Usually when I watch an evocative tv show, movie or documentary, I spend a wile searching online for a bit of background or answers to my questions. When I watched The Haunting of Hill House, I didn’t need to. This show resonated with me in a way that I wasn’t expecting. It tackles very complex issues such as mental health, grief, addiction, depression, and guilt to name a few…and there I was thinking this would be a mildly scary show with a killer and some suspense.
Anyone who knows me knows that horror movies aren’t scary to me. I don’t jump or have trouble sleeping because of them. I actually find them relaxing. I’m far more jumpy in my real life. I only find them scary when there’s something familiar or personal about them. When it no longer is a work of pure fiction…that’s when it gets under my skin and into my head.
HOHH is very smart and rife with small details that I certainly missed the first time around. The show is haunting, tragic, heartfelt, hopeful and sad all at once. I’m quite taken back by how much more this show ended up being.
HOHH uniquely depicts mental health in a family (amongst many other difficulties). At times, the show was on the borderline of hitting too close to home for me…which I found very interesting. When you have grown up in home where the terrors and hurt are confined in 4 walls, and you finally get out of it, it would be great to think that you leave all of that pain and strangeness behind. Sadly, that doesn’t always happen. Of course our upbringing shapes who we are as an adult to an extent and it’s very easy to blame that for all the things that go wrong in our life. Maybe there is some blame to apportion….but then what good does that do anyone. I’ve never felt good or any happier by blaming someone else.
HOHH shows the different ways in which each family member suffered in their home and the effect on their adult lives and the lives of the people around them. Everyone deals with that trauma differently and it was fascinating to watch HOHH depict this. The acting from the adult and child casts were remarkable and very haunting, and although there were scares and ghosts, the dialogue and deeper meaning made this show so much more that an horror television show. If you have lived with someone with mental health issues or if you have lived with or suffered from some of the other difficulties that this show explores, I can understand why it may be hard to watch.
My acceptance (not complete…let’s say partial) of the past comes from growing and educating myself. I don’t mean from a tv show, but from other other people, research, facing and understanding my own experiences. The past can’t be an excuse for all of the pitfalls we face as an adult. We have to grow and learn in order to make a better life for ourselves and for the people in it. Forgiveness is key to do this. It’s a more freeing emotion than anger and hate. Whether you’re in the Denial, Anger, Bargaining, or Depression stage (also creatively shown in HOHH), or anywhere in between, you can’t just sit there and build a home. Learn from it, grow, let go of what you can and do your best, whilst not hurting others in the process. That’s a lot easier said than done though isn’t it?…
For me, the most valuable and difficult attribute is to forgive. None of us know how to live our lives, our parents, friends or colleagues…most people we come into contact with are just doing their best or simply figuring it out too. So why not choose to forgive. That is within our control. There is so much in life that isn’t. Trying to learn, empathize (even with those who have hurt or wronged you) and choosing how to live your life is within our control. Best case, you’re free.