Why Halloween Can Be Hell For People With Anxiety
Pun most definitely intended!
I have a love hate relationship with Halloween. I love it because it’s the one time of year I can embrace the style I love and wear the clothes and accessories I adore without people giving me funny looks. Well, mostly.
On the other hand, I absolutely dread it coming around because of all things associated with it that set my anxiety off.
It’s the time of year where directors get to let out their inner sociopath and create the most disturbing films possible. I’ve always hated horror films; I don’t know if it’s because of my autism or what but I’ve always had a near photographic memory, a very vivid imagination and I’m prone to have nightmares if I watch anything even remotely creepy.
My brain also has this really annoying habit of subconsciously believing everything it sees; for example if I watch something that has a murderer hiding in someone’s wardrobe, my brain will start thinking someone is in mine. I’m old enough now that I can logic it out and I wouldn’t actually have to check the wardrobe for serial killers but as a kid I wouldn’t have been able to turn my light off until I did. Stupid I know.
So I try an keep myself away from any book/film/tv show that might freak me out.
But thats not possible this time of year!
I’ve seen the adverts for the new Jigsaw and Happy Death Day films so often that I don’t even try look away. I know you’re probably laughing at me including the Death Day film in, its meant to be one of those “funny” horrors but to me even ones like that freak me out and make me anxious. Although that probably has a lot to do with my second reason…
I hate anything in masks. Especially clowns! It’s not a phobia as such (although when I was close to one when I was a kid) it’s more that anyone/anything with its face covered triggers my flight or fight instinct and triggers my anxiety.
My brain sees it as a threat for some reason best known only to itself which means that going out for Halloween if completely out of the question. If I ever did and someone snuck up behind me in a mask to try and scare me they wouldn’t get the reaction they expected; my fight instinct is stronger than my flight one so I’d end up punching or kicking them to “protect” myself. I might only be 5”1 but I’ve got some right force behind me when my adrenaline kicks in!
Trick or treaters
Since I’ve started blogging and really started to engage with twitter I’ve come to realise that I really haven’t been brought up the same way as most other people where Halloween is concerned; the main one being I’ve never been trick or treating.
My dad always called it glorified begging and refused to take me. Not that I ever actually wanted to go; mum would usually buy me a new book and a small bag of chocolates and I’d spend the night happily reading the new book and eating the chocolate- much more fun in my opinion!
But that’s not the reason I hate it; the problem I have is that people knocking on the door sets my anxiety off. This isn’t just a Halloween thing, it’s year round. Even if it’s just the postman dropping off a parcel it really freaks me out! So Halloween, with a person knocking every ten minutes or so for a good portion of the night, is my own personal form of hell.
These days I just hide upstairs with my music on loud and play on the Xbox from around 6pm; it doesn’t stop me hearing them knocking but it does drown it out enough that I don’t have a night of constant anxiety attacks!
Do you love or hate Halloween?