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Please Listen When I Ask You to Turn Off the Weather Channel

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Hurricane season. My least favorite time of year.

The time when every news outlet is blaring coverage of some name methodically chosen by some scientists who do this for a living, and my parents never turn off that one dreaded channel.

The weather channel.

Ever since I was very small, natural disasters have been a huge source of stress for me. I tend to catastrophize, imagining what it would be like if one hit my home. From the ages of 5 to 15, my parents would turn off the news if they knew natural disaster coverage was on its way. As I got a bit older, I learned how to handle it better, so we made a ritual of watching the 7:00 news after dinner.

Now, I am 18 years old and my father refuses to turn off the dreaded weather report. I have sat in my bedroom for nearly the past month trying to drown out the familiar drone of Scott Hetsko and other meteorologists with music and TV. I’ve even resorted to watching children’s shows on repeat to try to get a handle on my stress.

The thing is, I can’t handle hurricanes. I think too much about the people I love that live along the eastern seaboard, and the wonderful people I have met on trips to the Caribbean. This year is worse than any other since there are storms of such magnitude that came. The names Harvey, Irma and Jose are swimming around my head along with images of the floods, the ruined homes and the lives lost.

And yet, I still have to sit in my room trying to drown out the Weather Channel with “My Little Pony.”

I would like to ask those of your with family members who have anxiety to think about how seeing images of these terrible storms might affect them. Please try to understand the situation they are in at the moment, and if they ask you to maybe change the channel to something other than weather, give it some good consideration.

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Thinkstock photo via Harvepino

Originally published: October 17, 2017
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