I love Halloween and Spooky Season probably more so than anyone I know. Just ask my husband, who is already trying to get me to watch White Christmas when I want to watch Beetlejuice.
I myself have general anxiety disorder, and I know several others who have various mental issues such as depression and PTSD to name a few. While I love Spooky Season, and I know a lot of them do too, it might be a difficult time for others with the same illnesses.
In today’s post, I want to talk about the four ways Spooky Season can harm people with mental illnesses.
1: IT IS A GENERALLY FRIGHTENING TIME
On top of the increase of frightening activities, there are people dressing up in what might be horrifying costumes to some. Scary costumes can be a trigger for people with PTSD or anxiety depending on how the costume relates to the person and their experiences.
2: IT CAN BE A TIME FILLED WITH MENTAL HEALTH STIGMAS
It might be annoying or difficult for someone with a mental illness or someone who is a family member of a person with a severe mental illness, to see costumes involving straight jackets or other things associated with “crazy people.” These are also mental health stigmas that the community is trying to overcome. It is harder to normalize and talk about mental health issues when they are portrayed this way.
3: PRESSURE FROM FRIENDS TO PARTICIPATE IN HAUNTED HOUSES OR TRAILS
I wouldn’t call what my friends did “pressure,” because they always let it go and never made me feel bad about it. However, I know some friends will make their friend with anxiety or another mental illness feel terrible for not going with them.
HOW TO PREPARE
This section is really for those who may be affected by these triggers. If you are one of these people, be sure to stay away from Halloween parties and events, as costumes might be at play here. This will also help you avoid negative stigma.
Be as firm as possible with your friends, and try to be honest with them. If you believe going to a haunted house or on a haunted trail will trigger an attack, do not be afraid to tell them that.