Category: Mental Health


mental health

Over the past 2 years I have dealt with a lot of personal life changing events. From dealing with a loved one who was bipolar and off meds which set off a set of events culminating in his suicide, to having to make life and death decisions within days of traumatic events (SWAT team at my home), to suddenly finding myself a single mom of 4 children and dealing with PTSD to a million of other little things including PCS (post concussion syndrome) to in this moment trying to cope with someone in the end stages of cancer. I am now ready to calmly and openly talk about my own experiences in the hopes that it will help you to mentally prepare for what you may have to deal with.

In this article I will address the issue of bipolar disorder and the consequences of someone with bipolar being off meds. While bipolar disorder is my own personal experience, please keep in mind that thousands of men, women and children in this country deal with mental illness of some sort from panic disorder, to depression to major ones such as bipolar and schizophrenia with medications. Not having medications WILL happen when SHFT happens and is most likely happening to thousands of people who have lost their healthcare due to ObamaCare (and keep in mind that the ‘affordable’ healthcare that was promised is NOT affordable and there are huge deductibles that have to be paid BEFORE the healthcare kicks in so if you think you are safe there, think again and think ahead, but this is another topic).

In this blog I will only speak to my own personal experience with dealing with bipolar disorder in my own home…It made ME feel crazy, anxious and out of control. The other person (in this case it was my youngest daughters father) had grandiose plays, was always scheming, would deliberately sabotage things that I did and then sit there and basically say ‘not me’ and then turn it around on me. I dealt with OCD habits of constantly cleaning, bullying (myself and others), hypersexuality (which wasn’t with me but many other women), drug use/abuse (which at the time I didn’t know about for sure but suspected as money disappeared in large/small amounts). This person would stay up all night and then sleep a few hours (of course it was done just when everyone else in the house was getting up and moving around and then I had to deal with anger because ‘he couldn’t sleep with all the noise). A lot of quazi and veiled threats were made, and some of them on such places as Facebook. Letters were mailed in the same manner to various people in high places because of paranoia and the grandiose manifestation of ego. He would put himself into high risk situations where the probability of death or serious injury was more than likely…I absolutely refused to ride in a car with him after a certain point because of reckless behavior. His bipolar also turned into doing things such as parking places he wasn’t supposed to and then getting angry when the parking ticket showed up. Another time I got a letter from another state when he ran the toll booth without paying. He would disappear for hours, sometimes days with no explanation or flat out lies. All this was when he was manic which is more often than not. Then we had the ‘down’ side to bipolar. He would stay in bed for DAYS at a time not moving, passing up work (with whatever plausible excuse he could come up with), not eating, not taking a shower. Talk was dark and this is when the paranoia really kicked in about how everyone was out to get him, take his stuff or outright trying to hurt him physically or financially.
When it got really out of control, veiled death threats were made to certain public officials in his line of work, physical fights almost occurred whenever he had interaction with other people. He would stand pumping his fist up and down trying to intimidate me or anyone else he felt he needed to control. And when threats and intimidation didn’t work, it could quickly escalate into what I referred to ‘meltdowns’…hysterical crying, passing out, and pulling the ‘I am having a heart attack’ to get out consequences of his behavior. It was pretty bad. Complete lack of responsibility one minute to absolute need to control and drama/chaos at every waking moment. He was unmedicated. In the end, his behavior caused me to ask him to leave which sent off another round of bipolar behavior that included stalking, threats of violence to myself, my dogs and hurting himself. His behavior included melt downs, coming and going as he pleased because he knew what the law was regarding residency in the state we lived in. His behavior became even more bizarre including stalking state officials, going off on rants online (Facebook) and lying beyond all belief in the face of facts. Eventually government officials decided enough was enough and I wound up with the State police at my home one cold day asking questions and trying to get him (on the phone since he would answer it for me and not them) to talk to them. When he led them on a merry dance they (the State police) proceeded to get court orders for his arrest and to search MY HOME even though he hadn’t lived at my home for several weeks. The SWAT team showed up at 8 am and then all hell broke loose. His sister who was also bipolar blamed me. I found out about a lot of things that he had been doing unbeknownst to me, protective orders were issued, computers seized, cell phones taken, tablets taken, bomb sniffing dogs brought in my home…the end of the world as I knew it happened…then the fun part…it is still amazing to me how someone so out of control can turn the tables to their advantage and STILL in the face of big problems, manage to manipulate and continue with grandiose behavior…and the sad part was, that under current mental health laws (as seen recently in the state of Virginia where a state Senator’s son almost killed his father and did in fact kill himself…link) UNLESS someone is an immediate threat to themselves or others, they cannot be detained, NOR under law can someone be forced to take medication unless under court order, which rarely happens unless they display absolute disregard for life of law enforcement. There is virtually no mental health services in this country unless you have insurance and even then, the person in question has to seek it out themselves and WAIT for weeks just to see someone who will then determine if they need meds and well, you know the system…takes forever and meanwhile bad things happen which have a ripple effect.

While in jail he was able to convince the shrink there he was ‘normal’ even though to even one else it was obvious he wasn’t. The courts did nothing, gave him time served and let him go.
I won’t bother with the details from there, but he then swung into the depressive side of bipolar disorder…he realized somewhere that everything had changed and he truly believed that he could never bounce back, make changes and continue to move on. Within four months of the onset of this otherside of bipolar disorder, he committed suicide. He could NOT handle the ‘new reality’ of his life. And this past May his sister also committed suicide (she was another one who refused to get help/meds).

There are many people out there, living and working and leading ‘normal’ lives who have bipolar disorder and other mental health issues. And there are those who are not medicated with pharmaceuticals who self medicate one way or another who may be functional but have problems or are drug addicts, alcoholics, etc. Or just live in their own private hell bouncing along dysfunctionally but getting by somehow.
While I made the painful decisions that I had to make in order keep myself and my family safe in a vacuum of not knowing (at the time), even after his death, I still deal with the fallout of knowing someone who was unmedicated IN NORMAL TIMES. But I move forward.

I guess I am telling my tale so that you, the reader, may get an idea of what it is like to deal with someone with bipolar disorder. There is no getting around it. It is in our society and medications keep the lid on it so that you may not even know that your neighbor, co-worker or the stranger on the street is mentally ill. You may live with someone now who is on medications for mania or depression and you have never seen them off of them.

