When SHTF is a DAILY Occurrence!

Emergency Preparations
for lives that have A LOT of emergencies

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Introducing the Surviving EFDs Series

“Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life,
not a sudden, spectacular program.” ~ Spencer W. Kimball

Lots to learn from the Survivalists

“SHTF” – for those new to the acronym – is a Survivalist abbreviation for Stuff Hits The Fan (with a 4-letter “S” word replacing the one I used to keep things acceptable to my ENTIRE readership).

As with any subgroup, Survivalists run the gamut from the extreme through the consumed by anxiety to the worried . . . all the way to the merely cautious.

At base, most of them are no different from savers and planners in any arena — except that they larder physical supplies and foodstuffs instead of cash reserves in more traditional savings formats.

They’ve lost faith in the system.

That’s something that many here in Alphabet City share with them.  Except the system we have a hard time trusting anymore is Mental Health Care, including the lawmakers charged with protecting the rights of the many in our society who have “invisible” disabilities.

It occurs to me that, like many of the Survivalists,
we ALL might be wise to expect the best,
but prepare for the worst.

Global catastrophe’s aside, the “worst” here in Alphabet City seems to happen A LOT more frequently than in the neurotypical population – and we can expect precious little help from the current state of the Mental Health [lack of an effective] System.

Let’s not spend time going over all of the ways in which the system desperately needs changing.  I’ve been ringing that bell for over 25 years now – along with a great many other Mental Health advocates – as things continue to worsen nonetheless.

Instead, let’s focus on what we might think about putting in place to BE PREPARED.

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Disaster preparedness

It is certainly important, in addition to the things that the average Joe or JoAnna must consider, to think through and plan for what you will need in a bonafide SHTF crisis situation.

I’m talking about things like fire, flood, or weather that keeps you house-imprisoned for days on end, by the way, NOT just national emergencies on the order of the arrival of Armageddon!


Available online are lots of lists of necessary supplies and foodstuffs in the event that BIG “Stuff Hits The Fan.”

As comprehensive as some of them are, only a few go much beyond what the average Joe or JoAnna needs to gather to be ready for the kinds of emergencies with which we are most familiar — those that seem most likely to occur at some time in future.

Those of us with ADD/EFD must add our own symptom-specific needs to those lists. The most obvious of these is medication.

  • Most of us take medication that is Scheduled, and our not-so-wonderful short-sighted law-makers have made it impossible for us to have a month’s back up (or even an extra week!).

We have to get a new prescription every single month, and no sooner (and often have to wait as long as a week – or TWO – for our pharmacies to get it together to order our medication!)

Have you asked your doctor what you will do for medication in the event of a national emergency?

With that in mind, would it be possible for your prescription to be increased a bit so that you could “larder” a back-up supply?

Have you developed the habit of putting any missed doses into a separate “back up” bottle, kept in a particular place?  I highly recommend it.

  • Do you have what the spy shows refer to as a “go bag” set up to grab and go?

My BEST advice: the minute you finish this article (or before you go to bed tonight), gather medication back-up – both prescription and non – along with anything you need to remain calm and focused during the “down” times that frequently occur in tandem with the “up” times of a crises (items like a fidget – or a datebook!).

At the very least, think about it and make a list of what you would need to have (and where you keep it) – and put the LIST into a “go bag.” Gather the items as you have time.

Check them off the list as you add them, and put the DATE you add them next to any item that needs to be used before an expiration date. Every time you add an item, run your eyes down the list and rotate anything older than three months old (by replacing it with anything purchased later – just as individuals who larder food must do).

HOWEVER, national disaster is not actually the focus of this article. 

Those of us with cognitive glitches experience personal disaster FAR more often — and few of us have taken the time to think through what we need to protect ourselves when the everyday kind of “stuff” hits the fan.

Predicting the every day emergencies to work around them

Example: I CAN’T be late for work again!

Getting out the door each morning – or anytime, actually – seems especially tough for those of us with Executive Functioning deficits and dysregulations.

  • Why didn’t you tell me what your teacher needed last night?
    I’m running late already!
  • I can’t find my shoes. Where are my keys?
  • EMPTY? I don’t have time to stop for gas!

ONLY those of us in denial pretend that the neurotypical functioning represents our experience of living. The rest of us prefer to be prepared for when it happens again – not “if” it does.

