Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Questions, answers, tips & tricks for newbies and veterans alike
bubblygal
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2016 5:53 am
Burning Since: 2016

Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by bubblygal » Thu Aug 18, 2016 5:59 am

Hi,

One and a half years ago I made some significant changes in my life (moved continents / jobs), which resulted in about 1 year of excitement and happiness and a sudden crash about one month ago. I have battled with anxiety attacks and depression before and so this is kind of familiar.

I've had disappointments in this recent journey I suppose, but I'm generally quite the overthinker and anxious gal. And whilst the recent crash was triggered by work mostly, I guess it's a question of expectations in life etc.

I have been traveling for work every week to a different country and this is keeping my stress levels up - no routine, no social life, no planning, etc.

And this year I find myself going to BM, with all the emotional charge it entails. Which means I am particularly stressed/anxious about the experience.

Question is... should I go??

User avatar
AntiM
Moderator
Posts: 19979
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2004 5:23 am
Burning Since: 2001
Camp Name: Anti M's Home for Wayward Art
Location: Wild, Wild West
Contact:

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by AntiM » Thu Aug 18, 2016 6:07 am

Of course, only you can truly gauge how you will feel if you make the choice either way. Your health always comes first. If it is all too much, cancel the burning plans and treat yourself to some serious relaxation and self care.

However, how will you feel about "missing out"? Will that create stress also? One idea if you truly want to go is to create an exit plan, and to make an agreement with yourself that if it all becomes too much you have given yourself permission to bow out without shame or regret. Be sure to ask for help if you are overwhelmed, you are never alone on the playa if you reach out. It is entirely okay to have a low key burn, hanging out with people you like, a little dancing, no drinking, even resting daily. Do what you want, not what is "expected".

User avatar
Captain Goddammit
Posts: 8237
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 9:34 am
Burning Since: 2000
Camp Name: First Camp
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Aug 18, 2016 6:10 am

Hell yes!
While things are good now, in the past I've been in really shitty times and the Burning Man trip always did wonders for me.
When you're there, you tend to not give a crap about anything outside the gate.
You'll meet tons of cool people, who put huge effort into doing cool things.
Definitely go. This is a trip you don't want to miss, and this one isn't for your job. This one's for you.
Everyone is glad to meet you.
People will give you grilled cheese sandwiches. Late at night.
GreyCoyote: "At this rate it wont be long before he is Admiral Fukkit."

User avatar
mgb327
Posts: 1039
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:20 pm
Location: Somerset, Va.

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by mgb327 » Thu Aug 18, 2016 6:21 am

Go. Go. Don't bother yourself with the should I/should I not. Go. I will give you bacon.
Dogs are the leaders of the planet. If you see two life forms, one of them’s making a poop, the other one’s carrying it for him, who would you assume is in charge?
" I am a controlled substance". Savannah.

User avatar
Dr. Pyro
Posts: 4627
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:11 am
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: Barbie Death Camp & Wine Bistro
Location: Newcastle, CA
Contact:

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by Dr. Pyro » Thu Aug 18, 2016 6:24 am

If you have to ask, I'd say No. You sound like a real buzzkill.

User avatar
Sham
Moderator
Posts: 8230
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 2:10 am
Location: The hidden mythical place.....

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by Sham » Thu Aug 18, 2016 7:23 am

Dr. Pyro wrote:If you have to ask, I'd say No. You sound like a real buzzkill.
Doc Pyro sucks. Don't listen to him. 8)
You may or may not have the most amazing time of your life on the playa, but at least you'll know. You will be addressing your fears and anxieties head-on and will deal with them.
If you have a ticket and are all prepared, there is only one direction to head.
I will tell you that personally I was getting bored with life. Work, home, dinner out on the weekends---rinse and repeat. I was wilting.
I am now alive again and hope to continue heading to Black Rock City until my body completely gives out.
Again, you may have a different experience, but at least if you go, you'll know.

I hope to see you in the dust. :D
Sham....

User avatar
Jackass
Posts: 1968
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:25 pm
Location: way out in left field

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by Jackass » Thu Aug 18, 2016 7:27 am

Burning Man, only if you go will you know... I like that.
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

11th Principle: Depussyfication - Keeping Burning Man potentially lethal. Token

User avatar
GreyCoyote
Posts: 2138
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:24 am
Burning Since: 2000

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by GreyCoyote » Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:17 am

Go! But have an exit plan. If you find you just cant cut it, and you've given yourself time enough to adapt, just pack up and take your leave. Done.

