Much is made of the will to survive. We Have all heard stories of individuals who have gone out on a hike, ill prepared and ill equipped for the task, and who have survived against all odds. The will to live has often been given as the reason for their survival. Maybe it’s true, or maybe they just got lucky.
No matter how well prepared and equipped we are things can still go wrong, we all know this, but how far can our attitude alter our chances of success or failure?
We all have fears, and it’s not always something like spiders or rodents. Certain situations strike fear into us that can paralyse us to the point of immobility. I, for example, have a fear of the cold.
I am genuinely afraid of it. It scares me witless. It is my nemesis. I have never been stuck in the cold, I have never even come close to losing my life from cold. I live in the UK and the coldest temperature I have experienced is -15*C with a wind chill that made it feel like -18*C.
My brain and body ceased to function properly. Even well wrapped in appropriate clothing I didn’t function properly. For someone who believes that global cooling is on it’s way this does not bode well. I actually refused to visit Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper due to the weather in her location at the time.
I am a hot weather girl. Last summer, everyone was sitting flaked out in the shade, and I was gardening quite happily, hardly breaking a sweat in 34*C. Whilst other shoppers wilted in temperatures rarely seen in the UK, I wandered around quite happily, frustrated that people were moaning about the heat.
I looked on with horror as pale British skins took on the hue of a half cooked lobster, the redness visible even through half an inch of sun cream, which is something I have never felt the need to use.
I love the heat. My brain and my body loves the heat, my skin tans well without burning, I was just made for hot weather, but it’s thinking of the cold that brings me out in a sweat…the sweat of fear.
This has coloured my judgements and my preps. I have enough blankets, quilts and sleeping bags to accommodate an entire battalion of the British Army. I have thermal underwear, sweaters and wool socks in amounts you would not believe. I have to have these things to make me feel safe should global cooling become a reality, or should the grid go down and therefore the heating goes off.
I go on the school run in three layers, plus boots, hat, scarf and mittens…much to the amusement of the other mom’s who say that 10*C is warm.
Warm my arse.
My attitude towards the cold affects my everyday life and has influenced my preps far more than any other possible scenario. I have the will to survive, but genuinely feel I am unlikely to do so if I am not warm and cosy. It’s not just about comfort, it’s about knowing and understanding myself. It’s about knowing my brain is sluggish when I’m cold, that I don’t think and react as I should. It’s about my joints feeling stiff and unresponsive, my fingers not being nimble and the general feeling of being incapable of managing the simplest situations.
So how will I get through a cold weather emergency? I’ll stay indoors as much as is humanly possible. I have food, water, wood, coal and quilts. I don’t need to go out for a considerable time.
Even my home is being hardened for cold. I won’t be bugging out regardless of the situation, I have found my spot, and although not ideal by many people’s standards it will do for me.
A small island, low population density, majority elderly population, one road in and out. I have all basic amenities close to hand, the beach on the doorstep and a large plot that lends itself to gardening. The house is undergoing a complete renovation…with jobs to keep the heat in taking the top slots.
Double glazing, cavity wall insulation, roof lagging, four open fires and a forest full of wood. Getting the cold weather scenario sorted out lets me concentrate on my prepping for anything else that may occur.
By facing my fear and acting proactively I become more convinced of my survival, and am therefore much more likely to survive.
We should face our nemesis and prepare for it, embrace it so that our fear of it does not prevent us moving forward.
I will never stop hating the cold, but now I am ready for it I am less afraid because I know I can deal with it. I may deal with it in a different way to others but that doesn’t matter, what matters is that I no longer assume it will quite literally be the death of me.
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Contributed by Lizzie Bennett of Underground Medic.
Lizzie Bennett retired from her job as a senior operating department practitioner in the UK earlier this year. Her field was trauma and accident and emergency and she has served on major catastrophe teams around the UK. Lizzie publishes Underground Medic on the topic of preparedness.