My clients who make it to work on time consistently do one or more of the following things:

  • Plan on an additional 15 minutes simply to get out the door.  Really!
  • Set up a “launching pad” near their exit door, and collect everything they are going to need the night before.
  • Make it a habit to ALWAYS fill up when the gauge says the tank is 1/4 full — and develop the habit of checking every single time they start the car to return home. That gives them some wiggle-room – but they don’t use it unless they absolutely MUST. (That also means they have to carry a means to pay for gas as dependably as they make sure they have their driver’s license – they simply do not drive ANYWHERE without either.)
  • NOBODY gets dinner until they’ve answered the “What do you need for tomorrow?” question.  Linking it to an after school snack works even better. (You DO realize they have to be prepared to write down the answer, right?  AND post it where they will see it while they still have the energy to deal with it the night before?)

Get your intellect out of your way

It’s only smart to put the treadmill tasks on autopilot by making each of them a habit.  Work through YOUR recurring “emergencies” to determine what goes wrong and what you can do to keep it from going wrong repeatedly.

Don’t try to think it through in real time.

  • Put it on autopilot – just like going to the bathroom.
    (Read more about that concept by clicking over to read Predict it to Police It, Police it to PLAN it)
  • But you’ll never be able to put it on autopilot if you don’t do it the same way

For Example: I ALWAYS use my turn signal

Some of my neurotypical friends have made fun of me for this, despite the fact that I’ve explained REPEATEDLY that I don’t want to have to decide when to use it, I simply want to make sure I signal when it counts.

Besides the fact that a ticket is NOT in my budget!

Why would anyone want to encourage a friend to second guess herself?  Unintentionally mean-spirited, perhaps, but N.O.T. funny!

I don’t let their misguided attempts at humor stop me, however, and I’m no longer very nice about telling them to CUT IT OUT!

  • Does it really harm anyone if I use my turn signal at the end of a row in a practically empty parking lot?
  • Failing to signal a turn (or a lane-change) is not only highly inconsiderate to other drivers, it’s likely to result in an accident!

It needs to be a HABIT – so I need to do it every single time!  SO DO YOU.

Not just US

“A recent study found drivers fail to signal 48% of the time when changing lanes and 25% of the time when making a turn. That study estimated turn signal neglect is a factor in as many as 2 million crashes per year.” ~ SuperService LLC


Just as we need to drive defensively, we need to LIVE defensively.  We need to predict what we might not remember to do, and take it out of the province of memory by thinking it through ahead of time.  THEN we need to make it a habit.

For Example:

  1. What causes YOU to have trouble making it to appointments on time?
  2. What about DINNER?
  3. How many times has the laundry process gone smooth as silk?  Have you ever really considered what goes wrong when it doesn’t?
  4. What systems need to be in place to keep items like toilet paper and paper towels in supply and located where you need them WHEN you need them?

This week, pay attention to what goes wrong.

  • Take the time to write it down on pad or a notecard.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Don’t sherlock it until later, but DO take the minute it will take to track it. 
    You honestly don’t believe you’re going to remember it later, do you?

At the end of the week, break it down.  What do you need to set into place to build into habits that will keep history from becoming destiny? How far back do you need to go to sherlock ALL the parameters of the problem?

Come back and share your discoveries and results in the comments below, so we can ALL benefit from what you discover.

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You might also be interested in some of the following articles available right now – on this site and elsewhere.

For links in context: run your cursor over the article above and the dark grey links will turn dark red; (subtle, so they don’t pull focus while you read, but you can find them to click when you’re ready for them) — and check out the links to other Related Content in each of the articles themselves —

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About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

4 Responses to When SHTF is a DAILY Occurrence!

  1. Christy B says:

    I’m honored by the inclusion here, Madelyn!! You’re right about living defensively too ~ In mind and body.. although we do need to take risks of the heart sometimes 😉 HUGE hugs for this lovely surprise shout out included xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. janetkwest says:

    I came from a “15 minute early” family and married a “15 minute late” man. I learned it’s really int the timing. He would look at the clock and say, we have 15 more minutes, when I’d say, We need to go NOW. It’s difficult to re-calibrate or reset your own clock. Most often I think I’m wound a too tight, but I don’t know if it’s possible to reset. What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I HATE WORDPRESS QUIRKS! Bubbles under plastic. GRRRRRRR!

      I just lost a 35 minute reply beginning with “that’s a question better handled by phone or in person, but I’ll give it my best shot to write about it in a one-way communication in the time I have.” I even jumped “backstage” because I frequently lose comments using their “new and improved” notifications procedure.

      I don’t have the patience to redo it, but would be happy to discuss it over the phone. Send me your phone number (e-Me form or email me from the email left on a comment on your site) and I’ll send you mine. It’s a fascinating question with a complex answer.

      Too bad WordPress ate it.


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