Emergency Prep for lives that have A LOT of them!

When SHTF is a DAILY Occurrence . . .
and “Stuff Hits The Fan” repeatedly!

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
From the Executive Functioning Series

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

Time to revisit some older content . . .
(Updated content from a post originally published in February 2015)

Given what’s going in Texas, Louisiana and Florida during this Hurricane Season, there are a lot of “preparedness” articles to be found around the blogging universe these days.

THIS one’s a little different.

The first half of this article is a good disaster-prep reminder you probably will NOT see many other places – but the second half offers a bit of help toward preventing those “emergencies” in our everyday lives.

Lots to learn from the Survivalists

©Phillip Martin – artist/educator Found HERE

New to the acronym? “SHTF” is a Survivalist abbreviation for Stuff Hits The Fan (with another 4-letter “S” word replacing the one I used to keep things family-friendly).

As with any subgroup, Survivalists run the gamut from the extreme through the consumed by anxiety to the worried . . . all the way to the lower end of the scale: those who are merely cautious.

At base, many of them are no different from savers and planners in any other arena — except that Survivalists 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 of us here in Alphabet City share with them.  Except the system we have a hard time trusting anymore is The Mental Health Care System which includes hospital administrators and health “professionals,” as well as the legislators charged with protecting the rights of the many in our society who have “invisible” disabilities.

It makes sense to me, given the probabilities,
that we ALL might be wise to expect the best
but prepare for the worst. just like those Survivalists.

Global catastrophe’s aside, the “worst” here in Alphabet City seems to happen A LOT more frequently than in the neurotypical population — and history has proven repeatedly that 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 is broken and desperately needs changing.  Despite the fact that I’ve been ringing that bell for over 25 years now – along with a great many other Mental Health advocates – things continue to worsen nonetheless.

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

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Disaster preparedness

It is certainly important, in addition to the things that the average Jack and Jill must consider, for each of us think through and plan for what we will need in a bonafide SHTF crisis situation.

I’m talking about situations like fire, flood, or weather that keeps us house-imprisoned for days on end, by the way, NOT ONLY national emergencies on the order of the damage caused by the recent hurricanes.

Avoiding Predictable Consequences

SOURCE: Quotesgram

Available online are lots of lists of necessary supplies and foodstuffs in the event that some BIG “Stuff Hits The Fan.”  I’ve linked a few in the Related ‘Round the Web section, found at the bottom of almost all of my articles.

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 that seem most likely to occur at some time in future.

Those of us with ADD/EFD (and cousins) must add our own symptom-specific needs to those lists.

The most obvious of these is MEDICATION.

  • Many 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 to remain medicated in the event of a national emergency?

With that in mind, would it be possible for your prescription to be increased just a tiny 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.

  • If your medication is of the type that can be refilled, it’s smart to keep an extra bottle on hand – even if you have to eat peanut butter for dinner one night a week for a while to be able to pay for the back up.

    Make SURE you always exchange your back-up every time you get a new refill. Replace the older one with the newer one. You don’t want to risk taking old medication in an emergency situation, do you?

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

My BEST advice: before you go to bed tonight, gather your medication essentials together in ONE place (both prescription and non).

You’d ALSO be wise to have a copy of your prescriptions and the number of your doctor and pharmacy in that bag. Keep gathering items as you have time.

Also think about adding anything you need to remain calm and focused during the “down” times that frequently occur in tandem with the “up” times of a crises — small items that will keep your mind occupied and keep you from going stir-crazy (items like a fidget, packs of gum, a deck of cards, a Rubic’s Cube – or a blank journal and several pens).

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” – and don’t forget to list items like a small flashlight and batteries, your datebook, your cellphone, your address book, your reading glasses, etc!

Check items off the list as you add them. 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 “use soon” items and replace/rotate anything older than three months (replacing it with anything purchased later and using what is currently in your Go-Bag, just as individuals who larder food must do).  Don’t forget to change the date.

Moving right along . . .

National disaster preparedness is not actually the most important 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: Making SURE you are not 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.

There always seems to be some little last-minute detail that derails us.  Like some of the ones below, for example:

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

ONLY those of us in denial pretend that regular-as-clockwork 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:

  • Budget 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 and put it there 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.
    (Which also means they have to carry some way to pay for it as dependably as they make sure they have their driver’s license – they simply do not drive ANYWHERE without both.)
  • 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 you have to be prepared to write down the answer, right?  AND post it where you will see it while you still have the energy to deal with it the night before?)

Get your intellect out of your way

No matter how stupid you feel when you can’t seem to do what “everyone else” manages effortlessly,  it’s only smart to put the treadmill tasks on autopilot (those tasks that never stay DONE!)  The only thing stupid about it is that you insist on believing if you simply try harder, next time it will be different.

Make each of them a habit.  Work through YOUR recurring (or potential) “emergencies” to determine what can go wrong and what you can do to keep it from going wrong repeatedly.

Don’t try to think it through in real time.
Noodle it before it smacks you in the face – again.

  • 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 EVERY SINGLE TIME.

For Example: I always use my turn signal

I have been made fun of repeatedly by some of my “vanilla-brained” friends (no mix-ins, like the ice cream), despite the fact that I’ve explained EVERY SINGLE TIME 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 traffic 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 (and so do they, by the way).

“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

Living Defensively

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 making DINNER before everyone is “starving?”
  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.

And get in touch if you’d like some help with sherlocking trouble spots, setting up systems, and some accountability support while you’re making things a habit.  I still have a few openings in my coaching schedule, and I’d LOVE to be your coach.

