Estimated Read Time: 10 Minutes
Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? You were waiting in line, anxiously awaiting your photo op with Kat/Dom/Emily/Anna/Isabella/etc., surrounded by 4,000 of your closest non-binary/trans/bi/queer/lesbian/CisHet tribe members, either chatting with your neighbors or looking at phone to see if that really was the host of your favorite podcast who walked by you 7 seconds ago in the hallway. Your feet were throbbing, your body running on 4 hours of sleep, definitely dehydrated, feeling that crowd energy, bank account at $47.28 – and loving every second of it.
SMASH CUT to the present – Welcome to the Post-Clexacon Blues!
Your twitter feed is filled with tweets like,
“One of the worst parts about re-entering the ‘real world’ is ppl politely asking if you had a good time and not understanding when you fangirl at them. Take me back!!! #Clexacon” (@legacymermaid)
“That post-con depression is hitting hard” (@chrstinabaker4).
NEVER FEAR! Your post-Clexacon depression battling tips are here (and VERY queer)!
1. Own it.
You. Are. Sad.
And that’s okay. You’re allowed to be! You’ve just had an experience, many of you for the first time, surrounded by an incredibly large group of LGBTQ+ folks. Let’s stop there for a second. I met a ton of people this weekend from small towns where the LGBTQ+ community is zilch. It is a huge privilege to live in the LA area and work with my LGBTQ+ community on a daily basis. Unfortunately, not many have this privilege. Many of you may have felt emotionally “safe” being truly authentic as you are for the very first time, being mirrored (seeing others like you) by your peers at Clexacon. It makes sense to be sad after feeling that amount of identity validation in such a short period of time, then to get suddenly wrenched back to “reality”. You have emotional whiplash! That is why this specific brand of Post-Con Depression is different from other cons.
Sometimes our gut instinct is to shy away from being sad. Which makes sense for self-protection purposes at times, but lets go with the spirit of authenticity that this weekend was filled with. If you are sad, allow yourself to be. Want to cry? Go for it. Need to take a beat and binge-watch Carmilla for the 7th time? Do it. Want a donut? Treat yo self. (Emphasis on “a” donut.)
Once you’re done with that, be done with it. Make sure to acknowledge the sadness, rather than indulge it. There are other battle tips that will help alleviate the sadness when it gets to be too much.
One of the number one ways to battle depression of any kind is gratitude. If you’re not in the habit, this one can take a bit of practice. There are two ways to get into this practice, and both are relatively simple:
Daily gratitude lists. Start with 3 things per day. Remember in detail the things you appreciated about Clexacon and write them down. Example: Kindness. This was one of the first conventions I’ve ever been to where people went out of their way to be kind to one another. I am grateful to see that type of kindness play out in the world IRL.
Share your gratitude. Make a hashtag for yourself, tweet out what you are thankful for, and maybe even get your friends involved!
Are you thankful for being able to go to Clexacon? Give a shoutout to the organizers! They put in so much time and effort to give us this gift, let them know how you feel.
Many of the shows/programming we got to celebrate need your online support, why not be efficient and tackle your gratitude list AND help your shows? @ the networks your favorite shows are on and tell them why you are grateful for their existence.
Did you meet anyone IRL this weekend that you’ve been Twitter/Tumblr friends with for a while? Tag them and tell them why you’re grateful for them. (This might help them with their post-con depression, too!)
- BONUS TIP: Beware of brain Revenants. What I mean by this is sometimes there is a mental naysayer that likes to contradict the good things in life (whose name is Depression). This is a pretty normal part of getting into gratitude if that is not a place where you are usually centered. Just push through, put ‘em down with your mental Peacemaker. So you can have some peace.
You spent three+ days getting inspired by artists. Did you know that the etymology of the word ‘inspire’ comes from the Latin for ‘breathe’? GO BREATHE LIFE INTO SOMETHING. Create!
I know, I know, “But Nina, I can’t act like Zoie or draw like Lora!” No worries, me neither!
Adult coloring books are still a thing, right? Go color. Got a bunch of stickers? Decorate your reusable water bottle! Are you crafty? Go finish one of the 17 projects you started last November. Are you a writer? Fanfic time! Been wanting a new look for your living space? Rearrange and/or redecorate! Were you one of the creators/guests/panelists at Clexacon? Use the fandom love to recharge your work!
