Why I burn out...and yes, I do burn out

Discussion in 'Survival Topic of the Month' started by DarkLight, Sep 6, 2015.


  1. DarkLight

    DarkLight I self identify as a Blackhawk Attack Helicopter! Site Supporter

    Yes, "prepping" is a lifestyle, or at least it should be rather than a one time hurry-up-and-buy-everything-you're-gonna-need.
    Yes, "prepping" takes commitment rather than buying 182 buckets of "stuff" to make 2000 meals (just add water) and sitting it all in a closet.
    Yes, "prepping" is a process and one that takes time and commitment rather than buying into a bunker and planning to bug out before anyone else knows what's coming.
    Yes, "prepping" means preparing...for something...and this is my biggest challenge.

    I ran into the same problem when I was writing the Dark Grid trilogy (okay...maybe a shameless plug...moving on). I researched a LOT about CMEs, geomagnetically induced current, the sorry state of our power system including spares, and I delved into some psyches that took me a long time to get out of my head. The end result, after three years of research and writing? I was a very negative person. I was sure the end was nigh. Not coming, not on the way, not near...it was here and we needed to get the hell out of dodge yesterday.

    This fed a number of problems:
    1. I became focused on a single event or precipitating factor.
    2. I became sure it was coming.
    3. I began looking at everything, not through a prepper's or even a survivor's eye but began seeing things through "hurry up and get here, I'm almost looking forward to it" glasses.
    4. I ceased to find joy in every day life, the things that we would miss should the ball finally drop.
    5. I was no longer a prepper or survivalist or someone trying to be self sufficient. I was a negative, downer who looked for the bad in every news story to prop up my own ideas of what was going to happen.
    I acquired "stuff" but not necessarily the skills to use them all (much of that is rectified but not all). I got a double ton of "books" and "manuals" and "field guides" so that I would have them if I needed them but had no practical idea of how to do or use 99.99834% of what I'd acquired. And then, I said "screw it". If it drops, I don't want to survive. Don't know how or when I'll...um...not have to worry about it anymore but damned if I want to have rebuilding on my plate. I burned out.

    Why? Because the human mind and body can only be under so much stress for so long before they stop operating effectively. Forget peak efficiency, I'm talking functioning in any semblance of a nominal way. Call it depression, call it PTSD (no, I'm not saying I had PTSD I'm saying that it's part of PTSD), call it burn out, much of it is a physical and mental reaction to being overstimulated for too long. An example is the 4 years leading up to my father's death and the week right after. I had been on such an emotional roller coaster for so long that I was emotionally tapped out. I had NOTHING left to give to myself or anyone else. I got a call on a Friday that my dad had finally passed away (long fight with cancer including a half dozen surgeries, bone and skin grafts, the whole nine) and I was just numb. In some ways I was glad it was over but I didn't recognize that for several days.

    I didn't cry for 9 days, because I'd been crying for years and there weren't any more tears. It hit me in the car on the way to the airport and I had to pull over I was bawling so badly. I shook and cried for 10 minutes and then pulled myself together and went home for the funeral, but until then, nothing.

    I got to be the same way about prepping/surviving/becoming self sufficient. I burned out.

    I got over it by not being immersed in it and then slowly got back into it.

    Yes, I know that I can't check out for a year in a "post fan" environment. Better to do it now and see the signs, but then again, while there is still worry, it's different (hopefully).

    Recently, it's happened again. Lots of negativity, almost to the point of folks reveling in it (not just here but there was a pretty bad spell on the Monkey for a bit that I have to take some lumps for contributing to). The news, if you looked for it. Stock market, housing, jobs, all of it could be seen as a downer. The government (still gotta tread lightly there or I'll snap), etc, etc, etc.

    I just don't want to think about it anymore. I don't like being negative (although I've been told I run the emulation in damned near native mode) but I was getting there again. Wasn't focusing on using what I have to make my life better but focusing on how we're all gonna die if I don't do this, that or the other thing.

    I've had to step back and regroup. Why am I doing this? What can I reasonably do with the resources at hand? What resources can I gain (and not just "stuff")? Staying realistic and not focusing on nukes or EMP or pandemic or flood or financial crash or brush fire but focusing on learning skills and having what I/we need should difficult times arrive.

    It means slowing down in some respects, physically there's only so much I can do. I tell people "I don't do too bad for 53...unfortunately I'm only 43." There's also only so much I can do monetarily with college for the kids, etc.

    Why do I burn out, focusing on the negative.

    How do I not burn out, step back and big picture things and take the negative out of my life. Be happy for what I have. USE the system that still exists rather than dreading the day its gone. ENJOY what's still around rather than bemoan my fate at not being fabulously wealthy and already living off grid and totally self sufficient.
     
    jimLE, Sonofason, Marck and 18 others like this.
  2. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey++

    Well, glad to here from you.

    I understand where you are coming from. It is a fine line between, this may happen, and OH MY GOD ITS SO POSSIBLE. Burning out under the strain of time factor is very common, and it's calming down and setting things straight that proves you have what it takes to survive.
     
    DarkLight likes this.
  3. vonslob

    vonslob Monkey++

    Thank you for the really great post. There is so much negativity these days it is hard to not let it surround and take you over. I really have to fight the negativity and stay positive, it can be overwhelming.
     
    Marck, Motomom34, chelloveck and 2 others like this.
  4. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    Excellent post @DarkLight you always touch on so many feeling that many of us have. I often wonder would I be happier if I turned off the Web, shut down the talk radio and just joined the sheep. I often take flack for being a conspiracy person. I have heard enough tin-foil hat jokes that I don't even pretend to laugh. Sometimes I think maybe the ones that are preparing are wrong. I used to prepare for EMP, collapse/civil unrest but it does make one negative because you are spending your time anticipating doom.

    I like my life now. I like what I have done, what I have leaned and all the steps I have taken. I don't want to spend time worrying that doom is around the corner. It may happen, it may not. But prepping has made me smarter in regards to caring for my family. I now have the resources to provide for my family if I lose my job or get hurt. They will eat, they will survive. That is what prepping is about, it is about taking care of you and yours, not an event.
     
    Sonofason, Tracy, Mountainman and 5 others like this.
  5. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    You may think you would be better off, @ Motomom34. But in reality, you AND your family would not.... Once your eyes are opened, and you know Truth, you can never go back and say you didn't know...
     
    Sonofason, vonslob, Motomom34 and 3 others like this.
  6. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    I love your series. It is on my book shelf and a keeper. Shameless plug- no, great accomplishment- yes.
     
    DarkLight, Ganado and Yard Dart like this.
  7. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    It's all about attitude. :D
    Make it happen for you.

    My days are't fabulous because they are... My days are fabulous because I choose for them to be. [bateye]
     
    vonslob, DarkLight, BTPost and 4 others like this.
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