Charlotte Murrow Taylor paused, her voice momentarily breaking with emotion, when asked how she was holding up as a volunteer mental health worker for victims of the devastating tornado in Moore, Okla.
She apologized and quickly regained her composure.
“It’s emotionally very taxing. I’m OK,” she said.
To deal with the stress, she recorded her feelings in a journal.
“You can’t leave one of these disasters without leaving a little piece of your heart behind,” she said.
Taylor, 65, a three-time cancer survivor, was dispatched to the area for the Carolina Lowcountry Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Much of her time in Oklahoma was spent listening to people tell their tornado stories. She saw a lot of situational depression and anxiety.
“Sometimes people have to tell their story again and again and again. It’s impossible to get the pain out without repeating the story. They can begin to feel that they are not alone,” she said.
Children expressed their feelings to her through images and behavior. One drew a family with their house fallen behind them. Another knocked all the pieces of a game down.
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