What could be scarier than mental illness paired with a whole day and night of people trying to frighten the life out of each other?
What is scary about Halloween if you have a Mental Illness?
For some people with a mental illness, Halloween will be an opportunity to hide behind a costume and a mask and maybe feel a sense of relief at being able to be completely anonymous.
Some will enjoy the irony of other people getting their anxiety tested as the most adventurous ones celebrate the holiday by giving and receiving a real fright.
For some though, even being surprised and frightened in fun can raise anxiety levels so high it becomes difficult to function.
It’s not that the act of frightening these people that is the truly scary thing, it’s that when you have an anxiety disorder, one that treatment, therapy and medication does not lessen, you become one big human shock button.
That shock, the horror of a big fright, is so much fun for so many people. If you have an anxiety disorder or some other mental illnesses, and someone shocks you, it can trigger an anxiety attack/panic attack that will write off Halloween and possibly a few days that follow.
If you know someone with a mental illness and you want to celebrate Halloween while being sensitive to ways your friend might struggle this month, do one simple thing and reach out and ask them. Here are some questions to ask your friend or family member with mental illness, at Halloween:
– How are you with Halloween?
– How can we celebrate Halloween 2020 in a way that you’ll have as much fun as everyone else?
– Are there Halloween decorations, Halloween treats and Halloween ideas you love and find easy to enjoy?
– If we hold a Halloween party, what can we do so that everyone feels comfortable?
– Would you mind being in charge of the scare-factor of our family and friends Halloween celebrations? Can you keep it to a level where everyone will be happy?
– Is Halloween something you’d like to skip this year? We can do lunch another day and catch up without all the chaos if you prefer?
A Better Halloween This Year
I guarantee your friend or family member with a mental illness will be grateful that you caring enough to include them in the planning of Halloween. If you love to get the bejeezus scared out of you, there are plenty of places to go and things you can do. Maybe stop a moment the next time your heart is in your throat with shock, and remember that some people with mental illness feel this sensation on a regular basis, and it isn’t much fun.
Be a good friend, have fun, and enjoy Halloween!