Halloween Isn’t Exactly Anxiety Friendly

I hate Halloween.

I suppose I am a little bias because I was never raised in a family that celebrated Halloween. We were only fans of the Easter bunny and Santa. I’m okay with that though.

In fact, my only memories of Halloween as a kid, was watching Hocus Pocus and then not sleeping for days. I still feel creeped out now, years after I last watched the darn (brilliant) movie.

Halloween just isn’t part of my life, that shouldn’t be a problem. Here is why:

Halloween always gave me the jeebies, it makes my skin crawl and my anxiety raise.

When I know it’s October, my stomach gets heavy because I know for the next month, I am going to have to stay alert. I literally walk around town day and night, with my keys in my hand, just in case.

I have this fear of being stalked; I have felt like I’ve been watched for years. I will obsessively check my doors are firmly locked and peek out the windows in fear for my life.

There is never any danger but I can’t shake the feeling that there is.

Growing up, I used to see and hear things, ghosts or spirits you could say. I remember how real they were to me and it made me feel even more in danger.

I don’t know what caused it, I don’t have this problem anymore, maybe I grew out of it. But being in this situation for 18 years, it leaves you in this perpetual state of paranoia.

I felt like these scary movies could actually be real. Like those horrors which your family would laugh at because “it’s made up”, but all I could think was that I had seen similar things, with my own eyes, so who’s to say the movies are false. I know it sounds incredibly silly.

I developed this thing, it’s kind of like, if I watch a scary movie I will believe it so much that I will start to live it in real life.

For example, I watched Mirrors and still swear that at any moment, my own reflection will become its own entity. Screw bathrooms with mirrors close by, am I right?

You will never catch me in a literal Cabin In The Woods, in an old hotel or at a haunted house because my mind can’t separate fiction from fact. I know movies are literally staged but that doesn’t get rid of the feeling it gives me inside.

I moved a few years ago and we found a mysterious box in the attic, that not even the landlords know what it’s doing there. Now, most people would check it, but me, I watched Sinister and I swear if I look, I’ll be haunted and killed.

But it’s not just the movie culture. I get scared that people will take advantage of the night. Just seeing people dressed up in their costumes, it makes me shudder.

You remember those killer clowns that went around Towns? Yeh.

I even recall being told about murders being plotted for the night of Halloween and I swear if I leave the house, I’ll be next.

I have never felt safe on Halloween, my anxiety won’t allow it.

Then there is the other issue, strangers at my door. I cannot tell you just how much anxiety this gives me. It’s my least favorite part of the event.

What if kids are being used as an excuse to rob me?

What if they damage my house or hurt me?

What if they are going to prank me? I might actually poo my pants!

Most of all, I must protect my doggo.

My lights will be off and I’ll hide in the dark because the idea of a stranger on my door seems just as dangerous as if it was Jason. The truth is I do not know these people, I can’t assume they are safe, or that I will be safe if I open that door.

I feel so vulnerable.

So every year, I’ll hide in my home and hope that I can make it through the night. My mind will race with ideas that really only exist on TV or in movies, but it’s very real to me.

You could judge or laugh at me but the thing is, we don’t all have to feel the same way and have the same opinions.

So my advice to you all this Halloween is:

  • You do not have to watch a scary movie.
  • You do not have to dress up.
  • You do not have to eat candy or get drunk.
  • You are allowed to say no.
  • Don’t be ashamed to protect yourself and your mental health.
  • Respect people’s houses.
  • Respect people’s choices.
  • Respect people’s anxieties.
  • Don’t freaking dress up as a psychiatric patient – it’s insensitive.
  • And don’t pull pranks on people who you know it will harm.

Halloween should be a fun celebration for you and your friends but don’t cause mental harm on people who are more anxious or nervous. It’s not funny to make someone feel like they can’t sleep for weeks.

Paranoia isn’t a joke, causing new phobias isn’t funny – that’s technically bullying. It’s easy to get carried away, especially if you enjoy the spooky season but be considerate of those who would much rather stick to the other joys of Autumn.

Just because you have a mask on, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t act human.

Please be kind to everyone at a time that can be hard for many people, for many reasons.

Respect has endless value but harassment and abuse, that will only cost you.

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