In the initial phase of a break down, I would be out patrolling to collect Intel. I just wouldn’t LOOK like I was Patrolling. Ragged clothes two sizes too big, water bottle on a string, probably just a WW2-era bolt-action rifle. The Soviet Moisin-Nagant is available in America for under $200USD, so it’s a good option. Ammo is cheap and plentiful. Grey man. Maybe limp a little, look very stressed, about to cry. Watch everything. Make a show of gathering dandelions, maybe berries. The thing to avoid is the stuff that makes you stand out – military load-bearing harness, black rifle, all the Tacticool mail-order Mall Ninja Gear.
If things are bad, stay home and fortify the castle. DO NOT SHOW ANY REINFORCEMENT ON THE OUTSIDE. Fortify on the inside, where it’s not visible.
Just a note: during the siege of Leningrad (which held the record as the longest in history until Sarajevo) when starvation stalked every street (especially the 1st winter), people developed an ashen gray complexion. Everyone that is, except the cannibals. The Soviet’s deny it, but personal histories make it very clear that cannibalism was rampant. But the cannibals showed a healthier, pink skin tone that made them stand out, and hence they were dealt with quickly. Always try to look like everyone else.