Week 1: What If We Are Attacked by Zombies? Irrational Thoughts In a Giant Tent

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“Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.” - Dorothy Thompson

Someone asked me recently if I get scared of living in the middle of nowhere in a giant tent. I paused and thought about this for a moment remembering that sometimes I’d leave my doors unlocked at night in my house in the suburbs of Encinitas yet here, I double and triple check my locks before crawling into bed.

The funny thing is, I know logically I am safer here but the years of binge-watching horror movies have me convinced otherwise. I can’t help but think that where I currently live is the perfect setting for a horror movie.

Overall, I feel pretty safe. Except for the horrific noise I woke up to the other night which resembled what I would consider a cross between a velociraptor and…a zombie. If you don’t know what a velociraptor sounds like, I will kindly point you in the direction of my eight-year-old nephew Henry and he will happily educate you.

I can assume this noise, however, was the proud grunts of some animal consuming something it just caught and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was dining on my beloved cat Louie who never came home that night. (Don’t worry, he came home alive and well)

When I first moved here a girl I know by acquaintance sent me a message on Facebook suggesting I get a gun because “although it’s mostly safe, there are some weirdos!” Not much of a gun person, I brushed off the suggestion with a slight eye roll for what I thought was a bit of an overreaction. Admittedly, I did have a brief thought about how much more efficient it would be to ward off zombies if we were, in fact, ever attacked by them if I had a gun. A gun would come in a lot handier than my already dull kitchen knife. But other people live on the property so, at the very least, I know someone will hear me scream. (just kidding ma. take a deep breath)

But sometimes I do think about Zombies though. Like, what would I do if I looked out the window and saw something that resembled a human but with gaping wounds, a slight limp and an eerie discoloration that resembled the leader of the free world because let's be honest, I’ve questioned if Trump is a zombie too, hobbling my way from the bottom pasture? You think I’m joking but if you see one Walking Dead episode, you start to mentally prepare and pray to God that if it does come true they’d at least be the slow kind. Fast zombies, like in 28 Days Later, and well, we are all F#*ked. The end. Story over.

The short answer though is no, I don’t really get too scared living in my yurt. Other than occasionally, as in, cough cough, every night, double and triple-checking my locks, I feel pretty damn safe. Sometimes I remember that I live in a giant tent and I start to laugh at the realities of my current conditions and how if someone really wanted to get in, it wouldn’t be too terribly hard.

But mostly I feel safe.

But this makes me think about how much we are subconsciously conditioned by things like media and movies and pop culture and how what we allow into our lives greatly affects the reality of our thoughts. And it makes me ask: how much of what we allow into our awareness really does influence our irrationalities?

Like, I know very well that zombies don’t really exist but the idea still scares me. I was a horror movie buff when I was a little kid after all. I have no clue why but I frigging loved scary movies but I can’t help but wonder if that somehow contributed to some of my irrational fears. Hello JAWS. Thanks for making it almost impossible for getting in the ocean water!

But I loved horror movies when I was young. Often my parents left me at my God family’s house and my mom remembers walking into the living room when it came time to pick me up and my three or four-year-old self was standing about two feet from their big-screen TV. Remember those back in the ’80s?. Those big, oversized square things that protruded out into the middle of the living room? These things did not mount from the wall. They sat there, big and intrusive and at Christmas, your mom used the top of the TV to create the perfect little Christmas Village.

So image my younger self, standing two feet away, my big blue eyes wide open and fixated on Jason in Halloween slashing some young, blonde twenty-somethings big perky chest.

I’m not sure what shocked me more, the blood and the act of slashing or the boobs. At that time, both horrified me (and kind of fascinated me) because well, why would one human ever do that to another? As for the boobs, I was mostly confused because mine did not look like that.

Flash forward thirty some odd years later and I can confirm that my boobs do in fact look like those now. But definitely not as perky. Or big. But wait. We aren’t talking about my boobs, are we? If you want to read more about those I suggest you read this post here.

I digress. Oh yeah, irrational thoughts about zombies.

Today, I can’t watch The Walking Dead. I can’t even watch Criminal Minds which was a show I used to love. Something started happening when I started to “wake up” a bit. I found it harder and harder to be around or watch things that pushed violence or a lot of darkness. Stay with me here. Yes, I’m about to go all woo woo on you.

I’ve read this many times. That a spiritual awakening of sorts often brings a deeper sensitivity to energy. That is why it can be an extremely lonely experience. As you raise your personal vibration, your consciousness, things, and people start to fall away as your sensitivity to it begins to heighten.

So as I started to take more inventory on my internal landscape several years ago and pull back some layers, things like shows with zombies biting the jugular of a human neck became harder to watch. Call me crazy but it makes sense.

It is amazing to me how many shows that glorify torturous acts are on TV and how a lot of us watch these shows before going to bed. So much happens on a subconscious level when we sleep, if you wake up with anxiety, may I suggest you take a closer look at what you watch before turning in?

It’s not a cure-all but it definitely has helped me.

However, for the past two months until about two weeks ago, I noticed that my irrational thoughts, anxiety, and worry started to really creep back in. I suspected, and now know that the internal upheaval from the transition of my move created a lot of inner chaos and decided to shine a big spotlight on all my unresolved trauma, limiting beliefs and low self-worth. And there is nothing like sitting all alone in a giant tent in the middle of nowhere with all of that to keep you company.

Now I understand that most people would read this and ask, “Amanda, why would you ever subject yourself to that?”

My answer? Because it’s what I’m being called to do. I don’t know how to explain it but in the pit of my stomach I know that the main purpose of this move is to get me to finally dive deeper into all that unresolved stuff and find some freedom from it.

But first, I have to feel it to heal it.

