I haven’t been to a con since September 2013 because of my depression. Three years later, my nerd and depression are battling it out in my head. My nerd is winning this one, but depression is close behind.
Naturally, I had to go again in 2013. I bought my tickets the day they went on sale, without knowing whether there would even be guests that I wanted to see. It was just too much fun.
Later in 2013, I went to Edmonton Expo. I got my first Stargate Atlantis picture, with Joe Flanigan.
2014 rolled around. Of course I ordered my tickets for Calgary Expo right away, again. As the event grew closer, I found myself fighting with whether or not to go. I kept using the excuse that I couldn’t afford it, but in all honesty, money had nothing to do with it. I mean, yeah, money was tight but it hasn’t stopped me before. This was the thing I spent all year waiting for.
I may have been in debt for over two years, but that wasn’t the real reason. I wasn’t really the thought of spending a few hundred dollars on tickets, photo ops, autographs, memorabilia, or a hotel room. It didn’t help matters of course, but it wasn’t the real reason. I didn’t actually know what the real reason was at the time, just that there was a really strong part me that had absolutely no desire or energy to go, even though my heart wanted to, so badly. What I didn’t realize at the time is that I was struggling with depression.
I hadn’t been diagnosed with depression or anxiety yet – that came about 7 months later – so I really had no idea why I was fighting this so hard.
I ended up getting a refund for my tickets on the very last day possible. If I hadn’t, I would have had to go. I know it would have been good for me and I would have had fun, but the part of my brain where depression lives wouldn’t let me go through with it.
The strange thing is, looking back now, my anxiety had nothing to do with it. Even my social anxiety wasn’t really a factor when it came to attending cons. I was comfortable at cons. I mean, the first time, I was nervous, but once I figured out how insanely awesome it was, the thought of going never scared me. Not even a little. It’s the only thing I’ve ever done entirely on my own without wishing for someone to go with me. Going out to dinner or a movie or whatever on my own fucking terrifies the shit out of me though.
Being around all those people, didn’t bother me. In any other circumstance I would be extremely uncomfortable and avoid it at all costs, but there’s something about being surrounded by fellow geeks, nerds, and fangirls/fanboys that doesn’t terrify me. The only time I’ve felt truly happy the last 10 years of my life was when I was my two times at Calgary Expo and my one time at Edmonton Expo. It’s like I was meant to be there. Anyone can strike up a conversation and find something in common and lots to talk about. You just don’t get that anywhere else.
The fact that I had even considered not going to Calgary Expo just didn’t make sense to me. The fact that I actually requested a refund on my tickets….. I still can’t believe I did it. The difference now is, I know exactly what it is that was holding me back then and what I’m fighting with now.
It’s so easy to make excuses and just not bother doing something because quite honestly, it takes more effort than you feel strong enough to put in.
I know I’ll always regret not attending a con that I really had no good excuse to miss, but as long as I consider it and come up with a reasonable argument against going (like no guests I’m interested in), I know I’ll be OK. I will always regret missing Calgary Expo 2014. I missed out on Karen Gillan and Matt Smith! I mean, he’s not David Tenant, but in still mad at myself for missing out.
I have not been to a con since September 2013 in Edmonton. I moved in early 2015, so even if I’d wanted to go to Calgary then, I couldn’t.
Now, I am closer to Toronto, and I know there are a few cons every year. I heard about the Niagara Falls Comic Con on the last day, last year. I forgot about it this year until the week before, but there was no one who caught my interest, so it was an easy decision to say no.
I’d been keeping an eye on the guest list for FanExpo 2016, but kept going back and forth in my head about whether or not I would go. It took me probably two months to finally decide.
I was struggling with the idea of paying for a hotel and booking the time off work. I was looking for any excuse I could come up with, not to go. I keep going back to money, but the thing is, money isn’t really tight right now.
I can come up with them all.
I know I would have fun. So why is it so hard?
I realized in July that my depression has gotten pretty bad, with no trigger. I’m still battling it. New medication is starting to maybe make some difference, but in still having a hard time.
Finally, my logical brain kicked in, I don’t have to drive 3 -7 hours to get there (like I did when I lived in Alberta). If I don’t want to stay in a hotel, I technically don’t have to. But what really helped me make the decision was the idea that I don’t need to take time off work or even book a hotel, if I only go on one day!
My nerd and my depression have been battling it out for weeks in my head, but I think I found the perfect compromise.
I am going on Saturday, and Saturday only. I will drive to Toronto in the morning, and drive home that night. I don’t need to put my dog in a kennel, because my parents can take care of him for the day.
I bought one photo op (Firefly teamup!!!) so I can enjoy the con and either go to some panels or just walk the floor and buy some nerdy stuff.
…..Later, I gave in and bought a second photo op (SHATNER!!!!!!!)
I was interested in John Barrowman’s event (because he is f-ing hilarious – I met him in both Calgary and Edmonton in 2013) but after I looked at the price, I decided that it’s not worth the pressure I’d be putting on myself. Having less specific plans, especially plans that require money, makes me far less stressed out.
I am finding myself occasionally dreading the idea and occasionally regretting my decision, but I know it’s just my depression. Attending cons is something I love! I know I will have a good time. I’m still battling the negative thoughts and the lack of desire to actually go, but I have to go!
I’ve already bought my tickets. I can’t change my mind. It’s one day. AND it’s on a long weekend, so I’ll still have two days to recover.
I’ll post my pictures, probably as soon as I get home. Maybe even before. We’ll see.
3 more days!