Grief, stress, and planning: reaction
I watched the crash course on Sunday night. It’s now Thursday and I’m obsessively reading websites, prodding my friends to take the crash course, spinning out scenerios with my husband. One second I’m in total survivalist mode: what do I have, what do I need, what can I do? and the next minute I’m trying to figure out if there will be anything to live for if the worst case scenerios come true.
I like how Chris breaks down the planning (stuff you can do now, stuff you can do that will disrupt your life a bit, stuff that will really change your life), but I’m having trouble keeping focused.
I guess I feel like I’m grieving a bit for the future I thought I had. We just bought a house with room enough to start a family, (but of course, that seems like a worrisome–or even foolhardy–prospect under the circumstances). My job’s going well, my husbands job is going well. And then this.
Hard to focus. Do we invest in solar for the house or will it be taken away from us when we inevitably lose our jobs? Do we sell a car, put the cash in gold? Do we sell both cars and buy hybrid? Do we replace all the windows or is that fool-hardy because they’ll only be broken by the angry hordes? Do we install a security system or will that, too, be a waste of money because the police will no longer exist? Do we buy guns? Do we take on a lodger to help us with expenses?
Do we spend our limited resources on buying tools to produce our own food or just stock up on preserved food in the expectation that it’s all going to return to normal again after the disaster?
How do I make a community out of the group of keep-to-yourself neighbors without coming off sounding like a nut job ("Hi, I live across the street. I’d like to get to know you better to make sure that in the event of the end of the world, you decide that it’s more mutally beneficial to trade with me than to steal my food.")
And what will be valuable during the disaster? Energy, for sure. Food. But what else? What will be needed to trade with if all our systems have broken down?
I suddenly feel the 400 miles that stretches between me and my aging parents. I suddenly realize that I know so few people in this town even though I’ve been here 4 years. I don’t have kids. I don’t have pets. So how would my neighbors get to know me? I’m not religious, so I don’t have that community ready-made.
How will this all go down? How much time do we have?
I’m heartbroken to think of how small the world will get when we lose the internet. When we can’t make calls to family, friends… Will the postal service still work?
I can’t go on like this. Too uncertain. Limited financial resources, limited time. How can I prepare myself on all fronts? I can’t. But it’s consuming me. I want to be responsible and act like an adult and take precautions, but how do you prepare yourself for something this big?
I want to tell everyone I know about this crash course, but I also feel like now that I know, the stress and anxiety that have come with the knowledge are too much to burden other people with. I have friends who are undergoing treatment for cancer. Do I stress them out with this? But how can I not?
Sorry for venting here. I’m sure all of you have gone through this same space. Has anyone out there got some genuine hope they can spare for me?
You can’t do everything at once, and that’s okay. The good news is that you’ve made yourself aware, so you’re already ahead of the game. Most people have no idea that things could get bad, or just be different.
If you’ve seen the Crash Course then you know that you’re going through the various stages of emotional reaction to learning about what’s really happening in the world. You’re grieving for the world you thought you were going to have and probably won’t. That’s normal, and to be expected. It will pass.
I would encourage you to get to know your neighbors. Have a barbecue, invite everyone within easy walking distance. Sound people out without being too obvious about your views. You will find someone who is open to the ideas presented in the Crash Course. Don’t discuss it at the party. Get to know them and introduce it gradually, so they know you’re not crazy – just concerned. Get involved in various community activities, like food banks. If they don’t have one where you live, find out about starting one and get others to help.
Meanwhile continue to research. I would encourage you to read Sharon Astyk’s blog:
She is all about preparing on a budget. She’s great, and I think she will make you feel A LOT better about doing what you can in anticipation of an uncertain future. She also has a couple of books that are well worth reading. By the way, she has 4 children. It’s possible to prepare AND have children. Don’t despair.
I would learn about Transition Towns. You can start at the Transition Towns wiki:
and go from there. Depending on where you live you may find that there is already a Transition Town or a community thinking about becoming a Transition Town nearby.
The key thing here is GET INVOLVED. One way to feel better about the future is to DO SOMETHING. Once you start, you will find others who have been waiting in fear and are relieved that they aren’t the only ones.
Congratulations! You should feel good about taking the first steps. You won’t be caught off guard when things get bad (like they aren’t already!).
