Managing Anxiety and Motherhood

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Before becoming a mother I worried a lot about a lot of; well stuff. Dying mainly. Call me crazy but I kind of have this fear of being taken away from my loved ones with no chance of saying goodbye. As macabre as it sounds, in my mind a slow, lingering death (although heartbreaking) would be much more practical in respect to finalising matters before one “moves on”.

I had an inkling before I fell pregnant that I may project my anxieties onto my children. Not in a Munchausen By Proxy way; because I would never do anything to harm my children; but in a “oh my god my baby has a slight cough it must be pneumonia” type of way. I am happy to declare that my pre-mother premonitions were unfounded; however they were not.

Yes. I’m one of those mothers. I sterilize everything my baby may touch, I was my hands a million times a day (Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, make it a thousand times a day); I carry instant hand sanitiser in my handbag, and car; and on a few occasions may have smothered it halfway up my 4 year olds arms and over his face, (because frankly 4 year old do some pretty disgusting things).

After I go to these great measures to make sure no germs or bacteria invade my spawns’ systems I sit back and question; “was that a bit overboard”?; “what if I’m making their immune system weak by not allowing their bodies to fight off germs while their young and healthy”? And then I think of children dying from diseases easily prevented with a protocol of hand washing; and reach for the hand soap yet again…

One afternoon I happened to read a news article about a boy who died after playing on a slide that had been washed with untreated water and the Naegleria Fowleri “bug” entered his body via his nasal passage. Needles to say this led to hours of scouring the internet for information on the killer amoeba, how it is contracted, how the amoeba is “killed”, the mortality rate, Australia’s water systems standards etc. When I found myself tempted to ring the state water board I knew I was getting a little out of hand.

While I was mindful that the internet in the anxiety/hypochondria sufferer’s worst enemy; it can never be a bad thing to be knoweldgable about deadly diseases; can it?..

When my son was invited toa  birthday party at a water park the following month all my Fowleri fears came flooding back (excuse the pun). I had images of my son playing in the water then picking his nose (as 4 year olds do); getting a stream of water shot in his face a nd right up his sinus passage. I refused to let him go to the party.

Then, I had a realisation. That I was letting my unfounded fears effect my child, and the quality of his childhood. Never did I imagine that my anxiety would impede on my child’s innocence. Why should he suffer and miss out because Im a little effed up in the head? He shouldn’t. I had to forget about my fears and let my 4 year old be a 4 year old (a dirty, disgusting, germy little 4 year old).

The following month as I watched my son squeal and splash in the cool water having a fantastic time, I was one of the happiest mother’s there. I still carry my hand sanitiser everywhere I go; but never again will I sacrifice my children’s happiness because of my anxiety.

Milson (Chapter 4)

Chapter 4.

The next morning Milson awoke to the sound of angels. The refuge staff had decided to play an arrangement of Classic Christmas Carols to ‘cheer the resident’s spirits’. (Little did the staff know the men had been cheered on spirits for most the night). Milson, upon finding, much to his dismay, that he was not dead, decided to make the best of the situation and get up.

Milson spent the morning thinking of ways to get fast, easy cash. He contemplated the casino and horses, but soon realized money was first required for this. He scoured the papers for anything he could find, handyman work, delivering newspapers, paid laboratory experiment. Anything.

And then, he saw it, barley noticeable amongst the large corporate ads in comparison;

 

Supermarket Santa Needed. Experience not necessary. Contact 0876 567 873 for enquiries.

As Milson looked down at his sagging belly and sausage fuelled legs, for the first time he felt maybe they were good for something; filling out a Santa suit.

Wouldn’t that just make her turn in her grave’? Milson chuckled to himself.

Milson was never allowed to sit on Santa’s knee and request toys and bikes and games alike. For Christmas, it seemed, was not about material possessions and a ‘silly red man in a suit’, but for worshipping the Saviour and his birth, his sacrifices and salvation and all that shit. Merry Christmas Milson.

Best thing to expect under the tree was new attire for the next school season; an eternity’s supply of socks and undies and, quite appreciably in the scope of things, some chocolate. No bike, no toys, no puzzles or games, not even books or coal. Which he’d rather. At least then he may have been able to use it to sketch in a school book. Doodles of death were his specialty. Heavy hand strokes of hatred that smear across the page and slightly tear its flesh with its fury. Pictures of piled corpses, peer’s peeling skin bringing pleasure to the senses. Milson found it therapeutic, and, yes, somewhat concerning, however figured it was better than killin’ some poor bastard.

Still perched at the kitchen table perplexed, Milson fretted as wasn’t quite sure what to do from there. Ring the number he figured and perhaps someone will let him know. Which he did, and no-one didn’t really. ‘Auditions held at Safeway Supermarket tomorrow at 9am’. Milson had never been to a job interview before, let alone one for the position of Santa Claus.

Milson spent the rest of the afternoon fretting and pacing and catastrophising with the best of them. The other men offered assistance and soup stained suits and ties, and some well considered advice.

‘If they ask if you like children, you should try not to dribble when you say “yes, I like little children very much”, cause, like they might think you’re a pedo or sumthin’.

“Yeah n’ like, say you feel like you and Santa have this amazingly bizarre link, and you feel you know, like, really channel the essence of Santa, and you should like rattle off all the names of Santa you know like, Father Christmas, n’, St Nick n’, ummm Santa, so they think your like fully into it n’ shit, yeah”.

Yeah’. Milson thought. ‘This is going to be embarrassing n’ shit’. However, what would be more embarrassing is to be the guy who got thrown in jail for evading Corpse Carters Inc.