Reality is this, you, dear reader, need to know the facts. We have seen the headlines in the news with mass shooting where bipolar was a factor in what happened. We who have lived with the unmedicated right here and now WITHOUT a SHTF situation at large know the ugly truth about this disorder. I know for sure that 10’s of thousands of people who are on psychotropic medications live amongst us and as long as the fabric of society holds together, or they still have the money or a way to get their meds (which by the way is only doled out every 30 days and no refills allowed until the last few days) we and they are safe. But as more people loose their health insurance, as more people find out about ObamaCare and when the economic conditions become even worse in time, I truly believe that in our individual lives, we will have to face someone we know, live with or pass by who is no longer medicated. It is a reality shock. Without their medication thousands will behave strangely, destructively, violently, desperately. Then add in a massive change in how we live or survive, it makes my blood cold to think about this. We will go back to the ‘old days’, the jails, as long as they operate, will fill up. Or family’s will go back to keeping family members locked up in their homes. We will face and see a greater up tick in suicides, murders, assaults and even greater emotional stress which will on compound your ability to survive.

I believe we are experiencing this now and have since the economy crashed several years ago. It is not talked about and politicians use the behavior to further their agendas instead of addressing the real issue of mental health in this country. I believe that there are many out there right now who go unnoticed that are dealing with the fallout of mental health issues because they can’t get help, even when its wanted, even when the behavior is harmful to themselves or others. And this is NORMAL society, a society that is still ‘together’ for the moment.

I ask this question now, facing the thought that I know certain mental illnesses are genetic, what if? I have young children who have bipolar disorder on their father’s side of the family. What will I do if I face this issue again within my own children. What will I do if I see it in my next door neighbor? What am I going to do when it really begins to fall apart and more and more people go off meds, or can’t get them, can’t afford them? For we WILL see them in society, in our homes, living next to us. What then?

I ask this question now because many people over look this factor and have NO PLAN AT ALL. Having a plan to deal with friends, family members, co-workers or plain strangers who have mental illness is just as much a part of being prepared as is having beans, bullets and band aids. For many this skeleton doesn’t even cross their mind because ‘they don’t know anyone’ or ‘live with someone’ who has a mental illness. Or they do know or live with someone who is on mood altering medications and overlook it.

Just as having a plan to survive without power, we all need to have a plan on how to deal with those who will be forced off meds or perhaps pushed beyond their coping limits. It will not be a pretty plan, but it needs some thought and thinking about it ahead of time, planning for the possibility of what may or may not need doing to keep you and yours safe (including them) is something to think about NOW…not when you are in the middle of it.

Or perhaps you are in the middle of it right now, just coping as best as you can while it is ‘normal’. Think about what you will do when it gets WORSE after something happens that upsets the status quo of right now.

Mental illness is a serious safety and survival issue….and a tipping point will come when you will somehow be touched by mental illness in this world. What will you do when faced in dealing with it without the benefit of outside help?

Give some thought based on your own situation and circumstances. This is no different than planning for dealing with medical issues or medical emergencies. You just won’t ‘see’ it or know about it like heart conditions, diabetes or a gun shot wound.

With the world changing quickly and not getting better we all need to think about this safety issue and that is what it truly is, a matter of safety for all concerned. You might not like the answers you come up with but it is better to have unhappy answers than none at all. Trust me, been there, done that.

Stay safe and be prepared.

Normalcy Bias

Yet again I return to blog after a long absence…the past year and a half has taught me A LOT about me personally and those around me when SHFT happens. Some people disappear, others are very supportive and helpful, and others take advantage. I have also learned that there are those who might stick around, be helpful for a while but in the end, the pressure is just too much and they ‘disappear’ into their own world. All in all, I have figured out who I can and cannot count on and the list is a very short one. Sad really to realize that most people cannot or will not be around when and if anything truly life altering happens. But I am trying to look at it this way, better to know NOW than to continue to believe that certain people will have my back if and when things go south. But I have learned this past year a few hard lessons about normalcy bias and people, including myself and you are prone to it…

What is normalcy bias?

Normalcy bias

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia….

The normalcy bias, or normality bias, refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.[1]

Possible causes

The normalcy bias may be caused in part by the way the brain processes new data. Research suggests that even when the brain is calm, it takes 8–10 seconds to process new information. Stress slows the process, and when the brain cannot find an acceptable response to a situation, it fixates on a single and sometimes default solution that may or may not be correct. An evolutionary reason for this response could be that paralysis gives an animal a better chance of surviving an attack; predators are less likely to eat prey that isn’t struggling.[2]

Effects

The normalcy bias often results in unnecessary deaths in disaster situations. People will freeze, emotionally, psychologically and physically. The lack of preparation for disasters often leads to inadequate shelter, supplies, and evacuation plans. People make the assumption that ‘its nothing’ or that someone else will take care of the problem or them. Even when all these things are in place, individuals with a normalcy bias often refuse to leave their homes. Studies have shown that more than 70% of people check with others before deciding to evacuate.[2]

The normalcy bias also causes people to drastically underestimate the effects of the disaster. Therefore, they think that everything will be all right, while information from the radio, television, or neighbors gives them reason to believe there is a risk. This creates a cognitive dissonance that they then must work to eliminate. Some manage to eliminate it by refusing to believe new warnings coming in and refusing to evacuate (maintaining the normalcy bias), while others eliminate the dissonance by escaping the danger. The possibility that some may refuse to evacuate causes significant problems in disaster planning.[3]   

Examples

Not limited to, but most notably: The Nazi genocide of millions of Jews. Even after knowing friends and family were being taken against their will, the Jewish community still stayed put, and refused to believe something was “going on.” Because of the extreme nature of the situation it is understandable why most would deny it.

