No more debates with Klingons over Avatar the movie versus the television series. You won’t run into Christopher Lloyd on your way back from the water cooler. And you will now find you have to explain what your geek-centric t-shirt means. The con is over and you are back in the land of Muggles. You might notice a decrease in enthusiasm and an increase in sadness. Don’t worry*, after four days of nonstop geek and freak excitement, you are suffering what is known as Post-Con Depression (PCD).
*I am not a professional and this is merely a list of suggestions I have compiled that have helped me to get through PCD in the past. If you find that you are still having trouble getting through PCD, it might not just be a case of Post-Con Depression. Please find a professional to speak to that can get you the help you need.
Post-Con Depression is not limited to Dragon*Con, but science fiction, fantasy, comics and gaming conventions in general. PCD occurs after a concentrated period of camaraderie and mirth comes to an abrupt end. It can be a traumatizing experience to go from being surrounded by thousands of people operating on the same wavelength as you to having to explain what anime is to your coworker.
But don’t worry, you are not alone. Those 44,999 comrades you were just surrounded by days ago are also going through the same withdrawal. You don’t have to suffer through PCD alone. And you don’t have to suffer through PCD for long. Here are a few steps you can take to help pull yourself through PCD.
Have a Crappy Time at the Convention
No, really. I’m certain not every convention you’ve attended has been a blast. Once it was over, you found yourself grateful to return to your normal schedule. The most surefire way to get through, and most likely not experience, PCD is to make certain you have an honestly crappy time at the convention.
I am not talking about complaining about standing in line, the crowds, or the cost of autographs. We are geeks, it is in our blood to complain about everything. Those are all part of a fantastic con experience. (Think about it: if we spend our time complaining about the minutiae, the stuff that is supposed to be awesome must be doing its job!)
What you need to do is have a horrible time. How? Simple. Attend panels for subjects you have no interest in whatsoever. Even better, attend panels for interests you truly hate. Lactose intolerant? Make certain to forget your Lactaid and have dairy in every meal. (Bonus points, fifteen minutes after you eat, you’ll be helping someone else to have a horrible con experience!) Wear uncomfortable shoes; if you are Celtic, forget your sunscreen; if you are a photographer, forget spare batteries and memory cards. You get the idea.
Why even bother attending if you are going to hate every minute of it? There is no way to avoid PCD, because honestly, even if you follow my suggestions above, you might find yourself having a terrific time. Maybe the subject you thought you hate turned out to have interesting information. Maybe you are a single Celt who meets a pretty Goth Lolita willing to share her umbrella with you. Who knows what the con has in store once you step out of your comfort zone?
You’re a geek. Therefore, you must have some hobby. Focus energy on said hobby. Even better, maybe you learned about a new hobby at the con. Miniature painting, corset making, chain mail, science fiction book club, LARPing — there are a bounty of geek hobbies out there to keep your hands occupied and your mind distracted from PCD.
Maybe you liked what you saw at drum circle and want to take up drumming or belly dancing. Perhaps you were inspired by the art you saw in Comics and Artist Alley and want to take up drawing, painting or sculpting. Now is the perfect time to indulge.
Not a hobby person or the geek connection makes the PCD still too painful? Do something not geeky.
Learn a language, take a mechanics class, start running, do home improvement repairs — anything, just as long as you aren’t given time to fall into the ether of reflection on what was once that is PCD.
Become a Better Geek
I have a friend who attended summer camp as a kid. At the end of camp, they would reflect on what actions they could take to be a better person. I don’t see why we can’t reflect on how to become better geeks. How can you be a better geek? What areas of your geekdom are slacking? What areas do you want to improve? For example, my husband plans to become a better board game and miniatures gamer after the blast he had in the Gaming area at Dragon*Con. He is also a home brewer and is already planning his brew list for what to have made for next year’s Dragon*Con.
I know we’ve all sat through a panel and become inspired by the speakers only to have that inspiration be squashed by PCD. Then, once PCD has run its course, the inspiration is forgotten, and while we are still geeks, we are not geeks that aim to be the best geek we can be.
Hold strong to that inspiration. Fight the urge to succumb to the PCD. Make a list of things you want to do, and do them! Who knows, maybe in a year or two, it will be you sitting on the panel as a guest speaker, inspiring someone else to be all the geek they can be.
Start Planning for Next Year
It is never too soon to start planning for the next convention. From preregistration to booking hotel rooms to planning out costumes, when it comes to geekery, the journey is just as much fun as the destination.
Maybe you want a speaker to return or wonder why someone wasn’t asked to speak at the convention. Contact the convention’s powers-that-be and let your voice be heard. The convention is nothing without its con-goers and wants to make certain they come back. Tell them what you want to see. Sure, you might not get exactly what you asked for, but you will know that your voice as a con-goer has been heard and taken seriously.
Want to help out? Volunteer! Most conventions are run primarily by volunteers. Contact your convention’s powers-that-be early to find out how you can help out and where you can help out.
Misery Loves Company
Still having trouble fighting that PCD? Go online and talk about it. Google+, Twitter, Yahoo!, LiveJournal, and Facebook are all great places to find communities that focus on your convention of choice.
There you will find like-minded individuals also struggling through PCD. The conversation might not always be about how much PCD sucks, but it will involve geeks and freaks who understand what you are going through. No geek is an island. We need each other, through the good times and the bad.