Thursday, March 30, 2017

Therapy and The Walking Dead

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me… You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…” Psalm 23:4-5

Recently, I started catching up on The Walking Dead. I still have a little over a season to go, but I’m getting there. When I first started watching over a year ago, I quite enjoyed season 1, but then I got bogged down on season 2. While I’m not generally squeamish, the violence in the show bothered me more than it has in others (this probably has something to do with the fact that I don’t like the idea of getting eaten alive), but the curious thing is that lately, as I’ve been struggling with anorexia, I’ve found myself gravitating to TWD more and more. And it occured to me that there is a specific reason why I find comfort in the misadventures of Rick Grimes and his group. 

At its core, The Walking Dead is very much about food. Oh sure, it’s also about trying not to get torn apart by walkers or murdered by crazy people, but the group braves the most danger just in order to eat. On its own, starvation is a scary concept; compound that with facing a horrible fate just to prevent it, and you’ve got a fairly accurate picture of what’s going on in my head right now (although the fates Rick and I fear are different). 

I have found it easier to eat while watching TWD, because it’s helpful to pretend that the only anxiety that could exist about eating food would be the idea of becoming food yourself, which is not a struggle I have ever had to face in real life (nor do I ever hope to). So on one level, I can appreciate the comfort and safety I have in being able to observe fictional anxieties about eating while knowing I don’t have to share those fears. If the walkers aren’t real, then eating can be a pleasurable activity rather than a necessary evil. The separation between fictonal food fear and real life food fear is not complete, and The Walking Dead will not solve all of my problems. But little things like this have been assisting me in my attempts at recovery, and for that, I am extremely grateful. 

What about you, my little coffee beans? What are some ways that TV shows (or any form of entertainment) have helped you overcome various struggles? What are some other benefits to enjoying fiction? 


  1. This is a really interesting perspective. It's interesting how in apocalyptic and dystopian stories things we take for granted are often a struggle to get. Good Mythical Morning on YouTube definitely helps me when I'm feeling depressed. Sometimes some goofy comedy is the best pick me up.

  2. I do sincerely say: I really hope that you are never eaten by a zombie. And the same goes for me, as a matter of fact. Still, I can understand how this could be a useful strategy for you. In my case, I'm sometimes scared of doctors and that sort of thing, but identifying with the fictional doctors who I know and love can help me out and feel better about people in that profession. :)