Burningman has an exit, and its open the entire burn. There is NO penalty for punching out early.

Go.
"To sum up my compassion level, I think we should feed the unwanted animals to the homeless. Or visa versa. Too much attention and money is spent on both."
(A Beautiful Mind)

dustyfux
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2016 5:20 pm
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: Break It Down

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by dustyfux » Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:31 am

Hey, you're not alone. We all have boulders to push up the mountain, and we all deal with this fact differently.

I also have been dealing with anxiety and depression for the last two decades and I understand that it can come in and blindside the fuck out of you without notice. I've got my own set of rules to follow out there to keep that mindfuck roar down to a minimum and its worked for a dozen years.

That said, if I was having doubts at this point I'd still be packing. And I'd be talking to someone about my feelings

User avatar
mudpuppy000
Posts: 1552
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 3:54 pm
Burning Since: 2009
Camp Name: THE BELLIGERENT GAP
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by mudpuppy000 » Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:58 am

It's better to regret something you have done, than something you haven't done.

User avatar
Captain Goddammit
Posts: 8237
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 9:34 am
Burning Since: 2000
Camp Name: First Camp
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:19 am

Unless it's putting gerbils in your no-no
GreyCoyote: "At this rate it wont be long before he is Admiral Fukkit."

User avatar
lucky420
Posts: 8350
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:47 am
Burning Since: 2021
Camp Name: Dye with Dignity
Location: Reno, NV

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by lucky420 » Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:21 am

Captain Goddammit wrote:Unless it's putting gerbils in your no-no
the voice of experience?? :twisted:
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

User avatar
Jackass
Posts: 1968
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:25 pm
Location: way out in left field

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by Jackass » Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:23 am

I love it, things are already starting to get weird!
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

11th Principle: Depussyfication - Keeping Burning Man potentially lethal. Token

User avatar
Captain Goddammit
Posts: 8237
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 9:34 am
Burning Since: 2000
Camp Name: First Camp
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:24 am

Well I'm not a gerbil but I have a friend who is, and he says it sucked.
GreyCoyote: "At this rate it wont be long before he is Admiral Fukkit."

User avatar
Jackass
Posts: 1968
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:25 pm
Location: way out in left field

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by Jackass » Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:27 am

Did he mention that it's a shitty job?
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

11th Principle: Depussyfication - Keeping Burning Man potentially lethal. Token

User avatar
C.f.M.
Posts: 3610
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 1:28 pm
Burning Since: 2009
Camp Name: Stag Camp 810&D

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by C.f.M. » Thu Aug 18, 2016 11:01 am

Odds are fair you will experience the lowest you didn't know you could go to, and the highest that will make you cry relief because you forgot what joy feels like.

I have a saying, "a bad day at Burning Man is better than a good day in the real world."


If you know that you'll be able to take care of yourself despite whatever you're feeling at any given moment (ie, drink eat sunscreen warm clothes) I say go.

Sit on the esplanade with a sign reading "anxious and depressed, got a joke?" and see what happens...I bet there's an awful lot of people who'd sit down with you.

User avatar
some seeing eye
Posts: 2824
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:06 pm
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: Woo
Location: The Oregon

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by some seeing eye » Thu Aug 18, 2016 11:16 am

With your current travel schedule you are more a champ than most individuals!

This thread on tips for shy people may have applicable advice: viewtopic.php?t=45094

There are so many things to do solo or with a group that you will likely find something to match your mood at any given moment.

Generally most of the participants are warm, friendly and want to meet new people. After a chat if it feels right it is very easy to say, "do you want to go out exploring?"

Experiences include wandering out solo to the deep playa beyond the temple to just look up at the stars or watch the sunrise. If at night light yourself do no one accidentally runs into you. There are camps like the HeeBeeGeeBeeHealers who do body work, arrive early to sign up. They have a great quiet, friendly shaded space to just sit in daytimes. Make a stop at the Kostume Kult, Black Rock Boutique or other costume camps for a makeover. Leave your past regrets at the temple, though I would say it is an emotional space. If you want to be wild, there are many opportunities as well.

I have always found the event is a reset which creates optimism that anything is possible. That might be exactly what you need right now.

You will likely never need, it but Emergency Services has mental health services in a quiet chill space staffed by pros. Just ask a ranger. If you need any prescriptions, bring them.
increasing the signal to noise ratio with compassion

maladroit
Posts: 2330
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:37 pm
Burning Since: 2012

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by maladroit » Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:19 pm

I think that if you are already depressed, it's possible there will be a moment on the playa where you feel completely outside whatever is happening, you will probably trudge back to your tent and curl up and decide it was all a bad idea. Feeling alone in the middle of a crowd, feeling sad around so many happy people...it will throw things into deeper contrast than usual.

