REWitched, COUNTERPOINT: Embrace fear this Halloween


EP Presnell

You’re laying in bed, tired from school, homework and the general stressors life tends to throw your way. You’re dreaming of falling, you feel your heart rate picking up but you can’t do anything until your body snaps up in bed. That fear of hitting the ground, of nothing ready to catch you at the bottom keeps you up longer than you’d wish. Fear is something you can’t just escape; it comes at you in all different kinds of ways. The fear of forgetting something at home is different from going on a rollercoaster or watching a scary movie, but in the end we all share that spike of horror that runs through our bodies the minute you realize something is happening. If fear truly is inescapable, who not embrace it?

The kick of adrenaline

Fear can be a thrilling experience when you put yourself into the scenario. If you decide to pay to go into a haunted house, you do it for the thrill or what you may know as the “fight or flight” reaction. When someone comes up and jump-scares you, your body sends adrenaline and dopamine through your body, which causes your heart to beat faster and your blood pressure to increase. Oxygen will rush to your muscles in preparation for you to stay and fight the stressor or to run away from it.

The thrill comes when you come back and realize you’re not actually in harm’s way. The guy with a mask and machete isn’t actually here to kill you, but rather give you a little scare. The feeling of fear goes away and is replaced with a somewhat relaxed feeling, but those chemicals are still going through your body, leaving you with a thrilling feeling. A feeling that can wake you up when tired, help you feel alive and even replace your darker thoughts.

In a study from 2010, 91 college students who self-reported having depression were monitored while experiencing increased levels of worry were actually shown to have decreased levels of depression. From this study, it could be inferred that increased levels of worry can lead to less focus on depressing thoughts.

It’s in your head

Although there are fearful things in this world and everyone from different backgrounds has different aspects they have to deal with, fear is often like a bully in your head. Bullies feed off of your fears and insecurities because that’s what they use against you. Fear takes situations such as introducing yourself to a group of new people, and turns it into a seemingly impossible task.

Specifically in middle school and high school, underclassmen sometimes have a fear of talking to upperclassmen for a multitude of reasons, but when you finally get the courage to talk to them, you realize there’s nothing to fear. The mind is a wonderful thing, yet has the power to crush us into our own silence through fear.

The power in overcoming this fear though is by embracing it. Embrace the unknown and treat it as a friend, in a respectful and cautious way, of course. Fear, while protecting us from certain situations, also has the ability to hold us back from things we may really want to do. Instead of actively resisting actions, take a risk.

Take it in doses

While fear is something we should experience and sometimes give in to, there are other instances where you need to take caution. Everybody fears something and that could mean everything in the world. Fears can range from being afraid of insects and reptiles to being afraid to walk home in the dark or tell someone something new. While taking in small doses of fear can be great for your mental health, taking in too much in a short span of time can lead to both physical and mental damage.

Just as fear is different for everyone, your limits of fear and how much you believe you can handle is strictly up to you to decide. Nobody can tell you what you’re feeling and when your breaking point is.

So this Halloween, go out to a haunted house and feel the thrill of fear that comes with the jump-scares and spooky imagery. Look at all the decorations people put up to get into the festive spirit, watch that horror movie with your friends in the dark. The joy of Halloween is the barriers put up by people who partake in the spirit of the holiday, just as there are when you ride a rollercoaster. You get on because you know in a couple of minutes you’ll be getting off and arrive back to the ground safely, but for the minutes you’re on it you experience the thrill sensation. This Halloween, give in to the excitement of fear.

Feature Image Citation: “Haunted House Behind the Middle School” by Shane Gorski on Flickr is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic. No changes were made to the image. Use of this photo does not indicate photographer endorsement of this article.