Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

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Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby LongWayUp » Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:42 pm

[trigger warning: jaded burner pity party]

This will be my 10th burn. I must confess that it just feels like a lot of pointless work right now and I'm not feeling the thrill.

The camp that I usually go with seemed like they were breaking up, most of the core people aren't going this year, so I decided to withdraw from that camp, and I signed up to go with a theme camp that I went with a couple years ago. Last week I went to one of their planning meetings and felt like their energy and mine didn't mix well. I'm not going to identify them here, but let's call them Knitting Camp. They're nice people, but I really have no interest in attending crocheting workshops or wandering around the playa yarn-bombing things. More power to them, it's just not my thing. I didn't do much stitching when I was with them before, and I'm even less interested now. I don't think I can just show up to build camp, do my workshifts, and then run away for the week having adventures, because they're really focused on having people in camp participating in their afternoon scarf-making ceremonies--which I totally understand, because that's the whole point of a theme camp.

Maybe I should just keep shopping for a camp, but I don't feel like I have a lot of energy to be outgoing and participatory right now. I'm really stressed out about work, family, and relationships and it makes me very low and anti-social. I should be working on costumes, soldering EL-wire, making packing lists, arranging transportation, and going to build parties on the weekends, but it doesn't feel real--it seems like after all these years I've fallen away from the burn, and I don't know how to get back to being excited about it. I don't like being this way because I don't want my mood to affect anyone else negatively; I guess I feel safe doing it on ePlaya because it seems like with all the snark, everyone here is tough enough to take it.

I keep trying to imagine what it will be like out there, with all the fire, lasers, nudity, techno, drama, and all the other things that I love, and I just feel like I have no emotional space to let the festival into me. I have to keep my mind on my job and personal responsibilities, and I can't get into character as a burner. It's like all that I've built up over the last 10 years is a ramshackle art project that blew away in a dust storm, and I am just too tired and sore and busy to chase it down again.

I keep telling myself that I work hard all year so that I can play hard on the playa, and I am trying to remember how to play, how to let myself get swept up into the excitement.

Have any of you ever been through this kind of disconnection from Burning Man? Did you end up going anyways? How did it work out for you?
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby Dr. Pyro » Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:55 pm

LongWayUp wrote: .

Maybe I should just keep shopping for a camp, but I don't feel like I have a lot of energy to be outgoing and participatory right now.


With that attitude you're certainly won't.
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby Eric » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:15 pm

You've been going for ten years - go solo. You don't need all the foo-foo-fluff of a theme camp, and as long as you have a place to sleep, food & water, you're golden. If you have a shade structure, you're platinum. That way you can do everything at your own speed, and answer to no-one.

Other option - find a newbie with a ticket, and bring them. Mentor them on how to do a small camp, and explore the playa with them - nothing gets the jaded out of your soul like experiencing the playa through virgin eyes, even if they're attached to someone else's head.

Last option: sell your ticket & take a year off. I've had to miss three Burns, two of those in a row. I can honestly tell you that coming back after those two years was like being a born-again virgin - I was so excited about everything I thought I was going to blow up. A little break can do wonders for you.
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby Ratty » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:51 pm

I took a year off and stayed glued to the live feed. Come solo. I have never belonged to a camp. You can see the playa through different eyes when you are on your own. You won't be lonely. You won't starve. Bring a garden umbrella and put it up when you need shade. flake out in some common shade. Eat nuts and cup o noodles. Have a ball. I'll be on 5:15 & G and in a silver toyota van. Come on by. I'll serve you some cheeze whiz and crackers with wine or beer. Don't skip this year! Do it differently.
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby trilobyte » Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:20 pm

Too long; didn't read. It's not so much that I wanted to be a jerk, but I wanted to skim over any triggers and certainly don't want to knock on either your camp plans or the way you've been feeling.

If you're unable to feel excited about going.... don't go. Take a year off - you can save the dough or find another travel destination and rock it like the veteran burner you are. Pass the ticket along to someone who's excited about it, someone you think might benefit from the experience (whether they're a veteran or a newbie). My gf and I have had a couple gap years. Don't get me wrong, I do love the playa... but the break from Burning Man was great. We saved some dough, explored places we hadn't been, and came back with sparkles and excitement in our eyes. Do what makes you happy.
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby AntiM » Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:31 pm

I get feeling worn out too. All the work, all the worry. But I get out to the dust and feel it is all worth it. Of course, our theme camp is teensy, and self-serve, which means no grand schedule of events. That helps me. Go solo. Join a village. Bring a newbie. We have a newb this year, and while we may or may not do anything together, it is a good feeling to be the safety net for a beginner.

