Psychological Survival

Psychological survival

Your chances of surviving a situation are based more on your mental condition than your physical condition. If you have lost the will to live, you will never make it out of the situation. It doesn’t matter how strong you are physically it will be useless without a calm clear mind. Most people have no idea how they will react in a survival situation. Some will panic, suffer from shock, or just give in to their fear and shut down.

I’m going to share a story about someone who’s survival was based on his mental strength.

Hiroo Onoda was 23 years old when he was sent to Lubang, an island covered with rainforest 120km (74 miles) south of Manila in the Philippines. As a soldier, his commander told him to carry on fighting for Japan even if the rest of his comrades were wiped out. And this is what he did… for 30 years! In the first few years on Lubang, Hiroo kept in touch with other Japanese soldiers. But one by one, his comrades surrendered or died. Eventually, Hiroo was on his own. He lived on bananas and coconuts, and sometimes managed to catch a bird or steal a cow to eat. He made shoes out of old tyres stitched together with pieces of straw, and he built shelters out of bamboo, vines and branches in the forest. Always fearful of an enemy attack, Hiroo kept switching hide-outs and he shot at anyone who came close to him. When Japan surrendered in 1945, planes dropped leaflets over the island to announce the end of the war. Hiroo picked up these leaflets, but he was sure that they were lies written by the American enemy. Friends and relatives visited Lubang to tell him that the war was over, but he remained suspicious and continued to hide.
After thirty years on the island, Hiroo came across a Japanese student called Norio on a camping holiday. Hiroo nearly shot Norio, but Norio managed to persuade him that people back in Japan were worried about him. Hiroo told Norio that he would only give up if his commander told him to.
Luckily, his commander was still alive – he had become a bookseller in Japan. The commander flew to Lubang, and at last, on 10th March 1974, Hiroo Onoda gave up his lonely life. By this time, he was 52 years old.

I can’t imagine surviving a month alone and always fearful of an enemy. Hiroo did it for 30 years.

Do you have what I takes to get through the next natural disaster, car accident,or financial hardships? It’s easy to say yes but hard to mean it. The more confident you are and the better prepared you are mentally and physically will help you through it.
Make plans in case of emergency. When I was in elementary school we would have fire fighters come in and talk about what we should do in a fire. They told us to sit with our family and come up with a plan. That we should know how to get out of the house and where to meet when we do. Thinking it was silly then, now I understand.
Now if there’s a fire, flood, earthquake, or some other movie type disaster I will be ready. Since I move around a lot, I make plans for each place I live. It doesn’t take as much time as you would think. You need to know how to get out of the building and away from danger. Then you have a place to meet your loved ones or friends.
Some situations require many more details but have the same core ideas. Get away from immediate danger , regroup, call in situation to appropriate help.

My current situation requires a clear mind.
Let’s use the fire situation.
I live on the tip of a plateau. There is one road out and it goes for 40+ miles before intersecting with any paved roads. We are surrounded by a dry thick forest and deep canyons. The nearest town is over an hour drive. The nearest hospital is 2 hours away and is not set up for many emergencies. Most serious emergencies are takes to a hospital 5 hours by car. With constant danger of wild fires, my community has a fire evacuation plan. We are also a tourist destination and at times there are around 2000 or more people here at a time. If the fire is in a location that calls for evacuation it is my job to assist in evacuating everyone. In some situations there is no immediate danger and there will be a time limit that everyone has to be out in let’s say 2 hours. The other situation is that there is no time and that everyone must evacuate immediately. Once all the buildings are clear, then I must go to the meeting area and assist in making sure everyone is accounted for. By that time there’s a good chance that my home is gone and that everything I own is what I have with me. It probably won’t be much. I keep emergency supplies in my car and a bug out bag. Worst case scenario I won’t even be able to grab any of that or my vehicle.

I hope I will never be in this situation and if I am I hope I can keep my mind clear and focused to protect myself and others. Though if it ever does happen I know that there is a solid plan in place and we are as ready as we can be.


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