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Sickle's Hiatus: A Discussion on Horror and Anxiety

Hello, fellow horror enthusiasts! It's been a while...Since our review of Telluride Horror Show, in fact, way back in October. Then...an unexpected hiatus happened. It was even unexpected for myself. I didn't intend to disappear for so long, but the writing was on the wall. Things had slowed down significantly in the months preceding Telluride as well. There are a lot of explanations and excuses I could toss around, none more generally understanding and acceptable than I simply needed a break and this isn't my job...But I've decided to take this opportunity to get real and express some things.

The intimate and relatable struggles found in The Night House feel connected here.
The Night House

I have dealt with anxiety and depression for a good portion of my life, recalling its effects on my behavior and thoughts back to elementary school. There is a constant tide of it, but the intense times can come in waves. This most recent wave impacted my motivation to remain passionate in my extracurricular activities and passions. Don't get me wrong, I was still very engaged in horror, which I will get into below, but simple things like a horror review or even a text to a friend felt like a tall task I couldn't wrap my head around. So I decided to step away and try to refresh. I'm still not through it, but I can feel a light at the end of the tunnel and I think the new year is a good opportunity to signal a rebirth for S&E getting back on track. So I'm going to try my darnedest.


But, to the overarching point of all of this...the anxiety and depression. A lot of people suffer through it worse than I, but I've found myself in a worse season lately, and something that always helps me get through is to do something I love, and one of those things is horror movies. For those that don't have a love for the horror genre, they often ask, "Well, don't you think all that horror could be fueling your depression and/or anxiety, with the darkness and suspense?" And the answer for many of us horror patrons is a resounding "No!" And for me, this is why...


I'm not scared of monsters. I'm not scared of serial killers. I'm not scared of a ghost coming through a wall, or a zombie outbreak. I'm terrified of losing my job, being unable to support my family, not being enough, or too much, for friends and family...these real-life horrors that haunt me every day that I have to fight back thoughts from overwhelming me. Horror is not only an escape from these real-life worries, it's a therapeutic solace. I can conquer the horrors of a film with the on-screen protagonist from the safety of a bed or chair. I can see insurmountable odds from an unfathomable force dissected and defeated. I can see invaluable lessons learned, from personal realizations to revelations of perspective. My worldview of horror is one that is philosophic and academic, as it teaches as often as it entertains.


Humans are built with survival instincts. For many of us, we are blessed with a lack of need to execute them, which is why I believe we seek thrills. Our body craves that feeling that instills in us part of our existence. Some seek it through activities such as an extreme hike or sky diving, others look to theme parks and roller coasters, and some of us prefer the even safer and more comforting avenue of horror...at least that's how it is for me.


Horror is a great opportunity to exorcise my own demons through the wrestling of supernatural forces. I know this is a similar solace that others find as well. So even though I've taken this long hiatus, I never stopped watching horror. I couldn't. It may often be filled with mayhem, carnage, and darkness, but there is a peace that comes along with the connections one can make, but also the differences one can establish. I have a wonderful life, and it's a nice reminder when you see a person getting their arm ripped off by a zombie that things could be a lot worse.


Well, I decided to type all of this out a bit for myself, but also with the intention of hopefully reaching others that have similar struggles, and, well, hopefully they were able to glean something from it. Hopefully this is a declaration to return to writing as well and bringing Efrit and I's comics and reviews back! Expect a podcast and post in the coming days/weeks as we discuss our top and bottom horror movies of 2022! :)

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