After everything ended, after guns went silent and after roads opened again city started to live “normal” again.
But it was “normal” only for the people who have not lived through what happened. For the folks who gone trough all of that and survived nothing was and will be like before.
Whenever you watch TV or read newspapers about people or places or whole countries that have gone trough some shocking events, periods like war, earthquakes, famines or something similar, media folks gonna try to hook you with numbers of dead, cost of recovery in millions, amount of food that world is sending to the area, or number of troops that were needed to force opposite side to sign a peace treaty.
Most of the time it is gonna be news about facts, numbers, without too many pictures. I mean real pictures. Nobody wants to see the really bad / ugly real pictures.
Rarely some of the reporters gonna try to describe you stench of gangrene, or to show you kid who is eating macaroni with worms who is happy because it is a real treat compared to what the kid is eating most of the time.
Or even some small and simple things like “how bad it is to be completely wet in very cold weather, shiver and try to stay low for 3 hours because you need to hide”.
Anyway point of this is: there is no recovery after some things, I mean man can feel lucky because he is alive and went through that period and came out with all hands and legs still on his body. But real recovery is not how many aid packages are delivered to country or area, or if the local government building has flowers in front of it.
If you plan for survival scenario, don’t forget that massive change is part of this.
I see in many survival forums and communities that people talk about freeze dried blueberry muffins for breakfast, their big generators and what they do to keep life normal in survival scenarios.
I think this is just half of preparing and some people miss out on other half.
Get comfortable with change and to live worse.
When I was recording interview for my course, I was joking with Jay that we should add a hell week to course. A training week in which people stay in room, with just few drinks, a bucket as toilet, few grains or very basic food to eat and old piece of meat that is rotting for the smell.
This is of course too extreme but you get the idea. Instead just try to make trips to the outdoors. Get comfortable doing your toilet things out there if you have the chance and do this responsibly with digging hole and covering it up. Learn simple living like humans had to for many thousands of years.
If you do not plan or prepare your mind for change all those time you spend learning about survival and preparedness might help you survive physically but you will lose yourself mentally.
What happened to many people I know who went through the hard time during war?
Some of them are heavy drinkers, some of them are drug addicts, some are social “weirdos” unable to have friend, unable to have normal relationship. Some are normal on the outside but also have a very dark or dead side.
Some of them continue to live like they lived during SHTF, with violence, so violence became their job. It was like somebody draw a line in time and said ” OK before this moment lot of things were acceptable because SHTF, but from this moment we all need to behave like nice folks, no more killing, stealing…”
Some guys did not want to accept that, some could not, some killed themselves, some continued to kill others.
Once you have hit another human in face it is much more easier to do that again. You broke down a mental wall that is not easy built up again. This is also true for more serious violence.
Plan for a way back to normality. Plan how to explain your children why human do bad things.
I have friend who is working in institution for orphans who have lost both parents in war, or kids who have been left by the mothers who were rape victims.
That friend went through a lot of terrible things during the war, and he found some kind of vent or relief in helping others. In his case helping adolescents, war orphans or teenagers now.
He gave up his own life to live for these people. He does not have his own family, he does not have too much friends or some private life.
He is completely going with these kids through all of their own disasters and successes, when some of the kids are receiving some award at school he is drunk from celebrating, when some of them get into drugs he is sick for days, devastated.
Other from that job he is not existing. If he looses that job I am almost 100 % sure that he will kill himself. I help him sometimes, something like volunteering because of my medical background. Most of the kids actually now almost men and women, 17-18 years old.
Program is meant to work them through the “problematic” period of their life, teenagers years, after they spent childhood in homes for abandoned kids.
Anyway I’ve been called few nights ago into one of the those houses, call was “one girl is passed out, having seizures, hysterical attack or something like that”.
After we came to the place, checking the girl and talking with lady who is their psychologist – leader, and after we ruled out any possible real emergency we realized that girl- 17 years old had something like a panic attack. Girl was daughter of rape victim, her mother left her moment after she gave birth, hating her like she hated the rapist.
Through half hour conversation and lot of crying and wiping tears away she told us that she broke up with her boyfriend that night, she was devastated because of that.
I made mistake and laugh at that with statement that everything gonna be fine, and that she will have boyfriend again and that is not end of the world and it was only mild panic.
She yelled at me at that moment : “You do not know what real love is, real love can kill you, I can die because of this.”
At that moment something struck me. I’ve seen lot of bad things and lots of blood, and I guess after some time some things became normal for me.
But girl, 17 years old, born from hate, and left to be raised by strangers made me realize what I had lost.
Later that night I was trying to remember how it was when I was 16 or 17, when I had first girlfriend, first kiss or first breakup with girl. I could not remember too much, that kind of memories were pushed away by bad ones I guess.
I and people who went trough the things like I described are unable to see some things, things like real love and happiness. Things like that have been killed with all those kind of atrocities.
Some of the folks realized that years ago, and killed themselves, some with weapon, other with alcohol or drugs. Other ones are still alive, living, walking and working like some kind of zombies, only pretending to be normal, but in some strange way we have all been killed in that period.
I like everyone who survived that period had my portion of problems. I even tried to solve them with alcohol during one period, but luckily for me I realized there is no sense in that.
Somehow because of my job in medical field I learned that human is a very fragile thing, so human can be killed or die in many different ways. Everyones existence can be terminated in every moment, so I guess in some weird way I adopted some kind of philosophy that you can do whatever you want, but when your time has come , you are gone. This helped me. I take change now without getting stressed more or less at all.
That does not mean that you do not need to prepare yourself for every possible scenario, it actually means that when S. hit the fan you are not gonna be in control of many things, people will die so you have to be comfortable with this kind of massive change.
You can only take care, as good as possible, about small circle of problems around you, and your family, everything outside that circle depends on other things, bigger things. But inside that small circle you need to do everything that you can to be prepared. Taking care of things in that small circle helps me to cope with things that I went trough in my past. It became my life.
I still consider myself one of the more lucky ones, one of the rare ones, because I am channeling all of my experience and energy both positive and negative into preparing and talking about preparing.
I write to share what I know and this also makes the bad time I have been through feel valuable. It helps me and I hope you too.
I am preparing, doing everything to be prepared and ready when bad times come again, but for some emotional things I am just like dead.
None of us who survived that period completely recovered. Some scars never go away so prepare to not keep on living life like always only. Also prepare to get hurt, get comfortable with change and experiencing pain.