On this site we make a big deal about how to pick survival groups, how to educate and manage your post-apocalyptic community, and how to cope with differing personalities after the end. But there’s something even our massive, disturbingly obsessed brains haven’t covered yet: How to cope alone.
It seems like it could be easy, right? It’s easy in the Fallout games, just you and maybe a mostly silent companion against the wasteland. However I have a newsflash- being alone against life-threatening situations is a lot less fun when it’s not on the other end of a controller. For a start, did you know that if you die in real life, you can’t reload?
But hey, you aren’t going to be alone, right? You’ve got friends, family, you know that they’ll be there for you, through thick and thin. What if they’re not? What if you get seperated in the chaos, or they die? What if most of the population are killed? In the UK there are something like 60 million people crammed into this tiny island. What if that goes down to 60 thousand? or 6 thousand? How likely do you think it is that all – or indeed any- of your friends will survive that?
And once they’re gone, who can you trust?
Welcome to solitude.
I won’t lie, there are some plus sides- you can make all the decisions, you wonlt have to share your food or goods, and you can be reasonably sure there’ll be no arguments. And people who are naturally loners are thinking ‘score’ right now. But they aren’t thinking through the ramifications properly.
Here’s the thing, loyal readers- all but the most solitary survivalists need people on occasion. Humans are a social species- we evolved in tribal groups, we grow up in family groups and as adults develop our own groups of freinds and family. We need time alone, but that needs to be a choice, not something forced on us by circumstance. Humans tend to go a bit funny if there aren’t other people around them- other people remind us who were are, pull us up when we break the rules. The psychological damage of long-term solitude should not be underestimated.
There are more immediate threats and worries attached to it as well: You have no-one to watch your back, or help you when you get ill. You will have to be a great deal more cautious in order to survive. You can do it, however, if you’re careful to find a very defensible location and plant hardy food crops, and if you’re willing to get used to eating things your pampered western stomach turns it’s (figurative) nose up at. That’s advice to all survivalists, by the way- be willing to eat things that would have disgusted you before.
I’ve talked before about how nothing in Post-apocalyptia will be ideal and we’ll just have to cope, and this is another of those things. If you are alone, you will have to cope. Try to keep yourself as sane as possible, and keep yourself alive. If a group comes along that you think you can trust, join them if only to avoid insanity and starvation.
Loneliness will kill you faster than cholera, if you let it.