I know it's frustrating and depressing to deal with tragedies and loss especially one after another. It's okay to look back as that helps us rethink our philosphy and see things in a different perspective. The important thing as you mentioned is to keep moving forward like you always been doing and never lose hope. You have a lot of people who are worried about your well being.
If anything, your experiences has taught me some valuable life lessons. There will definitely be a time when I'll have my own share of losses. And, I must prepare for that. But, how do I cope with that? Do I have a support system? Should I talk with my family more often? Is there something else I could rely on during times of distress?
If I did meet you in real life, then I would like to personally thank you. Not just for what you have contributed here. But, for sharing your story and showing everyone how human a gamer is.
I've been writing on and off below. I think I'll be updating as I go along there, because well, the wisdom of wider crowds helps.http://redd.it/3hdzp6
To be really honest? It's really hard to know how you'll end up behaving when things really crunch down. I mean, I went from 'Too cold, want to take a nap- what the hell is that sound?' to 'That's a lot of smoke for some prank' to 'Uh oh, that's a fire, I better get down there' to 'She looks really bad, I better see if we can stop the fire' to 'Holy crap that's huge, Okay, everyone out now' and 'Wait, where's my roommate?'
After I ran my check for my roommate, I actually did think for a millisecond 'Could I move any of my hardware?' and 'Where's my backpack?' and then I started coughing, and remembered that fire isn't what kills you, it's the heat and the smoke, so I practically jumped down the stairwell, running into a neighbour on the way out, who asked me 'Was anyone else up there?' cause I think he saw me run inside. I figured that anything I could have done in the short time I was up there would be of any real consequence (I mean what could I possibly do, run towards the fire and grab the PS3?') and hanging around up there was a really, really bad idea.
Most of my actions were all reflex, and I guess I kept my pro gamer mentality by looking back at it, and going 'What should I do better, and what correct reactions can I shove into my reflexive movements?', which is why I'm probably analysing what I'm thinking now, even though someone else pointed out that a rational mind doesn't function in instances like this. I think the fact I'm trying to do it helps me make more 'correct decisions' in heavy pressure situations, and at least I can confirm that from other people (Although sometimes I'm not convinced myself)
My problem is I get like this because being in situations that could possibly kill me isn't new. I mean, it's not the first time I've been in situations that could realistically kill me, and practicing that will... pretty much get you killed, at least if you go out seeking practice, anyway.
It probably also helps that I've worked in logistics and in occupational health and safety. I've managed buildings before, and I do take evacuations and fire drills and stuff like that seriously, but that's because I've been involved in incidents, and I know why (from bitter experience) why you do these things, and why you have to be very conservative about your risk assessments in regards with your decisions during them - It's not like an exam or a test or even a job where if you screw something up, you can resit/redo what you messed up or whatever.
Anything you do in a scenario like this is permament, and 'Well, I forgot that fire can spread to ethernet cables' can result in lost cables in the best instance. It COULD also result in the fire spreading in a way which will cut off your exit and kill you. It could result in you using water on an electrical device and causing a secondary threat.
Fortunately, the experience I gained wasn't conducted by me (But rather some well meaning employee who tried to put out a computer fire with a water fire hose) but that was a lesson to be made - I remember running up to the floor via the fire exit to clear out that floor, and when I saw the water, the computer on fire and six people on the floor twitching, the first thing I did was shut the door, run to the electrical switches and when I ran into the firemen halfway down (it was a 32 floor building) I told them about it, and they sent someone with me while I let them handle the switches themselves after I guided him to it.
I was told afterwards that only two people in that corner of the office were initially affected... the other 4 people ran across thinking they understood the situation, and well, yeah. A more cynical person would point out that they failed their OH&S tests.
It probably shows why I tend to try to understand everything before I say anything, because I like to be significantly sure about my actions before I do them. A big side effect is that I tend to be a party pooper, or not fun to be around with, and I guess it's why I tend to keep to myself a lot of the time.
So the only things that could prepare you (apart from being forced to like me I guess) is to understand that anything you do in a high risk situation is permament, and that you can't correct any mistakes you make when you're dead because of bad assumptions. So if/when you see the next fire drill, try to understand why as opposed to going 'Well, this is pointless'. and remember 'If you lose your stuff and you live, you can fix that. If you save some stuff and die, you can't fix that.'
Basically in high pressure situations always pick the option that has the highest chance of you actually living, I guess. You can fix lost stuff, but you can't fix dead.
Also given how I tend not to have many friends or people I associate with, I sort of learnt how to operate on a support structure that's very bare bones. I don't have family to fall back on. My roommate's mother is closer to me than mine, and I'm stupidly grateful she's been kind enough to let me stay right now. I'm forced to focus so much more on what I have to do (Even though I'm so very tired and frayed) because I can't and don't expect a support structure.
I mean unless I somehow get access to my stuff, my net worth is literally the clothes on my back and the stipend the government has kindly paid me to finish studying a course I was working on prior to this event. (I was doing a distance course)
I don't know and suspect you probably don't WANT to practice independence by force. You basically remember that you have to keep moving, because charity and support are just that. You have to plan to be without. I'm probably not going to sleep on a bed for months. I have to slowly build up my clothing, slowly get a PC again, set up a net connection, and that's after we find a place to stay again. I have to get the bond from the old place back, and find a place we can use long term.
I'll need to reobtain my documents (ID passport, etc), focus on getting the basics like a working kitchen.
Then, maybe, then I'll focus on trying to doing stuff like finding a TV that works to the specs I require it for. Then maybe look into a console. And a HDCP breaker/splitter. Then maybe a capture card that works to spec, and the SAS to get functionality back and...
And the fact I can list all of that shows that I can focus even when I haven't slept for the entire day. I have to claw it back, and in all honesty, why should anyone help me? It's not like it happened the first time (The buildup for this phase started in 2008) so I have no expectations that I'll get any. Sure, I'd appreciate any help, but I cannot expect any, and I sure as hell can't demand it. I'll probably do it faster this time around, but even if I know what I'm doing, these things take money and time I have to scratch up.
Problem is that building up that level of resilience comes at significant costs... and I don't think many people are prepared to devote the time or pay the costs of building the required skills, since if you do them properly, you can't just 'turn them off' without feeling guilty.
And even then, you'll run the risk of losing it, even if the event in question wasn't caused by you (Considering the fire happened downstairs, I have zero ability to stop whatever happened there, since it's their residence) which means you have to learn to accept losses, eventually. Sure, I could complain like all hell that she started the fire, but that doesn't help me, and sure as hell doesn't help her (She's in hospital still. You want me to kick a woman who might die while she's down in front of her kids?) Her life is going to be hell if the fire report puts the blame squarely on her, because the insurance company, the landlord and/or the department of public prosecutions will either sue for the loss of property, or in the last case, for reckless endangerment of her kids (And probably me since I was in the building)
... Even though I KNOW all the above, I have to be able to do things better. I couldn't afford the insurance, and I should have. Maybe I'll react faster next time. Do more things in less time. Prepare better, know where the hose is, know more.
It can get obsessive, but... I know when in situations like this, making mistakes or underestimating anything can be fatal. I guess ultimately you have to invest in you and your ability to do things yourself, and try to find your own inner strength.
... It can be very lonely, particularly if you get any good at it though.
Apologies if I seem unfocused. As I said, there are consequences for this sort of thing.