Because truth be told, all that unresolved trauma, those deep-seated limiting beliefs, and areas of crippling low self-worth are holding me back from living a life on purpose. My true purpose.

If I’ve learned anything over the last year it is that when we don’t truly believe we are worthy of something in the deepest part of our subconscious being, no matter how bad we want said something it will never fully come to be until we truly believe we deserve it. That’s just basic energy 101. But THAT is for another post. In the meantime, if you want to learn more about it read this post from the woman I’ve learned so much on this topic.

So, for the last two months, I’ve really been in it. Even deeper then I have before and in an entirely new way.

I’ve been sifting and assessing and analyzing and trying my very best to rise up into my worth by learning to let things go. Like, let things go in a totally different way. In a way, I’m not even sure how to explain it yet. Old stories and beliefs, people, places, and energies.

But every now and then and irrational thought creeps up and out.

Like, what if we are attacked by zombies?

And I have to wonder what’s worse, zombies? Or all the trauma, most of which asn’’t even mine, that has been lying dormant inside me for all these years…

Dealing With Mental Health: PTSD and Borderline Personality Disorder

Amanda Whitworth Mental Health

“Your present circumstance don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” - Nido Qubein

About a week ago I had an assessment with a Psychiatrist at Moore’s Cancer Center to be evaluated for some mental health issues that had been coming up in a pretty significant way for the last few months. In reality, these issues have been haunting me for a very long time.

I sat before him and poured out my life story, tears streaming down my face as I observed the parts I felt most compelled to share.

At the end of our session, he confirmed what I had already intuitively known, I was in the midst of PTSD. However, he also confirmed something else that, if I’m honest, I already intuitively knew as well; Borderline Personality Disorder.

I sat, staring blankly at him as my memory recalled the moment so many years ago when I found out my dad was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and over the years, a part of me always wondered if I had that in me too.

As he shared the ins and outs of Borderline Personality Disorder and PTSD, a interesting thing happened. There was a lightness deep within my chest as I felt the shackles of perfection fall to the ground. I felt the little girl inside who was, and still is, highly sensitive. The one who learned to stuff down her trauma from years of emotional abuse and abandonment by a man who was suppose to protect her shout, “finally! I am free!”.

I realize my years of numbness followed by intense anger, impulsivity, mood swings and irrational thoughts and years worth of binging and purging and starving myself were not all for naught. Rather, a way of coping with something my child mind couldn’t make sense of.

I don’t think it was just a label that was so carelessly and casually given to me because as I listened to him speak about these two disorders, my life, my behaviors, my emotional responses, they all started to make sense and fall into place.

I didn’t walked out of that appointment feeling like a victim. I walked out of that appointment feeling a deep sense of empowerment because now I understood. Now I got to really start the process of healing and knowing myself, my past and my behaviors with compassion instead of self-hatred, judgement and resentment. There was a softness I felt towards myself I have never known before.

Now I get to develop the tools to thrive instead of constantly beating myself up for a way of being that, at times, feels uncontrollable.

I’ve sat wondering the last week how much I should share. If I even wanted to share this truth openly with you or keep this part of me to myself. I worry that you have already retracted a bit and pulled back hearing the words Borderline Personality Disorder.

I worry now there is an unconscious judgment towards me.

I am afraid that someone will come to my website looking to buy my art and read this post and decide otherwise.

I’m nervous that you may think I’m seeking attention or pity or being dramatic.

I’m scared of the rejection I may face because I’m choosing to let go of the mask of perfection and embrace my mess.

Then I think about all the people out there living in their own little hell and how every time I share bits and pieces of my pain, my shattered parts, my story, it finds it’s way to the person who needs it who is quietly struggle to find meaning in their own mess too.

I realized that hiding and concealing these parts of myself isn’t who I really am and that part of my purpose, my authenticity is sharing. Not just the highlight reel but the REAL and this is a truth of mine that needs to be shared.

The truth of being a complicated human being.

The truth of suffering years of back to back trauma from a disease I feel like I have little control over — with myself and my mom and brother.

The truth of being abused as a child in a way that I justified as a normal because I didn’t suffer it physically.

The truth of the intense amount of shame I’ve carried for the things I have and have not done in my life.

And although there are parts of this journey I am not ready to share opening because I’m afraid of the repercussions of exposing the person involved, I think I can share in an authentic way none the less.

This isn’t only for my own healing but also for anyone else who is struggling with the embarrassment, shock, confusion and even relief that comes with finally having answers to some painful questions.

So now what? What does someone do when they fit a piece of their life puzzle together that may not be ideal, but necessary for finding meaning in their life?

You move forward.

You take this new information and instead of compartmentalizing it you lean into it, absorb it, integrate it and learn to listen to this side of you more.

You go to those painful places, no matter how much it hurts knowing that you will be okay knowing the truth.

You seek professional help. I can not emphasize this enough. Do not try to do this alone. That is exactly what I did for years.

You seek a community not to wallow in but to uplift, understand. and relate to.

And for me personally, I’m going to continue to slow my life down, eliminate anything that adds more stress, get more intentional, continue making small changes that are long overdue and peel back another layer.

I know very clearly that I have nothing to be ashamed of and I don’t believe this means I am a broken or unlovable woman. I will not hide from this. It’s a delicate dance that requires me to ask for help, get honest with myself regularly and let go of the shame I’ve attached to so many things in my life.

I will not fall victim to it but use it as a catalyst to know myself in a way I still don’t, to love myself deeper, heal and hopefully impact people in a genuine and helpful way.

In order to do that, I need to own and forgive my past and slow down enough to allow myself the grace of healing.

Grace is something I have only recently just met.

And we are getting to know each other slowly.