Tag Archive: Being Prepared


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.

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A while back, several months ago in fact I made the purchase of a mosin nagant…hahaha…yep, say one word about cosmoline and I just might scream. But anyway, my partner in crime has done a couple of videos regarding my now favorite firearm, besides the carbine version (you should see the fireball on that one!) on the cleaning and tear down of your typical Mosin Nagant. What wasn’t shown was how many times he recleaned it do to sticky bolt issues. The bolt looked clean but was still full of cosmoline and had to be boiled. Works perfectly now…smooth as ice and fun to shoot.
Not exactly a zombie gun, but a good, economical choice at the moment. If you are looking for a good multipurpose rifle this would be it. Though I will caution, with the new federal executive ban on importing what they call ‘military surplus’ you will see the prices rise on this as the supply dries up. Ammunition for it is readily available for the most part through an American manufacturer (new) and you can still find the enjoyable ‘spam’ cans. Enjoy the videos.

By the way, I found a really good way to clean this rifle after use (which you should do everytime)…the .308 bore snake works well, quick and easy too.

Mosin Nagant Break Down

Mosin Bolt Break Down

Lately I have been taking stock of my ‘stock’ (read that preps). Admittedly, I have included my children in getting prepared, but I didn’t realize just how much THEY did not understand the importance of organization, labeling and rotating. Yes, two are under 12 but one is a teenager who is into prepping. We talk about how to store things, what and why we keep extra on hand, safety, the value of being able to be less reliant on the ‘just in time system’ and a whole lot of other things. And many times we work together getting things done or they see me doing it with some help from them. Prepping with children as a single mom has brought up some interesting things, but when I started making extra room in my house to include another person, whoa! I just wanted to bug out and not deal with it…but, here I am, learning and hope that in my learning you can learn something too, especially if you are a single parent with children.

First, I realized just how much ‘crap’ is in my house that has really no value to me, but that’s another subject. Next, I realized that things had just been put behind closed doors so to speak to, just get it out of the way, and instructions were just NOT followed. And before someone has something to say about ‘kids being kids’ I am going to tell you that I am old school and believe that when an adult gives specific instructions on what/how to do something YOU DO IT. Not that I am trying to turn my kids into sheeple and not that I am not open to their ideas of how to get things done, but when you are told to pour the salt into a particular container and then label it, I expect it to be done. Put it in and label it and then put it in the spot I have set aside for it.

HAHAHA…I started cleaning/reorganizing and I found things stashed away like a squirrel stashes his nuts for the winter. Some of what I found was big bags of RICE just tucked away in a storage closet (seriously, that is NOT a joke). That was my teenager. Instead repacking the rice safely, he disappeared the containers and then stashed the rice.

Haha factor aside, I did not find this amusing at all and then I began to wonder about other things and sure enough, Mr. I Play Video Games, had not labeled salt containers or sugar containers, had just thrown can goods haphazardly into the pantry…sigh…really? And yes, I stood over him and things got done but really? At almost 16 years old I have to do that to make sure it gets done properly? Lets just say a few things ‘disappeared’ on him and I told him point blank that if he couldn’t follow simple instructions and put things away properly then how was I supposed to trust him with a crossbow or driving a car. Anyway…My 9 year old at least knows how to put green beans with green beans and to put the oldest up front. Sigh…so the past two weeks has been spent back tracking. Oh, I also found empty boxes that were never thrown away (so I assumed we had that in stock). Really? My 3 year old know how to throw things away.

There were quite a few things I found ‘out’ about, mostly just annoying things but if the little things like putting labels on buckets (so you know what it is), or putting the rice into mouse/bug proof containers or just throwing away an empty box of something can’t even be done, ohhhh…man, my mind just goes nuts over that one.

So what’s my point?

Everyone has to be on the same page at all times and understand the reasons behind why certain things get done. And just talking about it isn’t going to work with some people. Written instructions, establishing routines and expectations and then, being ‘the leader’, following up every time until you are dead sure that everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing. And unfortunately, having worked in the real world, I have seen this same behavior from ‘adults’. Time consuming? Yes. Pain in the rear? Yes. Should you as ‘leader’ have to micro-manage. No. It would be nice to be able to delegate, but most people are used to ‘getting by’ with little to no consequences to themselves. This go around it was just proper food storage. And we can all go to the what ifs, but it got caught in time. So micro-manage I will until I am sure that we are all on the same page on how things will get done.

Ideas for the micro-management/leader that does work well for both children and adults:

Get a whiteboard…the type you can list ‘to do’ items on daily. Save your breath.

Get another whiteboard…this one won’t be daily but will list chores/responsibilities for the week. Unfortunately, even adults need this (ever worked in a restaurant?).

Have a sit down/write down meeting. In this case, with my 3 children I was able to explain WHY it was important about storing food correctly. THEN a notebook came out and the steps were written down. They took turns writing out the steps and reasons why. In my case it was about food storage, but this will work in any type of situation that you see come up or MIGHT come up, including security tasks. And YES, children can help on that end too. At this sit down ask questions instead of lecturing. You’d be surprised at how well this works.

