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Ask Dr. Helen: Preparing for Disaster -- Prudent or Paranoid?

I predict that if Democrats do better in coming elections, much of the lefty apocalypticism will diminish. Unfortunately, that may lead to a loss of consciousness about the importance of disaster preparation among the larger populace. But maybe not. It's a dangerous world out there, and there are lots of reasons, beyond politics, for doing what we can to be ready for it. Perhaps that message will persist, regardless. It should.

The key here to disaster preparedness is to keep an open mind, maintain a balance in your life, and don't get too extreme one way or another. You want to be prepared, but you don't want the preparedness to take over your life. In other words, be prepared but don't be paranoid like this teen (Hat tip: Don Surber):

Psychiatrists have detected the first case of "climate change delusion" -- and they haven't even yet got to Kevin Rudd and his global warming guru.

Writing in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, Joshua Wolf and Robert Salo of our Royal Children's Hospital say this delusion was a "previously unreported phenomenon."

"A 17-year-old man was referred to the inpatient psychiatric unit at Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne with an eight-month history of depressed mood. ... He also ... had visions of apocalyptic events." ...

"The patient had also developed the belief that, due to climate change, his own water consumption could lead within days to the deaths of millions of people through exhaustion of water supplies."

Storing some bottled water in your basement, as the federal government recommends, isn't paranoid. Being afraid to drink water for fear of climate collapse is.

In conclusion, my advice is that one doesn't want to take things to an extreme and get overly anxious about certain events taking place, but it is good to have the ability and forethought to have some control should something unpredictable happen. If not overdone, preparedness can even be mentally healthy. A feeling of mastery can help lessen anxiety. In addition, it will be beneficial to society if citizens are equipped to handle problems themselves without turning to the government for all of the solutions. For in the end, self-reliance and self-sufficiency may be the only traits separating those who make it through or even flourish in hard times and those who flounder.

So, what do you think, is preparing for disaster or crime prudent or paranoid? Do you have your own areas of disaster preparedness that you focus on and prepare for and if so, what are they and how do you prepare? Or do you think some disasters are just politically motivated to make people paranoid enough to vote a particular way?


If you have a question you would like answered, please leave it below or email me at [email protected]. Your questions may be edited for length and clarity. Please note that your first name only or no name at all will be used to identify your question -- if you want me to use your name, tell me; otherwise you will be referred to by your first name or as "a reader," etc.