It’s like an avalanche.
Something small shakes the ground, and suddenly the bad thoughts are unearthed, they roll down the hill getting bigger and bigger until they’re a huge ball thundering around in my head. When the ball stops it becomes a choir of voices, interrupting perfectly normal thought patterns with images, ideas and thoughts that send a lightening bolt of fear into the heart and the stomach.
I don’t really know what triggers them, it can be a wide variety of things. Nothing big or traumatic. One day I could be fine and the next day the avalanche begins.
I think this time it started with IT.
Yes that’s right IT, as in the Stephen King book, the horror film. The horror film that’s going to be re-released soon.
I haven’t seen IT, haven’t watched the trailer, don’t know a lot about it beyond tidbits. Horror films and me don’t tend to have a very good relationship. Unless of course they are the grotesque, the carnivalesque. There’s something I love about werewolf and vampire films, creature features like Anaconda and Lake Placid. Something I adore about pseudo horror like League of Gentlemen. I’d say I enjoy that kind of horror. That doesn’t bother me, it occasionally unsettles me but it doesn’t fill me with terror.
Paranormal Horror, anything like Chucky, anything like Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a lot of horror from the 80’s. Terrifies me.
For the most part I avoid horror. My imagination is powerful enough on it’s own, that’s what I’ve always been told but now I think maybe my OCD plays a bigger part in everything than I thought. Horror, even just the trailers leave me terrified. To the point I’ve been afraid to leave rooms, when I lived at home with my mum there would be nights I’d be alone in the house and I could barely make it to the bathroom and back without a panic attack. I used to go as fleetingly as possible because of the fear.
If you want to know how extreme things get, I once spent almost 6 months with no sleep after watching 28 days later once in college. I spent years not venturing into my mother’s kitchen when no one else was in the house and it was dark because every time I ventured in there the line from Shaun of the Dead would creep into my head; ‘There’s a girl in the garden.’ I spent days and nights avoiding every mirrored service after reading a variety of horror movie plots at various points in my life (or just hearing them in passing). I avoid walking anywhere I can’t see light. I’ve spent nights unable to sleep, too hot in bed but unable to release myself from the covers because every moment I do the image of a hand creeping up to grasp my leg enters my head. I run from the bathroom to the bedroom most nights when I get up to use the bathroom in the night.
It was so bad whilst I was at college, that I carried a small potato gun with me everyday. (Well every morning it was dark.) A little toy red thing I got from a toy shop. I convinced myself that if zombies became real, if anything like that became real, the gun would too. I knew it was ridiculous, there was a part of me a logical part that knew how ridiculous it all was.
Once that avalanche begins theirs a terrifying onslaught of thoughts, images and scenarios that rush around my head. That paralyse me in my tracks.
It’s embarrassing, to be a twenty-six year old and still feel that fear like a child does. Especially over ridiculous things.
Back to this time.
It began with IT, I think. There was an article about it, something to do with the Easter Eggs in the new trailer I think. Whatever it was I got curious. Even though I knew it might scare me, even though I knew it would prey on my mind. There was a part of my brain that just couldn’t stop me.
I read it.
I knew I shouldn’t have but I did. I read it and instantly I regretted it.
I didn’t really feel it at first, but then I never do. It wasn’t until the night when it started to creep up on me. That unsettling feeling in the bottom of my stomach that tells me there’s something to be seriously worried about, something to be terrified off. It’s the sort of feeling that sets of mild to insane bouts of fight or flight.
It was the next morning I really felt it. Every morning (when the mornings are lighter) I cut through a small underpass thing, for weeks now I’ve been doing it, it doesn’t really tend to bother me if people are walking through, or if someone else is walking behind me (unless it’s a bad morning). That morning though as I approached the underpass, images and scenarios began to creep into my head and the anxiety started. I didn’t have time to go back the other way so I ran. I ran with scenarios containing IT, containing me falling over, containing me catching diseases from the broken bottles, catching something from the piss stained floors. I ran with images of things dropping out of the ceiling. I ran as fast as I could with the end in sight and the mantra of ‘You’re not going to fucking get me.” In my head.
Since then it’s kind of snowballed. I’m constantly on edge (which might be to do with my being due on my lady times too). The worst thing is I can’t stop them. I can’t stop the slew of thoughts and the tablets don’t stop it. I’ve got to be put on a waiting list for months to get any CBT to see if that will help.
I feel like it’s only going to get worse as the publicity for the film gets bigger and it continues to be everywhere. I fear it’s only going to get worse because now the internet forces you to see things unexpectedly with ads and pop-ups that play of their own accord. With video’s that play sound suddenly and barely give you chance to stop them.
I’m worried it’s going to get worse and it does scare me a little. It scares me because I can’t stop the slew of images, scenarios and thoughts that jump into my head.
It’s embarrassing as well, I don’t talk about it a lot but it’s embarrassing and ridiculous to think of a 26 year old still being terrified of things that terrify children. Surely I should be passed this? Surely I should be beyond this.
But I’m not.
My imagination has not petered out and this is not a phase.
This is real, this happens and this does not go away.