TACDA: Psychology of Civil Defense Webinar, Sat., Nov. 12

The American Civil Defense Association is holding an online webinar on the topic of Psychology of Civil Defense on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022 at 5pm Pacific time. The meeting is scheduled to last 45 minutes with 15 minutes for questions.

Psychology of Civil Defense
Fear, panic, and sheer terror overwhelm the masses during and immediately after major disasters.

Our survival is dependent upon a change of attitude and the acknowledgment that we are at risk!

Topics of discussion:
▪ Assessing Your Risk
▪ A Change of Attitude
▪ Neighborhood Emergency Plan (for more information see below links):
▪ Psychological Preparation for Life in a Shelter
▪ Plan of Action in the Event of a Disaster

Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness Plan handout: Click HERE

corded meeting from June 2022 Are We Ready? Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness: click HERE

Saturday, November 12 2022 | 6:00 pm MST

TACDA is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Psychology of Civil Defense (Ch. 1, TACDA Academy)
Time: Nov 12, 2022 06:00 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us06web.zoom.us/j/89634802393?pwd=OHV1VmY2N1FhT0dPV3o4Zkp2VjVjdz09 Meeting ID: 896 3480 2393
Passcode: 855196

One tap m
+17193594580,,89634802393#,,,,855196# US
855196# US (Tacoma)

Dial by your location
+1 719 359 4580 US
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 408 638 0968 US (San Jose)
+1 669 444 9171 US
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 646 876 9923 US (New York)
+1 646 931 3860 US
+1 689 278 1000 US
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 309 205 3325 US
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 360 209 5623 US
+1 386 347 5053 US
+1 507 473 4847 US
+1 564 217 2000 US

Meeting ID: 896 3480 2393
Passcode: 855196
Find your local number: https://us06web.zoom.us/u/kbBbDkbwQH

TACDA: Cold Weather Survival Online, Oct. 13

The American Civil Defense Association will present Cold Weather Survival in a Zoom meeting format on Thursday, Oct. 13th, 2022 at 5pm Pacific time. The presentation will be 45 minutes long plus 15 minutes for questions. Click here to launch Zoom meeting.

Cold Weather Survival

Presented by: Jim Phillips

Jim Phillips is a nationally known speaker and teacher who has taught thousands of classes all across the U.S. and Canada for over 45 years. For years prior to this career, his avocation was teaching cold weather safety & survival, and this is still a major part of his instruction.

Jim’s educational background is in engineering, science, and technology, with his first years of teaching in the 1970s as a certified nuclear reactor operator instructor.

Jim is a strong advocate of self-reliant living and family preparedness. He encourages people to develop a powerful positive purpose and mission to focus on which will carry them through very serious or life-threatening events.

To learn more, see Jim’s website at https://www.jimsway.com/

October 13, 2022 | 6:00 pm MDT

TACDA is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: TACDA Webinar “Cold Weather Survival” October 2022
Time: Oct 13, 2022 06:00 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 881 1872 8133
Passcode: 772939
One tap mobile
+13462487799,,88118728133#,,,,772939# US (Houston)
772939# US (San Jose)

Dial by your location

+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

+1 408 638 0968 US (San Jose)

+1 669 444 9171 US

+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)

+1 719 359 4580 US

+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

+1 646 876 9923 US (New York)

+1 646 931 3860 US

+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)

+1 309 205 3325 US

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

+1 386 347 5053 US

+1 564 217 2000 US
Meeting ID: 881 1872 8133
Passcode: 772939
Find your local number: https://us06web.zoom.us/u/kcVMbkMNDh

TACDA: Neighborhood Preparedness Webinar, Thurs. June 9th

TACDA is holding a webinar on Thursday, June 9th, 2022 at 5:00 pm Pacific (6pm MDT) on the topic Are We Ready? Neighborhood Preparedness. There are 45 minutes for the presentation and then fifteen minutes for questions.

Topic: Are We Ready?

Presenter: Sharon Packer

Sharon Packer has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a minor in physics, and a master’s degree in Nuclear Engineering. She has served on the TACDA board of directors for over 20 years in several different capacities. Sharon is an expert in civil defense and in NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) shelter design.

Date: June 9, 2022 6pm (Utah time)

Link: Click HERE to join the meeting. (Everyone invited to this meeting. No subscription required!)

Sharon will give us an overview of Neighbor helping Neighbor with the basics of emergency preparedness:

  • Nuclear threat
  • Food storage
  • Evacuation
  • First Aid
  • Power outages
  • Emergency Communications
  • Water storage
  • Sanitation
  • Neighborhood Watch
  • Alternative Energy

Live Zoom presentation will be on Thursday June 9th, and the recording will be available to watch by the following Monday.

Link for Recorded Zoom Presentation: Coming

Neighborhood Preparedness Plan: Click HERE

TACDA: Preparing Your Neighborhood for Emergencies

The following video is a recording of a webinar presented by The American Civil Defense Association earlier this year on Preparing Your Neighborhood for Emergencies. It goes over getting your neighbors on board, planning for possible emergencies, HELP and OK signs, training, and how the neighborhood responds. As it is a recording of a webinar, there are questions and answers throughout the presentation.

TACDA Webinar – Sanitation in Disasters, May 14

The American Civil Defense Association is holding a webinar on Saturday, May 14th, 2022 about sanitation in disasters at 5pm Pacific time.

