Okay, I promised an explanation for my reticence lately. So here it goes: I was utterly and completely terrified of a zombie attack.
I know that sounds crazy. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s one of the textbook definitions of crazy. It probably would be considered a psychotic break, except that I was thoroughly aware that zombies aren’t real and wouldn’t actually attack.
Nevertheless… About 10 hours after seeing some inconsequential clip on the Internet that joked about a zombie apocalypse — one that didn’t bother me at all when I watched it, mind you — I was completely convinced that zombies would burst through the door. I was also convinced that if I did somehow fall asleep, I’d wake up and Tim would be a zombie.
Tim woke up when I started crying, and he helped calm me down. I was still afraid to sleep. My dreams are vivid. So we put on the TV to help guide my dreams to something other than zombies.
The next morning, the fear was only slightly better. I kept glancing around and feeling exposed. I kept thinking about how many windows we have. And how broad the sliding door and front window are, and so how hard they would be to board up to keep zombies out.
It wasn’t any better the next day, so I saw my medication management doctor. He’s a psychiatrist, and he explained this was a result of the miscarriage(s).
When coping with loss, he said, we feel weak and vulnerable. After two miscarriages, I likely felt that my body was weak, which meant I was vulnerable. As a result, my brain was projecting that fear and loss into something more tangible.
Apparently, it could easily have been a car crash or a burglary, if I’d seen those around. My brain would have latched on something. And at least I can still get in a car, I suppose.
The problem is that I didn’t feel safe anywhere. No matter where I was in the house, I kept thinking of potential escape routes — and then how I’d have no weapons in the rooms I’d be running to. (Because, in a zombie attack, running outside is not ideal, you see.)
I felt, well, vulnerable and weak.
It was getting better (slowly) until I took a walk up to Home Depot. I felt exposed and in danger the whole trip. There were no places to hide, no blunt objects around, nothing. The closest thing to an escape was scaling a wall, which I’m not strong enough to do. Never have been.
And don’t ask me why I didn’t just turn back when I was so obviously scared. Sometimes I’m just not that bright. I thought I needed drawer pulls, and that was apparently more important than feeling even remotely safe. Brilliant.
That caused the fear to be MUCH worse for a couple of days.
Tim and my therapist both suggested that, rather than argue with an irrational fear, I find ways to make myself feel safe.
First on that list, obviously, no more walks for a bit. Tim also put a samurai sword in the bedroom. Probably silly, but it does help.
Since I was obsessed with my inability to scale walls, I decided to start working on my upper body strength. Small stuff so far, but I am getting a little stronger. And I just bought a pair of 5-pound dumbbells (compared to my 2-pounders) which should help.
I can’t guarantee that I’ll keep up the exercise, but I do know that at least TRYING to get stronger has eased the fear a bit.
Of course, it also just takes time and facing my depression/vulnerability/grief. I’m great at building emotional walls without even realizing it, so that’s an ongoing process.
I still peer around from time to time. I still look around the room for zombie-fighting weapons. But it’s slowly getting better.
This is embarrassing, but so are most symptoms of severe depression. So… why not talk about it, right?