We just got back from a trip to Disneyland. So much fun. So exorbitant. So not necessary. But so enjoyed.
Unfortunately, while we were there, I developed a case of bronchitis. I've had bronchitis many times in my life, so I'm familiar with it. I did something you should NEVER do - I took the prescription antibiotics that my husband got before we left. You see, he was sick, too, and got a prescription "just in case". Well, it worked out well for me. He got better, I got worse, I took the pills. NEVER do that. NEVER take someone else's prescription. But, damn, I'm glad I had them. You see, we're Canadian, and had we not had them, it would have been a lot of time, money and, more importantly, huge stress to find a doctor, get a prescription, deal with the American Health system, etc.
But that is not why I am writing this post. You see, I missed a day at Disneyland and spent most of a whole day watching the really bad TV available. The US government was back to work, so the news was re-hashing all of that. I watched some of it but when I wanted to poke a pencil into my eye, I changed the channel.
And I found a show called "Doomsday Bunkers" on, of all things, the Discovery Channel (wasn't that supposed to be an educational channel??). It follows the work of a builder who makes bunkers for people who are scared of natural and man-made disasters. I realized something from watching this show. The man doing the work is preying on the undiagnosed anxiety disorders of the American public.
You see, I can understand the worry that leads someone to think of building a bunker or of "prepping" as they call it. In some ways it makes sense. But it really doesn't make sense to spend more than you have simply because there might be a nuclear attack (ask those people who built bunkers in the 1960s), a nuclear power plant failure, a tsunami, an earthquake, or whatever.
It's a really good idea to be prepared. To have an emergency kit, to know where your community's rally points are, to have solar panels (or a generator) for electricity and to have water available. But here's the thing - in general, the government is prepared for these types of situations. You can't always rely on the government for immediate help, so having extra food, etc., is a really good idea. But if you lose your house, have a tree on your car, or whatever, people will generally help you as best they can, and even though our governments aren't perfect, they are there to help. They just won't cover everything the way you might want them to.
These people who are prepping, though, they have more-than-normal anxiety about the state of the world. They feel like no one will help them if there is a problem, and they feel they need to take care of every aspect of their lives for perhaps years. This is excessive. They are self-medicating. And it is greatly affecting their lives.
Anxiety disorders are defined as: "... exaggerations of our normal and adaptive reaction to fearful or stressful events." Anxiety is present in everyone - it is normal. But over reacting to threats is a problem. Both for them and for other people.
Doing this and making it part of cable programming increases anxiety for other people watching the shows. It causes others to tip the scale into the "unreasonable worry" state of being. It also will cause a financial burden for the anxious person, spending thousands of dollars on a situation that is liable to not be as bad as they are expecting. Where they could be saving money for the future, they are instead spending money on grain that will last 20 years. In a way that is saving for the future, but the odds of them using that grain to survive for years after an emergency are low.
Of course, I might be a fool. Maybe the Preppers are the only sane ones. Maybe they will all be laughing as they eat their 15-year-old rice and drink ancient water while they sit in their bunkers waiting out the radiation fallout so that they can emerge into a world of cinders and ash.
Just my opinion, but it seems to me that they are over-doing it a bit, don't you think?