Find something creative in your life and do it.
4. Don’t Pull A Wynonna
Aside from the aforementioned donut (and her general badassery), don’t pull a Wynonna aka don’t try and drink your sadness away. Don’t run yourself ragged. Do:
Get plenty of rest / sleep.
Drink plenty of water.
Go for a walk and get some vitamin D.
Eat things that are good for you.
I love her to death, but girl’s self-care game could use some major attention. Circumstantially understandable, though.
You got to do a lot of connecting this weekend, right? From the Speed Friending event on Thursday, to the mid-line chats, to the Fandras Fanbus, to Ascension, you had a ton of opportunities to connect with people. It felt great, right?
Then do it again! Do you have some friends you’ve been missing and wanting to reach out to? Text them that you’re thinking about them. Didn’t get to chat much with Clexacants online while you were at the con? Well, time to reconnect with them! Friends/family at home who make you feel like your best self? Give them a call. See someone online fighting the Post-Clexacon blues, too? Reach out and tell them they’re not alone.
Post-con depression is really tough, and many of you struggle with other mental health issues like depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc. Connection eases many of the symptoms of each of these issues.
6. When in Doubt, Be More Intersectional!
How many of you noticed the amount of panelists that were championing multiple causes? We are very lucky to have people who work hard at trying to represent marginalized populations in authentic ways, and be allies to communities they belong to and/or hold close to their hearts.
To be fair, everyone has blind spots, and these are wonderful learning opportunities for all of us to acknowledge our privileges and step into action in a different way than we normally do.
Be honest with yourself:
If you’re cisgender, do most of the shows you watch feature cisgender folks? (Spoiler alert: ALL SHOWS feature cisgender folks and very few feature NB or Trans peeps.) If so, go watch Clexacon featured shows like Carmilla & One Day At A Time! They both have awesome non-binary characters (shoutout to LaFontaine and Syd!). Want to support shows that cast trans actors to play trans characters? IndieWire already made a list for you!
If you’re white, do most of the shows you watch feature less than 2 people of color (Another spoiler alert: ALL SHOWS primarily focus on white experiences, and very few have POC at the center of storylines)? If so, watch Black Lightning, One Day At A Time, Red the Webseries, Jane the Virgin, Fresh Off The Boat, Empire, Black-ish, How To Get Away With Murder, etc. Most of these shows also have LGBTQ+ characters as well, so bonus points.
If you’re an able-bodied person, do most of the shows you watch feature fellow able-bodied people (ANOTHER SPOILER ALERT: Of course you do, differently abled or disabled people are so infrequently centered in the media, except for plot devices, which is a huge bummer)? If so, make the effort to check out One Day At A Time (nailing it on these lists), NCIS: New Orleans, Speechless, and Game of Thrones (for the 4 people who don’t already watch it.)
That is just the beginning. Heck, that’s just television! The next step, which is one of the most crucial for mental health, is to activate empathy. We do so by stepping into the shoes of others and broadening our horizons. Here’s a few short videos to get you started in your possible blindspot education areas:
For the record, that’s less than 30 minutes of education that can help you step outside of your own circumstances and develop your empathy muscles!
Advanced level activism: Reach out to local advocacy groups and see if they need help utilizing whatever skills you have. You might even make some connections (Step Five, WOOT!) with people who are passionate about the same things you are!
[Sidenote: if you’re a queer/trans/nonbinary differently-abled person of color who already does activist work, feel free to skip this step and just do Step 4 again. Thank you for the work that you do, it is wonderful – and exhausting. #SelfCare]
Own your feelings (sad = ok)
Gratitude (thank you, Clexacon!)
Make stuff (yay art!)
Connect with others (friends are good!)
Make the world a better place (we are all superheroes)
On a serious note, if the post-con blues don’t get better within a week or so, and you’re predisposed to mental health issues, reach out to a professional to get further help. No shame in the mental health game.
Until next Clexacon…
You can follow me on Twitter & Instagram @LGBTQAffirm.