Last Updated: 6 Aug 2018

I looked up the DSM IV’s (the physician’s manual for diagnosing mental disorders) definition of Depression, and think editors could easily consolidate some of the criteria for diagnosis under the heading, “Zombie”.  Might save on printing costs. 

That’s how I describe my mood lately… a zombie.  Not the kind you see in movies, or a member of the undead.  It’s more like I am just moving through time without much thought, doing the day-to-day mundane stuff of living: groceries, cleaning, laundry, mail, bills, even exercise.   And, 5, 6, 7, 8, step left—

There’s a notion of the “Philosophical Zombie”: “in the philosophy of mind and perception a hypothetical being that is indistinguishable from a normal human being except in that it lacks conscious experience, qualia or sentience.”  This explanation continues into deeper philosophical argument.  I don’t care; the phrase above denotes my kind of zombie.  Beth Mader?, the leader asks.  Present! I say.

Any self-respecting Gen-Xer, or liker of 90s alternative rock, recalls the “Cranberries”’, powerful song, “Zombie”.  This song is actually about war/ violence and has many interpretations.   But if I take the chorus completely out of context and apply it here, it reinforces my mood depiction:

“In your head, in your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie…
What’s in your head?”…

It’s the darn SONG that’s in my head, not much else.

I know the zombie-ness will crumble soon; it always does.  My brain will suddenly be shocked into meaningful application by something amusing or exciting or sweet, and clarity and feelings will return.   I have faith in that.

Oh, wait—“faith” and “zombie” don’t really go together, do they?

Do you think “zombie-ness” can be an aspect of depression?  Has it happened to you?  What did you do?

About the author
Beth Brownsberger Mader was diagnosed in 2004, at age 38, with bipolar II disorder and C-PTSD, after living with symptoms and misdiagnoses for over 30 years. In 2007, she suffered a traumatic brain injury, compounding bipolar recovery challenges that she continues to work on today. Since these diagnoses, Beth has written extensively about bipolar, its connection to PTSD, physical illness, disability, and ways to develop coping skills and maintain hope. She also writes about bipolar/brain disorders and family, marriage, relationships, loss, and grief. Beth finds the outdoors to be her connection to her deepest healing skills, where the metaphors for life, love, compassion, and empathy are revealed, and how her bipolar and other challenges are faced head-on with perseverance and determination. Beth served as a contributing editor/featured columnist for bp Magazine from 2007 until 2016, and as a bphope blogger from 2011 until 2016. She returned to blogging for bphope in 2019. Beth continues to work on her unpublished memoir, Savender. She holds a BA from Colorado College and an MFA from the University of Denver. Beth lives in Colorado with her husband, Blake, and her service dog, Butter. Check out Beth’s blog at bessiebandaidrinkiewater.wordpress.com.

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