How to Survive the EXTREME Stress and Despair of SHTF

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By J. G. Martinez D.

The different events one has to endure when facing a difficult and prolonged situation usually take a toll on our body, and of course on our psyche. I have changed, had some noticeable declination in my health, and although have been able to deal with it, I don´t feel the same I used to be. There are plenty of reasons.

And maybe exposing my personal experience, I can help someone else to avoid a negative change. It is complicated and quite uncomfortable to do it, but maybe it will be therapeutic, somehow. (I hope so!). I know there are plenty of readers supporting me and my family. Or what´s left of it though.

Stress will challenge you.

It will make your mood to be…swift changing, at best. It will make you get emotional in the less expected (and awkward) moment, making you feel uncomfortable as a minimum, and making your decisions much harder to take. If you allow it will erode your relationships with all around you: spouse, children, parents, friends, acquaintances. I never was a talkative guy at the beginning of any relationship with someone, friend, nor anyone, though. A lot of trust and knowing the other person was needed first, for me to talk with confidence and fluidity.

Constant worrying about many things has such an effect on your character. It affects you deeply, and those effects remain for too much time. I´ve been feeling them for quite some time.  The effect I hated the most is in the relationships with our children.

Being constantly irritable was never common in my life until the effects of collapse started to be evident all around us, and the alarm clock started a regressive counting. I was aware, and even so, my then-partner told me to cool off a little bit. And I think I´m a good dad, after all…Unless you´re gifted with exceptionally good parenthood skills, your patience will be tested, once, and then again, and again. It will make your nights long and your sleeping time short. Every symptom you could have researched, you will have it. There is no way to escape unless you´re exceptionally strong and resilient. Which I am not. I like to think as being a regular middle-class professional Latin guy (not too Latin average) with hopes and dreams like everyone else, nowadays living a bad season.

There are ways to mitigate the stress of being in a potentially stressful situation.

The most common method, and the one that has worked for me, is acceptation of facts we can´t change.

Assimilating what happened, once and for all, and accepting that everything I´ve done and will do, is for the good of my family. Much reduced now, though.

I found that hand washing my clothes while listening to some music in my headphones is helpful. Getting our minds occupied with simple manual labor seems to do something soothing in our brains. I have never been anxious, but sometimes I feel I just need to do something. There is a feeling of being powerless because I can´t do anything else but to rack my brain out trying to find ways to find some money to keep my son well-fed, and buy my medicines, his vitamins, clothing, and school supplies…you get the picture. The political situation is nowadays more complicated than ever. It´s hard to foresee what will happen in my country. I believe many readers sympathize with me, as they analyze as thoroughly as I do. Those are the reasons that have been affecting me.

I want to make this point very clear. Maybe you will have lived in complicated situations. Perhaps some of them really hard and some can think than even worse than what I have been facing. But you will have to believe in my words when I tell you that having to bug out or flee will raise your standards for the definition of stress to a level as you will never have experienced before.

It’s hard to imagine stress in my secluded and peaceful cottage.

Even though with all the political climate running in Venezuela these days…I believe it could be bearable. That will be resolved sooner or later. But in the meantime, things we stopped living and the lost years, seem to be a price too high. Borders were not closed, as I once feared, and was the main reason to flee away, looking for greener pastures that were not as green once we arrived…because of the millions of other Venezuelans who did the same. Good paying jobs were not available to foreigners in the place we arrived.

And the worst part, the stress of having so far away home, without any possibility to improve a declining financial situation. This year was awful for the local economy. Had I had some vice, it would have been a serious impact on my health, just to make things worse. But God has been so good with me, that I consider my body a temple, and try to keep it well maintained to be a good example for my kiddo. And I mean TRY.

I have read something about stress management. Most of that material is written for job-related stress. I´ve been there. It has peaks. It has constant pressure, but you can learn to relief it upon arriving home. And pick it up back the next morning, usually.

I want to issue a warning.

I am not a guy prone to depression. Or I don´t think I am. But if someone reading this has had issues with it, you better collect your stuff together. It´s going to be much easier to suffer depression once something has happened. A few months after you have been out of your regular routine is all that it takes.

Anyway, all of this has come to shake me, and the self-knowledge of my strengths has taken a new dimension. Handling all of these emotions and feelings, being powerless…I would feel much better in a country where the language was not my native. You may ask why. Easy. Because of the feeling of being treated as a foreigner (not exactly bad, nor with disrespect, on the contrary, but I must add…for those who haven´t seen my videos, as far as I don´t speak too much, I can blend in here) for someone who understands me perfectly. It´s much easier being treated as a foreigner without speaking the native language of the place. Much more…comprehension of the circumstances perhaps? I can’t tell.

On the other hand and under the light of the recent events and setbacks in my life, suddenly the idea of planting tomatoes for sale in the town market and some chickens start to look better and better. I know exactly what conditions I am going to find. I´ve done extensive research for several months with friends all over the country. It´s another way I found to mitigate the stress, as I can sketch some plans to overcome obstacles.

Examples? Cool.

There is no toilet paper or is this too expensive? There are plenty of people trading hand-made soap, and we have plenty of space for storing rainwater. Use your imagination. There´s no shampoo nor money to buy it? Nature provided us in the tropics with several bushes and plants with roots that can be used for that, much more natural and without harming our skins nor contaminating our soil.

We can use that greywater to irrigate our garden. No money for laundry detergent? I spent some quality time on the internet with my kiddo, and we discovered a tree, widely spread across Venezuela, including our home state, which provides small nuts that can be used for that because of their high “saponin” content. You should have seen the smile in his little face when we were reading about this. He´s happy because despite his age he KNOWS this sort of stuff will allow him to come back home. The home he misses so badly, where he used to grill sausages in a small fire under the clear, pristine, clear sky, hearing the wind blowing within the trees.

