In many of my past posts I talked about the importance of being in a group, not just for the shared security and increased firepower if needed, but for basic human companionship that we all need. Humans after all are social creatures, that’s what helped make us the dominate species, and what has built all our civilizations including the present one. We thrive in groups, and constantly long to be part of new and better ones, which explains the current popularity of social networking sites.
But what happens after the apocalypse and you’re alone, either everyone around you is dead, or far away and you have to be by yourself for several weeks or longer?
First you need to identify what type of person you are, and for that most of us fall into two groups extroverted or introverted. Extroverted are individuals who get their energy from social interaction. They like to be out in the crowd and the center of attention. Introverted are the opposite they don’t require as much social interaction and draw from themselves rather then groups, this isn’t to say that introverts don’t need social interaction they just find it overwhelming at times. Of the two groups introverts have a distinct advantage.
So how do you cope when you have to be alone for an extremely long time? For this there are a few things you can do to keep yourself going. First keep busy, have things you need to do and set up a routine. Think of movies such as I Am Legend, or castaway where the main characters have to deal with extended isolation for years. One of the ways they copped was to have a routine and projects to keep their minds busy, remember down time leads to thinking, thinking leads to your thoughts wandering usually to things you miss, which leads to depression, which leads to suicide.
Another thing that will help you when dealing with isolation is exercise. The better shape you’re in the more positive you’re attitude will be. This is because when you’re lifting weights or running for example the body is realising chemicals called endorphins which make you feel better, kind of like a natural high if you will. On top of that the healthier you are the clearer and more positive you’re mind will think. And if anything else it gives you a tool to vent you’re frustrations out on but in a healthy way.
Talk to yourself, I know this sounds kind of odd, and others would find this crazy if you did this in public, but when you’re alone the sound of your own voice can help ease the tension of isolation. If anything else this will break up the quiet that you might experience. Remember there won’t be any background noise from cars, pedestrians, or anything else you can expect to hear when living in an urban area.
Find a pet, if you are near a pet store or you find a stray one take in a dog or dog’s or another domesticated animal. Dogs are preferred because of their pack mentality and will be more keen to bond with you. This is in turn will give you a loyal companion; it also gives you something to talk to.
These are just a few ideas to help deal with extreme isolation. If the apocalypse comes and you find yourself alone, you need to be mentally prepared before hand as this will be one of the hardest things you may have to deal with.