Little Sioux Scout camp in June 2008. Despite being in the middle of “Tornado Alley,” the campground had no tornado shelter to offer protection from a strong tornado.[4]

New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina. Inadequate government and citizen preparation and the denial that the levees could fail were an example of the normalcy bias, as were the thousands of people who refused to evacuate.[citation needed]

During the September 11 attacks, many in the World Trade Center returned to their offices during the evacuation to turn off their computers and ultimately died when the towers collapsed.[citation needed]

Normalcy Bias has also been used to help explain why the United States continues to raise its national debt ceiling, which now exceeds 107% of its Gross Domestic Product. Historically, the US has held a very high credit rating of AAA, however, the growing concern over US monetary policy lead to the United States federal government credit-rating downgrade to AA+ by Standard & Poor in 2011. Later that same year, GAO Comptroller Gene Dodaro warned memebers of Congress that the current national debt is “unsustainable” at a time where the Debt-to-GDP ratio was considerably less at 73%.[5]

Included into ‘normalcy bias’ is the idea that ‘its somebody else’s problem’:

Somebody Else’s Problem

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Somebody Else’s Problem (also known as Someone Else’s Problem or SEP) is a psychological effect where individuals/populations of individuals choose to dissociate themselves from an issue that may be in critical need of recognition. Such issues may be of large concern to the population as a whole but can easily be a choice of ignorance by an individual. Author Douglas Adams‘ description of the condition, which he ascribes to a physical “SEP field,” has helped make it a generally recognized phenomenon. Somebody Else’s Problem used to capture public attention on matters that may have been overlooked and has less commonly been used to identify concerns that an individual suffering symptoms of depression should ignore. This condition has also been employed as trivial shorthand to describe factors that are “out of scope” in the current context.[1]

Psychology

Various areas of psychology and philosophy of perception are concerned with the reasons why individuals often ignore issues that are of relative or critical importance. Optimism bias tends to reduce issues of subjectivity due to the tendency to have thought processes that are overly positive- “Overly positive assumptions can lead to disastrous miscalculations — make us less likely to get health checkups, apply sunscreen or open a savings account, and more likely to bet the farm on a bad investment.”[2]

Where multiple individuals simultaneously experience the same stimulus, diffusion of responsibility and/or the bystander effect may release individuals from the need to act, and if no-one from the group is seen to act, each individual may be further inhibited by conformity. An example of such instances would be the murder of Kitty Genovese, who on March 13, 1964 was stabbed and killed outside of her apartment building. “Most of the evidence suggests that at least half a dozen-and perhaps many more-of her 30 or so neighbours heard the events but failed to come to her aid. Most didn’t even bother to call the police.”[3]

When individuals are exposed to a multitude of messages about pressing matters of concern- information overload (now also known as Information Fatigue Syndrome) may be a result. In Joseph Ruff’s article “Information Overload: Causes, Symptoms and Solutions” Ruff states, “Once capacity is surpassed additional information becomes noise and results in a decrease in information processing and decision quality”. [4] A student who has spent the entire semester socializing instead of studying would find themselves in a state of information overload the day before a final exam for example.

There may also be a tendency to argue that since a proposed solution does not fit a problem entirely then the entire solution should be discarded. This is an example of a perfect solution fallacy. “This fallacy is often employed by those who believe no action should be taken on a particular issue and use the fallacy to argue against any proposed action”.[5]

However, taking responsibility for negative events that are outside an individual’s control is related to depression and learned helplessness.[6] Part of the solution is to help the individual to realistically assign a proportion of responsibility to herself/himself, parents and others (step I in the RIBEYE cognitive behavioral therapy problem-solving method).[6][7][8]

 

And on top of this, many have the idea that ‘others’ will be there to make things better for them (ie police officers, doctors, FEMA, Red Cross, Social Services). Really??? I can tell you differently as can many others who have lost jobs, lost loved ones, a home, the only vehicle they had and many other SHFT senarios.

Esther Inglis-Arkell explains normalcy bias:

The frozen calm of normalcy bias

When disaster strikes, some people lose their heads, some people become cool and effective, but by far most people act as if they’ve suddenly forgotten the disaster. They behave in surprisingly mundane ways, right up until it’s too late. Around the world, researchers are wondering how to combat normalcy bias.

If you spend the beginning of your flights staring in disbelief at the cabin crew gesturing towards the emergency exits and asking you to look at them and think about walking to them in an emergency, you may be surprised that doing exactly that has saved one person. When two planes collided just above a runway in Tenerife in 1977, a man was stuck, with his wife, in a plane that was slowly being engulfed in flames. He remembered making a special note of the exits, grabbed his wife’s hand, and ran towards one of them. As it happened, he didn’t need to use it, since a portion of the plane had been sheared away. He jumped out, along with his wife and the few people who survived. Many more people should have made it out. Fleeing survivors ran past living, uninjured people who sat in seats literally watching for the minute it took for the flames to reach them.

This isn’t unique behavior, although plane crashes provide the most dramatic examples. People seeking shelter during tornadoes and cyclones are often called back, or delayed, by people doing normal activities, who refuse to believe the emergency is happening. These people are displaying what’s known as normalcy bias. About 70% of people in a disaster do it. Although movies show crowds screaming and panicking, most people move dazedly through normal activities in a crisis. This can be a good thing; researchers find that people who are in this state are docile and can be directed without chaos. They even tend to quiet and calm the 10-15% of people who freak out.

The downside of the bias is the fact that they tend to retard the progress of the 10-15% of people who act appropriately. The main source of delay masquerades as the need to get more data. Scientists call this “milling.” People will usually get about four opinions on what’s going on and what they should do before taking any action — even in an obvious crisis. People in emergency situations report calling out to others, asking, “What’s going on?” When someone tells them to evacuate, or to take shelter, they fail to comply and move on, asking other people the same question.

This isn’t entirely loopy behavior. If something minor seems wrong, in your neighborhood, office, or home, it’s hardly inappropriate to ask the people around what’s happening. And how many of us have heard a suspicious noise nearby, paused for a moment, and then thought, “I’m sure it’s nothing,” and gone back to what we were doing? The problem comes when, even when it is obviously something, people stay in denial.

There are a lot of theories for why this occurs. There’s the shock itself, and the time it takes to process it. Even people who are well-trained and well-informed lose some of their knowledge and physical acumen under extreme pressure. Some researchers blame instincts. Animals that don’t struggle during an attack by an overwhelmingly large predator are sometimes left alone. The passivity indicates sickness or poison, and puts off the predator. Faced with a threat that’s overwhelmingly enormous, people may instinctively become passive as well.

Other researchers believe those with normalcy bias are playing the odds. People step onto dangerous-looking roller coasters every day and scare themselves half to death, trusting that, no, the situation their instincts are screaming about couldn’t possibly really be happening. Rounding out the theories about normalcy bias is the idea that people need information in order to act. If people don’t know how to deal with a situation, they can’t begin to deal with it, so they don’t begin to deal with it.

Nothing can be done about sudden shocks and natural instincts, so most researchers try to deal in increased information. This is why we’re given countless safety lectures. Look at the exits and plan your exit route. In the event of an earthquake, a fire, a flood, do this. Drills and practices, even if only done in a person’t imagination, at least give them the basic tools that they need when dealing with an emergency.

