Burning Man & Mental Illness: Navigating Sober

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Elizardbest
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Burning Man & Mental Illness: Navigating Sober

Post by Elizardbest » Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:39 pm

I'm on here asking for support and advice.

I have bipolar disorder, and I am on medication for it. Because of my condition I have never done drugs and I drink very rarely. Usually I own my sobriety, and am fine with it, but I struggle with it at BM. Last year was my first year, and while it was an amazing experience, it was also incredibly isolating. I felt like I was surrounded by so many people (including my camp mates) that were enjoying their burn with the help of different intoxicants, and I couldn't meet them at their level. The result was people of the camp having profound bonding experiences, while I felt left out. I tried to own my burn and spent time on my own exploring the playa, but I just felt so isolated.

This past year I chose not to go, but I continue to have friends come back an tell me about all the incredible experiences they had, enhanced by drugs. I want to be able to do these things. I want to be able to bond with people and meet them at the same level, but I don't know if that's ever something I can do. It's actually really start to upset me, and I'm not entirely sure how to navigate this.

I know there are sober camps, and it makes me happy that there are, but is there any support network with those with mental illness (not in AA)?
Thank you

Meat Hunter
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Re: Burning Man & Mental Illness: Navigating Sober

Post by Meat Hunter » Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:50 pm

If there is not such a camp now, you may well be the mustard seed from which such a camp can grow and prosper from.

All it takes is two to make a camp. You have taken the first step.

There is a Q&A section on the BM home (with a good bit of insider information) you might wish to give them a try -- there may already be a like group already formed.

Good luck and all the best to ya.
Specializing in Calibrating Windsocks -- Any where, Any Time, and Any elevation.

Vidi ego exars.

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Burning Man & Mental Illness: Navigating Sober

Post by Captain Goddammit » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:57 am

The so-called burners who need to do drugs to have a good time at Burning Man are fucking losers you don’t need to be around.
Those people aren’t what’s good at Burning Man. They’re what’s wrong with it.
GreyCoyote: "At this rate it wont be long before he is Admiral Fukkit."

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lucky420
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Re: Burning Man & Mental Illness: Navigating Sober

Post by lucky420 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:49 am

Captain Goddammit wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:57 am
The so-called burners who need to do drugs to have a good time at Burning Man are fucking losers you don’t need to be around.
Those people aren’t what’s good at Burning Man. They’re what’s wrong with it.
Jesus Christ, could you be anymore judgy Judy? Tell me Captain, do you enjoy a cocktail or 2 while at the burn?
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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some seeing eye
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Re: Burning Man & Mental Illness: Navigating Sober

Post by some seeing eye » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:03 am

An ex had this, untreated. It's common among artists and there are a lot of artists at burning man. There are 80,000 people at the event and in your regional https://regionals.burningman.org/ there are going to be all kinds of people. Many burners I find have warm open personalities and are curious about meeting people. There is a big crossover between Burning Man and the yoga crowd. Artists are another community. Within the electronic dance community there can be drug use.

So find new friends! Find a camp that you can meet in person throughout the coming year, ideally in person, and get involved in their activities.

I would also suggest reading the tips for shy persons thread viewtopic.php?f=3&t=45094 and search ePlaya for anxiety and empathic and see if any of that is your experience.

The usual rationalization for alterants are to enhance sensory experiences - primarily visual and sound. For some people they lower social inhibitions. But many to most go inside themselves, are less interactive in a meaningful way with people around them and lose the ability to read nonverbal communications. Which is sad because it's the best place on earth to experience on your own natural brain chemicals and to have person to person interactions with no expectations.

There are likely Faceboo groups discussing this somewhere, but you can't beat finding others like yourself to chat in person in your regional. You can also seek out a psychologist in your area who is a several year burner and schedule one session with them, it should not need to be ongoing.
increasing the signal to noise ratio with compassion

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666isMONEY
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Re: Burning Man & Mental Illness: Navigating Sober

Post by 666isMONEY » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:36 am

I'm pretty much a day-tripper (crazies come out at night), waking up before sunrise to hit the all-night playa-party-raves. There's lots of sober places to hang out and meet people. Center Camp and Reverbia (an acoustic music stage with great shade structure on Esplanade around 2:45) are my faves.

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Elderberry
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Re: Burning Man & Mental Illness: Navigating Sober

Post by Elderberry » Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:20 pm

You tell 'em!
lucky420 wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:49 am
Captain Goddammit wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:57 am
The so-called burners who need to do drugs to have a good time at Burning Man are fucking losers you don’t need to be around.
Those people aren’t what’s good at Burning Man. They’re what’s wrong with it.
Jesus Christ, could you be anymore judgy Judy? Tell me Captain, do you enjoy a cocktail or 2 while at the burn?
JK
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Then I realized that the Lord doesn't work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Burning Man & Mental Illness: Navigating Sober

Post by Captain Goddammit » Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:30 pm

lucky420 wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:49 am


Jesus Christ, could you be anymore judgy Judy? Tell me Captain, do you enjoy a cocktail or 2 while at the burn?
If I can find a way to be more judgemental toward the drug crowd I’ll certainly try to.
GreyCoyote: "At this rate it wont be long before he is Admiral Fukkit."

