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After hurricane, signs of a mental-health crisis haunt Puerto Rico

She has not been able to get any more information about her prognosis because her doctor’s offices have been closed.

After hurricane, signs of a mental-health crisis haunt Puerto Rico

Originally published November 13, 2017 at 2:41 pm Updated November 13, 2017 at 2:42 pm

Before the storm, Laura Rodriguez, 39, managed her borderline personality disorder without medication by relying on a strict routine: Early morning CrossFit workouts, long hours at work as an interior designer, going to bed early and never having guests at her home in Río Piedras.

But since Maria hit, her gym had been closed and her therapist had not been working. Neither had she.

“I’m constantly anxious,” she said. “I get these urges to be violent and I can’t control it.”

Memories of the storm were also tormenting her. She had been trapped inside her apartment for two days with her boyfriend, her mother and her mother’s cat. They used plastic tarps, towels, bedsheets and pieces of wood to try to plug the windows where rain water was surging through.

Without access to any of the balms that she typically relied on to stabilize her mood, she was worried about resorting to self-harm, an impulse that she had struggled to control since she was 8 years old. “What if it’s like three months, four months?” she said. “I cannot do this for so long.”

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