Hi. I'm Tater and I have Irregular Bipolar and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I also have a plan.
In the inevitable ZPAW society will collapse and with it health care. My mental illness affects me deeply enough right now that I'm on disability and am not likely to ever get off it. But this isn't about my current situation. It's how I plan to use my mind when the dead walk the earth.
What follows is very personal and a bit difficult to share, but it's important enough that I'm doing it and hope that someone benefits and maybe shares something that I hadn't considered and I learn from it as well.Knowing my illness and managing it:
I stay on top of managing my illness decently. Sometimes I forget a med but I know they help so I do what I can and sometimes I forget a therapy appointment but, again, I do what I can. The thing is they both help me a lot and allow me to contribute to society. They also help me identify when I'm heading manic, depressed, mixed, or just flat out mentally collapsing and take steps to mitigate it.
Now if I "fold" (my term for a mental collapse or psychotic break) that's it, I collapse, stick a fork in me because I'm done. Having an established routine allows me to go through the motions though and shortens up how long I stay folded. I won't remember what I did but if the world is still spinning and I haven't burned down the house then I got through intact and that's important.
As far as having a massive up or downswing in my mood, I use Cognitive Behavior Therapy (hereafter CBT) as a work-around tool. Basically I take a moment to figure out what my mood is when things start to go a bit wonky (technical term) and then go (and I'm ordering these if you want to play along), "Okay, so I feel like I'm ______ (angry, stupid, depressed, the air is vibrating, whatever). That means I need to watch for _______ (snapping at people, thinking it's all my fault, giving up, making impulsive choices, whatever). I still have things to do though. I will get them done by _______ (avoiding stressful conversations and being patient, fixing the problem and not the blame, getting done what I can and getting the rest another day, checking with others before I make a decision that affects others, whatever)." I then go on and face things.
This doesn't mean I don't indulge my illness some. I have a bit of Obsessive-Compulsive behavior too, but not as a condition - I use it as a coping mechanism. I make lists and do math when things need to calm down a bit and because it ends up with a positive result it's not an issue. It may get annoying to others when I'm on day 7 of figuring out the exact breakdown of how many of what sized water container I need for the stockpile or wrestling with the perfect lift kit for my Jeep, but it's a temporary thing so other people in my life indulge me a bit and I'm grateful for that.Support Network:
No man is an island and I'm no exception. While I live alone and have more than a bit of a "Lone Wolf" mentality when it comes to a ZPAW, I'm networked locally with people that are aware of my illness and help me manage aspects of it. They are all aware of my prepping behavior as well and supportive of my "be prepared" attitude as it has a lot of carry-over into my mental health as well. A great example of this is that if I'm planning for the future I'm planning to have
a future, so it's not bloody likely I'm suicidal - an issue I've had more than once in the past.
I told you this was going to be personal and painful at times.
I run everything past my younger brother. He sometimes resents having to be the mature one but it's also given him a lot of insight into how I think and what my reactions to things are likely to be so he can give me a heads-up when I'm blind to something.
I also run everything past my children, the youngest being 16. This has enabled them to grow up a bit as well and be more mature than they might otherwise be. However, it doesn't mean I run it past all 3. I pick a kid and run it past them and rotate which kid I ask according to their interests and how much they've had to deal with too. If it's important enough I run it past 2 of them or even all 3, but they are part of my network.
I also run things past other folk in my network as it comes up.
Yeah, sometimes I feel like a little kid going, "Mother, may I?" but it beats, by far, me heading to a motorcycle dealer, buying a bike, wrecking it 3 days later, then buying another within days and riding it into the ground as well. Yes, I've done that too. The doctor that stitched me up wasn't impressed to my reply to his question on me using a helmet in the future. "It was strapped to the bike and it's totaled. No thanks!"Medication:
It was prescribed for a reason so I take it. I report side effects. After getting ignored on a particular set of side effects and getting permanent damage from it (I get the shakes now at random times) I get downright belligerent when I feel my report of side effects is getting ignored. I buck some of my meds too. Having said all that, if it's a psychotropic drug prescribed for me I take it because this one thing will kill me faster than anything else if I don't do what I'm told.