More complicated, from a policy standpoint, is the need to personalize the risk. This information — that the present disaster will harm you, yes you, so take action — is the hardest to accurately disseminate. People mill, asking for opinions, because they want to be told that everything is fine. They will keep asking, and delaying, until they get the answer they want. In a completely alien emergency situation — such as a downed, flaming plane — people think of the likelihood that they’re mistaken about the nature of the emergency, and the consequences for screwing up if they take personal action. Although early warning systems, alarms, and alerts proliferate, very few things manage to get through to specific people that they are in personal danger, that they are on their own, and that they need to take steps to save themselves.

http://io9.com/the-frozen-calm-of-normalcy-bias-486764924

 Plan Ahead

  Of course, these are extreme examples…if you really sat down and looked at your life you will find that you too have done things based upon ‘normal’ that could have or did create situations that made life more difficult for yourself/others or put you in a position that might have been life threatening or financially ruinous… If things or events do not ‘fit’ into their idea of normal or the way that they believe life works then they tend to either stick their head in the sand and pretend that it isn’t happening or it is very temporary situation (both of which by the way can get you killed in the end). Or they back away from you because its beyond their ability to understand, empathize or scares them so badly because they can and do understand and empathize because they can see it happening potentially to them…so they back away like you have the plague.  This is a very personal example. And I will admit, that in the past 1 ½ I have done things out of my own normalcy bias…I was used to having 2 incomes and spent beyond my means which has put me in a, shall we say, interesting position. But the good news there is that because of this financial normalcy bias that I carried for a while, I have had to branch out into other avenues to make money, save money and otherwise redefine my life. Looking back I can see where I have been given grace in my life to make mistakes without real harm occurring (at least nothing that will get me in bankruptcy or foreclosure or otherwise making a further mess of life!) and it has given me a glimpse into what I believe will become the financial normal in the coming years for many people as our economy continues downward. For me, its already normal which puts me ahead of the game. I have had crop failure do to weather (too much rain) and am working on a solution for that. Business drop off drastically (thank goodness for food storage!) only to pick back up and push me to expand what I do and how I do it. Experienced my own mental health issues and assorted accidents and learned how to handle these without ‘professional’ medical care and in the process learned a lot about myself and how to help others now and in the future (more great skills learned!). I have no health insurance and with ObamaCare coming to your world soon, I do believe that there will be a new ‘normal’ and many won’t be able to deal with it…I have seen death up close and continue to prepare for more death within my own family due to health issues, but I feel I am more prepared thanks to a certain event last summer. I have watched people close to me deal with addiction and fall face first deeply into it. Denial is powerful (normalcy bias) but eventually you have to deal with it and make choices and decisions. I am now a proud single mom in charge of a house and land and have learned what I can and cannot do…I could go on and on, but lets just say that through my own experiences in the past year, my own ‘normalcy bias’ has smacked me in the face and awoken me to where I do and don’t do things in emergency or changing circumstances that cause myself and others harm. Its tough to fight. We all have our ideas that ‘it won’t happen to us’ or ‘those things only happen to others’ or we believe that we can handle whatever will happen thank you very much and we are ‘prepared’ to deal with life’s setbacks, weather emergencies, death, job loss, etc. I would ask you this…really? I used to believe that too, until it happened to me, one thing after another. The hardest part is changing your mind set and being courageous and brave enough to do what needs doing in the midst of chaos. Being able to have a survivors mindset. Of course, we all have our moments when it just becomes too much to handle and then break down someway. But for a survivor, it means you cry or do whatever and then get moving to make it better. Acceptance and the ability to quickly move from denial into acceptance is the key for surviving whatever may come your way. Staying in denial or stuck in grief will get you hurt or killed…period. Normalcy bias is denial in its strongest form and grief/shock is the sister to denial.

After a year and a half I am finally adjusting to my ‘new normal’ and have found that as things in my life change I am getting much, much better at quickly moving from what ‘was normal’ to what is ‘now normal’ much more easily, I am able to move more quickly from denial and trying to keep things ‘normal’ into solution oriented ‘new normal’ to make things ‘normal’ again…adjust and move is what I like to call it. And the biggest part is within my own mind and not falling into despair or depression about things I cannot control and learning to find the ways and means to control that which I can. Letting go things that really don’t matter and figuring out what really does matter. That part is continual and ongoing right at this moment as my life changes continually, I have accepted this and am getting used to it.

So, anyway…I guess the next question becomes what can be done to ‘prevent’ normalcy bias?

For major events its called PLANNING to reduce normalcy bias:

The negative effects of normalcy bias can be combated through the four stages of disaster response:

  • preparation, including publicly acknowledging the possibility of disaster and forming contingency plans[citation needed]
  • warning, including issuing clear, unambiguous, and frequent warnings and helping the public to understand and believe them[citation needed]
  • impact, the stage at which the contingency plans take effect and emergency services, rescue teams, and disaster relief teams work in tandem[citation needed]
  • aftermath, or reestablishing equilibrium after the fact by providing supplies and aid to those in need[citation needed

You can break the above suggestions down to apply to your own personal life…preparation…simply acknowledging that something is possible and making plans to handle it in some manner will make your life easier as you go through your own personal SHFT…extra food, medicine, back up ways to accomplish things that need to be done, etc. the list is endless…the whole point is acknowledging that it CAN HAPPEN TO YOU and then putting precaution in place to help yourself out when it does happen.

Warnings… personally we have to be on the look out for signs that something maybe about to happen and not fall into the trap of overlooking or not believing that it is or potentially could happen. If the mother of the Sandyhook shooter had believed the warning signs her son was displaying and then took action as much as she could (ie removing the firearms from her house) I truly believe that this tragedy would have not happened as easily as it did.

Impact…this goes along with preparation, your preps will help to mitigate the impact of the crisis.

Aftermath…again, this goes with preps and is the end result of preparation.

But first things first, we must look at ourselves closely and root out, see and understand where our own normalcy bias is and then take the steps to help ourselves, because if you believe there is someone else out there that will make it better for you, or a pill will make it all better, then you are deeply in denial and I wish you the best when the SHTF occurs. I have been there, done that and know first hand just how normalcy bias can hurt you…so get yourself in gear! Play the what if game and go from there.

Some places to start are:

Loss of job

Loss of transportation

Loss of public services including power, water, doctors, police

Grocery stores or banks closed

Internet/cell phone down

Loss of loved one (especially ones that you depend upon for help and partnership in getting things done)

Do you really know your neighbors? Do you know how they would act in a given situation?

The above are just suggestions to start thinking about what you believe about the world…don’t be afraid to go down the rabbit hole with these, think it out, plan, prepare and then go out and live your life.

