Horror Writers Association



Trigger Warning: This piece addresses mental health

The HWA is pleased to launch its Mental Health Initiative, a coordinated roll-out of events, resources, and activities intended to promote positive mental health, foster the concept of hope, and challenge the stigma of mental illness in the horror genre. The initiative, run by the organization’s Wellness Committee, launches in June, and includes the following blog posts from Of Horror and Hope, a downloadable anthology of poems, flash fiction, and personal reflections on mental health by HWA members.

Brýn Grover

It’s hard to differentiate
What’s real or an imagined weight
The demons I face deep within
Bring pain and doubt and much chagrin

But I put on a happy smile
And face the world in clouds of guile
I feel like no one can relate,
Provide succor or set things straight

And should the world see through my sham
And find out who I really am
I’d hear the cries within my mind
Outcast! Leper! You’re not our kind!

The stigma of my mental woes
If known, would but create more foes
Serving to generate more strife
And make me want to take my life

While hope is real, the pain is too.
I’m trapped and don’t know what to do.
My mind works overtime and yet
There lurks this ever-present threat.

Breathe deep and meditate and pray
Tomorrow is another day
One day is fine. The next is worse
I’m trapped inside a wretched curse

To ask for help seems dangerous
And fraught with hurdles treacherous
Should I seek help or wallow here
In quiet pain and this great fear?

The demons within hold their sway.
Can I dare face another day?
I can’t decide which fate is worse
While trapped inside this wretched curse

And yet another option seems
To permeate my thoughts and dreams
I can with pen and paper write
About the nightmares in the night

An option to me then appears—
Releasing evil thoughts and fears
In stories dark and horrid tales
Of ghosts and the dread Banshee’s wails

I’ve left the therapy behind
I know now how to clear my mind
I’ll channel madness through my pen
And pass it on to other men


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