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unjonharley
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Re: Burning Man & Mental Illness: Navigating Sober

Post by unjonharley » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:57 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:30 pm
lucky420 wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:49 am


Jesus Christ, could you be anymore judgy Judy? Tell me Captain, do you enjoy a cocktail or 2 while at the burn?
If I can find a way to be more judgemental toward the drug crowd I’ll certainly try to.
I hardly agree with the damn captain .. In this case I Do agree .. If a person can not have fun without drugs .. That person is a LOSER !! My camp made three mental interventions this year .. We are not the only camp that will reach out to a person in need ..
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

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lucky420
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Re: Burning Man & Mental Illness: Navigating Sober

Post by lucky420 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:29 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:30 pm
lucky420 wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:49 am


Jesus Christ, could you be anymore judgy Judy? Tell me Captain, do you enjoy a cocktail or 2 while at the burn?
If I can find a way to be more judgemental toward the drug crowd I’ll certainly try to.
Lol I know
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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lucky420
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Re: Burning Man & Mental Illness: Navigating Sober

Post by lucky420 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:34 pm

unjonharley wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:57 pm
Captain Goddammit wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:30 pm
lucky420 wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:49 am


Jesus Christ, could you be anymore judgy Judy? Tell me Captain, do you enjoy a cocktail or 2 while at the burn?
If I can find a way to be more judgemental toward the drug crowd I’ll certainly try to.
I hardly agree with the damn captain .. In this case I Do agree .. If a person can not have fun without drugs .. That person is a LOSER !! My camp made three mental interventions this year .. We are not the only camp that will reach out to a person in need ..

Meow
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Token
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Re: Burning Man & Mental Illness: Navigating Sober

Post by Token » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:22 pm

Elizardbest wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:39 pm

I want to be able to do these things. I want to be able to bond with people and meet them at the same level, but I don't know if that's ever something I can do.
So, back to the original question ...

It seems to me that your “friends” are taking drugs to reach hypomania, mania and psychosis ... you know, all the glorious things that make getting high super fun!

Sadly, Bipolar disorder, depending on type, is more or less the same ride.

It seems you’re taking care of yourself already with treatment and that is a grand thing.

Now you need to decide if all that work to keep yourself between more reasonable mood states is worth the promise of some shared experience that may not be all that. You’ve already been ther,done that, and chose it ain’t all that.

I think you already know the answers.

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lucky420
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Re: Burning Man & Mental Illness: Navigating Sober

Post by lucky420 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:40 pm

Wise words ^^^
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Lonesomebri
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Re: Burning Man & Mental Illness: Navigating Sober

Post by Lonesomebri » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:15 pm

We tried to help
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alt12
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Re: Burning Man & Mental Illness: Navigating Sober

Post by alt12 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:11 am

Elizardbest wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:39 pm
Last year was my first year, and while it was an amazing experience, it was also incredibly isolating. I felt like I was surrounded by so many people (including my camp mates) that were enjoying their burn with the help of different intoxicants, and I couldn't meet them at their level. The result was people of the camp having profound bonding experiences, while I felt left out. I tried to own my burn and spent time on my own exploring the playa, but I just felt so isolated.
Did they really tell you "i had an incredible experience enhanced by substances"? or are you assuming that the experience was enhanced by substances? In my experience absolutely unnecessary to do any drugs there and have incredible life-changing experiences. It has much more to do with your intention, attitude and relationship to the event going in than any substance you take.

And let's not gloss over the many people who have horrific times on LSD out there, bad trips, bad MDMA experience (yes that's possible) and leave the event in a shambles. (I had a friend who had a near suicide attempt his first year out there after taking LSD for the first time, never came back to BM). Not to mention those with mental illness who go off their meds drop acid and end-up getting medi-Vac to Reno psych hospital (I know a few of those as well). There is definitely a dark side to all the drugs, its not all cuddle puddles.

I think perhaps you are glorifying the drug aspect from a place of feeling like you're missing out, which is totally understandable but also totally does not need to be true. I didn't do any drugs this year and spent time with people on all sorts of substances (where I was the only person in my group not on mushrooms or not on MDMA) and I just find for me it doesn't matter. On the contrary, people are more open on drugs so if you can open yourself up a bit you may find you can connect even better with people who are on drugs even if you're not becaue they are more open to connection.

And to take it a bit deeper, I find that BM really reflects back to us with amplification the issues we are dealing with in our day to day lives. I would question whether this dynamic affects you in the default as well and if so, suggest that addressing it there will help you to address how it shows up at BM too. In other words, you could use this as an opportunity to explore and work on that particular issue in your life (assuming it is an issue in your life). Then next time you go to BM it will really show you where you are with it, and hopefully, how much you've grown. I certainly find that to be the case in my life and in my relationship with BM over the years....

That being said, its pretty common to feel isolated at BM if its your first year and don't really know anyone and are part of a large camp where you're not super connected with the camp mates. And, if that was you, one piece of advice: come early. Help set-up the camp or work on a project or something pre-event. That will radically change your connectedness to the people and the event itself.

Hope that is helpful....

Elizardbest
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Re: Burning Man & Mental Illness: Navigating Sober

Post by Elizardbest » Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:29 pm

Thank you all for the helpful advice, and interesting thoughts. It's great to get a lot of different perspectives on this, and I agree alt12 that this might be an amplification of other issues I deal with in my default life. You all have definitely left me with a lot to ponder! Thank you!! :) <3

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