With a sigh, Milson took all his borrowed belongings, picked out the salvable and set his attire by the foot of his bed, as he eagerly awaited the morn.

Milson felt worthwhile. He had plans, and somewhere to be and a purpose. His mother’s death had given him hope for life. It was only then that he realised how strong of a hold she had on him, despite the fact he hadn’t seen or touched his mother in over 40 years.

That night Milson didn’t say his Final Prayers.

Instead, he fell into a peaceful sober slumber.  His life it seemed may not be doomed after all. It had simply taken a wrong turn.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference”.

 

Milson (Chapter 3)

Chapter 3.

Life for Milson wasn’t easy. Wasn’t ever going to be, but he never thought fate could hate him so much to do this. Looking at his surroundings, Milson started to cry. And then sob, shortly followed by an irregular warbling wail. After he recovered from his state, Milson poured himself yet another Gin, lit yet another cigarette, and yet again felt kinda okay. Kinda okay enough to read the letter crumbling within his shaky, sweating hand:

Dear Mr. Hauumer,

 

            I regret to hear of the passing of you’re late mother Gladys Hauumer. I extend my condolences to you and you’re family.

As you’re mother’s sole inheritor; all belongings have been left to you’re possession. This includes all clothing and further personal affects, furniture, and household machinery and/or vehicles.

Mrs Hauumer’s will direct all personal savings be donated to the Clifton Community Church. This amount, at recent date equals $24,567. 85. Mrs Hauumer’s residential estate, as owing to First National Banking Inc, will be held for auction at later notice.

Arrangements for collection of belongings may be made by contacting the number provided above.

 

Regards,

Simon Gustrat

Solicitor.

Milson wasn’t sure how many times he read through the letter. It astounded him. Previously, the Police had called to see him at the Refuge, and inform of the death. Milson thought perhaps they may have required him to ID the body; however it seemed it had been done. This angered Milson somewhat, and he tried to imagine who possibly could have been willing to do such a thing. The Pastor of course, he later assumed, he could almost imagine it. Her, sitting propped on her immaculate white death bed, parched and frayed, dramatically gasping for air between each frail word. He sitting close, reading passages from the Bible and wiping her beaded forehead with his handkerchief. He puts ice between her lips in attempt to quench her unquenchable thirst.

He wondered if she had been sorry. If she cried for him, for them and what could have been. If she regretted anything, or of she just ‘followed the light’ and entered the House of the Lord. ‘Bloody bitch was probably on the guest list’, Milson thought bitterly.

 Milson read over the letter for one last time. By now, Milson was fuming.

Left all her belongings, with no home to store them in because the bank owns the fucking house; and missing out on $25 grand, given to the God Damn Church while her Son starves and shares a shack with 10 other stinkin’ mental men’. Milson thought as he gritted his teeth in fury.

And, to make matters worse, he had to return home to arrange purchase of a coffin and headstone, he was informed. With what he had no idea. It seemed a wooden box was quite expensive nowadays and graves were ‘not permitted to go unmarked or without appropriate memoriam’, or so the funeral directors gasped upon enquiry. Two sticks held together in a cross with some yarn are “certainly not appropriate” apparently.

Milson was fucked. Again. Still. He needed money, and needed it fast before he had mortuaries and funeral directors after his blood. This meant only one thing: employment. Milson shuddered at this thought as psalm-soaked epiphanies seeped through his gin sodden brain.

“People are like shadows moving about. All their work is for nothing. They collect things but do not know who will receive them”.

Milson felt a river of rage fill his belly and swell until he felt nauseous. He couldn’t breathe, and then he could, and he was panting and pacing and growling like a mad man in heat. Milson lost it.

He picked up the bottle of gin and threw it against the frail fibro wall. It shattered and sent cascades of plaster, glass and alcohol all over Milson where he now lay sobbing below on the floor, curled up in a ball.

As Milson felt trickles of alcohol, tears and blood spill over his lips, he closed his eyes and whispered to himself as he slipped into unconscious sleeplessness.

“The Lord holds a cup of anger in his hand; it is full of wine mixed with spices. He pours it out even to the last drop, and the wicked drink it all”.

 

 

Milson (Chapter 2)

Chapter 2.

 

Dear Mother,

I hope this letter finds you well…You may have noticed a few of my personal affects have vacated your premises.

As have I.

I can only assume beneath your Mary Mother of God makeup you are deeply relieved that I will no longer burden your doorstep. No longer will you be forced to prepare my attire, as I am so obviously incapable of dressing accordingly; to whom I ask?

No longer will you be forced to scrub me clean, sure that no dirt remains from all that joyful playing I do with my school chums on the Footy field so often…No longer shall you need to force your faith down my throat. Spoon feed your spirituality.

            You can have it.

You might as well. It has given me nothing. You have given me nothing. You took my childhood, you took my sanity, you took my chances of being loved, you even took all the rudie girl mags I ever owned. Every friggen’ one.

 

If that means nothing to you, know this;

I will not let you take my life.

You gave it to me, it’s time you let me have it.

 

Milson. x

 

* * *

As Milson lay his head down on the sharp wet grass, now some few hundred kilometres from his mother and her unstable structure, he thought of her, as always, as he said his prayers. That night however, as he peered up at the endless entities above, for once, he did not wish they would be his final prayers.

Milson spent the next few months travelling. He began searching for his father, but found the task tiresome and quite dangerous. Milson found, especially in the beginning, he needed all senses to stay alive. His sheltered upbringing left vulnerability written all over is pudgy, acne prone face. Also, he didn’t even know his Father’s name.

Well, he guessed it could have been Haummer, but even then assumed it was his mother’s maiden name and his conception somewhat hush, hush.