Instructor Jim Philips

Topic: Sanitation

Presenter: Jim Philips

Date: May 14, 2022 6pm (Utah time)

Link: Click HERE to join the meeting. (Everyone invited to this meeting. No subscription required!)

Following a disaster, there are two overlapping sinister challenges that (over the long-term) will cause more misery, disease, and death than the event. This deadly sanitation combo will quickly kill far more people than starvation or most other issues.  Be prepared to overcome them, before they overcome you and your household!

Live Zoom presentation will be on Saturday, May 14th, and the recording will be available to watch by the following Monday.

After the Event Serial Killer 

When “things” happen, there are areas that households can work through on their own (food, shelter, light, clothing, stored water, first aid, etc.).  However, there are a few areas that are very ‘public’, and absolutely require unified participation from the ‘community’.

Recognize that if you are doing everything correctly, but others around you are not, your ability to stay well is drastically diminished or totally negated.  At the top of this list, two major issues go hand in hand with disasters of significant magnitude and duration —

FAILED SANITATION, and its twin sister lack of SANITARY WATER.

TACDA: Children and Civil Defense

Bruce Curley of The American Civil Defense Association talks about Children and Civil Defense (pdf). Excerpt below.

We teach children from their youth to help them have a long, healthy, and prosperous life. Yet the subject of civil defense, essential to those goals, is completely neglected by public, private and home schools every day.This article will seek to help fill that gap and provide information for parents (and grandparents) in some of the core areas of civil defense so you can educate your children. Greater exploration of these topics is available by visiting the websites or reading the books suggested here.

Brief Definition of Civil Defense

Civil defense includes all the tasks undertaken to ensure the safety of citizens and to protect them from attack (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) as well as from the negative impacts of natural disasters. At the very core of civil defense is the protection of children. In the United States, this is mostly done by unpaid volunteers in support of front-line emergency personnel with oversight by the government.

Civil defense for children has been practiced from the beginning of time, but here we will briefly analyze civil defense from the end of World War II until today. I will then offer several ways to help children with various aspects of good civil defense planning, supplies, and tactics.

From the end of World War II through the 1950’sand 1960’s, the emphasis was on training children on how to “duck and cover” or find shelter from incoming nuclear weapons.

There was also an emphasis on building shelters,often in the basement or backyard. Fallout shelters were being built because nuclear war was considered a good possibility at the time and shelters were one way to reduce the loss of life should the unthinkable happen.

The Duck and Cover film that was widely shown to children in the 1950’s and 1960’s can be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWH4tWkZpPU.

A history of fallout shelters can be viewed here: History Brief: For Family Fallout Shelters, see the History Brief at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLoiQ9pZjfk.

Today there are many YouTube videos mocking these efforts, viewing them as laughable because the nuclear war they prepared for never happened, and the shelters and supplies gathered were never needed to save anyone.

I disagree with these uninformed assessments. Given the international tensions at the time and how close we came to nuclear war those preparations were prudent. I personally know a Marine who was in Guantanamo Bay and another who was in Florida ready to deploy during the Cuban Missile Crisis and both assure me we were one call away from a nuclear war at that time.

Moreover, preparing to deal with known contingencies has been essential to human survival for thousands of years. And before laughing too hard, consider that citizens back then knew the threats, and took measures to prepare to meet and overcome them. How many citizens now can say the same today? Witness the panic buyin gas Hurricane Florence approaches as evidence of our current preparation for threats.

The Elite Engage in Civil Defense. So Should You.

As proof, the Carnegie Corporation just gave a huge sum of money to a junior professor named Alex Wellerstein at the Stevens Institute of Technology to“reinvent” civil defense. See the article at http://blog.nuclearsecrecy.com/2017/07/13/the-reinvent-ing-civil-defense-project/ and https://reinventingcivildefense.org/.

Alex Wellerstein’s Nuclear Secrecy Blog(http://blog.nuclearsecrecy.com/) explores, in a highly cerebral and academic way, the history, reality, threat, potential use, impact and survival possibility of nukes.

Professor Wellerstein also created the NUKEMAP to help determine if you are in the blast zone should nuclear weapons rain down on your domicile. I actually entered my address in the NUKEMAP years ago to make sure my family would be outside the blast zones of Baltimore and Washington, D.C. when I moved to Mt. Airy.

I am not sure you can get more elite than the Carnegie Foundation. If they are spending large sums of money to analyze and promote (reinvent) civil defense, should not the average American also promote civil defense?

Moreover, the elites have built, and are building,multiple civil defense communities to ensure they survive a nuclear exchange. See here (https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/prepper-oasis-luxury-survivalist-community/), and here (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimdobson/2016/10/07/exclusive-look-inside-the-worlds-largest-underground-survival-community-5000-people-575-bunkers/?sh=47f4f0116e48).

And the elite of the elite, Silicon Valley billionaires,have their survival communities ready, and if this is not a contemporary civil defense project, I don’t know what is: (https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/silicon-valley-billionaires-buy-underground-bunkers-apocalypse-california-a7545126.html).

On the natural disaster side, enter #naturaldisaster in an Instagram or Twitter search engine. You will be able to view thousands of videos of natural disasters.

They happen somewhere on the earth every hour.You only know of the ones that affect you directly or that the media chooses to report, but they occur continuously on this dynamic, living, erupting planet.

