I will try to keep this short. I live in an area that took a direct hit from Sandy. Thankfully we live on the third floor, and are out of the flood zone by literally about 4 blocks, so we didn't have any damage to our building or car. Those nearby were not so lucky and those in basement/1st floor apartments lost everything including our landlord's kids who lost 3 cars and everything on their first floor. We did go 4 days without power but in the scheme of things we are very lucky. What made the situation hard was right before the storm I had a medical situation come to a head - I started having a negative reaction to my migraine medication - sleep disturbances, some weird perceptual effects, and severe anxiety (these are all known but not super common side effects of the med I take). I have been in the process of slowly and safely tapering off the meds but in the mean time, my anxiety levels have been unpredictable and disruptive. I am normally a bit on the anxious side, but between the meds and the storm related stress it has amped it up to where there are times I can barely function, and LordL has been a saint about helping me keep my head together. Either way it's been a rough several weeks. end BG
Now that we have power we have offered that if any of our friends need help, like a place to charge their phones, brew a pot of coffee, or take a hot shower they are welcome to come by our place. Most of our friends live in our city, walking distance from us, so it was more of a "swing by for a bit if you need something" kind of offer. One of our friends lives about an hour away, but works 15 minutes from us. He doesn't have power where he lives with his family but they do have a generator. He called and asked if he could possibly crash at our place so that it would be easier to get to work, since he has such a far drive and there are gas shortages and he doesn't have power where he lives (and they don't expect it to be restored for another 5-7 days). The thing is, we live in a 2 bedroom apartment where we have 1 bedroom set up as an office, so the only crash space is our couch in the living room. The office is also my dressing room and I have to cross through the living room to get there, and the living room is generally not that private (we have a modified railroad style apartment; the bedroom and living room are connected via double doors, and there is a hallway the runs from the kitchen, past the bedroom, to the living room with no door in between; point is the living room is central to the apartment and not very private). Our layout works fine for having people crash for one night but he is talking about possibly several nights.
To be fair, we had said in the past that in the case of an emergency he could crash for a night at our place (we were thinking if there was a blizzard and it wasn't safe for him to drive home but this also counts obviously). But given what is going on with my medical situation and the arrangement we have for guests I am concerned about how it will work. Part of my normal anxiety triggers are social situations and when we have guests I feel like I have to "play host." Our friend is also very chatty and so usually when we hang out I find that after about 3, maybe 4 hours I am all "talked out" - imagining him staying over for several days stresses me out just thinking about it. There is also a city wide curfew of 7 PM because power is still out in places and there is opportunistic crime, so it's not like LordL can take him out somewhere so that I'll have a few hours to myself while he stays here either. But I also feel really bad because we are trying to help whoever and however we can - we have donated supplies, spent today flyering neighborhoods about the red cross shelter that just opened, etc. and it feels really cold to possibly tell him no, or that he can only stay for one night when he needs to be at work all 5 days next week. On the other hand, I spend a good portion of every day addressing my anxiety when it gets too high, and sometimes crying or freaking out a bit when it gets to be too much and I'm not sure that staying with a couple dealing with a medical/personal crisis is a great situation to invite someone into, not to mention the possibility that just him being there will escalate my anxiety as well.
I definitely can't deal with a full 4 nights of having a house guest right now, so what is a reasonable compromise here (if there is one)? He is a good enough friend that we can level with him about the medication/anxiety issue (I already mentioned briefly that I'd been having those sorts of problems the last time we hung out before the storm, but not the full extent of it). But I can't really think of a way to say "having you here for too long will probably stress me out" without it sounding bad, like he is just a source of stress instead of our friend (when in reality it's not personal, having *anyone* here or really any major change to my environment would be disruptive - I am also still coping with stress about how the storm is going to affect my school and work obligations, not to mention my overall concern for all those still affected who we are trying to help by volunteering).
I know this was rambly, thanks for reading