Milson’s mother had told people his father was a soldier in the war, that they were dating before he was sent away, and in her hour of need upon bidding her one true love goodbye, broke all her religious beliefs and sinned in un-matrimonial relations.

Milson couldn’t imagine his mother ever doing this, let alone letting a man see her naked and tended to believe what was whispered around the school yard. Scants of illegitimacy, giggles of “bastard son”, the general rumour being his mother was sick of spinsterhood and set out for a sperm donor.

Milson stopped in small towns for short times, never any more than three days; for fear that he would be noticed. He slept in parks and paddocks. He found himself in grocery stores, checking out the milk cartons for his face, standing in front of the freezers in the mid summer, enjoying the cool, and hating the faces that peer out from the carton that day, for it was never his. During those months, Milson had felt strange feelings inside of him, some happy, new, excited, wondrous at the wondrous world we live in. Yet most times, especially at night, Milson would feel empty. Empty and full, all at the same time. His stomach hurt, more from the constant sinking feeling that lay dormant rather than lack of food. He felt he couldn’t relax; his head throbbed from the constant stream flow of thoughts; always on guard, watching people watch him, wondering what they think; waiting for that voice behind him to say “come on now Son, time to go home to your mother”. At that point a panic attack of some form would inevitably appear from nowhere, sending Milson into a flurry of rambling pleas to God; begging for freedom, crying for sanity, gasping for air. Already at 14, Milson felt 40.

Now, at 40, this was quite an ironic thought as Milson longed for his childhood. Well, not his childhood as such, but a childhood. One he would now look upon fondly, joyous accounts of mischievous midnight missions with mates, long warm nights with girls, a loving family and home. Milson could not recall any of this. Or dream of it, for he knew nothing of it.

 

 

 

Milson (Chapter 1)

 

Milson

© T. Rymer, 2013

 

Chapter 1.

Meet Milson Haummer: the only son of an overbearing mother. Milson’s early years were speckled with faint memories of his Mother’s possessive love. The way she would be sure to bundle him up tight on a rainy winter’s day, so tight, he could hardly breathe. Yet; would not hold him when he cried, or scraped his knee. She fretted fanatically over his faith, his nutrition, his schooling and manners, yet, appeared as calm as could be if looking upon her Son’s distress.

In later years in these instances, Milson started to notice less of a serene state upon his Mother’s face, and more of an ever developing self satisfied smile. It would creep its way along her lips; often followed by an exhale of restricted insult.

Milson recalled now, the most significant example of his Mother’s increasing loathing towards a once cosseted child, at the vulnerable age of 14.

Milson had, (only just), survived yet another school day with his so-called “chums”. At best a horrifying time in Milson’s life, increasing hatred towards his only haven, home, only contributed to Milson’s growing suspicion that each day would only be as bad as the last. In the early years Milson would run home to “Mummy” and tell of the teases he had encountered. He would ask his mother why he couldn’t watch television, and why it was that no-one liked him, only to be quoted psalm’s and referred to the Good Book. Milson did refer, although at times it was not of much benefit.

            “Let death take away my enemies. Let them die while they are still young because evil lives within them”, the Good Book had told him…the school told his mother he attempted to “viciously wound other children”. He wasn’t trying to wound them, he was trying to kill them, like the Good Book, and his mother had told him. Didn’t quite cut it with the powers that be unfortunately. Milson had received two weeks suspension, and consequently, two weeks of Bible Camp with the head honcho herself. Milson didn’t quite understand the Good Book. And also couldn’t quite understand why God didn’t grant his wish to give him a good Mum.

            He was sure that no other boy retired to bed before the sun met the horizon. He knew, for five horrifying days of the week, he would be forced to look upon the “normal” children, listening to their laughter as they recalled joyous accounts of last night’s episode of one TV show or another. And, of course, when questioned concerning his lack of commitment towards the conversations, Milson could only respond with “we don’t own a TV” and “It’ on past my bedtime”.

It wasn’t long of course before they stopped asking and begun teasing. Fatty-Boomba. Mama’s Boy. Haummer the Holy Hippo. The usual.

This particular evening as Milson recalled, had, like clockwork included after school “Mass”, followed by an early supper of Sausages and Mash, a semi-assisted scrub bath, and preparation for bed, which of course, included “Final Prayer Time”.

When Milson was younger, and his mother kinder, he quite enjoyed this seemingly loving routine. However, now at 14, he begun to wonder if this way of living- his life at all- was normal. And there was of course, the ‘God’ thing. Milson had Faith, sure, but “Final Prayer Time”?

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my Soul to keep,

And if I die before I wake,

I pray the Lord my Soul to take.

Comforting.

Milson, as expected, had endured yet another day as this, and by bed, was utterly exhausted. For the first time in awhile he found a sense of safety and relief in his sick, secure little world. That night Milson fell into a deep sleep.

He dreamt of a world where he was strong, and tall, and handsome, and needed. He had so many mates he couldn’t remember all their names, so he just called them ‘Man’. And the fawning females (!) were so populous his head reeled. Milson remembered that dream vividly, for he could not forget the morning that followed.

Milson awoke to a surreal feeling, and once his brain begun to wake, a sinking feeling. At first Milson had thought he had wet the bed, and took a moment to analyse this event with the current peer observations regarding his immaturity. Whilst still trying to decipher the nature of the substance, Milson was shocked by the instant intrusion of his mother. Milson looked up at her, shame and question in the eye’s that peered through tear welled lenses. Through this distortion, Milson still clearly saw the smirk slide across her face, as her hand slapped across his.

“You’re a filthy fat Fuck just like your Father”. She hissed.

