In this brief guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about Post Con Depression, and what you can do about it.
What is Post Con Depression?
Post Con Depression is a phenomenon that refers to low mood, lack of energy, and a general malaise that people tend to feel after coming back from conventions about a subject they are passionate about.
Post Con Depression is a relatively new concept, and there has been an increase in this problem since the rise of conventions related to Comics, tv shows, movies, and other things people are interested in.
Conventions involve a total immersion in the “fandom”, so to speak, and people often dress up as their favorite characters or take on personas they would ordinarily not be able to indulge, and coming out of that to real-life can be rather jarring.
What happens in Conventions?
A convention, or Con, as it’s called usually, is defined as a gathering where people who share a common interest or a convention is a method, practice, rule or custom come together to celebrate said practices.
Comic-Con is one of the biggest conventions in the world and happens frequently across countries.
It consists of stalls, panels of the famous authors who write fantasy fiction, and create comic books and other fictional worlds, role play, games, and competitions.
Anime con is another famous convention that allows people who are heavily invested in Anime to gather and celebrate Anime by dressing up as their favorite characters, quizzing Anime creators on their work, and attending shows put on by other enthusiasts as well as professionals.
A common theme for convention-goers is the feeling of being accepted and celebrated for their interests and the things they are passionate about, and the one thing they all get from these gatherings is non-judgmental acceptance.
Why do people go to cons?
People usually go to the con to get updated on their favorite things, like comics, fantasy worlds and anime, and to immerse themselves completely in a culture that is made up exclusively of people who think and behave exactly in the same way.
Most of the participants in a Con have some traits in common and tend to go to cons specifically to feel acceptance and to feel like they are a part of a phenomenon.
Human beings have an evolutionary need to be part of a group, or pack, so to speak, and cons provide an opportunity to do that, which a lot of these people might not get in their real lives.
Research also indicates that people who go to cons tend to have introverted personalities in general and cons may be one of the only social gatherings they voluntarily go to and enjoy, as it gives them the chance to act on their primal instincts to be part of something with other people.
We also have a tendency to feel like we belong, according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the Need for Belongingness is one of the chief needs all humans have, and cons provide an amazing opportunity to exercise this need.
Symptoms of Post Con Depression
Symptoms of Post Con Depression are as follows:
· Feeling low and sad after having returned from a convention
· Loss of appetite
· Being unhappy about returning to work or school
· Looking at photos of the convention and wishing you took more or could go back
· Not being able to stop thinking about the con
· Wishing that the con was still going on
· Insomnia or trouble sleeping
· Lack of motivation to do anything
Causes of Post Con Depression
Post Con Depression can often be caused by the special demands that a convention can put on your body.
Here are some of the reasons for Post Con Depression.
During any convention, your body uses serotonin because you are engaging in activities that give you great pleasure.
You are constantly surrounded by friends, talking about things you love, there is hustle and bustle around, the place is decked up in colors and lights. All these factors cause your body to release a bunch of hormones such as adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine.
However, after the convention, these hormones fall suddenly, like when you are coming off a serious trip on a drug that affected your brain in a major way, and the lower levels of serotonin in your body can cause depression until your body has time to produce more, which realistically would be at the next con.
A con involves a lot of running around and taking part in things, and you don’t realize that you are tired because it is a pleasurable gathering.
After the convention, however, physical exhaustion from walking around and standing in lines may finally hit you, and start to make you feel depressed.
For most people, negative feelings tend to abate after a decent rest.
Not enough sleep
Most people suffer from improper sleep during a con, given their heightened arousal.
It is an almost carnival like atmosphere which wires the brain tremendously, and chances are you did not get enough restful sleep throughout the thing, and now your body is manifesting that as depression.
If you were one of the people wearing a costume, that may be making you feel vulnerable and open suddenly, because your persona has fallen away after the con and you are yourself again.
We tend to dress up as people or characters that we wish we were actually like, and they give us a sense of power.
Having that stripped away can make people feel naked and open for pain and injury, and that can lead to feelings like depression, as it challenges the person’s sense of self.
Poor eating habits
During a con, many people suffer from bad eating habits, like eating fast food or skipping meals and maybe even having generous amounts of alcohol.
