Lately, I’ve found myself immersed in writing short horror stories. This is not because I’m a weird person, live in a basement, or even because it’s October and there are a lot of scary stories that get written around this time.
It’s really because I’m so scared in my own life.
I work in a very high stress environment where I am constantly having to either restrain severe behaviors or protect others from the severe outbursts of young adults who have no control over their mental states. It can be taxing, draining, and exhausting…and it can cause almost PTSD type of phenomena where you are always in a state of alarm and panic.
You can only take so many meds. You can only push yourself to the point of alcoholism without going over the brink or numb yourself so far before you start to crack up and question whether you can keep doing this job or not.
I’ve done this job for seven years now. This year, due to COVID, it got even harder because these students had been locked down with no way to understand why they weren’t allowed to go outside or to school and lost all the learned behaviors they had adapted into their makeup for years. hen they did come back, they had regressed and, like anyone else who has lost part of their sanity due to this mess, they reacted….violently.
I had to end up taking time off and actually assessing either taking early retirement and basically losing everything I had saved up, outright quitting, or getting psychological help before I went off the rails. Fortunately, I chose the latter…and just in time too as I was admitted to the ER the same day with a massive panic attack and have been off work for over a week. I return Tuesday…and am already anxious.
That is why, dear reader, I have been spending the last few days dredging around in the world of Horror. You see I can CONTROL the imaginary horrors and chaos I create in my head….it’s the true fears and risks and dangers I have to face every day to make a living that truly have begun to horrify me.
So, I sit here, and I make up my lengthy little stories, usually with not so happy endings, controlling the story itself and what happens within it, and it makes me feel better. It’s a cathartic experience because I can be creative, release some tension, use my imagination, receive some positive feedback (from those who decide to read my tales), and in general, forget I have to walk into a blast furnace again in a few days.
This whole exercise came as a surprise and with the success of a few of my stories, it became a real distraction and coping mechanism for me in a time where I am trying, like many, just to hang on through another day having to deal with my own shaky psyche, let alone true mental illness that requires my help.
So, again, for anyone wondering why I’m writing all this crazy drabble–it’s not because I change with the full moon or need 100 proof Type O blood to get by, I just need to write out a few harmless chills and thrills here and there to prepare myself for the real fight.