Good luck and Bless You

chaosgodWell, it has been one heck of a past year. A year in which my life went upside down, twisted inside out and taught me a lot about self-reliance, trust, faith, courage and just how far down the emotional and mental rabbit hole one can go when SHTF happens. Never mind the details, but lets just say that after a nasty run in with several governmental agencies of the law enforcement type due to the behavior of someone who at the time was close to me, followed by all the fun police action entails (mind you I did NOTHING wrong myself but that is another topic for later), sudden loss of income on several levels, the acts of nature that came afterwards and then top off by the sudden death of someone close to me (by suicide, and I found him)…and well, I am just happy that I still have my home, my kids and one car left. I can laugh about it now in some ways…but one thing is for sure…I have LEARNED the hard way about being prepared for whatever may happen. Made a lot of mistakes along the way in the past 12 months, but hey, I am human and I am still standing.

I am still dealing with the fall out of the last year, but am now able to look back and say, that was right, this could have been done better and what were the lessons I learned?

First things first, if you think it can’t happen to you, it will…just ask them up in New York and New Jersey about Sandy. Just ask anyone who has lost a job or source of income/job that looked and seemed rock solid and just ask anyone who has lost someone due to suicide or some other untimely death or has had their life shattered by any type of trauma. It can happen to you.

That is lesson number #1…IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU…this idea that so many people have (or should I say ‘illusions’?) that if they do everything right, walk the line, go along with the flow will give them safety and security in this world is a and can be a fatal one. See and understand this…preparedness is the ability to get past this idea that ‘it can’t happen’ or ‘it won’t happen’ or ‘I have done nothing wrong and abide the rules and laws’ or ‘it has never happened before’ or ‘oh, the chances are almost slim to nothing’ or any of a million other things we say to ourselves to make the world a safe place for us to live. The super storms of this past summer…never happened before…Superstorm Sandy…oh they will help us and/or its not that bad and/or it never happens here…it is safe to speak your mind and rant and rave on the internet…its just harmless talk and the 1st Amendment protects me (are you nuts?) or any number of things (um, can we say QE3 and 4? Or Sandyhook? Or the movie theater shootings)…say bleeettt if you have managed to avoid taking a hard look at the world we live and not come to the conclusion that you need to get as prepared as you possibly can (shall I begin to cite statistics on unemployment or how many people get foodstamps now?) while you can.

I got rolled on this lesson this past year, as wave after wave of change, chaos and quiet frankly traumatic events kept coming at me…never in a million years did I ever believe that my door would be kicked in by SWAT and FBI agents, especially since nobody around me did anything ‘wrong’ (I have since redefined what that means and adjusted somewhat accordingly). But they did. I never thought it possible that I would find myself in a situation where I was asked to save my own skin over someone else’s. (And I took the middle road there, I am not a rat, bring it on). Never thought I would take a hit on 3 different fronts financially either (the old never keep all your eggs in one basket rule) all within 3 months of each other. Never in a million years could I possibly conceive of talking to someone one minute and then 10 minutes later finding their body, let alone have to deal with powerful storms one after another at the sametime that knocked out power for 10 days (ask them sheeple up in Fairfax how it worked for them). And I certainly never thought that I would have to deal with PTSD, I am a tough bird after all. But IT HAPPENED TO ME! Ever wonder what YOU would do IF you found yourself facing the inconceivable? ARE YOU PREPARED IN ANYWAY? got extra food in the house? have a community to lean on? another source of income? extra toliet paper or the knowledge how to stay off mind altering substances to cope?

And through all of this life went on and did go on including all the everyday ordinary BS that comes with living in this modern world and such…kids, dogs (did I forget to mention that I had to put down 2 good dogs and another almost died in the midst of all this? oh yeah, and kept my customers happy and the laundry done and food cooked?)…see just because crap is hitting the fan in your life and quite possible those around you to one extent or another doesn’t mean that the ordinary details of life get to go unattended. You get to deal with that too, on top of the storm, on top of the death, on top of the major illness, on top of the job loss, on top…well, the list goes on and on.

You may THINK you can handle anything that comes your way, but have you really stopped and played that evil game called what if? It may drive you nuts at first, but part of being prepared is PLANNING…LOSS PREVENTION, Mitigation, controlling what you can…and being aware that it IS THE SMALL STUFF that will make or break you in the end.

I have spent alot of time, effort and money getting prepared in many ways…the storms that came through were a big inconvience and uncomfortable but I was at least physically ready for them…income loss was a tough one since I have never had my income cut in half overnight with no warning but I am thankful for my forethought in keeping a well packed pantry (which is now being replenished) and that I didn’t listen to others that told me sock away the money instead. I am thankful that I had a background in medicine and mental health…it HELPED tremendously and at the very least I KNEW there were healthy ways of dealing with things once the shock and denial wore off. And I learned real quick who my community was and wasn’t, who I could count on and couldn’t (now that was an eye opener), how long I could go without going grocery shopping (several months) and that grief will make you and others do really strange, unusual and nasty things.

So if anything this past year has taught me is this…IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU and IT WILL EVENTUALLY…I have come to look at ‘preparedness’ and ‘survival’ and TEOTWAWKI in a much broader scope…its not just about hurricanes, tornados or a large scale collapse…but its also about your own life and that of your family…what happens to you to end YOUR WORLD doesn’t has to happen to others…and you know what? MOST PEOPLE WILL NOT CARE ABOUT YOU, YOUR FAMILY OR YOUR SURVIVAL…it is entirely up TO YOU…not that a lone wolf will survive, but in ‘normal’ times, when SHTF in your personal life, others will be too busy or unsure to help and frankly, may in fact start behaving like buzzards smelling blood…ugly thought, but true..so my question is this…are you prepared?

Be prepared, be aware and be ready…and remember, it can happen to you!

Life altering event, SHTF, TEOTWAWKI….all things that in the end, mean the same thing…our life has changed and not in a good way and will most likely never go ‘back’ to the way that we knew it to be ‘before’.  The past year for me personally has been like a long, drawn out SHTF event…a series of events that culminated in a real, honest to God, NOT GOOD SHTF event. My life turned upside down and inside out for good.

While most of the world was rolling on at the end of January, I found myself dealing with law enforcement, the state, personal issues and facing life threatening, life altering, never to be the same again events. I truly did nothing wrong, (heck, I am so up tight about doing things right that you will rarely find me speeding or not paying a bill on time) but it was someone close to me who, unbeknownst to me, who was sticking his head up to get it mowed by ‘them’. He didn’t really do anything other than run his mouth (and I will say he RAN IT)…but the saying ‘loose lips sinks ships’ is apt here. And the Titanic went down.