So, natural disasters happen. Nuclear war has happened and will likely happen again.

Let’s prepare. And live. And triumph. And be great at it!

Here are a few ways you can prepare yourself, your children and grandchildren in civil defense without spending hundreds of thousands in funding from the Carnegie Foundation to do so. Just use your family budget in a wise and prudent way. I have listed a few ideas below:

Developing a Plan

Kylene and Jonathan Jones, in The Provident Prepper: Common Sense Guide to Emergency Preparedness, Self-Reliance and Provident Living, have written a book that comprehensively deals with civil defense.

For example, Chapter 2 called, Preparing Children to Thrive in a Disaster, present in Plain English the best thing you can do for your children, and their practical steps in this civil defense guide book will assist you.

Chapter 4, Family Emergency Plan: We Can Make It Together,details how to create a family emergency plan. They are clear about what I’ve observed for years:this is a parental responsibility that will pay off when the event happens, and it is a thankless task like many thankless parental tasks. See https://theprovidentprepper.org…(continues)

TACDA: I’m Defending An Unpopular Idea – America Is Good

Utah Rep. Chris Stewart writes this article for TACDA‘s Journal of Civil Defense – I’m Defending An Unpopular Idea: America Is Good.

Published in the Journal of Civil Defense 2020 Vol. 54, I-2, “Civil Unrest”

Why, then, are so many of my fellow Americans taking to the streets and the internet to express their hatred for our country and culture?

I want to defend a radical idea. An idea that is increasingly unpopular — mocked and sneered at by some: The United States of America is good.

In fact, this country has been the greatest force for good the world has ever seen. We have sacrificed blood and treasure to free hundreds of millions of people from oppression worldwide. Free markets and liberal democracy have normalized a standard of living unmatched in human history. Our defense of individual freedom has allowed genius to flourish and enabled generosity to the needy at home and abroad.

Three important things make this possible:

  1. The Declaration of Independence is the world’s definitive statement on human rights;
  2. The U.S. Constitution is the greatest document of self-governance ever written; and
  3. The Bill of Rights is the strongest guarantor of liberty in the history of mankind.

I do not praise our founding documents out of a sense of arrogance, but of gratitude. Americans have lofty ideals to live up to — ideals that drive achievements and course corrections that make the United States a force for good.

Why, then, are so many of my fellow Americans taking to the streets and the internet to express their hatred for our country and culture?

A growing number of people believe that America’s foundations are rotten to the core. While reflection and a dose of humility are healthy, we all must resist any calls to division and disdain. Choosing an ideological group over our country is tribalism. It’s alarming that it seems to be in vogue to condemn the U.S. as a hateful place founded on deep moral sin and oppression. Those calling for a complete systemic teardown fundamentally misunderstand, or intentionally ignore, what makes America worth fighting for.

The current popular condemnations are neo-Marxist in that they portray societal and individual struggles through a tribal dichotomy of winners and victims. Neo-Marxism disenfranchises people by telling them they have no power to improve their lives. Even important discussions on race have devolved into neo-Marxist diatribes about unequal outcomes rather than equality under the law. It would be more helpful to empower individuals by ensuring the Bill of Rights is applied fairly than to focus on past sins.

Our goodness grows or is diminished in direct proportion to our commitment to our founding principles of liberty, justice and equality. The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, keep those ideas constantly in front of us as our guiding star.

I am not blind to the fact that a review of American history provides examples of moral failings. We have not always been led by perfect people. Some of them were not even good people — selfish, arrogant or power hungry. Slavery is a stain upon our nation. We have not always implemented laws, divided responsibilities, guaranteed religious freedom or instituted foreign policy fairly.

But, any fair reading of our history also reveals that things are getting better. By nearly every measure — racism, care for our environment, standard of living, protection of the middle class, human rights, education and many more — we are improving. I hope that future generations will build on our progress and be better than we are now. That is the great American promise.

Our Founding Fathers knew that imperfect people need noble principles to counter the human tendency toward abuse of power. We should be grateful that they recognized their failings and designed a system of checks and balances.

Many nations are unified primarily by ethnic identity and tradition. We are something different. Americans’ common bond is our commitment to our founding principles, our striving to uphold inalienable human rights, and progress toward a more perfect union. American patriotism is our love of and commitment to the process. We rally to liberty, justice and equality. We salute the flag — never a king, party or faction. American patriotism is the very antithesis of tribalism, and if we want to remain special, we must root out any tribal tendencies.

The U.S. is, and always has been, a symbol of opportunity. Opportunity is directly linked to capitalism. Without our economic system, the U.S. would not be a land of opportunity. Capitalism does result in unequal outcomes, but it has proven better than any other economic system at raising living standards for all.

If our common commitment to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution wanes — if we abandon our pursuit of opportunities for individuals or we divide into warring factions — we will cease to be exceptional.

All of us, therefore, must choose: Do we swear allegiance to a nation that is flawed but getting better? Or do we give in to tribalism, even while knowing that division and oppression have always left people destitute and disappointed?

I choose to defend the goodness of America.

Chris Stewart is the Congressman from Utah’s Second Congressional District. He is a multiple New York Times best-selling and national award-winning author, world-record-setting Air Force pilot, and the former owner/CEO of a small business.

TACDA: Water – The Absolute Basic

Dr. Landon Beales has written an article for The Journal of Civil Defense on Water: The Absolute Basic on storage and purification of water.

