Monday Morning (or When my Psyche Became Completely Wrecked).

October 12, 2015, 9:15 a.m. I’m at work. My schedule has given me a bit of free time to read the morning news.  I log on and acknowledge the barrage of political quotes and hyperbole, scan football scores and upcoming baseball games (Go Royals!) and take note of what recycled dress Duchess Kate has worn.  And then I see it…

It’s a blurb, urging me to click on the link to get more information.  There seems to be a haunted house attraction in Tustin, California which is reportedly so scary, so disturbing, so intense that visitors must sign a waiver to get in.  No stranger to the strange, the creepy, and the disquieting I went straight to the story, eager to see what it could offer.  I’ve heard of haunted houses having not only waivers but defibrillators and EMTS at the ready, due to the number of cardiac arrests and labor inducing terror these attractions to thrill seekers. I’m also familiar with the backstories that many of these haunted houses which seem to range from abandoned asylums to mansions to Satanic places of worship.  You know, places you may go on vacation 😉

But I was instantly intrigued when I read the story of “The 17th Door”.  Visitors are invited to join the main character, a young woman named Paula, as she  journeys from high school graduation into her first year of college.  Paula has dealt with many traumatic issues in her life but has decided to start fresh and chase after her dream of being a doctor.  Sounds good, right? Maybe even, I don’t know…relatable?

But very quickly, Paula’s world dissolves into nightmarish scenes of bullying, eating disorders, hallucinations, and psychosis.  These, compounded with her anatomy and physiology classes, (re: dissection, re:blood, re: organs, re: vomit) conspire to create an overwhelming amount of stress and pressure on all five senses.  Indeed, the website states that all sights, sounds, and smells are real.  REAL, people!

There is even safety word for those visitors who can not handle the terrifying psychological assault. But guess what? That word only moves them along to the NEXT ROOM! Not out of the house, but just to the next hall of horrors.  And this attractions lasts for 30 minutes.  No one is getting out any time soon.

Then I watched the trailer.  And my psyche completely dissolved. I wanted to crawl into the corner and rock away under a blanket.  My friends would say I’m into some weird, creepy stuff and know I can handle alot.  But this..

I work with the college population on a daily basis. I see them come in to pursue their dreams and watch as the next four years shape who they are going to be as adults. Some soar and are ready to tackle the working world, never changing their strides. Some go along for awhile and are challenged by what they thought they had wanted to be, but make a hug decision in the middle of their junior year. And some are haunted by their demons they thought they had locked up before they left home.  The cold tentacles of self-hate, and self-harm, reach across the years and find their victims, tightening their grips so they can’t study.  So they can’t trust others, So they become isolated.  So they can invite the demons back in  to their new lives.  And they come to me to talk about their hallucinations, their paranoia, and their suicide attempts.

The 17th Door has the real potential to raise awareness about what some people endure as a result of trauma. This perhaps innovative approach could change they way in which the haunted house attraction does business as well, by continuing to tap into fears of such mundane tasks as going to class, going to work, or aging.  The major drawback of course is how traumatized those who enter the houses will continue to become, especially if they have lived through some of these traumas.

But, that of course, is what the waivers are for.

Check it out for yourself, if you dare…

May the teapot be ever whistling and the storm clouds gathering where ever you are…

3 thoughts on “Monday Morning (or When my Psyche Became Completely Wrecked).

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