I suppose if I begin posting more here, especially if I start ruminating about the war again, it’s because the novel I’m working on now was once a catharsis for these feelings; now it’s a trigger. I’m emotionally exhausting myself with this book.
I hate that I can’t talk about what it’s really doing to me on other social media. It’s compounding a lot of anxieties I already have. It’s causing me to revisit the extreme stress reactions I had in 2011-2013.
A writer friend of mine, quoting a source I don’t recall, once said “writing is easy, you just open a vein and bleed.” Well, I’m bleeding right now. I’m not enjoying this. But the book will probably be the best thing I ever wrote in part because it’s a mostly-fictional story built around a true emotional landscape.
Essentially, it’s a book about psychological abuse and a lot of it draws inspiration from the psychological damage done working in the video game industry, doing support for a popular video game console. It came at a time when I was already dealing with lots of things, including a toxic roommate, and it touched off memories of childhood abuse at the hands of a particularly sadistic teacher.
That was the backdrop to these memories, if that’s what they really are, of the war. I had too many things pile on and my personality collapsed. This book is about a character going through the same thing, just under different conditions. The antagonists are disgusting, predatory people and the protagonists are kicked around hard.
And yes, I do make some reference to my memories in this story, although the reference is highly fictionalized. I was surprised, though, that some of the things I came up with out of thin air (like a gigantic Banyan tree about a day’s travel from Secunderabad) were actually there when I looked them up. But for the most part, it isn’t about the war; it’s about horrible people and the damage they do to the lives of others.
Speaking of which, I may have mentioned this but I’ve been hospitalized several times since my experience with chest pains, palpitations, shortness of breath, and severe fatigue only to find I had no physical anomalies. I had never had episodes like this until the memories of the war broke.
Today I found out that this condition- which is a common anxiety manifestation for survivors of extreme distress- is sometimes called “Soldier’s Heart.” And just like in the book, I’m not sure if it was the toxic people or the vivid flashbacks of a war from a century ago that did it.
Bear with me. I have to contend with some old ghosts while I make art out of something horrendous that’s still with me, and probably always will be. Then once I’ve finished this I may need to take the rest of the year off from writing.