Storing water is as easy as turning on the faucet—as long as you store it before an emergency arises! If you wait until it’s critical, then both frustration and costs increase – in direct proportion to the water’s availability! The following are some basic recommenda-
tions to guide you in this fairly simple storage project.

Recommendation #1: Store water from the source you are currently drinking.

Family members are accustomed to its taste and mineral content, so adjustment to “new” water won’t be necessary. There are enough other challenges during emergencies without being frustrated by your water supply.Recommendation #2: Store your water reserves in new, thoroughly cleaned, heavy duty, plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.

Heavy, plastic containers have the major advantage of being shatterproof and lighter than glass bottles or jugs.
The federal government, through the Department of Transportation, has developed a rigid burst test and handling standard (DOT #34) for plastic containers utilized in the interstate hauling industry. Plastic containers in this classification are designed to specifications for strength and transportability when filled with liquids. Plastic containers meeting DOT #34 are available in many sizes, ranging from 5-gallon to 55-gallon models. Water weighs eight pounds per gallon, so the 5-gallon container (at 40 lbs.) is about the maximum weight most people can carry – and just the right size for water storage. The 5-gallon container is designed for  tacking to conserve space and is easy to handle for rotating your water supply.

If you don’t have a storage space problem, the larger containers are better for consolidating and organizing water storage. If your storage space is fairly limited, smaller storage containers  facilitate stacking and moving them more often. Shipping-grade water containers, when filled with water, are capable of withstanding both hot and cold outdoor temperatures. This is important if some of your volume of water must be stored outside the protected environment of your living space.

There is always a great temptation to “keep it cheap” and store water in used containers. The difference in price of acquiring and preparing used containers is comparable to acquiring new equipment, all things considered. It’s not worth risking loss of your water supply by using containers of unknown origin and quality.

New containers should be sanitized. Rinse the new container with drinking water from a new, dedicated ‘drinking water safe’ hose (such as those used in campers). Rinse 55-gallon containers with a 50% solution of water and bleach. Wear rubber gloves and eye protection. Leave the bung filler cap slightly loose. Swish and roll the container so the bleach solution reaches all areas of the container. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Pour the solution back into a clean bucket and use it for the next container. Repeat the process. Pour out the solution before filling with clean tap water. The remaining bleach will ‘shock’ the drinking water. You may wish to add 1⁄4 c. bleach per 55-
gallon drum of water before tightly replacing the cap on the bung. Wash off the outside of the drum with clean water so as not to damage clothing or nearby items with bleach. Bleach residue is dangerous to your health. Filter water at point of use…(continues)

PDF of article from The American Civil Defense Association

TACDA: Strategies for Coping with Isolation and Loneliness During the Pandemic

From The American Civil Defense Association, Strategies for Coping with Isolation and Loneliness During the Coronavirus Pandemic:

Contributors: Dr. Russell Fulmer, Dr. Michele Kerulis, Alexandria Widener, Lauren Brdecka, Ali Haji, Colbertson Kreger, Zemzem Amme, Sue Tao

Loneliness is not a phase

– Layne Staley, lead singer of Alice in Chains in the song Angry Chair

People respond to a world crisis in different ways. Some, including first responders, doctors, sanitation workers, and those in food preparation, must continue going to work to maintain essential functions in our communities. Others who are under stay-at-home orders have responded with stress, anxiety, and despair; they likely feel lonely and isolated. However, some people see a silver lining, have faith in humanity, and believe that, together, we can do our part to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic has worried many people who already are anxious. We live in the Age of Anxiety. For those who experience the turbulence of anxiety, loneliness, panic, or existential angst in the best of times, a global pandemic may further trigger the underlying sense of existing uncertainty.

If you are lonely and anxious, we–members of the Counseling@Northwestern community https://counseling.northwestern.edu/–want to share how we are managing isolation and social distancing with the hope you may learn how to address the situation from different perspectives.

Our purpose is to:

  • Identify common types of isolation. Identification may be the first step toward lessening some of the pain. We draw from existential theory and philosophy, notably the work of Irvin Yalom.
  • Provide tips from students who deal with each type of pain, so that you might use their coping strategies. You will see that some students embrace isolation or otherwise identify positives from its onset.

Types of Isolation

There are three types of isolation: interpersonal, intrapersonal, and existential.

INTERPERSONAL ISOLATION is akin to loneliness. The often-repeated phrase that “it’s not the quantity of your relationships that matter, it’s the quality,” is relevant here. Certain personality styles may crave interactions with people more than other styles. Group identity is also relevant, including whether you belong to a group that society has traditionally shunned or oppressed.

INTRAPERSONAL ISOLATION is to disavow of part of the self. Have you ever said, “A part of me has died?” Do you recall a time you felt whole, but after a traumatic event, you felt fragmented? Maybe you have felt fragmented ever since. Or, did parts of you never have a chance to develop, maybe due to dysfunction in the home during your upbringing? If so, you know intrapersonal isolation.

EXISTENTIAL ISOLATION, as described by Yalom, is “a vale of loneliness which has many approaches. A confrontation with death and with freedom will inevitably lead the individual into that vale.” The existential form of isolation refers to the inherent gap that exists between people, no matter how close the bond. For example, your experience about an event—like the coronavirus scare—is unique to you, and your feelings about it, perceptions toward it, and exact encounters you have because of it will live only within you. Other people may have similar attitudes and experiences, but the unbridgeable gap remains.

