by Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper:
Did you ever wonder about the differences in how people behave in a crisis? Why some people survive and some people die? Are there characteristics that we can nurture now in good times that could help see us through bad times?
I’d talked with Selco previously about who lives and who doesn’t in a long-term emergency, and a great determiner is a flexible mindset. In this interview, we go deeper into who can withstand the stress of an SHTF event and who crumbles. Today he shares his insights from the Balkan War. (You can get more of his stories here in his #1 New Release book on Amazon.)
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What were the worst mental stressors during the situation in Bosnia that are probably common in many long-term scenarios?
Obviously, it was a situation when violence was very widely used and in a sporadic way ( very often without any logic) so people lived under constant physical threat, and also in very poor condition.
On first look that was mental stressors, but this part or field of survival is in my opinion very important and commonly overlooked in prepper community, and there is much more to it.
It is a huge topic, but we can touch on some of this in the article. I researched it a lot. A few factors were important, and will be important in any future collapse event:
#1) Loss of control
If you are living a normal average life with your family, you have a job, kids go to school, you go to the physician when you are sick, kids eat their favorite foods.
There are police for problems, there is law and order, everybody knows its place more or less.
You feel that you are in control of your life and lives of your family.
And then one day all that is gone. You find yourself in the world where very often things of life and death are a matter of pure coincidence or luck if you like, or a matter of event. For example, is there going to rain that day for enough water?
People had a very hard time of dealing with it, you can be prepared very well to some extent, but also you need to be prepared that for a number of things (big number) you are simply not in control anymore.
Hopelessness is the big word when it comes to survival, and from my experience, it is hard to beat it.
A survival event that lasts for few days, even a week or two, is like a camping trip, something like people go together, share food, help, there are nights spent next to lamps, violence is possible but not widespread because people see that event gonna last only for week or two.
Some people gonna take chance and do violence or stealing but the majority is gonna keep it together to the end of SHTF.
Events that last for month or two are harder, more violence and harder time, but still, people see that everything gonna go back to normal.
When you are thrown into an event that looks (or you think ) like it is gonna be a permanent or very prolonged condition, rules change.
From one side you have people that are not gonna be so nice and helpful to each other simply because they see this is gonna last and they gonna be forced to fight for resources and from the other side you gonna have hopelessness.
Most humans need to see cause in order to operate on the proper way, or in other words, in hard conditions people need to see ‘light“ no matter how far it is, otherwise, you might just mentally “surrender“ because it is hopeless to push on.
#3) Re-setting of the values
In normal life, you are, for example, lawyer or clerk, or teacher, or famous writer and then one day the world collapses (let say because of EMP).
In 20 days you find out that you are living in the world where you are valuable if you can quickly and efficiently chop the trees, or pickle vegetables, or repair weapons, or invent a setup to charge car batteries, or simply shoot from the rifle.
I am not saying a teacher or writer is useless in SHTF, but values are “re-set“ and simply if you do not have any immediate useful skills you’ll be forced to learn it, and you’ll be forced to understand that your values (knowledge and skills) that you had prior collapse simply may not be valuable anymore.
People had problems with this new “value system“.
People have responsibilities in normal time taking care of their families. Those responsibilities are still there when some serious collapse come but because the system is out, all help is out too.
For example, you are responsible for you old mother who has high blood pressure problem and there is no doctor anymore, there is no medicine. There is no help from the system for your kid who has special needs, for example.
You realize that everything is up to you.
Some people simply could not take that. People could not watch their sick kids because they could not help them.
Some people would simply “surrender“ or leave everything.
#5) Bending the rules
Most interesting is actually how people would (or not) bend the rules that they had prior to the collapse.
A majority of us live by some rules (mental and moral rules) that tells us what is right and what is wrong.
It is wrong to steal, it is wrong to harm people. It is right to take care of sick and elderly.
When SHTF you’ll be in a position to “bend“ these rules, simply because you’ll be faced with lot of tough decisions and choices.
For example is it right to steal from others if that means my kid’s not gonna be hungry or die from infection?
Is it OK to harm other people because of that?
How are you gonna mentally live with that?