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Unless you live in a cultural wasteland, you know that zombies are fairly popular these days. As long as there’s money to be made, the genre will continually be dragged out of the grave and reanimated. Yes, that was a pun and I will not apologize.

The general premise of zombies is, a person is dead but for some reason has come back to “life” and now roams around mindlessly. Even though they don’t seem to require oxygen, water, food, or even significant parts of their body to continue moving about, they have the need to attack and eat really living people. Yeah, that part makes no sense to me, either. Zombies are pretty relentless so they generally wreak havoc is some form or another. While getting eaten by a zombie is a fairly horrible experience, so I’m told, getting bit by a zombie is the worst because if your brain isn’t destroyed you will eventually become a zombie, too.*

Nobody wants to get attacked and eaten or turned into a zombie but the most tragic part of any zombie story is when a loved one becomes a zombie. This is heartbreaking, a huge loss that often leaves the survivor traumatized, grief-stricken, and lonely. Even though the practical course is to put the zombified loved one down, like one would a diseased or badly injured animal, who can do that to mom, dad, sibling, child or spouse?  The problem is, zombies are out of their minds so they don’t have the capacity to care or love. It’s not that they are evil or personally against you; it’s just that they are driven to cause destruction. Many a foolish person has had ideas that they can save their zombie loved ones or keep them close by until a cure can be found. This always ends in disaster for the caring person (and anyone else within 200 meters) – see above “attacked and eaten.” In a zombie situation, it’s best to have some sort of barrier between you and the zombified loved one as well as some strong tools to fend off their attack should they undermine your barriers.

Now get this… On your journey towards being real and healthy sometimes you will discover that those you are close to are “zombies.” Perhaps they aren’t emotionally healthy or, due to their own upbringing, don’t have the capacity to love and care for you as your recovery progresses. Surprised by your struggle, they could be in the grip of shame and feeling like a failure and now unable to cope or be compassionate. They could simply be ignorant, misinformed or ill-equipped concerning your struggles towards being a real person.

Whatever the reason behind their zombie behaviour, you need to lovingly set up barriers, aka boundaries, between yourself and your zombified loved ones. You must establish safeguards for your own mental health and continued journey towards real life. And just in case your zombies break through your barriers, you need to have tools at the ready to protect yourself until you can get back to safety.

I know t’s hard work to be real and the journey can seem lonely. Sometimes you might even think it would be okay to be around zombies rather than be by yourself. Please remember, even if a zombie is a loved one, you still need to protect your brains.
*I’m sure there are all sorts of nuances to the zombie mythology that I have overlooked or even disrespected but before you get mad at me, please remember that we’re talking about zombies.