Eight Tips for Managing and Thriving in Isolation During the COVID-19 Pandemic

1Accept the reality of the situation. Acknowledging an unpleasant reality may help to reduce stress and enable you to think through the best way to move forward.2Embrace your feelings. Acknowledging uncomfortable feelings can give you power over those emotions. Tend to feelings of danger and insecurity.3Don’t think about feelings as positive or negative. Feelings can represent how you connect to your environment and signal what actions you should take to make yourself comfortable.4Be mindful of how loneliness can manifest in physiological sensations like elevated heartbeat. Recognizing alarming sensations in the moment and allowing them to pass may help neutralize them.5Use isolation as an opportunity to better get to know and understand yourself outside of who you are when interacting with other people. Rediscover your uniqueness.6Focus on the opportunities isolation provides, rather than the things you have lost. Take advantage of extra time to make positive changes or pursue goals you may have put off.7Find ways to stay relaxed and connect to your social networks. Maintaining pre-pandemic routines as much as possible can help, but give yourself leeway to make adjustments.8Practice self-care. Receiving constant news updates can create more stress. Plan how you want to receive important information and take mental and physical breaks.

Learning to Accept Your Feelings While Experiencing Existential Isolation

Alexandria Widener

For me, experiencing existential isolation isn’t necessarily a bad thing, even though it does add another layer to my depression. Granted, I didn’t always view it in this manner. I used to fear the voice in my head that told me life was meaningless and nothing would change. I resorted to self-destructive measures in a desperate attempt to silence it. Nothing worked; I was always left alone with that voice in my head to keep me company. The only way to conquer it was to embrace it.

My main tip for anyone struggling with existential isolation or depression if it occurs as a result of isolation is to accept your feelings. Once you accept feelings of depression as a part of yourself, you gain autonomy over it.

However, there is a thin line between acceptance and concession. Acceptance places the power in your hands because it indicates you are acknowledging the discomfort and choosing to “sit with it” as opposed to running away. For me, accepting my depression means recognizing I interpret and feel things differently from others. I’m not always happy, and that’s OK. Embracing this knowledge frees me from pretending to be something I am not.Once you accept feelings of depression as a part of yourself, you gain autonomy over it.

Obviously, my experience will not be the same as yours. I can’t list coping skills to help you because what works for me might not work for you. People can accompany you on your journey to offer guidance and support, but ultimately, you arrive at the final destination alone. I’m genuinely enjoying the current social distancing and stay-at-home orders imposed by state leaders due to the coronavirus. Getting to choose when I interact with people has been refreshing. Once I accepted that whatever will be will be, it alleviated a lot of stress and anxiety. I’m not saying that I don’t think I can play a role in helping, nor am I saying that I have surrendered to complacency. I think we should come together and do what we can to flatten the curve. I just recognize that regardless of our efforts, what’s going to happen will happen. All we can do is our best. What that means for me is helping those who are most vulnerable, chilling with my dog, and binge watching The Good Doctor as I do my part to slow the spread by staying inside.

Tending to Yourself in Intrapersonal Isolation

Lauren Brdecka

Many of us, myself included, are familiar with intrapersonal isolation. At one time we felt whole and circumstances, events, and people took away that sense of wholeness. Circumstances such as the COVID-19 outbreak can trigger intrapersonal isolation. In a time like this, life is very limited, life-altering choices are being made for us, we have physical limitations, there is an acute sense of danger and caution, some of us may become hypervigilant, and the looming danger and fear may exist without the words to fully articulate the larger scope of your feelings and circumstances.

Intrapersonal isolation, very simply put, is isolation of parts of yourself. During this time of literal isolation, I have reflected on varying parts of myself and my once full life—my loving and rewarding relationships with my nieces and nephews (7 months old, 3, and 7 years old), my sober community, and serving and supporting my clients’ mental health—have become starkly narrowed. Being ordered to isolate has, if nothing else, ensured my physical safety and given me clarity on important aspects of my life and things I can live without.Intrapersonal isolation, very simply put, is isolation of parts of yourself.

I can live without fast food, but in the long run, I will struggle to live happily without seeing members of my family. Amid these unique times, I make sure to tend to the parts within myself that are longing for security. When I feel threatened or unsafe, I always lean into those parts of myself and hear what they have to say and make certain I am not dodging or shushing them. I “re-parent” the parts of myself that feel lost. Re-parenting allows people to give ourselves what we didn’t receive as children, such as positive reinforcement, someone who will listen to me, unconditional love, etc. I engage in re-parenting to heal the younger parts of myself that show up in adulthood.

For me, taking action to relax and stay grounded really helps. These things include yoga, stretching, cooking, taking a hot shower or bath, and meditation. Also, I ask myself, are there parts within me that believe being able to leave the house will make this easier? In fact, I am seeking more control in my life because the truth of it is, I am safer at home. On a daily basis, I FaceTime people I know, and I have reached out to friends to ask if we can go on walks together while standing far apart. The global pandemic requires me to be flexible in ways we have never had to be, and that is not inherently bad, although it may be uncomfortable.

Above all, I know that most of the literal world is having to face these uncertain and uncomfortable times and, although I am physically alone, I, by no means, am alone, which has actually helped me to feel even more united to people and parts of the world I will never meet or see. Stay well for the time being all, and this, too, shall pass.

