Post-Collapse: A Strong Mind And Good Team Are Crucial To Survival

In this series, you will look at what life is like for a family man living in a social and economic collapse. The writer of these posts is a middle-class Venezuelan, in a country which has the world’s highest inflation rate at more than 4000%. Venezuela is a financial collapse nightmare with extreme shortages of food, riots severe hunger, a crippled economy, crumbling infrastructure, collapsed healthcare system, and a failing government.

The Venezuelan collapse has escalated to a breakdown in social order, putting Venezuela at the top of Latin America’s most homicidal nations. The rate of Venezuelans murdered is now 20 times that of the US.

In this post, the Venezuelan Prepper speaks of the head strength people need to survive post-collapse, and the need for a family or team.

Everyone is different. This is especially important when we are faced with a survival situation.

In a supermarket near my home in Venezuela some years ago, there was an incident that you would only see if you were experiencing a true financial collapse. It’s the type of event, and struggle, where social order just goes out the window.

My wife and my 5-year-old son were there. They had gone out to get powdered milk (a highly valued staple in Venezuela because of the severe food shortage). You see, powdered milk factories had been seized by the government, so it was an ingredient as rare as gold, but something so crucial to the diet as it was the only source of dairy we could get access to.

For my wife and son, it wasn’t as simple as what a normal world would be like, just walking up to the shelf and adding it to the shopping trolley. No. When people saw the store employee taking a pallet of powdered milk bags to the shelves, it was a sudden scene of chaos, as if some life scramble just broke out. People pushed each other, left their kids, and pulled each other away from the group in a survival of the strongest scenario. It was not human, it was animal-like behavior.

My wife and son were trapped in the chaos. She grabbed him and hugged him hard while they were, together, push around by the swarm of desperate shoppers. My son (remember he’s only five) panicked and started kicking, punching and pushing back the people with all his strength, and yelling as loud as he could “Back off. My mom is scared. Leave us alone or I will kick you”.

Yes, that’s my son, in a post-collapse country.

This is what daily life is like.

All for a couple of milk packages.

I was upset that I wasn’t there to defend them. I had thought a lot about what had happened to them that day, but what did we learn as a team and family in this chaotic country we live in?

First and foremost is to try to avoid roaming around with kids in the streets as much as possible. Second, a running, dangerous crowd could appear in the streets in any moment, under any circumstances. When it comes to real day preparedness, we don’t know when something is going to happen, only that we know what to do when it does.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video below gives an impression of what daily food purchasing was like in 2016. It is much worse now.

Survival: more about psychology than survival gear

This psychological aspect of survival is very important, it is much more important than the equipment you can have. It allows the person to use skills, strength, and rational reserves to face whatever comes ahead. If a survivor can avoid a negative mind state (very difficult to do as I have also suffered during Venezuela’s collapse and its post-collapse society) it will stimulate the very needed creativity to find original solutions to problems that will appear.

This creativity drove me to look for different income sources, other than my salary, which I kissed goodbye last August because the hyperinflation would only allow me to buy a week’s worth of food with my whole month’s salary. It’s effectively pointless to keep working for a Venezuelan company.

It is in that very creative mode I had that made me research, and learn things that seem so simple, such as:

  • While people fight over some imported and refined sugar cane powder, I could grow other vegetables that are rich in sucrose, dry the juice, and have something to sweeten my kid’s lemonade, and my coffee.
  • That growing some beans, toasting them in the oven, peeling them off and grinding very small, they would work as pancake flour.

I feel like in these times, when you use a little bit of practicality, innovation, and creativity, these ideas the real spirit of the survivor, or the survivalist: to be creative. The equipment survivalists have are just tools to channel all of that creativity. And this works only if you have a proper mind setup and are remaining positive through the tough times.

So how do we keep this wonderful survival machine that is our brain is, running strong like this?

Please keep reading.

A team is the most important thing someone can have post-collapse

Life in Post-Collapse Venezuela

A Venezuelan father walks with his children to find a new shelter to sleep under.

For us Venezuelans, family is very important. In our culture, we try to succeed in everything from career, family, and of course wealth (that was until our finance became worthless).

Most of us are family people. No surprises there. Perhaps it’s because we have a strong Spanish and Italian heritage. That said, the responsibilities that a family brings are rewarded with lots of incredible moments. Who cares if you have to wash the car yourself the entire year, just for saving money enough to buy your son a bicycle so he could ride with his little gang of friends is worth it.

And having the pleasure to teach him again? I would wash a passenger airplane each week, if I had to, just to be able to live those wonderful moments again, trust me. But they are not there just to be cared for. They are there to provide support even if they don´t know how to do it. That is especially the case for the past few years, as so much has changed from living the life that you live, to suddenly becoming trapped in a lawless, third world country.

