September 29, 2014
Causes of PCD: Post-Con Depression and Steps to RecoveryBy Patrick Delahanty, AnimeCons.com Founder
Have you or a loved one just returned from a convention?
Do you have a loss of appetite or insomnia?
Are you unhappy about returning to work or school?
Are you looking at photos of the convention and wishing you took more?
Are you thinking back on the highlights of the past weekend?
Are you wishing that the convention was still going on?
You may be suffering from PCD...Post-Con Depression.
Post-Con Depression is a very real mental condition brought on by the special demands that a convention can put on your body. During the convention, your body uses serotonin. After the convention, the lower levels of serotonin in your body can cause depression until your body has time to produce more. This can take several days.
Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter which is biochemically derived from tryptophan. Serotonin is primarily found in the gastrointestinal tract, platelets, and the central nervous system and is popularly thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness.
Approximately 90% of the human body's total serotonin is located in the enterochromaffin cells in the GI tract, where it is used to regulate intestinal movements. The remainder is synthesized in the central nervous system, where it has various functions including the regulation of mood, appetite, and sleep. Serotonin also has some cognitive functions, including memory and learning. Modulation of serotonin at synapses is thought to be a major action of several classes of pharmacological antidepressants.
After the convention, you may be physically exhausted after walking around and standing in lines all day. If you didn't feel it at the convention, it may be catching up with you after the con.
Did you get enough sleep each night? If you were up late partying and waking up early to put on costumes or get to panels, probably not. The disruption of your normal sleep schedule can cause depression and it can take time to return to a normal sleep schedule. This problem can be compounded if you traveled across time zones to get to the convention.
Eating fast food or skipping meals and having generous amounts of alcohol may not have been the best idea when you were at the con. Now that the convention is over, your body is letting you know it didn't like that. The consumption of alcohol can contribute to Post-Con Depression rather significantly since alcohol itself is a depressant.
"Con Plague", or the exposure to foreign illness, can be a factor. Thousands of people from hundreds or thousands of miles away are all converging in on you. Some of them are likely coming to the convention with some sort of illness that they've now spread to everyone through coughing, high-fives on the escalator, hugs, or various other means. If they're recovering, currently ill, or just recently infected, you're still at risk. Go to the convention with the assumption that someone there is carrying the flu and take precautions by washing your hands, showering, keeping your hands off potentially contaminated surfaces, and avoiding unnecessary physical contact with strangers.
How can you recover?
Figure out when and where your next con is. There are conventions every weekend. Check FanCons.com and find some near you. This will give you something to look forward to. If it's six months away, that's still better than having to wait a year!
Start working on your next costumes. You know you'll procrastinate until the last minute, so why not get started while the excitement of the con is fresh in your mind?
Get together with friends for a game night. It's a good time to talk about the fun stuff from the convention and start making plans for the next con.
Drink lots of juice and eat healthy foods. You've been exposed to thousands of people and their germs and you probably didn't eat well at the con either. Fight off that con plague before it sets in!
Get some exercise. Go walk around the block, go for a run, or do some push-ups. It will be good for your body and mind. If you're suffering from insomnia, it can also be a good way to tire yourself out before bed.
Relax! Sit back on your couch and see what your TiVo recorded while you were gone. Maybe load up Netflix and watch that show everyone at the con was talking about. Then get to bed early and catch up on sleep.
You may not be able to avoid Post-Con Depression, but hopefully these tips will help you recover faster.
If your depression continues, please consult a doctor.
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