Writing Catalog

Ar'Monie Hellums-Barnes

Grade: 12

Cleveland School of the Arts

Instructor: Amber Jacob


Personal Essay & Memoir


A cold night in December fell as I crammed myself in the corner of my bed as I watched black shadow figures roam my room. They were forcibly holding me to my bed. I never knew that I'd be dealing with night terrors as a teenager. I thought only younger children would go through these things, being that most were scared of the dark. My eyes just wandered as my chest became swoll. I felt a weight of bricks sitting on top of my chest, I thought my lungs would collapse. It only lasted just a few minutes but I thought it would never end. As the shadow figures left my room, I layed there in such a disturbance and confusion of what just transpired. My eyes opened wide without a blink, or sudden movement. My room was silent and still while voices scratched against the fragments of the sound walls in my head.

I released many screams that night in such terror and agony only to realise no one was home. No one was hearing me expect the shadows that roamed around the house. They were laughing at me and feeding off my fears of them. They knew their mission was complete as I continued to lay there pleading for someone to rescue me. My palms sweaty, dripping like faucet water. My breath racing to surpass my next move. My body locked up as my hands felt like static trying to create shock signals to my body. Nothing would stay at ease until this was all over but I couldn't figure out what "this' was. I became exhausted with whatever was happening around me because I couldn't control it. All I could think about was me dying next. How could I even be living with this happening to me?

I was pretty confident that I had died for a split second. I was still confined to my bed while I waited. This was longer than the wait at the doctor's office when all I needed was a checkup. My breathing began to progress and slow itself , I believed that was a sign that I was still alive. My body let go of the pressure that was holding me down as I started to feel relaxed. I gave myself a few minutes to recuperate before getting up and going on about my day. I wanted to make this experience feel as normal as possible except it wasn't normal. It was new, scary and overwhelming for me. It would be a process that I wouldn't be able to fix on my own.

I gently rolled over to my side and grabbed my phone and went straight to my contacts. I stared at my list of contacts for about 5 minutes and saw that there was nobody I could call. There was nobody that I wanted to call. Not a doctor, my parents, my friends, my boyfriend or even 911. What would they have been able to do for me is a continuous question I asked myself. I struggled coming to terms with answering that question and it bothered me. I realized I had to tell somebody what had happened. Maybe the same thing happened to them once before. While contemplating back and forth on who to talk to, my boyfriend kept circling my mind. The phone rang twice and he picked up.

"Yooo, wassup bae?" he said calmly.

" Something's wrong, like really really wrong". I hesitated speaking those words.

"What's going on?' He asked patiently.

I described to him how my night terror happened and the effect it had on me. I was still visibly shaken and frightened. I didn't want him to think I was crazy, I didn't want him judging me. I zoned out for a quick minute while hearing his faint voice in the background asking many questions back to back.

"I'm coming over, unlock the door" he said as I snapped back into reality.

I went to unlock the door and waited for him to walk in. As I waited, I felt defeated and weak. I knew at that very moment, I needed serious help to get through this. Needing help was never my thing until it forced its way into my life and that was what I was afraid of.