After the convention, your body may be letting you know that those things were bad for it and you should have stayed away, in the form of depression and feelings of lethargy and sickness.
Actual physical illness
The phenomenon called “Con Plague” is the exposure to foreign illness, and it can be a factor in you feeling like you have Post Con Depression.
A large number of people gather at these things, maybe some even from thousands of miles away and they are all converging in on you.
Some of these fans may likely be coming to the convention with some sort of illness that they’ve now spread to everyone in a variety of ways like coughing, high-fives, hugs, or various other means.
To prevent this, you need to go to the convention with the assumption that someone there is sick with the flu and take precautions by washing your hands, avoiding unnecessary physical contact with strangers, showering, keeping your hands off potentially contaminated surfaces.
Post Con Depression or Adjustment disorder?
Many of the symptoms and reports of post-con depression actually sound like they are describing a typical episode of Adjustment Disorder, the chief characteristic of which is trouble acclimating to circumstances after a major event, which can be positive or negative.
While it is okay to refer to post-con depression by such a name, it is important at the same time to not trivialize mental health issues like depression to denote just about anything, when it can be defined by a condition that exists already.
Adjustment disorder is a serious condition that can be treated accordingly if appropriate help is sought.
Here are the symptoms of Adjustment disorder:
· Low mood or anxiety that starts anywhere between days up until a month from a major event that affected the individual either adversely or positively
· Anger and Irritability over the smallest things
· Decline in appetite
· Decline in Sleep
· Not feeling motivated to do anything
· Feeling overwhelmed
· Not being able to concentrate
· Not feeling like doing anything
· Weeping spells
As is evident from the symptoms, Post Con Depression would likely get classified as an Adjustment disorder by a professional, and it is a very real condition for which you should seek treatment, so if you feel like the quality of your life is getting affected due to the stress you are feeling, make sure you see someone about it.
How to cope with Post Con Depression
To cope with Post Con Depression the ideal thing would be to speak to a therapist.
When asked about what made him feel better from Post Con Depression, an avid Con goer commented “The next con”.
While this may seem like a good idea, and people do seem to recommend trying it, it may be harmful in the long run because soon the Con may start to replace your real life, and that can have major consequences.
Your work may start to seem really dull, you may not be able to concentrate on anything non-Con related, and the fantasy world that started out as a hobby may take over your life.
Instead, follow some of these tips, for the next time you feel like you are suffering from Post Con Depression:
· Think about all the fun you had till you are saturated with memories. The more you try to push the thoughts away them more they will bother you, so just get it out of your system in one go.
· Talk to a friend who went with you, share your experiences, it might give you insights of your own.
· Neatly pack away the things you may have taken with you, like your costume and other con related things, and visualize you packing away the experience with it, with a promise that you will return eventually.
· Read and watch some things you enjoy about your fandom, go online to a forum, and talk to others who enjoy these things, it will take some of the loneliness away.
· Try to get some exercise. Your body may be craving all that physical work you did.
· Eat healthily, try to detox your body.
· If you have had alcohol at the Con, drink a lot of juices for the next few days to replenish your system.
· Try doing things that involve your sensory modalities, like video games, so that your brain gets something to focus on instead of the con.
In this brief guide, we discussed everything you need to know about Post Con Depression, and what you can do about it. Please reach out with any questions or comments you may have.
If you’ve enjoyed the Post Con Depression mentioned above, I would recommend you to take a look at Post-rave depression too.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
What we recommend for Depression
If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling could be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Post Con Depression
What are general methods used to treat depression?
The general methods used to treat Depression are cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and psychodynamic therapy. Often, an eclectic approach involving all three is used to treat depression.
Can depression make you confused?
Yes, depression can make you confused, as it can affect your cognitive functions and memory.
It also impairs your attention and concentration, and in this way, depression can make you confused.
What is the result of depression?
Depression can result in suicide or suicidal thoughts, or a reduction in the person’s capabilities if it is left untreated.
Depression can also result in a tremendous amount of discomfort to the person so it is important to get it treated.
What is the primary cause of depression?
The primary causes of depression involve a combination of many factors that include an upsetting or stressful life event, such as bereavement, divorce, illness, redundancy and job or money worries, and so on.
Usually, the cause of depression tends to be a mix of psychological, environmental, chemical, and genetic factors.