Misunderstandings occurred, miscommunication happened, no one was stepping back or down, everyone was right and everyone else was wrong…things got out of hand…people got scared and people got angry. People over-reacted and people shied away or looked the other way. Communication either did or didn’t happened and not in a good way…it became a my-way or the highway type of deal…the ball rolled and gained speed and then the ball hit the wall and splat happened and oh my, what a mess…and here I sit on the otherside, my life changed, altered and forever different (hmm… I just realized as I finished writing these sentences just how much that sounds a lot like what is happening all over the country and world now for various reasons…a recipe for kaboom).

The actually event was horrible…never in a million years did I ever believe I would find myself on the wrong end of an assault rifle, my house gone through inch by inch, being asked tons of questions about things that I had no clue about or hadn’t given much thought to, personal property taken and what SHTF really is. I don’t want to say too much about ‘the event’ and what caused it, sometimes allowing sleeping dogs to go back to sleep is the best policy, but I have, in the past three months, learned a lot about the world we live in that previously, I had only theory and ideas about… I have learned a lot about power and influence of social media and the internet, law enforcement in my area (and trust me when I tell you I do believe they are still the good guys. All people involved were very polite, respectful and did things ‘right’. I have no issues with how anyone did their job and I cannot stress that enough to you), the judicial system, how much fear is truly out there in the world, power plays and my own reactions to life threatening/altering events. My life changed at the end of January to never be the same again. My perspective has changed and things will never be the same again. Over the next couple of weeks I will be sharing some things that have become crystal clear to me about the world we live in now such as knowing (and I mean KNOWING) what your friends and family are up to (transparency is very important), the good and bad of social media/the internet and other such goodies and nuggets of gold that I have found in the pile that I have been swimming through as of late.

Why am I writing this? Because there are lessons that should be shared with the world, conclusions that I have come to that should be shared and an underlying need to say to many, ‘you may THINK you are prepared’ but you never know how prepared you are until it happens to YOU.

Much is said and made of in the preparedness world about beans, bullets and band-aids. Many talk about making plans, thinking ‘what if’ and then making plans based upon ‘what if’. This is all well and good…but the truth is this…you never KNOW how you will react, what you will do, if you have done things ‘right’ and planned well until you are neck deep in the doo-doo and cannot ‘do’ anymore to ‘be ready’. Stop and think about that for a minute. It is like a hidden secret that many of us don’t want to face…the unknown factor if you will…YOU in the middle of ‘it’. We are all born with the fight/flight response and we all have a certain amount of resiliency available to us. We all have our own faith (or lack there of), sense of trust and individual constructs of the world (how we see and make sense of the world). Many of these things that I have just mentioned are developed over time and vary from person to person based upon our personal histories and backgrounds. And this is what I want you to think about while you are ‘preparing’. Take an inventory of yourself, take stock of those around you and take the time away from doing to go within and think about yourself, how you personally react to normal, run of the mill stresses and even some of the bigger ones (divorce, loss of job, etc.) How do your friends and family react to these things? Thought provoking yes? Let me say this…in ‘the big one’, the ‘big’ event, those things you see in yourself and others will be magnified tenfold.

Sometimes I think as people who are ‘preparing’ we get way too focused on the doing and having and ‘things’ that we loose our perspective on the most basic, most important element…US. Who WE are deep down inside. Our own strengths and weaknesses. Our own personal demons and angels. Ourselves, exactly who we are as an individual which will be the MOST important thing in any SHFT or TEOTWAWKI event. And then taking stock of who is around us will be next most important. All the plans and preps will be for nothing if you freeze or fall apart or go ballistic when it hits because you won’t be able to respond or respond appropriately. Again, ask any police officer or vet if this is a true statement. So first and foremost in all of your prepping is to know thyself and the others around you.

Knowing yourself and those around you…this is just as important as having beans, bullets and bandages in your preparedness kit. Just ask any combat vet, police officer or anyone else who has a ‘dangerous’ or high level of risk job about this and they will tell you the same…you never know until it happens, but the more you know the better off you will be, the safer you will be and the better able to respond you will be. If you know in your heart of hearts that you could never take another’s life, well, then by all means make sure you have a way to insulate yourself from having to do so. If you know that your husband can’t handle more than one thing at a time then accept it and adapt your plans. If you know or come to realize that Billy-Bob next door has an explosive personality and can’t even handle a dog taking a whiz on his grass, figure on him being one of ‘those’ that you may have to defend against. If you know that your son or daughter falls apart at the least little bit of change in plans…well, then make some of your now daily routines fit into a prepared/SHFT routine. Why? Why take a step back and take a look at yourself and others on a deeper level? Because what you don’t know or don’t want to see or accept can get you killed or into trouble that you don’t need and what you do know can be changed, adapted, molded or fixed so you and yours can survive and thrive.

I understand that you or nor I will never truly know what we are made of unless or until the something wicked this way comes arrives on our doorstep and doesn’t bother to knock. But like storing beans, bullets and band aids, we also have our ‘personal stores’ to take stock of and treat similarly to the material things we collect. We do not live in a bubble and all of our preps will be for nothing if we fall apart or someone we count on goes MIA.

I am okay, not untouched, not unchanged, but have found a new balance and perspective and am putting my life back together piece by piece…I have a new found respect, appreciation and insight into/for law enforcement, the judicial system and the power of the internet/social media. I also have a new found appreciation and respect for myself and my own strengths and resiliency, and where I am challenged personally. I have yet again, found holes in my own preparations for the changing world, but at the sametime, I have found new ways of doing things and new ways to prepare that I had never even thought about. A new awareness has become apart of me and new spoke of being prepared has been added, and for these things, I am grateful for the SHTF.

Prepared people are positive people…let me repeat that…preppers are preparing because they are POSITIVE people. They do not lie to themselves, they see the world for what it is, they have seen the possibilities of ‘danger’ or ‘possible problems’ and have decided to take positive action. Preppers believe this…they can! You CAN! Positive action come from positive thoughts…that something CAN BE DONE and they, in fact are powerful enough to effect change in their own lives. Maybe they can’t change the world in which they live, but they most certainly can change their own lives and have an effect on the outcome of a negative event or situation.