Ditto the Sharon Astyk recommendation. I learned about her through someone else’s recommendation here. Now my wife and I are taking an online course from Sharon on Food Storage and Preservation. She’s excellent at helping you feel good about taking baby steps…or should I say going at whatever pace you’re able.
About the stress etc. you might want to look at Chris’s article The Six Stages of Awareness under Essential Articles here if you haven’t seen it.
I had the opposite reaction upon viewing The Crash Course, that is, one of relief and (measured) hope. Relief that others feel as I do regarding the direness of our situation, i.e, I’m not crazy, and 2) hope that through his eloquence and determination (and also with the wide reach of the Internet) Chris’ message will reach enough people so that, as a nation and a planet, we will be somewhat prepared to collectively tackle the challenges that lie ahead. Having said that, I have no idea how things are going to play out, but I suspect not very well. To that end my wife and I are not having any children. We’re trying to stay fit so that we can fend for ourselves and are learning skills such as gardening, and my wife has taken up canning foods and sowing.
My main hope, however slim, is that Chris’ message reaches millions of people across the planet and effects profound change so we can tackle this thing together as a global community.To that end I’ve been trying to spread the word about The Crash Course.
It is quite a shock to find out what you now know.
Also check out other essential article in the "Learn" menu
Go to the forums and read old threads to see what has been discussed in the past
Sounds as though your husband is on board which helps.
Get used to being thought of as a nutter
Now days we look at everything soooo differently ( new parking building being built at an airport that will never be paid off… )
Wow. Okay. Deep breath.
Sharon’s great. I like her tone. The story on her website: "He Was Magnificent: What You Can Do When You Have To" was a breath of fresh air. When the time comes for great deeds, humans can surprise even themselves. (Yeah adrenaline!)
And you’re right about the getting involved thing. It’s time. Knowing my neighbors will help tamp down the irrational fear of them a la The Road. (Great book, but DANG! It’s hard to shake!)
And it’s so helpful to hear voices of reason who have made it past these early stages. The friends of mine that I have passed the crash course on to have responded with varying levels of indifference and that’s hard to understand. I keep thinking, "what’s not to get?" But I’m wary of being seen as that crazy person who keeps talking about the world coming to an end.
Phew. Another deep breath. Deep. Breath.
Alex, the funniest thing about my reaction is that my overwhelming negative emotional reaction happened simultaneously with the positive reaction–that we’re aware, that we have time to do something positive about it.
Thanks, yes, he’s on board. We’re still trying to figure out where on the spectrum we sit. But it’s good to have a partner in this.
I hope the more people that know, the less I’m going to be the nutter and the more the ostriches (with their heads in the sand) will feel like the crazy ones. I only wish the realization process weren’t so painful!
It would be great if there was a segment on the website which allowed us to be put in contact with people by geographic region. I’d love to find some like-minded folks in my area to start the conversation. Surely there’s a way to do that and also preserve people’s privacy if they want it?
Yes there is emotional pain and panic. Let it go it’s course as it is a neccessary step toward acceptance. Many people get stuck in denial so you are doing well. Hold back from stangers and many friends until it has settled. You won’t be able to stop yourself from talking about it. Don’t squander your resources. Hold off with anything big until you are both more settled. When I was panicing I felt that if I didn’t act I would not survive. Resist that feeling. Give yourself space.
If you want to do something in these early stages then look at storing and growing food if you can afford it. I made huge lists of things that we could need and then prioitized them by both importance and affordability. Keep in touch with this site but don’t dwell on the news here. Charging all over the internet is not very healthy although entirely understandable. I agree about Sharon – she is great. It is all easier to say than do – I know and so does my partner whose reaction has been to grow more food while I rather noisily panicked.
"And those that create out of the haulicaust of their inheritance, anything more than a convenient self-made tomb, shall be known as survivors." from a Keith Jarrett record cover.
Also really good advice (give yourself space, don’t dwell on this website or on the news, make a plan and start taking baby steps).
I think my biggest challenge will be letting it sit quietly in my mind without me constantly worrying about it. I’ve totally wasted most of my day here in that crazed gotta-read-everything-right-now mentality! (My google searches today have ranged from how to raise, butcher and pluck chickens to bee-keeping to searching the internet for large air-tight tubs for holding dry goods to… well. You get the point.
I’ve long thought that a little adversity will make a person stronger and I guess we’re due for some strengthening!