed it? Does this seemingly sensible, good nature chap really think that he can fool me like that? Surely when Richard and I are standing there, talking and laughing with him, it is apparent that we can read--and pretty well. When he starts telling us that we should have out-buildings included into the measurement of our house, does he think that we are idiots? If we had all the out-buildings measured as part of our house, they would probably be accusing us of fraud, trying to claim more insurance than was our due. What insurance agency in the world is going to pay out the $2000-2200 per square metre of rebuilding costs for a house to rebuild a greenhouse or shed?

As I stood there, those jokes we'd been making about the fisure opening up and swallowing someone started to seem like a very fine idea!

No, Mr. Insurance Man, my out-buildings are not included in the measurement of my house, aren't you glad about that! You don't have to pay premium building costs to rebuild them...but you sure are going to have to rebuild them! That's what my contract says, and I can read.

The stress-inducer that come second only to insurance dealings, is lack of information. We could have called this government induced stress.

The thing about Lack of Information is that it has a companion named Rumours. These two
stress-inducers make the perfect tag-team. Rumours abound around the city about areas that are not going to be re-built. My Dallington neighborhood is right in the centre of all such rumours. Along with rumours that the neighborhood will be demolished and not rebuilt are rumours about what will be done with the land.

Rumours can only abound and cause stress when people don't get good information. That is what we need. We don't need to hear that something like 10,000 houses will be demolished and some suburbs may not be re-built, only to find out later that this was 'back of the envelop' thoughts rather than facts This only promotes an atmosphere of uncertainity with people forming opinions and spreading them like they are facts. We need information, as quickly as is possible.

I don't think I have Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome! I don't. I think I have some days with Insurance Induced Stress Syndrome, some with Lack of Information Induced Stress Syndrome, and then occasionally I get Rumour Induced Stress Syndrome. But, hey, I'm opened to an arm-chair diagnosis if you want to have a go.


  1. Insurance Induced Strees Syndrome is widespread, i reckon. Great post, Bee, Good luck!
    S x

  2. It would be perfectly understandable if you did have PTSD, certainly the recent events in Japan can't be helping. It does sound like you are keeping your sense of humor which is a great defense against getting overwhelmed by stress. In your situation, most of us (myself included) would be a blubbering mess by now. Your strength and grace is inspiring.

  3. You're so right about rumous. Fact is what you need, even if it only says 'we're still working on it'. As long as they give you a completion date.

  4. PTSD is more like sleep disturbance, flashbacks, depression, formless anxiety, panic attacks.
    What you have is Bureaucratically Induced Frustration. Hang in there my dear!

  5. just described me Toby! LOL

  6. Honey, I would be amazed if you didn't have PTSD.
    That as Toby so rightly says causes, sleep disturbance or the need to sleep during the day when you had no such need before the earthquakes.
    Flashbacks to not only the quake but to any other unconnected moments of distress, the sub conscious isn't picky about what it conjures back up. Depression..well that's pretty much a no brainer. Formless anxiety..that gut wrenching stomach clenching acid producing dread and not knowing exactly what to attach it to. Panic attacks..lets see, from memory, sweats for no reason, difficulty in breathing, hyper ventilating, agitated state with irritability or crying for no apparent reason.

    All of the above is just the edge of PTSD. I suffered it for years without knowing what it was. The good thing is it's a rational response to an uncontrollable situation. And treatable.

  7. The biggest thing about all this that amazes me is your wonderful character and strength. I take my hat off to you - just be glad that's all I'm taking off!

    Insurance companies are p*****g everyone off these days with trying to stop having to pay out with their small print tactic. Hold firm and strong Bee like you normally do. I know you must feel there are days when you just wish you could walk away from it all, but you'll get there. If anyone can do it, it's you. I wish we could come and help lend a hand in some way xxxx

  8. It's a pity we can't all pop over for a House Raising!

    I sit here, complaining about the house we live in, when you're there, having to argue with the Beeeeeping Insurance Companies about rebuilding yours!

    Puts things in perspective for me. Keep strong and keep writing. Things will get better if you do.


  9. Does insurance cover armchair diagnoses?