Monsters Are Everywhere

August 10, 2008
By
His slurred words were still biting. I sat on the steps and listened to Mom's cries while he screamed of his miserable life. Every time he yelled my name I would tear open another scab on my knuckle; I had to adapt after Mom found my razor. I still had to punish myself somehow. How does one live knowing she had destroyed a man's life just by existing? I waited for the sound of crashing glass or the deafening thud of a thrown chair, and then I would take my brother and hide him in the closet, like Mom had instructed me to. The times we've had to hide before have been strangely comforting. Somehow it felt like if I just curl up among the dirty socks and shoe boxes I couldn't be hurt, even if I deserved to be.

--


I was in third period when it started. This horrible clenching in my stomach, a faint nausea, all the indications of impending doom rushed to me suddenly. I did not usually feel as frightened at school as I did at home, so this was strange. All day the fear escalated into a terror I had never before experienced. I spoke to no one and everything seemed potentially dangerous: the stray papers about the hallways, the plastic cafeteria trays, the endless lines of lockers covering the walls. But none of these, I knew, were the source of my fear, and I desperately looked around my classrooms class after class, determined to find the horrible reason for my anxiety. By the time I was proceeding to last period I was trembling. My heart beat so loudly I was sure everyone around me could hear the sound. I paused in the hall and glanced around frantically, and my eyes were drawn to panels of light on the ceiling. Everything came to me at that moment. I could see the monsters, watching me from the lights. I was their puppet, and they wanted to watch me squirm until I couldn't take it anymore. I wouldn't give them that satisfaction. I walked to my last class shakily.

A paper taped to the door reminded me that class was in the library that day. I was now late and turned to face a deserted hallway. I was all alone now, no protection from the monsters laughing at me. I couldn't take my eyes off of the ceiling lights. Somehow carried myself to the library, where I was blinded by hundreds of lights, hundreds of creatures mocking me, choking me. I fell to my knees. I heard a few of my friends flock to my sides, and one, Robyn, led me back into the hall.

I had to hide. I dove under a bench and curled up, but I could still feel warm lights on my face coming through the wood's gaps. I ran to the bathroom, and searched desperately for the light switch. If I turned off the lights they wouldn't see me, and I'd be left alone. But Robyn pulled me to the ground even as I screamed to be let go. I didn't care about defeating the monsters anymore, I was going to go crazy. I crawled below a sink and slammed my head on the pipes as hard as I could. Eventually I would die or faint or something and I could be at peace. My vision blurred up with tears and I begged the monsters to leave me alone.

More of my friends came into the bathroom and, worried the monsters would torture them too, I told them to hide. They told me nothing was wrong and I became so confused by how they weren't petrified. Then the nurse appeared and she and my friends carried me to health office. I struggled to escape their grasps, certain that the monsters would make them squeeze tighter and tighter until my limbs snapped off.

They set me on a bed and someone threw a blanket over my head. It was dark, and I started catch my breath. Under this blanket the monsters couldn't see me, couldn't haunt me. I smiled to myself gently and listened to the chaos outside as the nurses argued about what to do with me. Steadily my fear changed into guilt for worrying my friends and burdening the nurse. One of my friends, Madeline, was summoned back to the office to sit with me while I calmed down. The nurse wouldn't let me go home on the bus even though I insisted I felt fine so I had to wait for Mom to come pick me up.


--

That first attack was followed by several others of comparable scariness. Mom finally took me to see some doctors. I'm now on medication for panic disorder and see a therapist each week. Dad is trying not to hurt Mom or drink too much. I still have scars on my hands and get frightened when my parents yell, but I don't panic very much anymore. There aren't any monsters in my life now. I feel safe.





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forget_me_not_j said...
Feb. 26, 2011 at 8:15 pm
Excellnt article. I am glad you (or the person you are writing for) are writing about this. Some people don't have the courage to speak about such things.
 
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