Reframing Your Feelings Related to Interpersonal Isolation

Ali Haji

With social distancing becoming the buzz phrase of 2020, and for good reason, understanding the ramifications of interpersonal isolation on our mental health is important. All of us have likely felt the effects of interpersonal isolation and perhaps the one with which we are most familiar. Interpersonal isolation is defined as a person-person isolation. In other words, isolation from other beings. It is important to note that this does not always have to take a physical form. Interpersonal isolation can exist amid group gatherings whereby the way we relate to others is not ideal for what the group setting requires. Given the current state of society, I will focus most on the more literal, physical separation from others with which most of us are currently coping.Interpersonal isolation is defined as a person-person isolation. In other words, isolation from other beings.

As with most things in our life that render us out of control, knowing how to cope with the resulting feelings can make or break us. In my experience, interpersonal isolation and the subsequent loneliness that can result is a challenge. With any difficult feeling, I find it important to understand how the loneliness that I experience is unique to myself. I ask myself questions like “Where do I feel this feeling in my body?” and “What physiological sensations can I associate with it?” This process brings a mindful attention to our present moment, allowing us to observe the arrival and departure of uncomfortable feelings, thereby helping us to objectify them. The process of objectification and being mindful of our visceral sensations can allow us to reframe thought processes like, “I am lonely,” with “that’s loneliness.” In my experience, allowing the feeling to pass rather than holding on to it and using our thinking minds to “figure it out” proves most effective, albeit most difficult as it requires an attention to our present moment and felt experiences. Loneliness, like most other feelings, can often be paired with concrete physiological sensations like our hearts pounding, heavy breathing, or muscle tension. The onset of these feelings can be quite alarming and noticeable but in bringing a mindful attention to our state of being, we notice that the aforementioned sensations are not permanently lodged in our system but rather able to neutralize and dissipate as time passes. For example, maybe after a few minutes, we notice our breathing return to normal and our muscles beginning to relax.

We might also consider why we deem loneliness a negative feeling. Our feelings guide us and perhaps these feelings of loneliness are a gentle reminder that we need to reach out to those around us in the ways that we can. The energy that loneliness brings might be applied to poetry, music, writing, or creating in some capacity. At the end of the day, removing the duality of positive and negative is our best bet at seeing our feelings for what they are—our visceral and honest connection with the environments and surroundings in which we find ourselves. Perhaps they are not things that we need to avoid and push away and more so a highly personalized teacher that we have 24/7 access to, informing us of our limits and boundaries. We have a greater capacity to neutralize and feel our feelings than we give ourselves credit and sometimes reminding ourselves to have mastery of our feelings rather than be slave to them is the push we need. And hey, a Zoom-based social hour can always help.

Using Isolation to Encourage Acceptance of Your Authentic Self

Colbertson Kreger

In a society that promotes conformity while shunning originality, it is hard to find our place within the maelstrom of social self-acceptance. The person I am behind closed doors is my authentic self, whereas when the door opens, I become a performer. I am performing for the masses and myself a certain standard of human interaction, while at the same time wildly fantasizing about the feeling of authenticity. Taking the step toward an authentic experience with others, and most importantly, yourself, is to take a step into the unknown. We have performed since our birth, and now is a time to learn who we really are. Your uniqueness may be overshadowed by anxiety and internal critique, but that shadow can only be cast if you stand behind your angst instead of finally taking that fabled step toward the light of self-authenticity.

I have taken that step. I have shouldered the burden of being unique and all the notions that are attached, and I have felt the warm sun upon my face for the first time. Our purpose here has been constructed into spending our time to benefit a culture and society that does nothing more than break people down. Our time is for growth and taking the steps toward discomfort. Growth will only occur during a period of discomfort, and in a world of lies and fear mongering, we all owe it to ourselves to put down the mask, and to finally act as who we are.

Embracing Growth in the Face of Interpersonal Isolation

Zemzem Amme

With so many limitations now in place due to the ever-changing circumstances of the coronavirus, it is nearly impossible to still have your pre-pandemic routine. Sudden change commonly brings a period of mourning and anxiety that occurs when navigating through your new reality.

During these moments, I find Viktor Frankl’s words fitting: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”Sudden change commonly brings a period of mourning and anxiety that occurs when navigating through your new reality.

This is the time where I challenge myself by finding new ways to still enjoy my time at home. It can be easier to focus on what we have lost, rather than seeing what we now can explore. Just like any growth, we are never truly ready. This is something new and it creates an opportunity—if you choose to seize it—for change. Whether you are reconnecting with individuals, better organizing your house, or doing the daunting task of confronting your internal conflicts, there is a chance of coming out of isolation changed for the better.

Even though we are bombarded with many new ways of communicating, it doesn’t replace what we are used to. As human beings, we are constantly communicating with people, whether verbally, through sign, or something as simple as eye contact. There is no right way to handle communication and connection disruptions during this situation, but there are ways to assuage the loneliness that we feel. For me, this is the time for reflection, when I can truly focus on what matters most. Though I may take this as a time for growth, the reality is that most of my growth happened around a community. Even though we all may experience this uncharted territory differently, one thing that doesn’t change is that we are experiencing this phenomenon together.

