“Will you eat a rat?” is a legitimate question. If your answer is no, you are not mentally prepared to survive. Rats are a delicacy in parts of the world. One of the first ideas the military teaches about surviving in a prisoner of war camp is no matter how bad the food, never miss a meal. In a real survival situation when you are short of food, you have to eat anything and everything. A meal missed is calories you may never get back.
During World War II when rationing was tight and food was short, many Europeans ate roof hares (a euphemism for cats) and horses. The trick is to make up your mind ahead of time that you are a survivor. Your attitude or psychological state is the most important ingredient in your survival. With the right attitude and a desire to live, you can do extraordinary feats.
Early in the Second World War, the Merchant Marine noticed that the average age of survivors from sinking ships were men in their forties and fifties. Research showed that the younger, stronger men were giving up faster, they lacked the will to survive that the older men had. This is why the Military pushes you to exceed your limits. Most of us have never really found out what we are capable of doing.
Once you have experienced the lack of things you take for granted, like food, medicine, and clean water, your priorities change. My father was raised during the Great Depression. He sometimes went to bed hungry. I can still see how this affects him. He always wants to have extra food around; it is a priority for him.
Regardless of what equipment you have hidden away, it all comes down to having the emotional stability, the determination and the knowledge to use it. You will die or become a burden on your friends or family, if you become an emotional basket case.
In the article “Primitive Medicine in a Survival Situation” published in the back of the July 1977 Special Forces Medical Specialist Handbook which was written by a US Army medical doctor who was held prisoner by the North Koreans, he states. “However, of all the things I’ve discussed, none is as important as your own will to survive. Regardless of where you are, how miserable your circumstances, what the enemy does to you, MAKE UP YOUR MIND THAT YOU WILL LIVE THROUGH IT. Men who should have been dead, simply refused to die. Their secret? They had this one idea and they kept it despite everything: I am going to live!”
I have a strong belief in God and feel that this gives me the spiritual strength to face adversity. Whatever system of beliefs or principles you follow be sure that they are strong enough to sustain you. Remember, you are mentally and physically stronger than you think you are and your mind is your best survival tool.