With that blow she turned on her heel and left the room in a gush of cold hostility. That morning, the routine was wiped as Milson was left to change his clothes and bed on his own.  

Milson had never heard his mother swear, let alone refer to his father in such a way. ‘Your’. ‘You’re father’. The sentences rushed around his head for most of the day, and towards that evening, had finally sunk in.

Milson has a father. And, a mental, religious mother. But, a father. A filthy fat rich Father perhaps, one that would take Milson away from all of this and make him the man in his dream.

 

Slaughter-House (The Story of Katherine Knight).

SLAUGHTER-HOUSE

(The Story of Katherine Knight)

By

Tara Rymer

Based on a book by

John Marlowe

FIRST DRAFT

APRIL 2011

© TARA RYMER, MAY 2011

tarabombara82@gmail.com

1. INT:  KATHERINE’S HOUSE                    DUSK DAY 1

KATHERINE, NATASHA, MELISSA, GRANDCHILD.

Initial CLOSE-UP of KATHERINE’s face, camera pans out to reveal wider shot of Katherine as she sits with her GRANDCHILD on her lap. She softly and sweetly sings lullabies as her two elder daughters MELISSA and NATASHA sit on the floor watching on. A home cam-recorder sits on a tripod in the centre of the room, focused on Katherine.

KATHERINE: (V/O)

I love all my children and I hope to see them again.

FADE OUT

2. EXT:  KATHERINE’S HOUSE                         NIGHT

KATHERINE exits house with GRANDCHILD, MELISSA and NATASHA. All are dressed up and in high spirits.

GRANDCHILD:

Nanna, how come we all dressed up?

KATHERINE:

Because were going out to dinner Love. That’s what you do when you go out to dinner; you get dressed up.

MELISSA:

I still don’t know why were even goin’ out to dinner for anyway.

KATHERINE:

I want it to be special.

NATASHA:

You want what to be special?

KATHERINE:

(Silence) C’mon, get in the car you lot, let’s GO!

Melissa, Natasha and Grandchild pile into their car while Katherine takes her own car. We join Katherine in her car and watch as she puts on her seatbelt and turns the radio on. The song Working Class Man is on; Katherine turns it up so loud the speakers crackle and she sings along loudly and happily as she follows her daughter’s into town.

3. INT: LOCAL CHINESE RESTAURANT         NIGHT

We join KATHERINE, MELISSA, NATASHA and GRANDCHILD at the end of their meal. Katherine is in an unusually happy mood, and although Natasha and Melissa are pleased by the positive change, they also share glances indicating confusion and slight concern at their mother’s sudden show of love and affection.

4. EXT: CHINESE RESTERAUNT SHOPFRONT     NIGHT

MELISSA, NATASHA and GRANDCHILD exit restaurant as KATHERINE pays for meal. As Melissa assists Grandchild into car Natasha and Katherine linger behind.

NATASHA:

Thanks for dinner Mum. What are you doin’ now? Did you wanna come up home?

KATHERINE:

              Nah, Love. I’m off to see Pricey.

NATASHA: (Laughs)

I hope you’re not going to kill Pricey and yourself.

KATHERINE:

Why would you say that?

NATASHA: (Nervously)

I dunno. Just the way you and Pricey have been fighting lately. Plus you’re in a good mood for once. It was just a joke; anyway, I’ll see you tomorr-a. Night Mum!

Natasha climbs into her sister’s car and gives a wave as they all drive off, leaving Katherine drive her car the short distance to her lover’s house.

5. INT: PRICEY’S HOUSE             NIGHT

KATHERINE, PRICEY

KATHERINE and PRICEY are in bed together. Pricey is in a deep sleep, content after his night of love-making with Katherine. Katherine is wearing a lacy black negligee and sits next to Pricey, watching him sleep. Katherine leans over and reaches under the bed, when she sits back up we can see a large, gleaming knife in her hand. We see Katherine raise her hand high and then bring it down suddenly; plunging the blade deep into Pricey’s chest. Pricey’s eyes fling open and he gasps in shock and pain. Pricey jumps from the bed clutching his chest, and runs to the front door. His bloody, outreached hand reaches for the front door; and flings it open exposing the well-lit street and potential safety. However we see the much larger Katherine approach from behind and stab Pricey again in the back. Pricey falls to the ground; face down; blood pooling around him. Katherine takes no more chances and slams the front door shut; straddles Price and continues to stab him repeatedly. Finally, Katherine stops, stands and wipes her sweaty brow.

6. A SERIES OF SHOTS (C/U)

  • An apron being drawn around Katherine’s waist and being tied with her bloody hands into a perfect bow-tie.
  • Katherine’s hand turning on a radio. Patsy Cline’s Walking after Midnight softly plays in the background.
  • Knife being sharpened on a stone sharpening block.
  • A large, rusty butcher’s hook being placed over the top of a clean white architrave.
  • A blood-stained knife slicing easily through a large green courgette upon a wooden chopping board.
  • A large kitchen-blade swings once and cuts straight through a large piece of pumpkin with a loud ‘whack’ as it hits the wooden chopping board underneath.
  • An ATM card sliding through ATM machine; machine spits out large sum of notes.
  • Katherine’s bloody left hand raises the lid off a large pot full of simmering water.
  • Two name cards are placed on a table set with candles and correctly-set dinnerware and cutlery.
  • Apron being untied with Katherine’s bloody hands and folded neatly and placed on the kitchen sink.

7. INT: BODWITCH AND PARTNERS/PRICEY’S WORK  DAY   DAY 2

RECEPTIONIST/MR GRASBY

A pretty, young RECEPTIONIST can be seen chattering away on the phone. Pricey’s employer MR GRASBY enters and addresses the receptionist.