Generating Meaning from the Reality of Isolation

Sue Tao

Week two into social distancing, I have mastered a daily coping routine to keep myself active, both mind and body, and to keep from feeling isolated. I’ve taken advantage of this time that I call “a break from the world” to realign my personal agendas that have been pending due to the lack of time I had before the pandemic, such as studying for my national counselor exam. I recently integrated hosting a daily social hour with friends on Zoom, which has been a great hit with new friends dialing in, and group walks every other day for fresh air and live conversations with friends who are not exposed to COVID-19 and have complied with social distancing/isolation the past couple weeks. Lastly, I engage in daily mindfulness techniques, a skill set I am enhancing so I can teach my clients in the counseling arena about the benefits of mindfulness with competence and confidence.

I was determined at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to not let the news and media affect my mental health well-being, because so often, stress and anxiety can be accumulated from consuming excessive news and media (which I have personally witnessed among my family and friends). No pun intended, but anxiety is a strand of virus that feeds the fear in us. All in all, I think that isolation is subjective, and it is my responsibility to generate a meaningful and productive day, one day at a time.

Living in Isolation as an Extrovert

Dr. Michele Kerulis

I am a social butterfly so having a mandated stay-at-home order feels very confining for me as an extrovert. I feel very fortunate that I am used to working from home. This experience allows me to feel 100% confident in my ability to work from home for prolonged periods.

What is difficult for me during this time is having my stress management tools taken away without advance notice. Part of my self-care routine is attending yoga classes, going to the gym, and participating in sporting events, many of which have been canceled. My gyms are closed so the routine of separating myself from work and going into a different environment to wind down from my day is no longer an option.

Each year, I look forward to seeing my colleagues at counseling conferences where we come together as a community and celebrate our amazing mental health field. Like falling dominos, we watched our community conferences canceled, one after another. I was devastated to learn I would not be able to see my fellow professors and counselors, as we frequently share ideas about how to continue providing for our students and clients. I was looking forward to providing a keynote address to my colleagues and helping to decrease the stigma related to seeking counseling services.

Like many helpers, I was shocked at the magnitude of the pandemic and I wanted to know what I could do to help. I know that I must care for myself if I want to be effective at caring for others. What I have done during the stay-at-home order is committed to a daily schedule to help create a sense of normalcy during these chaotic times. I suggest that people continue as if they were going on with their pre-pandemic routines as best they can. For me, this includes completing morning hygiene tasks, making a cup of coffee or tea, attending to work responsibilities online, and exercising. I take breaks throughout the day and connect with people. I call, text, and have Zoom video chats with friends, colleagues, and loved ones. I enjoy simple things like watching animal videos online, participating in home workouts from Pinterest, and looking at beautiful photos. I find that these simple, enjoyable things help decrease stress.I know that I must care for myself if I want to be effective at caring for others.

I have also turned off the TV and have asked specific people in my life to inform me of pandemic updates if/when my community status changes. I believe the oversaturation of media coverage is not healthy for society. Instead of overindulging in repetitive media posts and stories, I think it is more effective for people to come together as a community (while maintaining social distance) and to follow the recommendations of trusted health authorities like the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Until the pandemic subsides, we must have faith in ourselves to keep living our day-to-day lives so we can be effective counselors and teachers.

Citation for this content: Counseling@Northwestern https://counseling.northwestern.edu/, the Online Master of Arts in Counseling Program from The Family Institute at Northwestern University

TACDA Memberships Are Now Free

The American Civil Defense Association (TACDA) has changed to a free membership model. Membership gives access to the archive of the Journal of Civil Defense as well as to e-journal access to new issues of the bi-annual publication. If you wish, you can still pay to receive hard copies of the journal in the mail. The mission of The American Civil Defense Association is to empower and equip individuals, families and communities through educational means, to be prepared for emergencies and disasters. By giving life-time memberships, they believe they are better able to achieve this goal. I have found TACDA to be a good source of information and think it is worth more than the free membership to get access to their journal.

TACDA: Survival Landscaping

The American Civil Defense Association has an article up on Survival Landscaping — how to use permaculture to provide food in the event of a long term disaster.

…According to Marjory Wildcraft of www.thegrownetwork.com, it is just too land intensive to realistically support a family on the hunter-gatherer system. She states: “Let’s start first off with the almost magical dream of the pure hunter/gatherer. I often hear this one from those concerned about a collapse of civilization. Just how much land does it take to support you without destroying all the wildlife and plant populations? How much area do you need in order to live sustainably as a hunter/gatherer? Since there are so few actual hunter/gathers left alive on the planet, and the few places where they do still exist tend to be jungles which look nothing like anything in North America, we will turn to anthropological data. The quick and easy answer is that traditional peoples used on average, about 10 square miles per person. Ten square miles is 6,400 acres – that is for one person.”

So what’s the answer? It just might include creating your very own self-sustaining food supply. Call it survival landscaping, permaculture, sustainable agriculture or whatever you like. The goal is to work with nature to create a truly sustainable system. A garden paradise that requires little or no human intervention once established. Due to the “natural looking” nature of this type of landscape most individuals would never suspect the amount of life-saving food growing in the tangle. Thus protecting your food supplies in plain sight.

The objective is to create an environment which requires very little human intervention once it is established.