The following I have posted on my Facebook account, under Rev. Laura Bradley and is what inspired this blog:

Positive Thinkers: a reminder from our angels: Positive thinking requires seeing life in a clear light, without lies or pretense. Positive thinkers do not lie to themselves. Often people set out to practice positive thinking, and they end up denying difficulties, disregarding pain, and practicing grandiose wishful thinking. All this is only a form of positive lying. Think about how positive your own thinking is and find ways to strengthen your resolve against the negative, without lies or pretense…you can be positive even while seeing negative and naming it for what it is.

Norman Vincent Peale wrote a groundbreaking book in 1951 entitled ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’ and for the last 55 years, we’ve heard alot about the power that positive thinking brings. Positive thinkers have to be creative and intelligent in their thinking. Positive thinkers look beyond difficulties for creative solutions, seeing the difficulties in a clear light so that clear solutions will surface. On the otherhand, negative thinkers see difficulties in dark hues of hopeless despair and become overwhelmed and defeated by difficulties. We always have the choice to turn the lights on and take a good look at what we are dealing with, and we are always free to assume the best (without lying to ourselves or pretense or pretending).

I have taken this from Angel Wisdom by Terry Lynn Taylor and Mary Beth Crain and have taken the liberty to change a bit 🙂

Hmm…creative? No lying to ourselves? Turning the ‘light’ on? Assuming the best? Don’t deny difficulties or possible difficulties? Finding ways to strength themselves and their resolve against negativity? Gee…that sounds like a prepared person to me…and that is a positive thinker!

I have heard and seen the terms ‘doomers’ but is someone really a doomer? A doomer, by definition, is someone who sees nothing but the negative in this world and does nothing to counteract the negativity or sets about using negative measures to counteract the negative they see in the world…you may know the type and often will hear these sorts of comments: What’s the point? I can’t change anything. What will be will be (as they do nothing to help themselves). I don’t want to know anymore! Someone will come to help us/me if that does happen. And I am sure you can come up with even more statements yourself about doomer thinking or maybe not. Positive thinkers have a hard time thinking like a doomer!

Personally, I wouldn’t bother preparing me and my family against the coming storm(s) if I didn’t believe that we could survive and then thrive afterwards. And that is a positive attitude. To see the potential threat, name it, claim it, own it and then do what I can, where I can, when I can, to get through it as best as possible, so that when the dust settles, me and mine are still standing (hopefully with health intact).

But I will say this, positive thinkers pay attention, see the problem and then take steps to counteract the lies, problems and issues that are inherent in the situation that they are preparing to face, survive and then thrive in spite of. They do not DWELL upon the problem, they get to problem solving. While a positive person may see and name the negative forces or fact (and they certainly seem to be overwhelming at times) they get to problem solving as soon as possible. They may share what they see with others, but then encourage others in the same breath to get to problem solving themselves. If you can’t see the problem, then you are lying to yourself and that goes directly against positive thinking…you can’t ignore or hide or deny the problem exists and be a positive thinker. And you can’t stick your head in the sand assuming that someone else will ‘fix’ the problem for you. Positive thinking requires action of some sort.

Each person who is getting ready ‘for what may come, in whatever form it may come’ sees what they see. Some are aware at higher levels than others, and that is okay. Some of us prepare for literal ‘storms’ such as hurricanes, floods, tornadoes. Some of us take it a step further and have identified other threats that can be from the fragility of our economy (loss of job), to the interconnectedness of our world financial situation, to peak oil, to the erosion of civil and constitutional rights and maybe even identifying that our country cannot continue along as it has with our governments fiscal policies. You name it, we all get prepared for different reasons, but that is okay! It is all identifying a potential negative force in our life, over which we may not be able to effect change at a level to PREVENT the negative influence, so we take steps to mitigate its effects on a personal level. We feel that we have the power to effect positive changes in our own lives to help guard against the negative outside influences that may or may not directly effect us at some time in the future. We are positive in our outlook that we can survive and maybe thrive through what may come in the future.

We are aware, creative and problem solving and learning each and everyday in our preparations for an uncertain future.

We are POSITIVE thinkers, not doom and gloomers. We are just aware and take positive steps for our future while others walk down the road of negative thinking…

Positive thinking requires seeing life in a clear light, without lies or pretense. Positive thinkers do not lie to themselves. Often people set out to practice positive thinking, and they end up denying difficulties, disregarding pain, and practicing grandiose wishful thinking. All this is only a form of positive lying. Think about how positive your own thinking is and find ways to strengthen your resolve and your life against the negative, without lies or pretense…you can be positive even while seeing negative and naming it for what it is.

Positive thinkers have to be creative and intelligent in their thinking. Positive thinkers look beyond difficulties for creative solutions, seeing the difficulties in a clear light so that clear solutions will surface.

On the otherhand, negative thinkers see difficulties in dark hues of hopeless despair and become overwhelmed and defeated by difficulties. They may choose different path ways to overcome ‘difficulties’ but those ways usually involve allowing others to do the work for themselves whether by denial or through directly abdicating their freedom and control over their very lives through dependence.

 

We always have the choice to turn the lights on and take a good look at what we are dealing with, and we are always free to assume the best…that we can overcome through being prepared…

