by Mary Parker
The Endless Hallway is a novella about a young mother’s struggles with postpartum depression and anxiety (PPDA). It is my story.
Well, a fictionalized version of my reality.
While in therapy to recover from PPDA, I spoke with my therapist about the story I was writing. I tend to start everything as a short story – that keeps the pressure off. I was dealing with so much internal pressure already; I didn’t want to add lofty ambitions like novella or novel. We brainstormed and troubleshot the ideas I had. I was stuck on the ending – or, rather, I didn’t know where the story should go. At the time, I wanted Molly to conquer the monster because I desperately needed to conquer my own mental illnesses.
“What would be the benefits of having this monster captive?” my therapist asked me.
I had no answer. I was wrapped up in putting my life on the page, to purge the darkness from my psyche. I desperately wanted life to imitate the art I was creating. But that’s not how life works. I got stuck. Writer’s block for months. My PPDA relapsed.
As I started back up the mountain of recovery, the ending of The Endless Hallway revealed itself to me. I decided to document the two weeks of my life over holiday break in my notes app. I would make little observations of what happened each day and weave the monster into those days.
It was not difficult to toe the line between reality and fiction. In a lot of ways, I am Molly, but not totally. For example, I never felt the urge to harm my daughter. My husband is not Cory (he is much more active in my life than the character is in the story – this is because Molly feels completely isolated). I tried to keep the most intimate details of our life private, but the darkness of PPDA stains the pages of my life and the novella.
In all, I was in recovery for nine months, from the time my daughter was six months old. I wrote the novella during that time, over my lunch breaks at work. I poured my heart into this book. Every dark thought, every depraved dream, I bled onto the page. I also let my love and devotion for my husband and daughter flood the pages. They are, without a doubt, the best things that ever happened to me. They are my everything.
I think that writers put a piece of themselves into everything they write. I think you must to be able to create – there is a truthful base for everything. But for this novella, there was no other way than to put my life, my thoughts, my sickness, into words. Thankfully, my husband approved everything I wrote. It helped him understand what I was going through, like I hope this novella will help the public better understand PPDA. We can create our own destinies, like I created the perfect world to house my monsters.
The Endless Hallway
The Endless Hallway is currently available on:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR — Mary Parker is a horror author and journalist from Southern Illinois. She has worked for examiner.com and horrornews.net. A collection of short stories, Predilection, was published in 2009. Her work can also be found in the anthologies Vampires Aren’t Pretty and Slaughter House: The Serial Killer Edition, Vol. 2. Her story, Sweet Nightmares, placed in the top 100 of Wattpad’s Horror Contest sponsored by TNT. She is a proud contributor to, supporter of, ans past ambassador of Women in Horror Month. Visit her Amazon Author Page at: Mary Parker.