MR. GRASBY

Good Morning Allanah.

Any messages yet this morning?

RECEPTIONIST

Yes, two from Mr Grendle. But I haven’t heard from John.

MR. GRASBY

John who?

RECEPTIONIST

John Price Sir, he’s not in yet.

MR GRASBY

Hmm…that’s not like him. Have you tried calling him?

RECEPTIONIST

Yes, three times, and each time his phone just rang out.

MR GRASBY

I’ll take care of it Allanah, Thank you.

Mr Grasby enters his office and picks up the phone. Faintly from a distance we hear him ask the operator for ‘police’.

8. INT: TENERFIELD POLICE STATION           DAY

POLICE OFFICER #1 sits at the front desk of a small country police station. A few other POLICE OFFICER’s mill around drinking coffee/working on computers/filing etc. Despite the quiet atmosphere of the station; various telephone’s around the office area ring almost constantly.

POLICE OFFICER #1

Tenterfield Police Station; how may I help?

 What time was your employee due for work? And how long has he been missing? …Uh huh. Okay. Do you have a residential address Mr Grasby?…I’ll send two officers over to check on  Mr Price – yes Sir, of course, your number? Thank you Mr Grasby. Goodbye.

Police Officer #1 makes a few notes and enters info onto computer. He picks up the phone, dials, and a second or so later POLICE OFFICER #2; seen sitting some distance behind Police Officer #1; answers his phone.

OFFICER #2

No worries mate. Yep, we’ll head over and check it out.

Officer #2’s partner, OFFICER #3 approaches, coffee in hand.

OFFICER #3

What’s up?

OFFICER #2

We gotta go check out a residence. Owner didn’t turn up for work. The boss seems to think something might “have happened” (makes quotation mark gesture as he says this)

OFFICER #3

(sighs and takes a sip of coffee)

Geez, a man can’t even chuck a sickie these days without the boss callin’ us! Poor fellah…

Officer #2 chuckles and the two collect their belongings and head out to the car.

9. EXT: TENTERFIELD/TRAVEL SCENE TO PRICEY’S HOUSE.  DAY 2

POLICE OFFICER #2, POLICE OFFICER #3

Show’s Tenterfield main street, idyllic country-side scenes. (30 seconds max)

  1.  EXT:  PRICEY’S HOUSE             DAY

POLICE OFFICER #2, POLICE OFFICER #3

OFFICER #2 and #3 pull up in Pricey’s driveway. One car is parked in the driveway while another (Katherine’s) is parked along the kerb in front of Pricey’s residence. The officer’s approach the front door in a casual manner; expecting Pricey to be home. Both approach the front door, Officer #2 knocks, while Officer #3 looks down and notices a pool of semi-dried blood coming from under Pricey’s front door.

OFFICER #3

Harper-look.

OFFICER #2

Cover me.

Officer #3 stands to the side of the front door; he unbuckles his holster and places his right hand on his gun. Officer #2 knocks loudly and firmly on the door.

OFFICER #2

Mr Price? Are you home? It’s the Police. (Knocks again)

Mr Price?

Officer #2 looks to #3; Officer #3 shrugs then nods towards the door. Officer #2 takes a step back before sending a powerful side-kick into the front door, causing it to fly open violently; and reveal Pricey’s skinned, be-headed body lying on the living room floor.

OFFICER #2

Fuck!

Officer #3 steps into the doorway so he too can see his partner’s discovery.

OFFICER #3

Holy Sh… (trails off)

Officer #3 takes a few steps back and takes a few deep breaths to calm himself. Officer #2, appearing much more in control than his partner; draws his weapon and places one foot in the doorway.

OFFICER #2

You call it in. I’m goin in. For christ’s sake, don’t fuckin’ touch anything.

OFFICER #3

C’mon, whaddya think I am? An idiot?

Officer #3 remains on veranda briefly; we see him speak into his radio and faintly hear him call in a “code 102”. Officer #3 then enters the house, looking down careful not to disturb any evidence. Suddenly Officer #3 slams into Officer #2’s back; not realising his partner had stopped dead in horror.

OFFICER #3

Fuck! Whaddya doin’Harper?

Officer #3 then notices what his partner is looking at- Pricey’s skin hanging from the butcher’s hook.

OFFICER #3

Oh my God…what…what is that? That’s not? Is it?

Officer #2 is silent, although most obviously disturbed by the grisly scene before him. All of a sudden, the stench of Pricey’s cooked flesh fills his nose and his brain finally registers what happened to John Price. As if in a trance Officer #2 walks into the kitchen and directly to the stove top. Here, he hesitates for a second and looks back at his Officer #3.

OFFICER #2

(Looks back to pot and mutters)

I don’t want to do this.

Officer 2 lifts the lid off the pot and peers inside. Camera follows Officer #2’s POV and reveals Pricey’s boiled head inside the pot; however only for a split second, for Officer #2 recoils almost instantly at the sight.

OFFICER #3

What was it? What’s in there?

(walks into kitchen, joins partner’s side and attempts to look into pot)

OFFICER #2

Don’t. You don’t want to see

Officer #3 ignores his partner and looks into the pot.

Officer #3 cries out in shock; leans over and vomits onto the kitchen floor.

OFFICER #2

Shit Gray!

OFFICER #3

Sorry…

OFFICER #3

(sighs sympathetically)

You okay?

OFFICER #2

(Laughs)

No…

Who does this Harper?

At this point the two Officers hear a faint moan from the bedroom. Both automatically recover from their states of shock and are at the bedroom door within seconds.

