It has now been 12 days since the first official day of Dragon Con 2022 and only 7 days, a mere week, since the end of Dragon Con 2022, and I want to discuss something serious with everyone. That is, con depression. Yes, it is very real and it is tough to get over.
For a lot of people, myself included, Dragon Con is their big vacation, the big event for them that year, and that moment they spend the whole year looking forward to, so when it's over, it hits them hard. There are different levels of experience for people that attend Dragon Con and each person has different emotions/experiences while at the con and how they react after it ends. One is the first time to Dragon Con who could be overwhelmed or excited, they go in with bug eyes, awe, amazement, or could just not have a good time at all. The ones that have this first time experience leave with the usual amount of emotions that make them want to come again or not, but like going to a great restaurant for the first time, when you leave you won't be depressed days later cause it's closed. Some people that have gone a few times now know what it's like, how much fun it can be, and will leave excited over what happened and looking forward to the next year. But then there are the ones that when they leave, when Dragon Con comes to an end, they feel sad and can have depression.
Some could ask how a person could get depressed from Dragon Con ending and I would say simply, because it ended. One of the comments that has been said by myself, my friends, and strangers I've met while standing in line for a panel, Dragon Con is not the time I cosplay and wear costumes, it's the other 370 days out of the year when I'm not at Dragon Con that I am actually cosplaying. Yep, I am not along in feeling that going to work in “work clothes” is my costume while me wearing my Captain America costume is more regular style clothes. This is one of the reasons why depression can set in once the convention is over but it's not the only reason.
There are so many factors that make the convention so much fun that afterwards it's tough to go back to real life. Having a week of not worried about pleasing the boss, making deadlines, not paying bills, doing dishes (yes we wash dishes in our hotel room but cleaning out a cup for rum & Coke is not the same as having to load the dishwasher and then unload it), grocery shopping, getting gas, and all those other real life things we do are not done at Dragon Con. Knowing that when you get up instead of the worry of if you will get fussed at by a boss or a ticket for speeding trying to get to work on time, you wake up knowing that today you will get to talk to your favorite actor/actress about your favorite movie/tv show/game/book, or you will be getting a photo with them. You get to wake up knowing that today is the day you and your best friend, wife/husband, child, or just you get to wear your costume that you've looked forward to and then get photos taken of you. Today is the day you get that artwork from you favorite artist or you get make a video you have been planning all year to make.
Dragon Con is multiple days of fun that gets the heart pumping and the adrenaline pumping 24 hours for up to 6 days and that is hard to come down from. Which coming down is what it is like. Getting back home to now you know you have to clean your house, pay your bills, and ugh, go back to work. You don't (well most people don't), have celebrities that they will be talking to, there is not a group of thousands of people wearing costumes walking around, and you went from all the noise and action to a quiet, calm life called reality.
How do you get over con depression? That's a good question. I look back at Dragon Con, talk to my friends who went with me and are experiencing the same emotions, look at the photos, try to laugh, and then think about next year. As far away as the next year seems, it really is not that far away (especially if you are past the age of 35, you all know how fast time just whisks by). This year, like all the past years, I tell myself to get more prepared for next year, work on my costume, do this, do that, I have the time, and before I realize it, I have the time has now become, oh crap I don't have the time. I also like to think of it as 52 weeks instead of the 365 days that the next Dragon Con will happen. Just think, as I write this, we are now in week 51 away from Dragon Con 2023. Am I still depressed that Dragon Con 2022 is over? Yes, but I will watch movies that make me happy, I will find some local cons to go to, I will visit with friends, and I will try to work on getting ready for Dragon Con 2023, after all, it's only 51 weeks away.
What are your ways of coping with and help fighting the depression that comes after Dragon Con comes to an end? Let me know in the comments because we are not alone in feeling the blues that comes with having to go back to reality after Dragon Con ends.