Recently, a celebrity made the headlines for attacking a photographer in an airport seemingly without provocation. The celebrity’s excuse was that, as a result of his participation in a film with undead subject matter, he had mistaken the picture taker for a walking corpse.
While his excuse was summarily dismissed and mocked by the general public, said celebrity brought to the forefront an actual affliction suffered by those who experience long-term exposure to the living dead.
Zombie combat can be one of the most traumatic events an individual can experience. The greater tragedy is that it occurs not just among professional warriors, but with the civilian population as well. Combat with the living dead is also the type of conflict where only one combatant is left standing at the conclusion of an engagement – ideally the living one. For untrained citizens required to eliminate a walking corpse to survive, the emotions felt following a successful combat engagement can be overwhelming, and similar to the post-traumatic stress experienced by warriors after combat. There is also the situation of individuals who have experienced solitary isolation during an extended outbreak, their only interaction with other beings having been undead. These individuals have extreme difficulty relating to the living, and will often launch into an unprovoked attack towards any organism with whom they come into contact, living or undead. This may be what the aforementioned celebrity experienced.
A diagnosis has emerged from the medical community specifically pinpointing these unique types of civilian maladies – PUCT, or Post Undead Combat Trauma.
As much as we try to detach ourselves from the human element of our attackers, there may be times when you experience feelings of extreme remorse, regret, and unhappiness for having to eliminate an undead attacker. These feelings are completely normal, and do not imply weakness, cowardice, or lack of nerve. It is recommended that you confront these feelings honestly and allow yourself to work through them when the opportunity and safety of the situation allows. Discussing these feelings with others that have shared similar experiences, perhaps in your own combat group, can help dissipate these painful thoughts. If the mental trauma does not subside and becomes increasingly debilitating, it is advised that you seek professional help from a physician specifically trained to deal with PUCT.
Many warriors have acknowledged that the most difficult part of preparing for and winning in battle is not the physical, but the mental factor. Nowhere is this truer than when fighting the undead.
Not only must you overcome the psychological lunacy of defending yourself against a walking corpse, but you may face the unfortunate situation of having to do so against a ghoul that was once someone to whom you had a personal connection.
As a result, it has often been stated that in order to survive in a zombie-infested world, you have to become somewhat of a zombie yourself. It is critical that you detach your feelings and emotions from the threat you face.
Zombies are not friends, not family, not Zen-like otherworldly creatures. The only thing the undead represent is a threat to your life and the lives of the remaining humans in your care. You cannot afford the time or the luxury of waxing philosophic about the zombie in your proximity: who they were, how they were infected, how they ended up in front of you. Your only objective should be to either evade or eliminate the threat.