Kinemortophobia is often considered a joke where, in reality, it is a very real phobia. Kinemortophobics are terrified of zombies, or are afraid of turning into zombies. The word is derived from Greek “Kine” which means “to move”, Latin “mort” meaning dead, combined together to form Kinemorto which means the “Walking dead”.
People having zombie- phobia are so terrified of “the walking dead” that even if someone does an imitation or impression of zombies (stiff walk, arms out, face paint, incoherent talk, groaning etc) they experience a full blown panic attack. Most Kinemortophobics lose sleep over this fear and fail to understand our cultural fascination with zombies.
Causes of Kinemortophobia
The word Zombie is derived from “Zombi” or ‘Nzambi the Serpent God’ in African tradition. This God is evoked during voodoo rituals which constitute trapping a person’s soul in a bottle. There is a belief, that only if one’s soul is reclaimed by God, can he (the dead person) achieve peace. If not, s/he comes back as a soulless entity that is completely under the control of the person who has trapped him.
Researchers have actually delved deep into these ritualistic zombifications. Many conclude that the traditions practiced in remote islands of Haiti an Africa actually use psychotropic drugs to induce a state of suspended animation in the subject who is then completely at the beck and call of others.
Zombies are naturally considered the equivalent of ghosts, so those with an intense fear of ghosts are more likely to suffer from Kinemortophobia.
Pop culture is one of the most important triggers of the fear of zombies. Movies like, “The Night of The Living Dead” (released in 1968 and considered the Granddaddy of all modern Zombie movies), ‘The Walking Dead’, ‘World War Z’, Zombieland and Warm Bodies (as well as hundreds of others) have explored the subject of zombies. Most depict a post-apocalyptic setting where large numbers of the population have turned into brain eating Zombies while the remaining handful normal ones are pitted against them in an effort to stay alive.
The concept of zombies eating the flesh or brains of humans perhaps delves into our evolutionary fear of cannibalism apart from our eternal Fear of Death.
Our cultural fascination about zombies is not restricted to books, movies and TV shows alone. Even Theme parks have rides based on the Zombie theme. Halloween which is a million dollar industry in the west also plays upon this theme. Video Games like Resident Evil pitch the players against these creatures. Even songs about Zombies (The Cranberries) (though it has nothing to do with the living dead), could trigger zombie phobia in anxious minded individuals.
As with all other phobias, the fear of zombies can be traced back to negative or traumatic episode related to these living-dead-brain-eating cannibals. A child might have been scared after watching a movie or reading a book on Zombies. An older sibling or friend might have dressed up as one to terrify the child. Halloween might have exacerbated this fear when nearly everyone around is dressed up as a Zombie.
Symptoms of fear of zombies
Like most other specific phobias, the fear of zombies also leads to variety of physical and emotional symptoms:
- Full blown panic attack: screaming, crying, shaking uncontrollably, sweating or feeling nauseated etc. Elevated heart rate, rapid breathing and ‘stomach in knots’ feeling is also reported by Kinemortophobes.
- The phobic might avoid all things related to zombies: movies, books, games etc.
- They often have trouble sleeping. Nightmares are common symptoms of zombie-phobia. The lack of sleep often leads to stress, inability to concentrate in school or at work etc.
- Often the individual is unable to express his fears: he might feel numb or detached from reality, or have constant thoughts or movie-like stills playing through his mind.
In extreme cases, the person might become socially withdrawn or depressed. S/he might avoid friends who tease him/her about the phobia. Sleepovers and Halloweens can be especially traumatic for such individuals.
Overcoming the fear of zombies
First of all, understand that Kinemortophobia is a very real phobia and there are hundreds of thousands of people, including adults, children and teens, suffering from it.
Face your fear– Admit you have a problem and talk to someone about it. It could be a parent, a close friend, a teacher or a professional.
Examine your fear– What are its roots? What triggers the phobia? Is it movies, books or games? Then try and avoid those things as far as possible. The converse is also effective. You could try to expose yourself to zombies in the form of watching zombie movies (preferably during the day with people around) or reading about them and so on. This can help gradually desensitize you about these creatures.
Relax– If you start feeling anxious; try deep breathing or meditation. Focus on your breath and relax your muscles. Make yourself a cup of soothing tea or have some warm milk. This can also help you sleep better in case recurrent nightmares are plaguing you.
Get help– If needed, consult a trained psychotherapist regarding your phobia. Hypnotherapy and NLP therapy are proven to get to the root of the fear in order to reprogram your mind and its response to zombies.
These are some ways to permanently overcome Kinemortophobia.