What do you do when you get back from an intense LARP and you find yourself dealing with post-larp drop and emotional bleed?
I couldn’t find a good guide online, but I’ve developed my own best pracices over time. I wrote them up after Conscience, easily the toughest bleed I ever had to live through.
I’m making a separate post for it here, so I can link to it after LARPs that I’m playing in. I believe in using bleed as a self-reflective tool for life improvement, and that’s a big part of my post-larp process. Your mileage may vary!
- ..that you’re going to bleed, and that it’s going to suck. Feel your feelings.
- ..that you’re not going to get many things done in the coming days, and you’re not going to have a productive week
- ..that you will have to go to things: jobs, birthday parties, lunches, and that you are not going to be the life of the party there
Take care of yourself
- Apply time: sleep, binge-watch a show, listen to songs on repeat, look at endless facebook updates, or whatever you want to do
- Get your oxytocin: Ask for many hugs, get a massage
- Nudge yourself to do things that you know are good for you: taking a shower, mindfulness, sports, taking a walk in nature, creative pursuits, etc.
- Nudge yourself to clean up your larp stuff, do laundry, etc.
- If you have the budget: buy comfort food that’s also healthy. Otherwise, alternate comfort food with healthy food.
Separate yourself from the character
- As soon as you are able after the game, stop referring to your character in “I” form and to your fellow players as “you”. “I loved it when my character said this and then your character said that”
- Change your hair back, put on normal clothes, go back to being you
- Start listening to normal music again, instead of the songs that remind you of the game.
- Feel free to transition this slowly if that makes you more comfortable. I will often have one song on repeat on my first post-larp day, and one or more items of larp clothes. Gradually, I’ll be able to put them away.
Engage with your game intellectually
- Write your game report, from first-person perspective if you like.
- Reflect on your play experience. What personal lessons did you learn from your character? In which way are you like your character, in which way are you different? What aspects from your character did you admire and do you want to develop in real life? How can you develop those traits in yourself?
- What in-game interpersonal relationships reminded you of your real-life interpersonal relationships? Did you gain a new perspective on them?
- Put your story into a broader perspective, look at it abstractly and draw parallels to the real world. What did the larp teach you about the way the world works? What societal structures did you experience? Who do you empathize with more now?
- Reflect on the game design. How did the game design work to make an intense experience? How do the cogs fit together?
- Get in touch with people after the game and talk about it. Ask them some questions about their real-life: do they have a steady partner, kids, pets? What do they do in real life? What is their life like? How is it different from their character? Get to know the person behind the character, and realise this is who they really are!
- Reflect on the difference between your relationship with this person, and the relationship between your characters. How do they differ? In what ways are they the same? In what ways would you like them to be the same? Does this tell you more about what kind of relationships you would like to foster in real life? How can you find and develop those kind of relationships?
- If you can’t get in touch, write a small story about the character and contrast it with the player. Compare your feelings for both. Say goodbye to this fictional person.
That’s all that I’ve learned so far.
If you’re reading this while you’re bleeding. Take care! <3