The ancient meaning behind Halloween has to do with overcoming the fear of death. However, when you develop PTSD because of violence or living through a cult, Halloween can become a trigger.
Navigating PTSD Triggers at Halloween
There are several things you can do this Halloween to help you navigate your triggers, including:
- Have a good support system surrounding you. Instead of spending time alone, get together with your friends and your family to have some fun. If you find yourself being especially triggered by trick-or-treaters coming to your door, go visit someone who doesn't get visitors. Don't feel obligated to answer the door. You can shut the curtains and pretend you're not home or if you want, you can leave candy out on your front porch. The point here is to remember that you're in complete control of the situation.
- Replace triggers. Instead of watching scary movies, watch a comedy. Instead of watching the news, go exercise or get involved in your hobby. The point is to keep busy and avoid the painful memories as much as possible.
- Engage in mindfulness practices. Unfortunately, you can't avoid all Halloween decorations, but you can find ways to decrease their stress and improve your emotional well-being. Mindfulness practices (e.g. deep breathing, focusing on staying present in the moment) are proven to change your PTSD brain's connections so you can stop ruminating over trauma-induced thought cycles.
- Find ways to distract yourself. Keeping busy with arts and crafts, reading, puzzles, or watching TV is helpful. You can also turn on some music and blast it in your headphones if you need to block out the noise around you.
Engage in Bible study: God is the ultimate protector of our souls.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol. Self-medicating your way through Halloween simply won't work. This is a temporary coping mechanism at best. Oftentimes it'll make the situation worse.
- Talk to a therapist. A trauma-based therapist can help you find healthy ways to cope with your triggers. They'll do this as they also help you process your trauma in a safe and supportive environment.
- Be home before dark. Your anxiety is probably already heightened simply by being out in the dark. On Halloween night it can be even worse because people are dressed up in costumes. Some of these people love to try to scare people simply for the sake of having a little fun. Unfortunately, when you have PTSD this isn't fun, it's terrifying.
Take Care of Yourself
Remember, it's your life and whatever choices you choose this Halloween are totally up to you. Make sure you do whatever makes you feel comfortable. You should never feel pressured into doing anything you don't want to do. Above all, remember that you're safe and everything will be fine.
These are some great tips - I have to admit I am so much more calm about trick or treat this year as I know it won't happen - I love the spook other than people I don't know ringing my door bell as that really triggers me for some reason.ReplyDelete
Trick or Treat is still happening here. I don't like any part of it. I definitely will be inside with my door closed that night.Delete
These are some helpful tips. I hope the people who have PTSD will be okay during the Halloween season.ReplyDelete
It takes a whole lot of effort to make it through Halloween.Delete
I haven’t heard of this before. Thanks for the post to keep me up to date.ReplyDelete
I'm always happy to share in hopes of making others' lives easier.Delete
Recently we have been having 5 minutes each morning of mindfulness meditation and it has been blissful. Just taking the time to unwind early in the morning makes for an easy morning.ReplyDelete
Even the smallest amount of mindfulness time can make a big difference.Delete
sucha n important topic to discuss so that others are aware of this. I had no clue that there was so much to do with Halloween that could trigger people with PTSD. I will have to be more mindful of this.ReplyDelete
Thank you for being mindful here.Delete
I don't do anything for halloween other than lock my doors and pretend I'm not homeReplyDelete
That's what I'm doing this year too lolDelete
This post is really informative. Thanks for sharing these tips.ReplyDelete
Thanks for stopping by.Delete
Thank you for this post, PTSD from Halloween isn't something I haven't considered. I will have to be more aware.ReplyDelete
Don't feel bad, it's something most people don't consider.Delete
These are all tips that we should follow. But it's not always possible, I don't find time for me at all!ReplyDelete
I hope you're able to find more time for yourself.Delete
These are great things to keep in mind. PTSD can affect people in so many different areas!ReplyDelete
Yes, and it's not the same for everyone either.Delete
Thank you for sharing these tips for how to take the fright out of Halloween for PTSD and others. Much appreciated.ReplyDelete
I don't have PTSD and still don't like to watch scary movies or go anywhere alone when it is dark outside. I can totally understand Halloween being a trigger for many suffering with PTSD.ReplyDelete
I'm glad to hear you can empathize.Delete
I knew this was a thing after my years in education. I like your strategies though. I decorate my house with this in mind. Not too scary and nothing jumps at you.ReplyDelete
Thanks for thinking about this when you decorate your home.Delete
This is something I thought about not long ago. Some may have some triggers when it comes to Halloween. We have to be careful for those suffering with PTSD.ReplyDelete
Thanks for giving this some thought... a lot of people don't.Delete
Wow, this is very interesting information. Thanks for being so detailed.ReplyDelete
Thanks for stopping by.Delete
It is very important to think about these triggers on Halloween. I do think Halloween will look very different this year because of COVID.ReplyDelete
I was thinking that too but it seems that nothing is changing where I live. Halloween is still scheduled and people are still planning on going. I'll be home with my door shut.Delete
These practices are really helpful. I'll be more aware now for people who suffer with PTSD. I hope this spreads for more awareness.ReplyDelete
Thanks for your awareness and care.Delete
This is something very few people are sensitive to. These are some great things to watch out for.ReplyDelete
Yes, sensitivity goes a long way.Delete