I have a strong feeling you´ll find the next articles (hopefully written from my cottage) quite interesting.

Thank you.

And I want to tell you, how happy to have you here with me on this journey. You´ve been great readers, with all that support and encouragement you show us.

Someday my kiddo will be able to read it and will be grateful too.

Thanks for your attention, your reading, and all that love, comprehension and solidarity you show. Truly appreciated.

Sincerely yours,


About Jose

Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has a small 4 members family, plus two cats and a dog. An old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Thanks to your help Jose has gotten his family out of Venezuela. They are currently setting up a new life in another country. Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on Patreon. Donations:

How to Survive the EXTREME Stress and Despair of SHTF
J.G. Martinez D

J.G. Martinez D

About Jose Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has a small 4 members family, plus two cats and a dog. An old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Thanks to your help Jose has gotten his family out of Venezuela. They are currently setting up a new life in another country. Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on Patreon. Donations:

Leave a Reply

  • Stress is a killer, whether it is in the current society or in a SHTF scenario.
    The feelings of Hopelessness is a big factor in depression.

    Religion plays a big part in fighting depression. I know nobody wants to go there, but it is a fact.
    If “god” is in control, then you do not have to be. He will take care of you, in the long run.
    If you believe in that strongly enough, it reduces stress ,hopelessness and depression.
    I’m sure there are other ways to accomplish this also. Some more successful than others.

    The big thing to understand is that Stress and all kinds of emotions, will plague you in a SHTF scenario.
    So you better be prepared to deal with them both personally and in your family or group, and that preparation needs to start right now.

    Similarly you had better decide now, how far you will go to protect yourself or you loved ones.
    Hesitation or trying to decide what to do at the last moment, is a big killer.

    So get mentally prepared to do what ever you have to do, in order to survive.
    Whether that means eating bugs, or leaving some one behind in order to save everyone else. Hard choices will have to be made and you better be ready to deal with them. Those choices will haunt you for a long time, so you must be ready to deal with that also.

    Mental preparedness is as important, if not more important, than physical preparedness.
    if you are so upset mentally, you may not be able to use the preps that you have so diligently prepared.

    • Dear MIc,

      Thanks for such good insight of the situation I intend to mirror with this article. It´s interesting to see how training can do wonderful things when you are slightly mentally ready. I tend to react swiftly and with decision in unexpected events. Had to get a drown old woman off a beach once. I realized later, that was pure instinct. Good to know that a young age so one can polish that natural skill.
      Maybe aging made me wiser, but made me cautious as well, and that can not be of much good under certain circumstances.

      And yes, acceptation of the own decisions is hard. Part of the pain of being an adult and having someone who depends on you.

      Thanks for sharing your great thoughts about this with us!.


  • Jose, thank you for sharing this. I’m sure it wasn’t easy. You have dealt with SHTF on so many levels, it is not surprising that you have gone through an emotional roller coaster.

    This is a prime example of how we can’t always be prepared for everything.

    Jose did what he thought best for his family. He never imagined the scenario he ended up in, and how it might turn his world upside down in the ways that it did. I sort of understand, as I went through a situation where I thought I did what was best for my family, only to have it backfire on me in ways I never expected. (My situation was no where near as dire as Jose’s, but I fully understand the unintended consequences)

    Thing is, we can have plans A, B and C, and think everyone is on board. But we cannot predict how even those closest to us will ‘handle” the consequences of those plans. In SHTF situations, we will likely see ‘family units’ change significantly from the ‘norm’ we know. Spouses and children and other family members may be lost, physically due to illness or violence, or emotionally, due to not being able to deal with a ‘new reality’.

    These kinds of things don’t get discussed enough in our ‘society’ of prepping. So, I thank Jose for being brave enough to discuss his situation.

    • Dear Grammyprepper,

      Your words are like hot cocoa for soul. And cookies with chocolate chips, too.

      Thanks. You´re great

  • Jose
    You are a strong man and you open my eyes more each time I read what you write, what a blessing to let us who read what you write into your life all the while you are having to endure extreme hardships.

    I use to believe that America was a safe place and would always remain safe for we the people loved and honored her as a great nation, but now so many are trying to destroy her and use any method to divide her people for their gain for power and wealth. It is beyond my understanding why people in governments throughout the world want to hurt and destroy their own people and their homeland.

    Please stay safe and continue to write.

  • Thanks for sharing this, José. I know that it isn’t easy to share feelings with people sometimes, and we all appreciate your candor.

    Mental health is such an important part of dealing with any situation, and it’s one that the prepper community doesn’t discuss enough. The psychological repercussions of going through a shtf situation on a personal scale is rough enough, nevermind on a national or global scale, with everyone else going through the same thing and dealing with it (or not) in different ways.

    That being said, I think you are doing the best you can, which from where I sit seems better than a lot of people would be.

    Try not to beat yourself up over being short-tempered or weepy…who wouldn’t be under the circumstances? Apologize if you feel the need, try to hold on to your temper going forward, acknowledge that you are only human and will make mistakes, go into the bedroom or the bathroom and cry if you need to. Step outside your head and look at yourself as though you were a friend. If you had a friend who was stressed out and crying, what would you say to them?

    Involving your kid in finding solutions to problems is one of the best things to do…kids WANT to help, and it helps them feel that they have some measure of control over a situation guaranteed to make them feel helpless. It also teaches them skills.

    We’ll all be praying for you and your family. Stay well.

    • Dear Kitty,

      I knew you people was going to understand, and this is one of the most hard-to-write articles (and I hope one of the most useful ones) I´ve ever had to write. Yes, I´m doing my best. But sometimes I think I should try harder though.

      You are great. All of you Thanks.

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