“Event Drop” is a common phrase I’ve heard over the years to describe that feeling we’ve all experienced after participating in a large event. We get geared up and excited for a weekend of fun and absolutely enjoy ourselves. At the end of the event, we return home and return to our normal daily routine – but it’s just somehow not quite the same for a few days afterwards. We feel sad that we’re not hanging out with our friends, or others who are into the same fetishes as us, or that the event is over and we have to return to our daily routines. We find that returning to those daily routine seem less interesting or enjoyable. We’re tired, and nothing else, other than the weekend, the fun we had, and the people we met seem to matter while we eagerly await the next event so we can see everyone again and have more fun.
Event drop is normal. Basically, it’s a situational depression that is a short-term form of depression that can occur in the aftermath of various changes in your normal life. Most often, we see this when there is disappointment and loss or impending loss. I’ve seen this the most when speaking with pup’s and handler’s alike who return home from events to communities in which the pup/handler population is mostly non-existent, thus feeling the loss of the connection with other pups and handlers they’ve met and had fun with at the event.
What if the event drop doesn’t go away?
It’s true that everybody faces challenges, disappointment, and loss. It’s also true that stressful life circumstances can greatly increase the chances that anyone might become depressed. A person with situational depression may have symptoms that are more or less identical to someone with clinical depression, however, It’s only called depression when the predominant emotional state is sadness (or feeling “blue” or “down in the dumps”), the mood state is persistent (most every day for two weeks or longer), and is associated with other characteristic changes in sleep, appetite, concentration, sex drive and energy.
How do I know if it’s depression?
A person who is clinically depressed would have at least one of these two symptoms, nearly every day, for at least 2 weeks:
- An unusually sad mood
- Loss of enjoyment and interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
The person might also have these symptoms:
- Lack of energy and tiredness
- Feeling worthless or feeling guilty through not really at fault
- Thinking often about death or wishing to be dead
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Moving more slowly or sometimes becoming agitated and unable to settle
- Having sleeping difficulties or sometimes sleeping too much
- Loss of interest in food or sometimes eating too much. Changes in eating habits may lead to either loss of weight or weight gain.
Not every person who is depressed will have all of the symptoms as people differ in the number and severity of symptoms. The symptoms of depression affect emotions, thinking, behavior, and physical well-being.
- Emotions – Sadness, anxiety, guilt, anger, mood swings, lack of emotional responsiveness, feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, irritability.
- Thoughts – Frequent self-criticism, self-blame, worry, pessimism, impaired memory and concentration, indecisiveness and confusion, a tendency to believe others see you in a negative light, thoughts of death and suicide.
- Behavior – Crying spells, withdrawal from others, neglect of responsibilities, loss of interest in personal appearance, loss of motivation, slowed down, using alcohol or other drugs.
- Physical – Chronic fatigue, lack of energy, sleeping too much or too little, overeating or loss of appetite, constipation, weight loss or gain, headaches, irregular menstrual cycle, loss of sexual desire, unexplained aches and pains.
How you can help
If you think someone may be depressed and in need of help, approach them about your concerns. Choose a suitable time when you both can talk in a safe space. Don’t pressure them to talk right away.
Assess for suicide. Having depression increases the risk of suicide. Of those who have died by suicide, 43% had a mood disorder. Therefore, be alert to any invitations to ask about suicide. There are no secrets in suicide. If they can’t promise to stay safe, you may need to alert emergency services.
Take the time to listen – non-judgmentally & respectfully. Not sure how? Review some tips on Effective Communication to help you.
Offer emotional support and understanding. It’s more important for you to be genuinely caring than say all the right things. People with depression are often overwhelmed by irrational fears. It is important to be patient, persistent, and encouraging when supporting someone with depression. Offer kindness and attention even if it’s not reciprocated. Provide practical assistance with tasks, but be careful not to take over or encourage dependency.
Encourage appropriate professional help. Remember everyone feels down or sad at times, but it’s also important to recognize when depression is more than a temporary thing. Encourage them to seek professional help and seek treatment. Effective treatment – whether it’s medication, counseling/psychotherapy or both – can greatly enhance one’s ability to cope with the challenges they are facing. When seeking treatment, remember that we don’t always connect with someone. It’s alright to seek a new counselor/therapist until you find someone that works best for you. If you’re not sure where to turn to, most insurance programs have a mental health program, or, you can contact your local 2-1-1 to see about free community programs.
Finally, reach out and check in on someone you are concerned about, especially if you haven’t heard from them in a few days. Simply reaching out and checking in with someone can make all the difference in the world.
What I can I do to help myself with event drop?
There are some self-help strategies that you can use to help yourself through event drop. These include:
- Exercise, including aerobic (jogging or brisk walking) and anaerobic (weight training), or Yoga
- Engage in a hobby or activity. Find a hobby or activity that you can focus on to help take your mind of the event drop
- Simplify your life. Cut back on obligations when possible, and set reasonable goals for yourself. Give yourself permission to do less when you feel down.
- Write in a journal. Journaling, may improve mood by allowing you to express pain, anger, fear or other emotions.
- Read reputable self-help books and websites. Your doctor or therapist may be able to recommend books or websites to read.
- Locate helpful groups. Many organizations, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, offer education, support groups, counseling and other resources to help with depression. Employee assistance programs and religious groups also may offer help for mental health concerns.
- Don’t become isolated. Try to participate in social activities, and get together with family or friends regularly. Support groups for people with depression can help you connect to others facing similar challenges and share experiences.
- Learn ways to relax and manage your stress. Examples include meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga and tai chi.
- Structure your time. Plan your day. You may find it helps to make a list of daily tasks, use sticky notes as reminders or use a planner to stay organized.
- Don’t make important decisions when you’re down. Avoid decision-making when you’re feeling depressed, since you may not be thinking clearly.
Finally, find local support and friends to hang-out with or to call when you need somebody to lean on. Answer the phone when someone calls to check in with you. If you’re feeling really bad, reach out to one of your friends or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to speak anonymously with someone 24-hours a day.
If you or someone you know is in crisis or thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Trained counselors are available 24-hours a day.
Learn about the warning signs for suicide at http://www.suicidology.org/resources/warning-signs
Learn more about depression at https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003213.htm
-American Psychiatric Association (2000) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition, text revision (DSM-IV-TR). Washington, DC.
-Arsenault-Lapierre, G., Kim, C., and Turek, G. (2004) Psychiatric diagnoses in 3275 suicides: a meta-analysis. BMC Psychiatry. 4, 37.
-Mayo Clinic. Coping and support (July 22, 2015) retrieved 11/27/2015 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/basics/coping-support/con-20032977
-Kitchener, B.A., Jorm, A.F., and kelly, C.M., Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Missouri Department of Mental Health, and National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (2009) Mental Health First Aid USA.
Authored by boy tom, MHS