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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!"

56 Responses to Emergency Prep for lives that have A LOT of them!

  1. Interesting and extremely helpful article. We called it “the habit of what-if-ness” – what if something happens? – and played tole games with kids.
    You know the thought that keeps popping up in my twisted mind: I hope none of “my kids” ended up being your clients!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very good advice, Madelyn. On our recent holiday to England I took an extra 2 weeks medication for everyone just in case of emergency. Luckily in South Africa we have scripts for 6 months and it is not very difficult to get an extra month’s supply. Running out of medication with Gregory is just not an option. His symptoms are much worse when we travel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Finished your WIP early this morning (before I went to bed), and BOY do I agree with your statement about the importance of Gregory’s medication, having read about his many challenges. So smart of you to take back-up!!

      I’m jealous that the medication laws in South Africa are more enlightened and open minded than ours. America’s “war on drugs” has seriously co opted common sense where meds for those who need ongoing prescriptions are concerned – in the mental health community, of course, but ESPECIALLY for those in the chronic pain community. Our laws are not only short-sighted, they are actually cruel.

      Thanks always for ringing in, Robbie. Loved your recent comment under Non-Smoking Ladybug’s post today, btw. — and I am all the more honored that you continue to read my posts. Thank you!

      My comments about your book will be forthcoming by email. It may take me a day or two to get to it, however. TONS on my plate.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Madelyn for your comments and for taking the time to read through the beginning of my book. It still needs work and that is a raw draft but I am interested in your thoughts on the concept. I feel that because my son seems fine and is very clever, people have no idea what it is like at home. It is obvious if someone is in a wheelchair but if their mind is in a wheelchair people are much less understanding.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Wednesday, September 13th 2017 – Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, Janice Spina and The Non Smoking Lady Bug | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  4. paulandruss says:

    Madelyn so any people have had strong input to this already great article that I don’t simply want to repeat what has been said. I remember a quote from years ago which always made me think:… ‘Man is not an animal who does think… Man is an animal that can think.’ Many of us spend our whole lives planning and thinking in our jobs, yet in life get by on knee jerk reactions. As you say: think ahead & live defensively – it is not that hard to get into good habits.


    • Does vs. CAN – very funny, and apt indeed. You are a doll to continue to visit when I get over to your patch SO seldom. Since you are not a Wpress dot COM blog (so you’re not automatically linked like those that are), would it be too much to ask for you to leave us all a link to your latest post when you visit? I’ll bet I wouldn’t be the only person who would click it. 🙂 {{hugs}}


  5. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Do you live your life defensively? Not just when you are driving but in case of more major and potentially catestrophic events. Millions are now trying to rebuild their lives after the hurricanes. Many did not evacuate and chose to wait out the storm in their homes. Would you have been prepared with the necessary supplies to get you through an extended period without help from the outside world? Even in countries where the weather is more an annoyance than a disaster, it does pay to have a few things that are essential in hand.. Such as life saving medication… Please read the whole post and find out how even everyday activities need to be thought of defensively. #recommended

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dgkaye says:

    Love the acronym. As SHTF or (Shtif) as I like to call it won’t seem to stop blowing my way on a daily basis since pre-eclipe and still lingering. But besides my shtif, this is a very helpful post for preparedness. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This article was interesting. Never heard of that abbreviation. Disaster or emergency relief. good to talk about in the wake of the hurricanes happening now.Shared on LinkedIn.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. noelleg44 says:

    Good reminders all, Madelyn. We’ve been through so many storms and hurricanes here, we have our preparedness down to an art form!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Christy B says:

    Madelyn, it never occurred to me what to do if I can’t have my prescription renewed in a national emergency! Wow, your suggestion for a back-up bottle is a great one. Thank you and I will ask my doctor about this the next time I see him. You’re a lifesaver ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. John Fioravanti says:

    Reblogged this on Words To Captivate ~ by John Fioravanti and commented:
    Madelyn Griffith-Haynie gifts us with practical guidelines about how to prepare for disasters and normal daily crises that find their way into our lives. Please, read on…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. mistermuse says:

    Excellent advice, especially regarding the meds. Anything one can do to build up a bit of a backup supply is a good idea. Even if a natural disaster never strikes, some meds aren’t kept on hand by some pharmacies because they may have only one customer for that particular med, and they only order it when the customer does. This may result in unforeseen delays due to human error, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent point, Muse. Thanks for ringing in here. Always love your visits.

      Interestingly, as far as keeping your particular medication in stock for you, I have found that the “Mom and Pop” drug stores with only one pharmacist frequently offer better service than the “chain pharmacies” where there are several hands involved.

      In addition, in many places, Scheduled Meds often start becoming tough to find around October each year too — because of the laws around that, the manufacturers can only make so much each year and their projections are often off.

      The trick is to not let the idea you have back up become a reason to delay getting a new script (or taking it In to get it filled). Then you never really build one. That’s a toughie for a lot of ADDers anyway, since they can only get one script a month and that follow-thru thing is kludgy for most of them. I know it was for me.

      Another argument for the “those meds are addicting” crew — what addict fails to get his “substance” ANY time s/he can?

      Liked by 1 person

  12. -Eugenia says:

    Excellent advice, as usual. I don’t understand drivers that don’t use their turn signal. It is part of the vehicle for a reason, you know!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. great post! I think you would be lost in france… the turn signal is the thing people don’t know here (not only in traffic it counts for anything) … I’m the only one who is so darned oldschool and I use it… even when I confuse the other drivers…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Ali Grimshaw says:

    There is so many excellent questions and ideas here. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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