Why Am I Like This? Intrusive Thoughts And Horror

Some days, being a horror author feels like walking a fine line between creativity and insanity.

They say “write what you know”, and maybe that’s why so much of what I write is based in trauma and inspired by my own mental health issues. And when I took that AutoCrit horror course back in 2021, we were encouraged to examine our own fears in order to write believable fear on the page.

One thing that scares me is the intrusive thoughts I get from time to time. They’re a staple in an anxiety riddled neurodivergent like me. And they’re not always pretty. Thoughts that everyone around me hates me, or that the door isn’t locked properly, are not the worst things that have popped up in my head.

But I need those intrusive thoughts. Well, not those ones specifically. Learning to logic my way out of and banish the bad thoughts is helpful, but it helps to embrace the good. But those good thoughts are not about kittens and sunshine. They’re about monsters.

What monsters lie just below the surface?

Maybe it’s because I read and watch so much horror, but sometimes my intrusive thoughts convince me there’s a monster lurking nearby. And for someone like me, those kinds of thoughts are very, very good to have, no matter how scary they are.

I spent last weekend at my dad’s cottage with some family, and we went out on a couple of boat rides. Everything was normal, peaceful, until my dad’s dog became agitated. He started barking and looking over the edge of the boat. We continued on our way, but I couldn’t help looking back over my shoulder.

Seated at the back of the boat, I was closest to the propellor. We weren’t going very fast, but the water was still churning behind us. It was impossible to see into the dark lake through the murky foam. And that’s when it happened.

A bony, ragged arm reached out from the water and grabbed the back of the boat. The arm was long, and slender only because the skin was peeling away from what little flesh remained, exposing the bone underneath. Despite the discolouration caused by the rot, the arm was full of life. Strong. I knew it would not let go of the boat without a fight.

But then the conversation of my family distracted me, and the intrusive thought vanished.

That made up monster, that decomposing lady of the lake, may not exist in the real world but she has now set up permanent residence in my brain with the other monsters that live there.

Such is the mind of a horror author.

Do you see the monsters? Or is it just me?

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