Maybe volunteer for something new and different.

Or yeah, take a year off.
Some sunshine, some dust, a little paint and a tutu. Yeah.
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby Token » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:00 pm

That all sounds depressing. Have you considered talking to someone trained in dealing with this type of stuff?
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby LongWayUp » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:09 pm

Token wrote:That all sounds depressing. Have you considered talking to someone trained in dealing with this type of stuff?


You mean counseling? I've been giving it some thought, as at this point I'm not sure if the way I'm feeling is normal or if I need some help. I think that's part of what I'm doing in asking about this on ePlaya, to get an idea about whether I'm just going through typical pre-burn uncertainty, or if these feelings are a red flag.
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby Jovankat » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:41 pm

I'm a big believer in talking things through so I totally get where you're coming from with posting here but I can also totally recommend talking to a professional. It's their job and in my experience I'm constantly surprised at how good they are at helping you get to the bottom of things. Especially if you'relucky enough to have a therapist who's a burner. Ask around in your local community and see if you can find one. But yeah, it sounds like maybe things are not all well generally if something you've loved so hard for so long is just not getting you excited anymore. Or maybe you're growing out of it, which would be fine, but it sounds like it's a pretty big part of who you are and that can be hard. I've had a similar experience with my career in the last year, it has been such a huge part of who I am for so long but it's just not making me happy any more so I need to stop doing it. But it's who I am so that's easier said then done. Talking to a therapist is really helping.

And finally I'm not an experienced burner like you but believe me I know all too well how the playa can intensify underlying issues. I went out there unhappy with my life because of my career last year and ended up having a serious meltdown. Being at Burning Man and feeling like you don't belong sucks SO HARD so at the very least make sure you're in a position that if you decide you don't want to be there you can leave.
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby Eric » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:41 pm

LongWayUp wrote:I think that's part of what I'm doing in asking about this on ePlaya, to get an idea about whether I'm just going through typical pre-burn uncertainty, or if these feelings are a red flag.


Since everyone deals with pre-burn uncertainly differently, there is no "typical" to base your behavior off of. Even more importantly, your starting post in this thread is all anyone here knows of you, putting your trust in random strangers to see if you have greater issues is... unwise. If you're seeing a "red flag" in your feelings, talk to a professional in your area & see if they agree.
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby Jovankat » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:46 pm

Eric wrote:
LongWayUp wrote:I think that's part of what I'm doing in asking about this on ePlaya, to get an idea about whether I'm just going through typical pre-burn uncertainty, or if these feelings are a red flag.


Since everyone deals with pre-burn uncertainly differently, there is no "typical" to base your behavior off of. Even more importantly, your starting post in this thread is all anyone here knows of you, putting your trust in random strangers to see if you have greater issues is... unwise. If you're seeing a "red flag" in your feelings, talk to a professional in your area & see if they agree.

Yup. Worst case scenario you spend a little money having a professional tell you you're totally sane. If your car was making funny noises you'd get a mechanic to look under the hood right?
it's just a fucking picnic in the desert, but it's with some of the best people on earth.
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby Lonesomebri » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:31 pm

Ha, I remember going to a "professional". As I told him what was bothering me he said, "Do you really want to talk about this?" It was depressing him too much. His greatest contribution was, after I asked him anything, replying "Well, how do you feel about that?" The same quality of input I ask from any other professional, like my car mechanic. Good luck with that. Half your beef seems to be having the energy for others, for a camp, for getting stuff together. Forget that shit this year and deal with yourself. Sounds like you got your stuff together enough to handle it lonestyle. There is no spirit you are expected to be in, then. There is no character you have to get in. It's just you, like right now, but with the nudity and lasers. If you go, you can always go alone and kick ass, no expectations. If you don't go, work it out. I got issues up the yang, but Burning Man ain't no thang. GO BY YOURSELF AND KICK ASS.
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:45 pm

Yup.

Sounds like you're in a rut and there's a billion ways to burn.