Don’t overlook abilities. Some people are better at something than others. SWAT analysis is a good thing. Unfortunately, you may find yourself (as in my case with my children) that you have to work with what you got. My case, kids  which means I have to work with what I got, including the attitude.

Have a CLEAR system and keep it simple. Chaos is NOT good! For instance, one place I keep proteins, another certain types of canned goods, another place salt, sugar and another for rice. Its in the same place all the time (that is until someone decides to just do it their way). But I do have a system in place. This allows you to know instantly where certain things are (for instance I have ONE place for all batteries and ONE place for all types of lighting except for candles). By having a few things here and a few things there you wind up wasting time and energy ‘looking’ for things.

Speak up…don’t be afraid, as the ‘leader’ to say what you have to say when it needs to be said. I will admit it, when I found things not done correctly they, my kids, were in the middle of doing homework…guess what? They wound up redoing what they were supposed to do instead of the homework and opps! The homework got done when typically they do what they want to do. Seems to make the impression to just get it done right the first time.

Lastly, DO follow up to make sure things are being done correctly. Don’t make it obvious that you are doing so but just check. If done correctly…give praise (yep, that includes adults too), if not done or not done correctly stop right then and there and do what needs to be done. Food storage case I pulled the bags of rice out, put them on the counter top, called my son into the kitchen and stood there until I SAW him doing it. Then said thank you, walked away and then rechecked a bit later. Done right.

Anyway, that’s my rant for today (well, everyday it seems). Discipline and order and a system and being on the same page with everyone when things are ‘normal’ makes it easier when something comes up later on.

Now, back to clearing out the crap!

One thing this shtfmom has given great thought to is how to cook if things go south. Back plans to back up plans…Of course I have your typical electric oven (which I wish was propane, but so it goes). But having gone through a few different times without electricity for long periods of time I have had to address the issue of how to cook without electricity. Yes, there is the rocket stove and you can make those on the cheap…but having a natural abundance of free wood spending that money on a good one (after all I have quite a few people to feed!) and a fire pit and cast iron…well, of course this is appealing to me…not to mention sitting around a good fire and eating great food with great company. There is nothing like an open fire to bring people together. And I don’t about you, but in a situation where you have chickens, alot of the time people avoid the ‘wings’. This is a GREAT way to use the wing and eat well. In any type of situation you may come across in this world, knowing how to cook over an open pit fire will serve well…give it a go and give it a try! Being prepared to cook under various conditions and using different methods is a plus in my book!

My friend over at VaCreepinOutdoors came up a bit ago and he made these awesome Garlic Parmesan chicken wings over the open fire…
Hope you enjoy the video and the inspiration it may give you and maybe next time you decide to ‘grill’ you may think about open pit cooking instead. And by the way…find him on YouTube for more great survival skills…great and informative videos.

Published on Oct 22, 2013

Making wings in a dutch oven. They turned out great.

9 fresh wings. ( total of all wing parts. flats and drumsticks combined)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1teaspoon Italian seasoning
1teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

coat wings in olive oil, dredge wings in remaining ingredients. Cook at 425 in preheated oven for 30 minutes on a cookie sheet. You can flip them at 15-20 minutes. I usually don’t. If you like crispier wings, just cook longer. At time of plating you can ad shredded parmesan cheese or the regular granulated works fine. Or just eat as is.

That’s what I go by for fixing in the oven. A dutch oven takes longer and won’t crisp like an oven but they are fall off the bone good. Expect an hour minimum cook time. The longer they cook in a dutch oven the more tender they will be. If concerned about eating under cooked chicken of any kind, the rule is 160 degrees. If chicken exceeds 160, your good. There is actually enough moisture in the pot to cook for an hour and a half to 2 hours. As stated, longer cook time for a dutch oven, the more fall off the bone tender.

Just be careful that your skills doesn’t get you designated as camp cook. LOL

antsDing dong the ants are dead, the ants are dead, the ants are dead….okay, forgive my lapse into the Wizard of Oz, but an infestation of ants, even during good times isn’t funny. I get how important ants are in the grand scheme of things, in making the world go ‘round, but when I leave a pot of green beans on the stove and sit down, eat dinner and come back to clean up and the pot of green beans is being attacked en masse, well, Houston, we have a problem.

I keep a clean kitchen (okay, I have been known to leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight upon occasion) simply because I KNOW from living in low rent apartments how the insect world operates. But these ants, these ants were crazy. No matter how clean I kept things, no matter how fast I got things put away and put up, they came…in droves!