Officer #3 grabs the bedroom handle and flings the door open while Officer #2 enters the room with his gun drawn and ready.

OFFICER #2

Police!

KATHERINE lies on the bed, no longer in her negligee but slacks and a jumper; and is surrounded by various pill bottles. She is quite clearly incapacitated and as such Officer #2 drops his aim.

OFFICER #2

I think we just found the answer to your question Gray.

11. (EXT): PRICEY’S HOUSE                   DAY

FORENSIC’S, POLICE OFFICER’S, POLICE OFFICERS #2 & #3, AMBULANCE OFFICER #1 & #2, KATHERINE.

Police tape sections off Pricey’s front yard as well as Katherine’s car parked at the kerb. FORENSIC TEAM members are collecting evidence from Katherine’s car; and numerous other FORENSIC TEAM MEMBERS and POLICE OFFICERS can be seen working on the crime scene. An ambulance is parked in the driveway and we see an unconscious KATHERINE exit the house on her stretcher and being loaded into the back of the ambulance. AMBULANCE OFFICER #1 joins Katherine in the back while AMBULANCE OFFICER #2 slams both the ambulance doors.

C/U Ambulance doors. (text appears overtop)

Katherine Knight was treated in hospital and recovered from her attempted overdose.

In 2001 Katherine Knight pleaded guilty to the murder of John Price.

She became the first woman in Australia to receive a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

It remains unknown to this day, whether Katherine ate the flesh of her lover…

F/O

END CREDITS

Treatment for Slaughterhouse

On 29th of February 2000; Katherine Knight records a family video of herself portraying the perfect grandmother singing to her Grandchild. She then takes her daughters and grandchild to a special dinner at a local Chinese restaurant before meeting her partner John Price. On this occasion Katherine dons a sexy black negligee and makes love to her boyfriend of 6 years before stabbing him repeatedly; and then beheading, skinning and cooking pieces of her lover’s corpse. Ever the gracious host; Katherine then prepares a meal from John’s buttocks; boils his head in a stockpot and sets the table ready for John’s children.

The next day, when his diligent employee does not show for work, John’s boss knows something is wrong and calls the local police. Police search John’s home to find the grisly remains of his body. Katherine is found overdosed on a combination of prescription pills and is taken to hospital where she is treated and recovers. Katherine is subsequently sentenced for her crime and is Australia’s first female to receive a life sentence without possibility of parole.

Critique for ‘Slaughterhouse’

Slaughterhouse is intended to be high in its visual impact and is targeted as a documentary depicting the murder of John Price and moreover the particular acts of Katherine Knight.

The opening scenes of Slaughterhouse show Katherine as a happy and positive mother and grandmother. However as we lead into scenes 3 and 4 we begin to realise that Katherine’s current mood is not a norm. The bright, happy atmosphere of the restaurant is also a vast contrast to the violent scenes that are to come.

The inclusion of the conversation between Natasha and Katherine where Natasha states “I hope your not going to kill Pricey and yourself” is an actual remark made by Natasha; and is also included due to it’s suggestion that is was not beyond consideration (based on her past violence) that Katherine was/is capable of such an act.

The series of close-up short shots are intended to be high in gore and maximum visual impact; the accompaniment of the song Walking after Midnight aims to add an eerie and surreal sense to the scene. The inclusion of the ATM card being swiped/ATM dispensing money is an important shot; as it was this act which helped determine that Katherine was in sane mind when she killed her lover (and subsequently stole his money).

The discovery of John’s body by police is intended to be equally dramatic as the short shots in scene 6. The moment when POLICE OFFICER #2 (Constable Harper) peers inside the pot and we see from his POV Pricey’s boiled head for a split second is the film’s visual climax – at no other point do we see John’s boiled head. It is crucial to portray in this scene (I feel) the other sensory experiences of the POLICE OFFICERS; other than visual; such as the smell of cooked flesh.

While Slaughterhouse is only scripted for short film; Katherine’s troubled childhood and other past acts of violence could easily warrant a full-length film. Slaughterhouse aims to portray the heinous acts of a violent and dangerous woman; as well as highlight the incidence of violence inflicted by women against men.

Bibliography

Marlowe, J. (2011), ‘Katherine Knight: The woman who worked in a slaughterhouse’, in: Evil Wives. Arcturus Publishing Limited, London. Pg. 106-107.

Marshall, A. (2006), Extreme domestic violence: Woman has sex, then stabs, skins and beheads husband and cooks his body parts, accessed via the internet: http://www.australian-news.com.au/female_killers/Katherine_Knight.htm

www.policecodes.com.au

The Garden Gnome

The garden gnome guards the gardenias,

Stands by his post night and day.

This dutiful gnome, doing his deeds,

I wonder what he would say;

If he were to part his plastered lips.

Would he whisper to the plants?

‘Stand my ground; I’ll be back soon,

I think I’ll take a look around’.

He then patrols his base,

And screws up his cherub face,

When a cat tramples through the tulips.

Once again he parts those plastered lips,

And let’s loose a threatening ‘hiss!’.

Little gnome circles the bird-bath,

And debates whether wise,

To scale the ornament and shower in disguise,

As a colourful cockatoo!

He decides it’s not something he should do.

With a pleasant sigh,

the gnome returns to his stand,

Relieves the plants of their duty;

And mounts back into the land.

From here he can see, all of his country.

His plastered lips form a smile,

He thinks he may stay awhile.

© T. Rymer, 2006.

