This isn't exactly a natural disaster
but I got bitten by a raccoon a few months ago. I get freaked out when I have to go outside at night. I know it sounds stupid, but I had a full blown panic attack.
I know people like to make fun, but they don't realize how horribly this incident has affected me. It left me with $18,000 in medical bills, and I get scared when I need to go outside at night because something might dart up on me.
How do I make the panic attacks go away?
And, if bad enough, counseling. Maybe even medication.
can you see things you would do differently?
Would a flashlight in your hand give you the edge: to see the attacker, and to hit it in self-defense?
Carrying a flashlight would not be strange and unusual, so you wouldn't look odd to passers-by.
See if that would help. You would want one large enough and heavy enough to thwart an animal of 40 lbs max, but not to attack a human.
And practice defending yourself in your mind. What you would look for, what you would do.
Is there anything else that might be good to have in your hand?
Believe me, you are justifiably traumatized, but you can rebuild your defenses and peace of mind.
I went through a year or so of panic attacks...a result of having the earth drop out from under me; not a physical injury, but everything else hurt. I found that if I wasn't going to sleep at 3 am every night, I might as well get paid for it, so I got a paper route. It worked, and I got my feet under me and rebuilt my soul. You need that distraction of something to do instead of panicking, and the flashlight, to show you the way and give you some outside strength.
Good luck, and best wishes.
I wasn't hurt, broke free and ran after a man grabbed me on the street.
I learned to be cautious but not paranoid. Carry something to use in self defense, such as pepper spray, and flashlight. Go with a friend when possible. If you have a garage, park car inside and close garage door before getting out.
The odds this would occur again are very slim, remember. Was the raccoon rabid?