Lets talk…seriously, lets have a dialogue here and now about personal responsibility because at the heart of being ‘prepared’ is the idea of personal responsibility and taking responsibility for your future. Is personal responsibilty dead? Not for those who are ‘prepared’, not for those who deal with life on life’s terms… Its not about fear, its not about being afraid of the unknown nor being angry with politicians or corporations nor about feeling like the sky is about to fall in, though certainly these can all be catalysts and a spring board for wanting to be prepared and personal responsibilty is often at the heart of people doing the right thing…(is that why we are so fascinated with the news? are we looking for those who are responsible? examples that justify us in not being responsible ourselves?) It is well known and understood that human beings are generally self-seeking, self-centered and very short sighted…we would do well to remember that this is part of immaturity and that as we age, we are somehow supposed to outgrow this and become ‘mature’, meaning, we become ‘responsible individuals’ and personally responsible for our actions or lack there of and not expect to remain forever in a state of immaturity. The mature adult is rational and can see outside of him/herself and can see beyond the immediate, in the now, moment and can rise above base impulses sent forth from the reptilian part of the brain that seeks only to ensure its own survival and pleasure (though it is useful in dangerous situations!) It seems to me that over the past few decades, that many people have abdicated their personal responsibility in making responsible choices that not only take into account their own wants, needs and desires but those with whom they interact either directly or not. We as a people have chosen, even subconsciously, to allow others to take of us and decide what is in ‘our best interests’ and to ‘make’ us safe for whatever reasons so that ‘we’ may just listen to that part of the brain that tells us ‘if it feels good do it’ and not have to worry about our future and instead, be continual children under the hand of a parent. For some, it is out of necessity because we/they simply struggle to make ends meet and can’t for a moment look up and raise their voices…for others, it is because they made choices and decisions that put themselves in a position where they couldn’t say anything or do anything to help themselves, others, it is simply because they are too wrapped up in ‘getting ahead’ or simply don’t care because, after all, they are ‘safe’ and don’t do anything outside of the ‘norm’ and they aren’t ‘responsible’ for everyone else, aftger all, that is why they vote, so that others can speak for them…the list of WHY people have abdicated their own responsibility for their own lives is long and never straight nor simple. And many of, even though we are, in general, very responsible adults, sometimes make mistakes that cause us to abdicate our personal power/responsibility…to err is human and to gain wisdom is divine from our mistakes…to keep on making these mistakes, well, that would mean we aren’t responsible now wouldn’t it? Now, these are bold statements and may make you angry or sad…and you can disagree on the reasons why I feel that we are a nation of people who have abdicated personal responsibility to others, but we must admit, if all of US and that includes corporations, groups of individuals down to individuals have or had consistently taken personal responsibility for ourselves and actions, then we wouldn’t be living in a country that has a penal system that has exploded, with a social services system that can’t cope, with unemployment running rampant, with big government and regulations strangling businesses and people feeling the need to take to the streets in protest out of anger, frustration and finally waking up to fact that they have been asleep at the wheel for too long and now there is a train wreck in their front yard. Regardless of where you fall politically, religiously, ideologically…regardless of your race, color or creed, the core of being an productive member of society is personal responsibility and doing the ‘right thing’. I am not here to argue the finer points or details, merely to express that personal responsibility is ‘ours’ and ours alone and that as individuals we cannot and should not expect others to take care of us and mind the chickens that we have. To expect others to protect us fully and with our best interests at heart is to invite control over our lives. To expect that others will ultimately know what is best for us and ours is to invite intrusion into our lives and potential upset when we disagree or finally decide that we know what is best for ourselves. To give up our rights as individuals in the name of ‘safety’ is to invite control into our lives that destroys our rights. But to expect that we can do whatever it is that we wish to do without consequences or that someone else will take care of it also invites control of our lives by outside forces. With rights come responsibility and that responsibility ultimately rests on our own individual shoulders and begins with personal responsibility. And THIS is ultimately what is at the heart of anyone who prepares for whatever situation that comes into their lives. It is a guiding force that no one and nothing can take away from someone. To be a responsible individual you cannot go on wild spending sprees with credit cards and then not pay the bill. You can’t be a responsible individual and drink and drive…you can’t just eat whatever you want and then wonder why you have diabetes later on in life and you can’t NOT VOTE and then complain when a new law comes down taking away your right to own a fire arm or complain because you don’t like how things are handled. Personal responsibility is ACTIVE not passive. Personal responsibility is not just about you but in seeing the big picture and how your actions will have an impact upon others and then making a decision that will harm the fewest people and places and is in the best interest of all concerned without prejudice. (And yes, we do have that responsibility to have the wisdom to see how our actions may or may not support others that is part of being a grown, mature adult, its about not just thinking of ourselves). And collectively we should be responsible too…however, that is not the point of this blog article, the point is that the chickens are coming home to roost…for too long, too many have abdicated their personal responsibility, placing their trust, like a child, into people with whom they also placed their futures and now face reality or not. For those of us who are personally responsible for ourselves we prepare for life on life’s terms, we do not hand over our lives to strangers who may or may not have our best interests at heart, whom, for whatever reasons, may have agendas that suit their own sense of ‘personal responsibility’ but that may not match our own. When we recognize we may have made a mistake, we don’t run from it nor expect someone else to clean up our mess…we get into it, make amends and do what we can to remedy the situation and then get up and go forth, hopefully never to repeat the problem again. We, as personally responsible people seek not to force our opinions upon others, but make our opinions heard and then allows others to form their own opinions, whether we agree with them or not and keep on going. We support ourselves, don’t expect help but ask for it when we truly need it…we do what we can, when we can to minimize the help we need, but we are not infallible fortresses, one-man armies nor an island. We can see when others need our help or opinions or perhaps some sound advice and give it, not to engender them to ourselves but give them a hand up so that they too, may become personally responsible. And we are personally responsible in that we do no grievous harm to others or at the expense of others merely to promote our own well-being or that of our group. At the heart of someone who prepares for life and whatever may come, ie a prepper, is someone who sees and understands the wisdom of personal responsibility and then does something about it. Is personal responsibility so ‘out of date’ that it has become radical and thus something to be feared? Or has it been out of fashion for so long that to be personally responsible for ourselves, our family, our friends and our country and our world is something that we have lost the ability to be so? I think not, for to be personally responsible is a minute to minute, day to day choice and that is why growing numbers are becoming ‘preppers’ or being more prepared. Personal responsible gives one personal power and alleviates fear and calms the stressors in one’s life, is that something to be feared or mocked or marginalized…no, and I am proud to see more and more people in this world, for whatever their reason, becoming more responsible for themselves and their loved ones and becoming prepared to face what life will throw at them in the coming years. It need not be scary nor something that only radicals do, for truly, its all about personal responsibility.

And it begins with me…

Asking…what if?

Then I start to answer those what if questions and do my best not to assume that a parental hand will come along and pat me on the back or tell me…it will be okay…for I am my own parental hand and it is my personal responsibilty to take care of myself, voice my opinions, think not just of myself but of others too and then do what I need to do to be that hand for myself. It may include saving money for a rainy day, it may include getting extra food into the house. It may include educating myself on the ways of handling minor medical problems and having the tools on hand to do so (not to mention getting the wisdom to know when I can’t do it myself). It may include thinking ahead and planning for those those times that others can’t behave themselves and it most definately means that I act not as a child would in response to external events.

It is my sincere wish that anyone who has read this has a light bulb turned on within their own heart and mind and it is my prayer today that maybe, just maybe, that I have helped someone turn the page and begin to realize that they need to be more personally responsible, not just because its the wise thing to do and it will ‘save themselves’ but because it is the right thing to do in all of our interests and perhaps, just maybe, this will, in the end, save someone’s life and help all of move peacably past the turmoil in our world now.

And I really have to ask…what would the world be like if most people were personally responsible?