Go solo and don't visit the old stomping grounds or visit anyone you know, and your experience will HAVE to be different. 8)
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby Sunbeam56 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:16 pm

"Yup. Worst case scenario you spend a little money having a professional tell you you're totally sane. If your car was making funny noises you'd get a mechanic to look under the hood right?"

This is good advice.
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:21 pm

You can decide to go with this camp and support them in the back end--building, cooking, etc., rather than doing the knitting thing.

And maybe I just put that there to be contrary. But even within the confine of this camp, you have choices.
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby Savannah » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:47 pm

Check your messages, LongWayUp.
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby bluemiragemi » Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:48 am

You rock for asking for advice or just putting it out there about the rawness of how you feel. That's fucking awesome and something the world needs more of.

That being said, maybe take some time to yourself? Take a walk. Meditate. Invest in YOU, even if it is something small like reading a book you really like or painting on a canvas, even if you don't know "how to paint". I don't. It helped.

Don't do anything that isn't going to serve you. At the same time, feelings of being unable to get enthusiastic and frustrated with life CAN be depression. That's OK. You're human, shit happens. Talk to a professional if you have good health insurance and can get it paid for. Talk to a professional if you feel you need or want to. Try it once and see what you think. Know that some therapists are way better than others. Some people love it, some don't.

You're already ahead of the game by trying to figure out WHAT you want to do and WHY. Let it percolate and just be you. You're awesome the way you are, whatever you decide.

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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby Captain Goddammit » Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:49 am

It always pushes a hot button when someone seems to think they have to be in someone else's camp.
I'm surprised to hear it from a vet burner.

You and I are very similar, in circumstance.
I've been going just as long as you, and I've had years off here and there (including this one - fuck it I'm jumping on a plane to Hawaii). As awesome as Burning Man is, if you do the same thing every summer, you do get burned out. There's only a handful of people left from when you and I started going. The majority of my original local personal burner friends have moved on.
I think what you are describing is perfectly normal.
Even last year, after a 4 year break, I wasn't feeling the excitement I used to.
I'm gonna say take a year off. Or two. And forget the theme camps. Lower your workload for next time.
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby Fidget » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:22 am

Maybe try and think of the burn as something that's not a huge stress and instead a break from what you've been feeling. You've been 10 years so you'll know how much of an emotional reset the playa can be.
What you're feeling is totally normal man, people forget that depression is the other side of the coin from happiness, you're meant to feel it. Especially with cause - if you've got family drama, and life and work are bringing you down that's totally OK. People get into low points in there life but you can either hide from it or take it head on and learn from it; the latter is daunting but almost always the most healthy route to take.

As for going to the burn; man go solo! Forget all the normal trappings you usually take and just pack up your essentials and go it alone out there. Even better, find an ear that's willing to listen and talk to them about your troubles. I've found the best therapy in hard times is the ear of a considerate stranger. These are people who have no per-conceived notions of you or your life and tend not to judge you but offer straight, honest advice. I can't think of a better place to find this.

And I LOVE Eric's suggestion of mentoring a birgin burner!
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby Eric » Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:11 pm

Fidget wrote:And I LOVE Eric's suggestion of mentoring a birgin burner!


I wish it was my suggestion - it's been around for ages. In my first year, I was one of three virgins our camp brought (and I'm also the one who got dust in my blood, obviously), and both as Piss Clear and now as BRC Weekly we've long recommended bringing a virgin as a way to refresh your experience. It's a playa truism. It really helps.
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby Elderberry » Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:29 pm

Wellbutrin
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby Zrob » Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:34 pm

If you decide to not go....and you're from Seattle, find someone in the knitting camp with the initials K. R./burn name Crash.
Tell her that you've got a ticket to sell and she has a friend in Colorado who wants to buy that ticket.
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby tahiti_treat » Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:51 pm

My husband and I were both having trouble getting into the spirit this year. Too much else on our plates. Neither of us was feeling it, even though we had wanted to go so badly back in September after last year's burn (which we didn't attend). Then this past weekend, we put our camp's dome up in our backyard to test it. We also dragged the playa-covered totes up from the basement and BOOM. Now it's all either of us can think about. I'm vibrating and can't wait to get out there.

