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

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by DarkLight, Sep 6, 2015.

  1. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus

    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.
  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 Monkey+++

    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.
    Dunerunner, Sonofason, Tracy and 6 others like this.
  5. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, 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...
  6. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    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]
  8. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    yesterday is gone, tomorrow has yet to come. Enjoy each day as they come with some thought to tomorrow.
    chelloveck likes this.
  9. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    I think that the error might be to think of prepping as the lifestyle, instead of it being but one aspect of a lifestyle which makes provision for surviving credible contingencies. It can be tempting to look at the world through a lens of unwarranted pessimism, seeing danger from every quarter, and obsessing with mitigating every danger conceivable, and then looking for confirmation that the dangers perceived and the preparations made are justifiable....The opposite; overweening Pollyanna-ish optimism is also not very helpful....somewhere between the two extremes is a golden mean that is sustainable for the individual in the long term, whilst furnishing enjoyment in one's life, and day to day living. That is the difference between living...and mere survival.

    Doom and gloom is there to be found without much effort to be expended in its finding....Living a reasoned life, with proportionate responses to reality, perhaps takes a little more effort and discipline sometimes.
    Gator 45/70 and Motomom34 like this.
  10. Gray Wolf

    Gray Wolf Monkey+++

    For me, being prepared has never been about survival when.doomsday gets here. It's being ready for the common events, the wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and floods. Loss of a job.

    In the case of hurricane, the heavy rain comes hours ahead of the wind, and often knocks out the electricity. No power means ATM does not work, gas pumps don't work either. Makes it hard to evacuate without fuel and money.
    I refuse to get my mind overwhelmed with what might happen, instead I focus on being able to turn what the unprepared call emergencies into mere inconvenience for me and mine.
    chelloveck and Motomom34 like this.
  11. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Damn, Chell

    For all the eye rolling I do at some of your posts....I keep reading your stuff because sometimes you just nail it.

    Prepping is a journey, as the saying goes and not a destination. Threats evolve, new threats appear - and mitigation strategies often change owing to changed laws, funding issues, mission creep and/or a change in location.

    You can only prepare for the basics and hope to be flexible to enough to deal with what comes your way.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2017
    Gator 45/70 and chelloveck like this.
  12. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Yeah, Every once in awhile he gets serious and his mastery of language really means well..and thats a complement Chello!
    Darklight, Your mind must run 900mph at night, Control that and get some much needed rest and half your problems will go away.
  13. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    I take prepping casually ,
    Not knowing the future but trusting God with my life , because even with all the preps one can pass early from any number of events.
    I have so many projects looking me in the face, trying to tackle them all at once is ridiculous .
    If I need something from the barn ,I pick up something that needs to go to the barn and vise versa.
    The difficulty sometimes is that particular projects need say a special power tool ,but the tool needs repaired . It needs repair any way, so now is as good a time as it gets to do so .
    When it's done, the initial project continues, and a good test of my repair work.
    Some times in the middle of a project it gets hot here 100 degrees or so and I make a mistake , time to put every thing down and take a break. no panic, there's another day, and if theres not, then it doesn't matter any way.
    A lot of times my projects get set aside for the needs of others and that's OK too , it's why I'm here.
    The preps I've put away may not actually be used by me, but those that fallow behind me ,and that's a good thing.
    I believe in God, and He has prepared for my need repeatedly , it is but a small thing, that for those that believe in me, though they may not have the relationship with God I enjoy, should have the things I've prepared for the future.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  14. Navyair

    Navyair Monkey++

    It is a journey, not a destination. No matter what you "plan" for, the reality of the situation is you just cannot prep to 100% completeness. In my military planner days we planned for certain situations and just adapted to whatever unfolded...as you've heard, the enemy gets to vote. Likewise, in a prep situation, Mother Nature, chance, your location, and yes, perhaps bad guys get a vote. That is why we all read these boards...someone will start a topic, or ask for advice, or say "this is what I've done." Then that lightbulb goes off in your brain and you say "Oh, yeah, I need to cover this, or adjust that."

    When you find yourself starting to get down, I can recommend doing some volunteer work. Focus on someone else's problems, not your own. Amazingly, many times it will help you cheer yourself up about your own situation.

    Remember, despite all the horse-hockey in media, this is still the greatest country in world history, and a lot of great folks like Monkeys.
    Yard Dart, DarkLight and Gator 45/70 like this.
  15. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    It is easy to forget the past, if your of the mind to, as the issues of life pass us by , and while focusing on the bad it rips hope from some, but it Is the prick that gets one off their seat to do something other than talking about what needs to be done.
    Not having a well I must always consider more water reserves seeing we don't get much ran normally .
    Another issue that is being talked about on you tube is an early ice age ,much like the movie "The Day After Tomorrow".
    No predictions are reliable however there is a consensus that it's possible .
    This is a discussion we have not had here that I can remember, probably because it is too far fetched , or is it. ?
    . Never the less whether it turns to discussion or not I examine my own preparedness in that event not only for my own reserves but in the event my disconnected family needs a place of refuge from their northern locations .The same may hold true if caldera pops as well . it is possible that a flood of folks may be heading south to escape something. .which all is contrary to my dreams of heading north. go figure.
    So I'm not as well prepared as I thought, .I reman challenged ,and hopeful I can make a difference .
    DarkLight, Dunerunner and Gator 45/70 like this.
  16. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    This is a great thread and I am glad to see it pop up every now and then. I have difficulty focusing and staying with a routine. There are always things that happen in life the divert me from my goals and getting back on track is what I have the most difficulty with. DL's post always reminds me to get back on it and focus on one accomplishment at a time.
    DarkLight likes this.
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