The Screaming Kid

When did it start?

I would say about eight months ago, that when I began to have trouble sleeping. It wasn’t something I could explain very well, this image in my head, or something I personally understood, so I did what I could do to counter the situation. I began to discipline myself to a rigid sleeping schedule, wake early in the morning and sleep promptly at a certain hour before midnight, while avoiding naps in between. I tired myself with exercise, occupied myself with work in the daytime, took steps to calm my physique before bedtime, this included hot showers, sometimes a bit of meditation or light music and incense, sometimes sex when my wife felt like it, I really feel like I tried in every capacity to fall asleep as I should.

It was then things started to properly take shape, I couldn’t sleep, well, it was this thing in my head. The thoughts that appear right after I close my eyelids, it was this one vision of a child, imagine a box screen with the child positioned at the bottom left corner, and he is screaming. He is turned away slightly, face wrought with fear and screaming the life out of himself, there’s him, and, the object he is screaming towards, its obscured and just immediately beyond my direct periphery, I don’t exactly see it but there is this overwhelming sense of it being there.

And just when I’m about to sleep, this image with the screaming kid appears, and his shrieks, its as if they penetrate into my reality, I feel restless and start to panic, my heart starts to race and there’s sweat on the tight skin between my fingers, under my knees, and I try to think of other things, clear blue skies on a mute background, fields of green and peacefulness, but the screaming kid is there, he is in my brain and its honestly as if he is in my own house, as if something bad is happening within my conscious grasp and I need to do something, but as real and terrifying this feeling from the vision is, I am completely aware that it is an invention of the mind, I don’t just lose it, I just, I can’t fall asleep.
Have you tried to find help before?

Yes, as I mentioned I tried a lot of different things, including a psychiatrist who was keen on what he termed the symbolism of the image. Together, we tried to dissect the child, his screaming, what force may have provoked the screaming and how the entire thing compelled such a violent reaction, to the point where I wasn’t sleeping. He recommended our efforts be supported with medicine, and a change in lifestyle, so that’s where the thing with the schedule, and exercise and blue clouds came in.

After a while it begin to affect my job, I still had to wake up in the morning and spend hours in the office, I guess my colleagues noticed I wasn’t at all committed, just some crucial, human part of me had gone wonky, and I voluntarily opted to quit. My boss had nothing much to say, except that I should call once I got things sorted out, and that I would always be welcome back. I don’t know, I just sort of felt indifferent to that, I just wanted to lie down in the grass somewhere and feel my body dissipate into the ground, the wind and chimes enter my head to fill it with just flowers and an artificial quiet, I just wanted for a moment for things to be still and be emptied of myself.

After a while I stopped therapy too, I just wanted to try a different approach where I tried to not acknowledge the screaming kid and perhaps try to live through it, I mean, people in China or wherever have to sleep in factories and have their eardrums tortured daily, if I accepted the kid to be a permanent fixture on my mental landscape, and not in any way try to guard myself against it, maybe it’d just go away.

How did your wife take it?

She didn’t think I was crazy, even if for the first few weeks I just had to reassure myself that it was just in my head, and hear her repeatedly say that she didn’t hear anyone screaming, that everything was alright. But something about the kid, it just put me in a different place, I just couldn’t feel this intensity, you see as a person, even young, I’ve always been just crazy ambitious, and I always felt this energy pushing me forward, but months into the screaming kid fiasco, I just felt as if I had lost all of that, and everything beyond the time I spent trying to fall asleep, everything else was grey. And in the same room, just even lying next to her I felt cold myself, like I wanted to be closer in a way I could not describe.

And words, people, these things just lost their flavor. It just wasn’t the same, its as if neither they nor I had changed, but something in the mix, the translation of it, the codes were fucked or something. And when my wife finally left, with no slammed doors or legal papers, just saying she was going to stay with her mother for a while, and for me to call once I felt better, I just again felt a glimmer of care, I couldn’t will myself to do or say something to make it change.

And for nights and weeks, for a long time I was alone in this very large bed, the screaming kid persisting, now totally unignorable and just a sting right behind my eyes, a deep migraine and tension in my whole being, I was living in this cage and didn’t care if I lived or died anymore, I just wanted it to stop.

And then something happened, two days ago. And this why I’m here, talking to you, doctor. The kid, he’s there screaming, in this same image with the black, sort of unclean concrete walls. It was all exactly the same, all of it, but I saw something new, I’m not sure if something in the vision was altered, or if it was there all along and I had just noticed it, but I consider this a breakthrough, or at least something to work with. 

You have to listen to me and help us get through this doctor, you see I noticed two days ago, the sun was already bright out and I was still fighting for sleep, that if I lost myself into the scream itself, fully attended to this sound and let it flood my whole mind, that I begin to see just the sound, this scream, there was nothing I actually saw in the vision anymore just this glittering blackness that was pure and it had become my everything, the scream, I saw and heard and felt it stab and flow right into my bones and heard its many colors, shapes and hands, and there it was, the thud. A procession of thuds, lost very deep under the layers of this scream, nonetheless it was there, like a BANG BANG BANG with about 15-20 seconds between each bang, and I felt like I could embody the child and felt like I possessed his fear. Its like I became the screaming kid,like I'm closer to seeing what he is seeing. Do you see what I mean?


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