The ideal permaculture design produces food year after year without weeding, pruning, tilling, fertilizing or using pesticides and herbicides. The system is perfectly balanced for the local climate. It is possible to accomplish permaculture landscape on a half-acre city lot as well as in a more spacious country environment. Permaculture takes many years to establish and become resilient to changing conditions.

Selection of plants is critical to take best advantage of local climate conditions, ensure natural balance and to extend the harvest throughout the entire growing season. There are a growing number of great reference books to guide you through the process. Many of the authors recommend a more “natural or wild looking” landscape which is perfect for a remote bug out location, but may not be welcomed in a gated community…

Click here to read the entire article at TACDA.org.

Related Resources:

The Prepared Homestead – Provides permaculture training, assessment and design.

Strategic Landscape Design – Provides land planning and permaculture consulting.

Managing Pain in a Pinch

the american civil defense assn.

Pills in woman hands.

by Cynthia J. Koelker, MD

Excerpt from Armageddon Medicine, How to Be Your Own Doctor in 2012 and Beyond

The daily queue of suffering seems endless. Toothache, stomachache, headache, earache, back pain, leg pain, joint pain, neck pain, sore throat, sore feet, sore muscles, sore eyes. People come to you seeking relief – relief from their pain, and relief from fear. Are you up to the task of helping others, or ready to run away? Becoming a healer is not for the faint of heart.

If and when the medical community collapses, those left to carry on will need an armamentarium of tools to deal with pain. Even if it’s only your own problems and those of your family that you’ll be facing, learning how to relieve pain now, before you’re in the midst of crisis, will spare you needless worry. Pain is the #1 symptom that drives patients to physicians today…

View original post 3,248 more words

TACDA: Food Storage Planning

Here is an older article from the American Civil Defense Association‘s Journal of Civil Defense about planning food storage for emergencies.

“All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin” are    lyrics from the   popular Christian hymn, “Come, Ye Thankful People Come.” Throughout history people have prepared during the plentiful harvests of all for the upcoming winter when food would be scarce and the time to harvest past.  Great comfort could be found in stores of food which would see families through the cold winter. Lack  of  stores  could  result  in hunger,  illness  and  even  death  before  a chance for another harvest.

While winter storms are still an important consideration, our society has a system in place where fresh fruits and vegetables, along with a wide variety of foods, are available year round at local markets. There is little consideration  given  to  preparing  for  the  upcoming  winter  because  of  a  year  round bountiful harvest.  May we suggest this false sense of security may prove to be disastrous?

In  addition  to  winter  storms,  there are  other  dangers  to  consider–  man-made  disasters  such  as  war,  terrorism, EMP (electromagnetic pulse), food contamination,  riots,  civil  unrest  and  the list goes on; as well as natural disasters including earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, floods,  drought,  famine  and  epidemics, which may strike with little or no warning.    We  need  not  look  far  to  see  evidence  of  these  dangers  throughout  the world.    The best way to protect our family is to take personal action.

In this article we will give you information  which  will  help  you  develop  a workable  food  storage  plan  unique  to your  family’s  needs  and  preferences. Then you can take that information and get to work.

Click here to download/read the article (pdf)

The American Civil Defense Assoc.: Radiation Issues

The American Civil Defense Association recently posted a blog post about Radiation Issues reposted from their Journal of Civil Defense after many readers had questions regarding North Korea.

The explosion of a nuclear bomb in the city.


The nuclear threat from North Korea has prompted many callers during the past few weeks, asking about the effects and attenuation of radiation.  There is a great deal of misinformation about radiation from fallout. The following old rule of thumb for shelter design still holds true. NBC shelters should have four feet of dirt cover, or three feet of concrete cover to give a minimum PF level of 1,000 from fallout. If a “rainout” should occur, or if the sheltered area is within 1.5 miles of a potential primary target, the shelter will require a minimum of eight to ten feet of cover. Shelter entrances require careful engineering, as most of the radiation exposure will come from these entrance areas.

I recently reviewed a series of articles about Nuclear Weapons Effects, written by Carsten Haaland, of the Oak Ridge national Laboratory. The entire series of articles can be found in our Journal of Civil Defense published in 1990. Some of you may be fortunate enough to still possess these journal articles. I have re-typed, in part, the section on ‘Fallout’ and ‘Rainout’ for this current article.


Carsten M. Haaland, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

 What is Fallout?

Fallout is the radioactive dust that comes back to earth as a result of a nuclear explosion at the surface of the earth, or at an altitude low enough for the fireball to engulf solid materials. Fallout dust may look like sand, ash or crystals, depending on the kind of material engulfed by the fireball. If the material engulfed is ordinary earth or sand the fallout will look like sand, but if the engulfed material contains calcium to the extent found in concrete buildings or coral, the fallout may look like ashes. Large dense particles will descend faster than very small particles. For this reason, fallout particles several hundred miles downwind from a nuclear surface burst will be very small, somewhat like particles in atmospheric pollution, and the nuclear radiation from the fallout will be greatly reduced.

The danger of fallout arises from the intense and highly penetrating nuclear radiation emitted from it, which produces a potentially lethal hazard to people in the vicinity unless they have protection. Large areas, covering hundreds to thousands of square miles, depending on the yield and number of surface detonations, can be poisoned with fallout such that radiation from the contaminated area is hazardous or lethal to an unprotected person passing through or dwelling in the area, for periods of days to weeks after the detonations.

Click here to continue reading at the TACDA blog