Con-drop

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According to the powerful Internet, con-drop “is a physiological reaction that often has emotional or psychological symptoms. Essentially, it’s the endorphins and other happy chemicals your body has been spewing out the last 3-5 days drying up. It’s the crash after the high.”

This feeling applies to huge events like Comic-Con in San Diego or something smaller like a local book fair. I went to Cleveland Concoction this weekend: a big geek fest featuring movies, comics, books, and cosplay. I was one of the featured authors, which meant I spoke on panels, signed books, and mingled for two days straight.

Contrary to what you might think based on my ravings, I am actually an extrovert. I’ll talk to anyone about anything. I actually approach strangers. I’m, like, charismatic and shit (I’ve been told).

However, in the opinion of my therapist, I’m an introverted extrovert. In other words, no matter how much of a social butterfly I am, being a social butterfly sucks the very life out of me.

I’m beginning to think this is both literal and figurative because not only am I thoroughly depressed today and basically unable to do anything, I also feel physically ill. I slept twelve hours and am still tired. I have a sore throat and headache. I’ve been sick off and on for months, so I’m frustrated to be SICK again, but there’s nothing to be done. I spread myself too thin at Concoction. I literally networked myself into a physical and emotional coma.

Con-drop is a thing that happens to many convention attendees (especially the introverted ones). The energy at conventions is so high, and you have to be constantly on your game because someone is always watching. People are talking to you or you’re speaking in front of a room-full of people. Then, there’s the bar mingling and NSFW panels at 10 PM that pretty much require you never, ever rest.

I feel freaking terrible today.

I’m glad I went to Concoction. I always have a great time, and I get to see all my nerd friends. It’s wonderful … but this is a reminder of why I don’t do very many conventions. In the beginning, with the release of Bite Somebody, I traveled all over the place for promo. Now, I do two or three events a year because I literally can’t take anymore.

The depression is back so hard right now, and I feel so sick. Why does one late night give me a terrible cold? Why does a weekend of excitement, fun, and yeah, high pressure, make me so very sad? Does anyone out there know how to fix con-drop? I’d love to know how to heal myself this week.

Stressors

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My therapist asked me to write my daily stressors in a journal, but I feel like “my dogs barking” is trite when there are things like school shootings and walls being built out there. But I am me, and my world is small. Therefore, “my dogs barking” is indeed a stressor. My girlfriend says, “To each their own.” She says this in reference to my fixation on actor Timothee Chalamet. He’s too skinny for her.

To each their own.

My dogs BARKING.

What else is on my stressor list? I’m not ready to tell you the big ones, I don’t think. We’ve only just met. Maybe a couple little ones. Hmm…

Therapy. Therapy stresses me out, which is funny because it’s supposed to help–and it does really. I’ve only been in therapy for about three weeks now. It was my last resort because I’ve been severely depressed for two months and don’t want to go back on medication. In regards to mental health, I’ve been doing the right things. My “witchy” friend in Arizona (who’s not actually a witch, but I like calling her that) suggests making tinctures and teas with ingredients like St. John’s Wort, catnip, and ginkgo. I use my sun lamp in the morning. I binge Letterkenny and Seinfeld on Hulu. I write smutty fan fiction and make myself laugh. I even bought an adult coloring book with cuss words to add some color. Nothing helps. I’m not getting better. So therapy. I’m trying, really, so I don’t have to go back on meds. And even if I love my therapist (she’s awesome with funky hair and a nose ring), I still get stressed about therapy because I know I’ll be tired after. I’ll probably cry. I’m tired of crying.

My body stresses me out. I pulled a rib/muscle (the exact prognosis is up for debate) in the center of my chest in October, which means I had to cut way back on my yoga. Yoga is like a religion to me, and I’ve missed it. I just started going back, but it stresses me out that I can’t do the moves I used to. It stressed me out that I can’t challenge my body. I’m a China doll under the radiant heat of hot yoga. I’m trying to go slow, but I’ve never been good at that before. It’s hard to break old habits … which I’m learning in therapy.

No matter how much they bark, I stress over my dogs. Maybe I accidentally leave a candle lit and my house burns down and my dogs are trapped inside. Maybe they run away. Maybe they get hurt. Maybe I won’t survive their loss.

Sometimes, I stress about drinking. Am I doing it to numb myself? Adversely, am I doing it to be able to talk to people? I’m an introvert with an anxiety disorder, but I’m actually good at talking to people—unless I’m depressed. However, add alcohol, and I’m the life of the party. I worry, though. It’s very easy to make myself numb; what if I start needing to live that way?

I stress because I don’t dream anymore. All my life, my dream was to be a published author, and now, I am. I thought it would make everything okay, like “Once I get published, I’ll never be depressed again.” Lie. Huge lie. I don’t know what to dream about anymore. What do you dream about?

I stress over mistakes I made ten years ago. Those mistakes keep me up at night.

I stress over dumb stuff, too. I was sad for a week after Timothee Chalamet didn’t get an Oscar nomination for his role in the addiction drama Beautiful Boy. How dumb is that? I don’t even know the guy.

But ah, we’re back to the dogs barking.

Just because a stressor is dumb doesn’t mean it isn’t a stressor—doesn’t mean that stressors don’t affect your mental health. No matter how trivial, stress is stress, and I’m trying to find patterns. I’m trying to see what ruins my day so I can make the days better. I’d suggest you do the same. You’d be surprised.