But...plan for this moment. Bring something special, like your favorite treat or your favorite song, make a promise to yourself now that you give it one extra day. This is your time, and many people stay in camp, read a book, take naps...whatever they need to recharge. You get to decide what your burn will be, you don't have to emulate what you think everyone else is doing.

I've had a moment like that every Burn, and you just have to go back to camp, eat something tasty, and say "no" to the city for a while. And then, venture out and say YES and somehow I've always had the best adventures afterwards :)

User avatar
Token
Posts: 4172
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2003 2:55 pm
Burning Since: 2001
Location: Gold Country, CA

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by Token » Thu Aug 18, 2016 1:34 pm

I'm with DustyFux on this. Decades of coping, so we may got some more coping under our belts.

If you are on medication, bring plenty, take religiously at same time each day every day. Being late / early with next does has big bad effects.

Have exit plan.

Have comfy soothing place in camp to retreat if needed.

Get sleep daily.

Be excited, follow the shiny.

If all else fails, 10 cc of anything 80 proof or higher will terminate a panic attack in minutes. Just don't go overdoing.

Go.

bubblygal
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2016 5:53 am
Burning Since: 2016

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by bubblygal » Sat Aug 20, 2016 1:24 pm

Dr. Pyro wrote:If you have to ask, I'd say No. You sound like a real buzzkill.
You're such an asshole haha... why even bother to answer with something like that. Thanks A LOT everyone else for the advice. Let's do this!!

User avatar
Ratty
Posts: 5827
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:43 pm
Burning Since: 2008
Camp Name: Tiger Man

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by Ratty » Sat Aug 20, 2016 2:42 pm

Bubblygal, Welcome to eplaya.
why even bother to answer with something like that.
Have you ever heard the expression "Fuck yer day". Well, get ready to hear it quite a bit. In the spirit of the event it's not a bad thing to say or have said to you. Rude remarks are taken in stride on the playa and not meant to offend. If you have thin skin, you're in a world of hurt. I can't speak for Doc Pyro's intentions. I won't make excuses either. Only Doc knows what he meant by that. If I were you I would just tell him 'Fuck your day' and consider it a non-event.
Those aren't buttermilk biscuits I'm lying on Savannah

Pictures or it didn't happen Greycoyote

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer

User avatar
Canoe
Posts: 3298
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by Canoe » Sat Aug 20, 2016 3:44 pm

Seems like you're managing.
  • As stated above, do take any meds strictly as directed. No self medicating.
    Stopping meds is one of the time-proven sure-fire ways to end up in difficulty at BRC.
  • Make sure you have medical/evacuation insurance to cover costs of any med-evac from the playa to Reno for treatment. This EVERYBODY should have.
  • Also, try to eat regularly. Hard for many to do in the heat, often reporting greatly reduced food intake, which may mess with your mind.
  • And hugely important, water. And electrolytes. With reduced food intake, even though you're not working out, this results in reduced electrolyte levels, which can mess with your body and hence your mind. This is called Playa Condition; search to read more on the symptoms to watch out for, and advice like always carrying water with you when you go out to explore BRC. Easily avoided with adequate water intake each day and - just-in-case - a supplement like Emergency-C packets added to a bottle of water once a day. Doctors on playa told me that one should be all anyone needs, but just about anyone should be fine if they enjoy three of those a day. Pedialyte (spelling?) is another more potent favourite on the playa, but overkill for most people. If you get in trouble, the med camps have treatments to get your body back on track, but it's cheap and easy to avoid that necessity that would take time way from your exploring and enjoying your Burn.
  • And speaking of which, should you find yourself in difficulty on the playa with mental/emotion issues, ask for directions to the Mental Health Services. Ask sooner rather than later, while the issue is smaller.
    Directions should be available from any BRC Ranger (http://burningman.org/event/black-rock- ... e/rangers/ search to know how to identify them from law enforcement), at any of the medical locations or at Playa Info at Centre Camp.
    You would not be the first to utilize these services - that is why they are there. If you feel you need them, like most things, accessing them sooner rather than later is better.
My own personal favourite piece of advice: Black Rock City is (usually) a wonderful place, but Usual Rules Apply. Be safe.
It's not a fairyland fantasy utopian ... I give up.

P.S. After my first Burn, back in Reno at Savemart recycle, while helping cleanup I encountered a Burner who had some obvious issues. He was complaining about how awful it was at Burning Man. Went on and on. He paused, then ended with "It's like that every year".

