Tag Archive | Halloween

Halloween and a Troubled Mind: A Bad Combination

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

I have multiple sclerosis (MS). Heat and MS are a bad combination. Heat and humidity make my aches more painful.

So, I avoid them at all cost. There are things I can do in my home. Lowering the temperature revives me. Air conditioning is like medicine. Closed blinds scream, “Sun, do not enter!”

But, outside searing rays are all around. Exposure to the heat seems inevitable during the summer. Am I doomed to a reclusive life four months of the year?

No! I refuse to be banished from outdoor activities. A cooling vest, a battery operated hand-held fan, and a large floppy hat protect me from burning temperatures. Life is more bearable. Avoiding a bad combination is the key.

Others know the dangers of harmful exposures.

The diabetic refrains from binging on sugar. The lung cancer patient ceases from smoking cigarettes. Sweets and smoking feed those diseases. Resisting past indulgences improves one’s health.

What should someone with mental illness (MI) avoid? Halloween. Exposure to disturbing images can’t be good for someone with MI. Such a person needs relief from distorted thinking or turbulent emotions.

Should we resign ourselves to the steady diet of ugliness October brings?

No! We can refuse to have our children’s heads contaminated with grotesque get-ups masquerading as fun costumes. And feed our kids spiritually healthy food instead. Filling their minds with joy and hope.

The Bible is our sword of defense. God’s Truth can shift the focus to pure and pleasant thoughts. That’s how we combat their troubled thinking and dark emotions.

When Chris was recovering from his first psychotic episode, I gave him a 2” X 3” Bible verse card each day.  He kept it in his pocket. That tiny card became his private lifeline in the midst of assailing ugly thoughts. During his school day, he had instant access to biblical truths.

Whenever he began to feel overwhelmed, fearful, or sad, he reached for the card. Healing promises refreshed his soul. Helping him to refocus on God’s love.

I, too, find refreshment in His Word. Reflecting on God’s faithfulness gives me strength. I feed on the promises of the Bible. They are a feast for my heart.



“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves…Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  (John 14:11, 27)

I can’t believe this is happening. As we followed the ambulance to the hospital, disbelief consumed me. I knew Chris needed psychiatric care. But my emotions didn’t have time to catch up with the events following his breakdown.

I still couldn’t make sense of the drastic change in his demeanor. Mental illness (MI) robbed Chris of his joy and sucked any hint of life out of his eyes. It was as if an enemy planted land mines inside Chris. We had to tread carefully lest we cause one of them to explode. Yet, still there were unexpected eruptions of violence and unprovoked spewing of profanities. We were just learning how to walk on egg shells around him.

Seeing Chris in the psychiatric ward of a hospital seemed surreal. My husband, Howie, and I visited him every minute we could. Any parent wants to ease a child’s pain. But limited visitation hours prevented us from comforting Chris as often as we/he needed.

When Howie and I were apart from Chris, we rarely spoke. Just like the Psalmist who said, “I am so troubled that I cannot speak” (Psalm 77:4). No words could express our sadness.

I’ll never forget one Sunday morning during that time of Chris’s inpatient care. Howie and I rode to church in complete silence. Like many churchgoers, we entered the sanctuary with fake smiles. Wearing expressions that hid our true emotions. No one could detect the heavy hearts within.

Most people wear masks only on Halloween. Those of us who have children with MI wear masks all year long…covering up true feelings. Hiding realities too painful to share. Too shocking to risk misunderstanding and judgment.

When MI rears its ugly head, how would you describe life in your home? Words like surreal, explosive, sad, dark, dysfunctional, unpredictable, and broken may not convey what goes on.

How would you explain your emotions? Words like stunned, discouraged, distraught, insecure, apprehensive, resigned, and helpless might fall short of adequately describing what you feel.

Your circumstances may seem unbelievable. But God’s love for you can be believed.

The Psalmist in chapter 77 pointed the way to God’s comfort. By remembering God’s works and reflecting on His power. That alone gives peace amid sorrow.

Focus on God’s grace, power, and comfort. You’ll be amazed by His love for you.

May you be blessed by this reminder.