Maybe it would help to force yourself to do some of those things you've been putting off; making lists, building shit, costumes etc? If you start doing the work maybe you'll get into it. Or, if it feels like drudgery, maybe it's a sign you should take a year off.
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby Ano » Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:54 pm

I'm feeling something similar here... There's been a lot of ridiculous bullshit leading up to this month where things are seemingly good - mental health issues with someone, another person with family emergencies, and lots of people depending on me to create something that I'm not able to really create. Although, finally, about 40ish days before I leave, it appears things have smoothed out, beyond a few minor speedbumps that will be fixed with time, but... I'm just not feeling it right now. I've burned out after months of stress. I've had the equipment to build a figjam bucket cooler sitting with me for a few days now, and I can't get myself to touching it... I've lined up my bins, ready to go through them to find everything I need, but... I just can't find the energy to do it. This will only be my fourth year, so I'm not really able to call myself a jaded veteran (I'm still a huge newbie, as far as I'm concerned), but I certainly feel jaded about the whole thing. I think it's more my life situation than anything, though - working a job I don't like, in a town I don't enjoy, endless amounts of energy-draining boredom - but I figure it will pass once it's actually time to panic...

Is it time to panic yet? Can I panic? I don't know...
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby LongWayUp » Thu Aug 07, 2014 3:42 pm

An update:

So, I have decided to camp with "Knitting Camp". It's not really _my_ camp, but I realized that it's going to be cold out there and they'll have plenty of wool and other cozy fabrics with which I can make a nice cuddly blanket to spread around myself and others on those cold nights.

I'm doing better, mostly because I've been exercising more--lots of swimming and dancing. That is my big Tip & Trick for all of you--if you are getting too stressed or unhappy about the burn this year, have a nice vigorous swim or go for a run. It has done wonders for my ability to sustain a positive mood.

Making lists has been helpful for stoking the fire. The sheer act of writing down things that I should acquire and preparative actions I should take has helped me to think more positively. It is a way of making wishes and making a genie of myself, and that seems to be working pretty well so far.

I have also been working on an art project, mostly just using up excess craft supplies I've had lying around, and it looks like this is the year that I will display one of those silly amateurish pieces in front of our camp where you walk by it on your way to get a bloody mary and although you do not break your stride, you are amused by it for a moment and are glad you are in a city where everyone has so much charmingly bad art to share. Working on this sculpture has been soothing for me, as when I put my energy into assembling it I can stop thinking about being jaded for a little while and just focus on the sheer act of creation.

And I am also progressing, in a reasonably inspired fashion, on a project that will allow me to "go it alone", as was helpfully suggested by so many of you: I will be serving mixed drinks and mixed techno from my bike cart bar in the deep playa, for those who are thirsty and antsy in the middle of nowhere.
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby Savannah » Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:20 pm

That all sounds lovely.

Glad to see you feeling refreshed and hopeful. :)
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby Ratty » Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:35 pm

LWU, (I like the way that rolls off my tongue). I'm glad you're feeling more enthusiastic. Grab a notebook and start jotting down names and playa addresses. Drop in on eplayans. Introduce yourself and you'll never be lonely or lost in the dust. Come visit us at 5:15 and G. Silver van, yellow tent. Demand a beer and poo poos.
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby aserendipity » Thu Aug 07, 2014 7:24 pm

Please come to ALC at 6:15 and D

and find me as a no longer working in the field of woe
but definitely could appreciate your story , and techno talk in deep playa

My problem is that I am addicted to the playa
and wish I could retire but it is the purist portal of energy I know.

xoA.
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby Gunslinger » Fri Aug 08, 2014 12:56 pm

Last summer my girlfriend and I (who I met at a prior Burn of all places~yeah don't start) broke up. I couldn't see myself going not only without her, but thinking of us being there and being separate. It taxed my excitement and dragged down the whole conceptual experience in my head. I decided that I didn't want to gift my shit attitude to the playa, so I let some virgin have my ticket (lucky bastard taking advantage of my predicament) and backpacked the Tetons instead. I had many a solo reflection moment and some incredible experiences and washed away plenty of playa dust and sin. Which is why I'm excited as hell to get back there this year and recoat myself :mrgreen:
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Re: Vet burner having trouble getting into the spirit

Postby brcprincess » Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:15 pm

Maybe take a year off? I've done it twice when I was feeling burned out and my enthusiasm was reborn when I returned the following year.
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