Another year, unable to go, on eplaya during the Burn I discovered a thread from someone evacuated to Reno who was trying to get back to the Playa after they were released from the hospital in Reno with nothing but her phone with dying battery, a few dollars and her hospital discharge papers. (note: there are reports that some manage to get a ride back to the playa in an ambulance, but Air Playa Info at the Reno airport is your best bet for getting assistance in selecting a safe Rideshare back to the playa)
Once a safe ride got her back to Gate, she was taken in hand and sorted out back to her camp.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
.
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

User avatar
BBadger
Posts: 5799
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:37 am
Burning Since: 2010
Location: (near) Portland, OR, USA

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by BBadger » Sat Aug 20, 2016 3:50 pm

And if a joking remark like Dr. Pyro's can set you off, maybe you shouldn't go.
"The essence of tyranny is not iron law. It is capricious law." -- Christopher Hitchens

Hate reading my replies? Click here to add me to your plonk (foe) list.

User avatar
Elorrum
Posts: 5395
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2008 9:09 pm
Burning Since: 2007
Camp Name: Baby fell in the Bucket
Location: Reno

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by Elorrum » Sat Aug 20, 2016 7:39 pm

Image
"Ask again later." - Magic 8-Ball

User avatar
FlyingMonkey
Posts: 1173
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:33 am

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by FlyingMonkey » Sun Aug 21, 2016 12:56 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:Unless it's putting gerbils in your no-no
The gerbils probably regretted it more :shock:
In your wildest dreams you can not imagine the marvelous SURPRISES that await YOU.

maladroit
Posts: 2330
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:37 pm
Burning Since: 2012

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by maladroit » Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:53 am

Turn your no-no into a yes-yes!

bubblygal
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2016 5:53 am
Burning Since: 2016

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by bubblygal » Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:06 am

For future reference, I went, and it was absolutely WONDERFUL. I also had a major fallout really early on with a guy (date) I had planned to go with (both for BM as well as decompression), and despite the blow, it was still wonderful. It's really not as scary as it seems. I'll be back next year. Fuck yer burn!

User avatar
Ratty
Posts: 5827
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:43 pm
Burning Since: 2008
Camp Name: Tiger Man

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by Ratty » Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:49 am

Yea for bubblygal! I'm glad you had a great time. If you're open to new experiences it's hard not to. Everybody has those 'playa moments' out there. The ones where you question your sanity and wish the wind would let up. Now get planning for next year. Different foods, how to better protect yourself from the elements etc...Don't be a stranger. Come to the 2017 Meet & Greet.
Those aren't buttermilk biscuits I'm lying on Savannah

Pictures or it didn't happen Greycoyote

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer

User avatar
Savannah
Moderator
Posts: 12508
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:33 pm
Burning Since: 2018

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by Savannah » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:01 pm

bubblygal wrote:For future reference, I went, and it was absolutely WONDERFUL. I also had a major fallout really early on with a guy (date) I had planned to go with (both for BM as well as decompression), and despite the blow, it was still wonderful. It's really not as scary as it seems. I'll be back next year. Fuck yer burn!
Yay! . . . I'm glad to hear you had an amazing time. Your first Burn probably won't even necessarily be your best. (They're all different.) Thank you for telling us how it went. :D

Oh--and having a falling out with a travel mate is pretty damned common. :lol:

There's some good stuff in the Relationship Survival Guide, which exists in the first place because the hard conditions test everyone. If you've never seen it before, take a gander.

http://burningman.org/event/preparation ... tionships/

.
*** 2018 Survival Guide ***

"I must've lost it when I was twerking at the trash fence." -- BBadger

"Snark away, ePlaya, you magnificent bastards." -- McStrangle

User avatar
Oldguy
Posts: 1520
Joined: Sun May 07, 2006 12:22 am
Burning Since: 2005
Location: LiveOak Cal

Re: Anxiety and Depression - should I go?

Post by Oldguy » Fri Sep 16, 2016 9:22 pm

Good for you. I suffer from clinical depression and have attended since 2005. I take every day Zoloft 100 mg. For panic attacks, I take Xanax. Staying ahead of the problem is half the battle. Medical problems can be controlled in harsh conditions. Drinking a gallon of water daily is the key. Using earplugs can lessen the noise, that helps me desensitize and reduce stress. Brava !
Image current moon
" Build your wall. we got tunnels. " - George Lopez

Post Reply

Return to “Q & A Tips and Tricks”