Blogging Blues

babycrying

I turned on my computer today; excited to log in and see if anyone had viewed my most recent blog, or made a comment, or even liked something. I clicked on my ‘stats’ and was devastated to see I had ‘0 views today’ and ‘0 views yesterday’. Well. Okay. Fair enough too I guess. I know what I’m writing is not amazing, inspirational pieces of work, or overly creative or particularly well written, but surely its worth just one view? I mean, can’t someone just throw me a pity ‘like’ for self-worth value?! Apparently not. In my moment of despair I though ‘why even bother’? ‘I don’t think Ill do this blogging thing anymore, its just added and un-needed stress in my life’. But then I realised thinking like that is one of the reasons I am not the published writer I always dreamed of being, or the professional anything I ever dreamed of being. I am a quitter. That is what I do best. When things get to hard, or too overwhelming, I bow out; with excuses such as ‘I wasn’t enjoying it’, or ‘It just wasn’t for me’. As well as quitting I also excel in self-rationalisation. I believe that I could make myself believe just about anything. It’s a shame I cannot find a profession where denial is a essential criteria; because I have it in spades.

And, so, just as the saying goes, I’m getting back on the horse and taking this blogging thing for another ride. And do you know what? I don’t care if anyone reads it or not, or if I get any likes or comments, because my blogging isn’t about recognition or self-assurance, my blog is about me committing to something, making it my own no matter what anyone else thinks. It’s a place where I can express all my thoughts and opinions and lame poetry and then send it all off into the wide wide world of web, in a cathartic release. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Don’t Panic! Don’t Panic!

keepcalm2
“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”

Blogformentalhealth2014

 

Managing anxiety and panic attacks is extremely difficult, but certainly not impossible. As a sufferer of anxiety for many years (and possibly most of my life); I feel I have become somewhat of an expert; and at very least am quite knowledgeable on the subject. I suffered from debilitating anxiety and panic attacks in my early 20’s to the point where I was unable to leave the house for fear of either having a panic attack in public, or coming into contact with germs and contracting an illness. This was linked to a specific phobia based anxiety as opposed to the general anxiety I also suffered from.

So, how does one know when they have anxiety and following this, how does one deal with it? Firstly, clinical anxiety is a little more than experiencing stress or being nervous. When one suffers from anxiety they feel fear for an unknown or ‘irrational’ reason. However it must be highlighted that the anxiety sufferer does not see their fears as irrational; and in the case of one being afraid of flying for example, the fear of their upcoming plane flight is understandable. What is meant by having an irrational fear is not having the fear itself, such as fearing snakes or spiders, but being scared by snakes or spiders all of the time, even when they are not in your presence.

The anxiety sufferer constantly feels in a state of panic, or on the verge of it, and is often in a state of flight/fight response. They can experience elevated heart rate and breathing, palpitations, sweating, and muscle tension as the body prepares to either fight, or run from the perceived danger. Anxiety also effects one’s way of thinking, as negative and ‘irrational’ thoughts become the normal pattern of thinking. ‘What if’ and ‘catastrophic’ thinking is common as one worries about what bad things could happen in the future, as opposed to focusing on positive’s in one’s life or the good things that may happen in the future.

As stated managing anxiety can be difficult but the anxiety sufferer, with support and knowledge can eliminate or reduce symptoms and fears.  Seeing a psychologist/psychiatrist or mental health worker is a good starting point and will determine what specific anxiety you may suffer from and how you may deal with it. Support groups are also available in most areas and can introduce you to others that know what you are experiencing and therefore empathise with your condition. Here you may also learn of how anxiety can vary greatly in its manifestations in each individual. While one person may suffer from general anxiety, another may suffer from phobias, and another post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); each with its own particular symptoms, and as with most things, as everyone is different, no one PTSD sufferer, for example, will experience the same symptoms either.

As well as talking to a professional and other sufferers of anxiety, it is also useful to talk openly and honestly to someone close to you such as your partner, parent or friend. It is of great benefit to have someone who is with you most times and can help you deal with your symptoms or panic attacks as they occur. For example, if you begin to fall into the trap of thinking negatively or irrationally, rather than battle with these thoughts on your own, express them to your partner or friend so that they may challenge or counteract your thoughts with more positive and realistic ones. It also important however as part of successful recovery that you are eventually able to challenge your own irrational/negative thoughts as you will not always have someone else to rely on for this. This is known as ‘self-talk’ and is an important key in treatment.

Gaining knowledge about anxiety and how it effects the body and mind is also helpful. Learning about what happens physiologically will reduce anxiety about what is happening to your body in the midst of a panic attack, and once one realises that the sensations you are experiencing are normal for your condition, the magnitude of attacks will likely be reduced. Fear of panic attacks can trigger a panic attack until it becomes a vicious cycle and increases risk of other conditions such as agoraphobia as one fears being in public whilst encountering an attack, or having an attack triggered by an outside stimulus. Using ‘self talk’ and repeating to yourself statements such as ‘this is just anxiety’, ‘this will pass’, or ‘this will not last forever’ when “under attack” will help gain a sense of control and lessen fear that panic attacks will always occur. Breathing exercises can also be of assistance; as anxiety sufferers will often breathe too much compensating for the belief they are not breathing enough, breathe in too quickly, or focus on breathing too much making it a conscious and laboured effort. For those who focus too much on their breathing a meditation based breathing exercise where one focuses on imagery rather than breath is recommended, while for those who ‘over-breathe’, inhaling, holding your breath for 5 seconds and then exhaling deeply is useful. For quick breathers calm breathing exercises are beneficial and will calm the body, and is where one takes deep, slow breaths until a more regular breathing pattern is established. hyperventilation is the most common form of breathing difficulty experienced in anxiety sufferers and this is generally what leads to a full-blown panic attack. When we hyperventilate we take in too much oxygen, and so cupping your hands over your mouth, putting your head between your knees, or as is often seen in movies and TV, breathing into a paper bag will help reduce the high levels of oxygen and increase depleted levels of carbon dioxide.

