So here we are, the one night a year where we are all encouraged to wear costumes; to be something we’re not. As I watch the kids parade around the community I live in, that’s where I find some joy. But as always my mind starts churning and I travel into the depth of my frontal lobe. The light of joy slowly fades to darkness.
For those of us who suffer from anxiety or other mental health issues, we know that today isn’t the day we’ve suddenly subscribed to wearing a costume. The closet of our minds has a plethora of costumes to choose from. Our anxiety has us preparing for every day social exchanges like Y2K believers prepared for the millennium bug that would end the world. We are so prepared that we own more costumes than a drag queens during pride day, and I say that with love for our queens.
My costume can be a smile, when all I want to do is cry. It’s a burst of laughter, when I really feel like screaming in rage. It can be more simple, yet tragic without you even knowing it – like the clothing I dress my naked body with in the morning, when I’m feeling so vulnerable that clothing doesn’t seem to protect me from your eyes. It’s the covers of my bed, that turn me into a ghost to the outside world.
I am the Hulk on some days when my friends and family aren’t strong, because being strong makes me feel good. Yet somehow the Hulk is never around when I’m alone, and I no longer feel good. In my lonesome, I’m a tiny insect that hides from your footstep, who runs in fear when you approach. When I have to come out from hiding, I’m the deer you’ve suddenly spotted, scared of the attention and headlights, yet too afraid to move. So I sit there.
Today is different for us though, isn’t it? Today we showcase all the demons that haunt us every day and we don’t wear a costume. We turn the lights down in our homes in the spirit of Halloween, like the darkness that can engulf our every day lives. We decorate our halls with cobwebs like those that exist in the untapped hallways of our brains, because sometimes we are simply numb. Suddenly, our dark ideas become brilliant. Our mood is a great play on a spooky character you saw in a movie. Today we will get complimented. Today we fit in. I have always loved Halloween.