So I'm a good boy.Management (Part II):
Hey, it's a daily thing that I take time out and assess. It's annoying to have to do that but I do and it's put me in charge of things. I handle it "Like a Boss" because I do all this annoying crap too. That's why it's worth mentioning again.The Upside:
Yes, there is one. People talk about thinking outside the box. To paraphrase The Matrix, "There is no box." In a crisis because my brain is used to going in several directions at once (manic phase is rougher than most think) and working at 100mph (then again, manic phase can be fun) I'm able to make decisions now and go with it when a crisis hits. Usually they are good ones and when they aren't I can change direction quickly and do what ought to get done and deal with the issue, be it a money crunch, an insurance issue, a flood, etc.
Having a plan just makes this ability better, which is why I have one now.Crisis Plan:
Short of a societal collapse, like in a ZPAW, services may be disrupted locally but I'm good to go anyways. I have a small store of meds and am use to managing this thing. I can go a bit unsupported by my network too so I do what needs doing and then return to normalcy ASAP. Reestablishing some part of my support group is priority 1 after the survival needs are taken care of – one person could make a huge difference.ZPAW (Zombie Post-Apocalyptic World), TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It), and Other Warm Fuzzies:
Zombies are the ultimate crisis and planning for them solves lesser issues nicely, so this is what I prep for and I say that without joking.
Meds are going to be gone because they aren't going to be made anymore, so I'll have to step-down on them and increase activity. Increasing activity shouldn't be an issue (there won't be enough hours in the day to get done everything that needs doing when it comes to surviving walkers) but before I'm off them entirely I have to reconnect with some family member so we can assess what's going on in my head and if I need rescue or if I can self-rescue if it comes to that.
So communications are critical to me and have been overlooked until recently. They are in their proper place now.
Therapy will be gone too so I'll have to judge what's going on by the reaction of my peers. If I need to walk away from a situation then I'll do so, if just to make sure I've got a grip, then away I will walk. If I fold I could end up "coming to" (my way of saying, returning to awareness and being able to remember things) 2 weeks later to see a huge rock pile and a plowed within an inch of its life field, or I could come to smelling really funky surrounded by empty cans of pork and beans. I have to prepare for this and make sure I have my routine down pat along with all the contingencies at least addressed.
This is where all the groundwork done in day-to-day life comes into play and why I am a stickler for managing things well now. Not that I always succeed at managing it well but I make the effort.
My benefits and drawbacks are going to be bigger too. Manic highs will be more so, depressions will be deeper, the switch between them, the part of my illness that is the struggle, will happen quickly, and despite this I'll still shine in a crisis but once it's over someone will have to babysit me while my brain heals back up. These things are well-entrenched now and lack of professional help will worsen them but I have a big enough purpose to fight through it - ensuring the survival of my adult (or nearly so in 1 case) children and them having the chance to establish their own families. It's a deeply personal goal but one for the greater good too - mankind must survive and reform a society.
This doesn't mean I can't contribute though. A hobby farm is in the works as part of my personal self-administered therapy along with my prepping plans. I’ve all but forced all 3 of my children to have a BOB with the understanding I'll ask them on the rest of my preps when it's something in their field of interest only and that I will prep for them to use my place as a BOL because, well parenting doesn't end and this is what I can do without prepping plus my illness driving them off. So I'll have folk looking after me both on and off site, wherever I happen to be.The Odds and Reasoning:
Will I actually make it? I don't know. I don't know that I care if I do or not either to be blunt. I do know that I deserve to give myself the best chance I can though, and that my kids deserve that too. And doing it for the kids got me to the point I realized it was worth doing for myself.
So I began managing day-to-day.
So I began thinking, "What about the future?"
So I began thinking Dad the Survivalist (my father) might be a bit off his nut on what he was prepping for, but that didn't mean he was wrong to prep.
So I began looking into prepping.
So I found Zombie Squad and found a place here that is a good place. A bit odd, this is true, but a good place for me to be.
So I made an ass of myself here, got smacked down, researched, learned, and became somewhat useful.
So I planned for a future that would be nice, but began preparing for one that isn't going to be nice at all.
I'm better for it.
So thanks to all of you here at Zombie Squad for helping out - even if you didn't know it. Sorry for getting in the face of some of you. Thanks to Kyle and the rest for creating ZS in the first place. Thanks to the mods and admins who slap me around with a bit of trout when I toe the line a bit too closely and keeping this place running well.
So to really say thanks, I wrote about this, my most important prep. It's deeply personal and a bit painful for me to write and opens myself up to a lot. Please be gentle.
Oh, and now you know that the big, crazy scary eyes are really big, crazy scary for a damn good reason, but really I’m mostly harmless. Mostly. Edited for a grammatical difficulty