Went the conventional route, you know, bait traps, sprays, and then after 2 years of dealing with these suckers I broke down and went nuclear, calling in the exterminator. What I did not know or understand until a year ago when my wash machine decided to flood my home with water is that these buggers had made a MASSIVE nest in the insulation under my floor and in the walls…yep, you should have seen the guys who came out from Service Master RUN when they started pulling up the flooring that was ruined to remove insulation and such. Yeah, it was THAT BAD. My wash machine room and half of my kitchen (the insulation under the floor) had been turned into ant heaven. So, long and short, I thought removing their ‘nest’ ie the insulation the ants would disappear. (And I never did replace the insulation, why give them more nesting material?). And it worked, for the winter and into the spring and then the invaders came back…this time not only at the stove and kitchen sink, but the ants were literally coming out of the second bathroom bathtub faucet…sigh…yep…seriously…so out came the exterminator AGAIN. And they went away for a while and then came back with a vengeance a few months ago. At this point I am surprised I have hair left on my head trying to keep things clean, killing as needed (they even found the garbage CAN this time). So, knowing that the nice expensive exterminator didn’t work (no wonder why my Pitbull Maggie wanted to eat him and she LIKES everyone) I suffered and did what I could until a few days ago… hehehehehe…now I have NO visible ants and even tested the theory this morning by leaving yummy jelly on the counter top for a few hours…nope, not one ant!

Wanna know the secret?

Homemade ant bait…

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See ants are funny, the ones you see, they get the food, take it home, feed it to other ants who then in turn make their ‘food’ and that feeds everyone, including the queen. Bingo! Everyone gets the yummy homicidal boric acid sugar food 🙂
Sorry if I seem a bit gleeful, but, me and these ants have gone round about for years now 🙂

So, what is the miracle for pennies?
Boric Acid (yep, that stuff you have heard that works for roaches)
Sugar
Water
Cotton Balls
Something to put the cotton balls in
Glass Jar

Here we go:
Put 1 cup HOT water into glass jar
Add 2 TBS Boric Acid
Shake WELL
Then add 1 cup of sugar to the boric acid/water mix and shake well again.
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Soak the cotton balls in this solution and put the cotton balls on a small piece of wax paper, old soda bottle caps or whatever.

Next place several of these where you see the ants coming and going so they will quickly find it and take it home to mama.
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Took less than 24hrs for me to make them disappear and the kids had fun watching the hordes get their ‘food’.
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govshutdown

Typically I do not get into politics, however, I strongly feel that I must say the following:

The government shutdown is just a precursor and a foreshadowing of things to come. The fall out of the shutdown is just beginning and we are barely 2 days into the government shutdown and protests are already beginning….food stamps (upon which a growing population of Americans are dependant upon), the Womens Infants and Children (WIC) program has been targeted, Headstart programs are closing, federally backed housing programs are going to go backlog, Federal parks are closed or closing down…and who knows what else is going to ‘close’ down or no longer be funded…800,000 thousand government workers are ‘furloughed’ without pay…and there are many who depend daily on the spending of government workers to make their own paychecks. This is a downhill slide people and just a glimpse of what is to come in our country.
This country will be ‘broke’ on October 17th, 2013 if the debt ceiling isn’t raised and the way things look, we have an ideology war going on between the House of Representatives, the Senate and the President and the American people are going to be on the short end of the stick.
Let me say this clearly, I am a firm believer that we need to cut big government, cut spending and that the American people needed to become less dependant upon the system. But this has to happen in such a way that the debt this country carries is not just placed on the backs of the poor and ever shrinking middle-class. A reset in the American mindset must happen, one from the ‘I am entitled to have…’ to one of ‘I am willing to work hard for what I have or want’. We are a country of crack-money addicts and the government shutdown is just beginning in a bad economy (I remember the last one) where entitlements and big government programs are propping up many people.
Think ahead a little bit and plan a little bit, get prepared now, be ready to do without, change your habits NOW, scale back NOW, figure out how to do more with less NOW because this government shut down is just the beginning folks and the pinch isn’t really that bad only two days in, but the protesters are coming out already…

I will be doing my best to ramp up my postings on surviving on less and doing more with less, but each and everyone of you knows your own strengths and weaknesses and it starts and ends with you. Even if you don’t have a lot of money, there are things you can do to get ready for the coming storm and YOU CAN DO IT. Be a survivor, get proactive and do it now while you still can.

“In winter, lying in bed, I thought of one thing until my head hurt: there, on the shelves in the shops, there had been canned fish. Why hadn’t I bought it? Why had I bought only eleven jars of cod-liver oil, and not gone to the chemist’s a fifth time to get another three? Why hadn’t I bought a few vitamin C and glucose tablets? These ‘whys’ were terribly tormenting. I thought of every uneaten bowl of soup, every crust of bread thrown away, every potato peeling, with as much remorse and despair as if I’d been the murderer of my own children. But all the same, we did as much as we could, and believed none of the reassuring announcements on the radio.” – Dmitri Likhachev, Reflections on the Russian Soul: A Memoir (of the siege of Leningrad)

Saw the above on Survivalblog.com and think it speaks to the coming storm.
Stay safe, get ready and be prepared.

Blessings
Author/Editor Survivingshftmom