My wife is supportive by nature, she is the other half of the machine. She instinctively knows how to provide support and is willing to. With older kids, perhaps they can be a pain in the backside sometimes, but that is understandable. And I can reassure you this with a good degree of confidence: once a compromising situation appears on the horizon, teenagers and young adults will instinctively change their attitude.

For teenagers, brain chemistry is faster, remember that, and nature will make them grow and mature to a point that you will be amazed. Hopefully, most of them will have to go through the long path, without other dangers on the horizon than the usual in the more industrialized countries such as drugs, gangs, and the other usual stuff kids seem to get themselves into.

Your immediate family is your survival team, even if they laugh in your face at your solar panels, rechargeable batteries, MREs, knife and gun collections, crossbow practices (‘Dad, Darryl called, he said he wants his crossbow back, zombies are getting close’) your time spent choosing a proper bug-out location, and the scars in your hands after rebuilding your Pinzgauer by yourself. They won´t laugh too hard when you take them to camp, cross a one-meter river to get to a remote place, and hunt a fat turkey for dinner.

It´s incredible the strength you find in your team.

Food shortage in Post-Collapse Venezuela

Shoppers queue outside the supermarket in Venezuela for more than three hours to wait for their daily food supply. The government took over stores of supermarket chain after alleging that it was hoarding food. Photo: Miguel Gutierrez/EPA/Landov

If you are young and single, you could team up with similar minded groups already established. It is important to have people around not just for the sharing of skills and supplies, but also the camaraderie and psychological benefit.

The psychological team support is very very much needed. It has been like this since humans started to settle down in caves. It gives you the chance to discuss, debate and find the solution to problems. It allows you to make sure that if you have a nightmare, someone will be there to see what is about all that noise, and make fun of you the next morning. It allows you to get different perspectives about all kind of stuff. It will allow you to collect the needed strength to overcome the harsh situations, and will generate comfortable environments to ease the stress, providing life, not just survival.

Resources are limited in survival situations, and the mental attitude has to be good enough to find creative ways to solve those problems. You just have to remember to always stay positive, no matter what the challenges are. There are a lot of stressful events going all around the place when the sh-t hits the fan, so keeping yourself mentally sharp is a priority.

New Orleans widespread flood. Vincent Laforet/AFP/Getty Images

I remember one of the survivors of the New Orleans floodings mentioning that at nights he was awake in a hotel, a property of his family. Armed with a pump shotgun, looters would see this arm-tattooed guy in the shadows, and would not come in even if he would have had a million dollars cash worth in front of him. But for . him, he wasn’t just guarding his property or goods, he was taking care of something much more precious: his family. He mentioned that years after the flood, he would wake up in the night still remembering all the nights he had to wait out the front as looters scoured around the property.

His prayers to God were hoping that someone wouldn’t get too close to the main door and having to shoot them.

The emotional scars of these events are something that really last. The wear of stress, after the initial impact of having seen how the world around you is no longer there, produces thoughts and emotions that could transform any self-confident, strong-willed person in a hesitating and jumpy victim of the circumstances.

Dealing with post-collapse trauma

We need to learn how to recognize those mixed emotions, once they start to appear. Because they will definitely appear.

Imagine for a moment that you have to take a plane to a foreign country, without even knowing when you will see your family again. Everything you know, love, everything you worked for, has to be left behind. The stress that generates is something incredibly powerful. It will lower your ability to make decisions, you will grow an internal anger, without even knowing why (recently a Venezuelan expat in Peru had a terrible fist fight with a local who insulted him, and I could recognize this anger in the video, trust me).

Your energy will drain faster than ever because of this stress. The feeling of needing to care for yourself will be affected. All of these are natural responses to the extreme stress.

The team support is key in survivalism, not just because of the resources and the strength of the numbers, but also because of the psychological support. This has deep roots with humans as a way to feel part of a tribe, or the member of a clan.

Now that you know some of the psychological aspects that you will face in a survival situation, and understand what it is about the team psychological support, I believe you have another important tune-up in your most essential survival machine: your brain.

Thanks for your donations! The build-up is slow, I have to destinate some money for food while the paperwork is ready, you would not believe how incredibly hard is getting everything, day after day.

Be safe people, take care, and God bless you.

The Venezuelan Prepper is Jose M. A middle-class Venezuelan professional with a family who, before coming to live in a societal collapse, enjoyed holidaying, hiking, outdoors and evenings with his family. Now, he’s a prepper trying to survive in the world’s highest inflated economy. You can support him through his Paypal donation link here.

Let me know your thoughts on this topic!