I believe that so much of what we're experiencing in Christchurch can be explained with a little something called Maslow's "hierarchy of needs".
I remember learning about it at university and all of what I've written about and feel fits in with the theory.
It's basically a pyramid that explains how the human brain works in terms of prioritising what our focus is. We start with physiological needs (the need for water, air, food and sleep) and those must be met before we will focus on achieving higher level needs as seen in image of a pyramid below.
The second level is security needs (feeling that you and your family are safe), followed by, third, social needs which include feeling like you belong and receiving affection.
Fourth is esteem needs, looking at personal worth and social recognition. Lastly, if you can finally reach the pinnacle then you're focused on self-actualising needs (that means personal growth and being interested in fulfilling your potential).
Before the earthquake I was pretty concerned with the pinnacle of that pyramid. I'd satisfied the bottom portion and was focused on being a better person, fulfilling my potential as Maslow says.
In just a few minutes I dropped to category one - physiological needs. This was one of the most disturbing aspects (mentally, emotionally and spiritually) of the quake. The basics you need to survive have vanished, and your feelings of security have been wiped. A need to feel loved or improve yourself in any way feels irrelevant.
Your vision shifts from long-term goals to daily goals and they're significantly more simplistic. I still haven't got back to that point on the pyramid more than a month on.
I'd say, for most here our basic needs have been satisfied (with water and power back for most).
The next stop in re-establishing feelings of security is much more difficult.
I know most people in Christchurch probably feel the same way. That's why many dread re-entering multi-storey concrete buildings. Or we sneered at Ken Ring and his predictions for March 20 but secretly filled up our cars with petrol and stocked up on water bottles.
Our trust that this city is a safe place to live is shattered and trust takes a while to rebuild. For many of us, that process is only just beginning.
helps explain so much
If you are interested, do read the whole article