There are many other ways to manage anxiety, reducing stressors in life, practising yoga, meditation and self-affirmations, exposure therapy, exercise, a healthy diet, and various others depending on your anxiety and their roots. Just remember you are not alone, there are others experiencing the same or similar feelings and thoughts, and you will not always be a slave to anxiety, You can get better and in time you will.

Once you know the emotional building blocks of anxiety, you can influence them.

-Chip Conley

Please contact your local GP, mental health service or log on to www.beyondblue.org.au for assistance with managing anxiety.

Helpful Websites and Resources:

http://acanvasoftheminds.com/2014/01/07/blog-for-mental-health-2014/

www.mindspot.org.au 1800 614 436

http://www.sane.org/information/factsheets-podcasts/158-anxiety-disorders

http://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety?gclid=COzU9Jje_LsCFcXFpAodgAoAwA

What is wrong with me?

anxiety

 

In my early 20’s I was carefree and considered to be a laidback person. Partying like any other 2o-something; succedding in my university studies and in a relationship with a wonderful man; it seemed everything was going great in my life. Then, I received bad news; my cousin, Mark, had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away from a massive heart attack. Considering he was only in his late 20’s himself this was a shock to the family; I took it pretty hard as I admired my cousin and bonded with him well. It also made me come to the stark realisation that I myself was not invincible. Mark had sufferd from Marfan’s Syndrome, a heredtiry heart condition which results in the arorta becoming enlarged to the point where it literally explodes. I still to this day do not know why he was not diagnosed and treated (open heart surgery/valve replacement) with the condition, considering his mother (my aunty) had passed away from the exact same fate; and it made his loss seemed unnecessary.

For the following week I ate and drank little, spending the best part of my days sleeping. Little did I know that this was just the first symptoms of my mental illness. My grief did not seem to lift, and along with general feelings of depression I felt an ever constant feeling of dread which I had never experienced before. It seemed I had gone from the laidback, happy-go-lucky person I used to be to one who was full of fear of what the future may bring; which in my mind, could ultimately only be death.

I felt tense every minute of the day, my shoulders and chest ached, and my heart raced most of the time. My chest burnt from severe acid reflux and I would break out in welts/hives along my arms. At night I would lie awake convinced I would not wake to see the morning, unable to sleep as negative thoughts filled my head and my muscles remained stiff and sore. I had progressed to not only being scared of dying from a heart attack, but also fatal illness, particularly meningococcal/meningitis; as cases of people dying from the virus flooded the news on a regular basis. Eventually, my negative thoughts coupled with the constant chest pain and palpitations resulted in me being of the belief that I too was going to die from a massive cardiac arrest, or had the early symptoms of meningococcal; (somatoform disorder) and send me into full blown panic attacks. My heart rate would increase even more and I would hyperventatate, overcompensating as I thought I was not breathing. Throughout these attacks all I could do was proclaim “Im having a heart attack, Oh my god! Call an ambulance”, to which my partner would respond; if you were having a heart attack you would be dead by now” and “No your not your just being silly”. While these responses from my loved one were accurate, it only served to make me become defensive and even more agitated at his perceived insensitivity to my ‘plight’.

It took many visits to GP’s before I was correctly diagnosed. Doctor after doctor diagnosed me with asthma and wrote scripts for Ventolin and Serotide, none of which obviously helped ease my breathing difficulties. Eventually however one GP finally diagnosed me with anxiety after hearing my symptoms. I was given a print-out of breathing exercise to do when experiencing panic attacks, Valium for muscle tension and a referral to a psychologist. While I was relieved that another doctor hadn’t just fobbed me off as having a condition I knew I did not, and that I finally had a name for what was wrong with me; I was also extremely scared at the fact that I had a mental illness. Thoughts that I would always be like this and that I may be on medication for the rest of my life swam around my head. I felt ashamed at being ‘crazy’ and like an outcast as no-one else I knew suffered from anything like this.

After about a month of continually suffering panic attacks and becoming almost completely agoraphobic, (in order to avoid germs), it was finally time for my first session with the psychologist. While I did not know what to expect of the session I was excited at the prospect of being ‘cured’ and at the very least having someone to talk to that understood what I was going through.

My first session, while obviously not a magic cure, was fantastic. I was diagnosed as having general anxiety disorder (GAD); as well as phobia based anxiety, given my preoccupation with illness and dying. I learnt more about my condition, physiologically and psychologically, and was given ‘homework’ do complete in order to begin to manage my anxious thoughts and panic attacks. I was told my treatment was a CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) approach and that ideally I will be able to manage my condition without the use of medication. My psychologist explained that I will never be rid of anxiety all together, that it was part of who I am and that I should accept it and learn how to manage it in order to live a full and happy life.

That was close to 11 years ago, and now I am extremely happy to say I have not had a panic attack in approximately 9 years. While it was a long road to ‘recovery’ I have come a long way and successfully manage my anxiety in all aspects and have come to enjoy that full and happy life which I was told I could have despite my disorder. I would never change having anxiety or what I went through, as I truly believe it has made me a much stronger person and part of who I am today.

 

Links:

http://acanvasoftheminds.com/2014/01/07/blog-for-mental-health-2014/?blogsub=confirmed#blog_subscription-3

www.mindspot.org.au/      1800 614 436

http://www.beyondblue.org.au/

www.anxietyaustralia.com.au

mantherapy.org.au

 

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