this is why i’m weird about comic-con

I’m packing for Comic-Con, finalizing my set for w00tstock, getting all kinds of excited for Syfy’s Sharknado 2 party on Friday night, and locking down my character choices for the Welcome to Night Vale / Thrilling Adventure Hour crossover show on Saturday night.

I fold some jeans and put them into my suitcase and think to myself, “this is weird. I don’t feel panicky about Comic-Con at all.”

So, of course, my brain goes, “well, let me fix that for you” and I feel the nauseating well of panic swell up in my chest. My arms feel fifty feet long, my hands get cold and numb, and I realize that I’ve been clenching my jaw for several minutes. My ears actually pop when I release it.

Depression and anxiety are awesome*.

So I’m genuinely excited for all the cool things I will get to do this year, and I’m genuinely excited to be, at least in some fashion, a representative for Syfy, Geek & Sundry, and myself. I’m excited to see neat cosplay, visit with friends who I don’t get to see as often as I’d like, and for some things to happen that I can’t talk about in public at the moment.

… but occasionally things like this happen at Comic-Con, and then I get scared and overwhelmed, and don’t want to go outside.

I’ll do my best to be awesome, but if you see me at Comic-con, and I seem a little weird or off to you, this is probably why.

*not actually awesome

87 thoughts on “this is why i’m weird about comic-con”

  1. As someone with depression and anxiety I get this. I want to say how impressed I am that you are not letting the anxiety and panic stop you from going. I gave in to my anxiety and now I suffer from agoraphobia. Kudos to you for being so open about this.

  2. Zealots of any topic usually cause a distaste of the group or belief. I wish you a Con that is a positive one, full of RESPECTFUL love, adoration, and fandom fun. People forget that respect part a bit too often.

  3. I can understand this. I’ve had a few discusions with friends about celebrity encounters. And just watching television with groups of fans and paparazzi blah, I know it would drive me crazy after a while. Which is why I agree. Fuck those people who should at the very least be calm and courteous with their encounters, and not pummel and talk trash about those they look up to and admire when things don’t go according to THEIR wants and wishes, with no regard to who they may be inconveniencing. It’s called respect and common courtesy. They don’t become disposable the moment you want an autograph or a selfie.
    Unless a celebrity is attending an event of some sort where they expect and are okay to take part in fan interaction, don’t push it. Never be grabby, try to not scream bloody murder in excitement since I suspect behind the smile they’re wishing to BE murdered where it’ll be silent again, be respectful, and most of all don’t be a dick if they say they have to go before you get your personal encounter. They have shit to do
    ,and you’re there because you do not.

    Anywho. I always write a lot. Sorry.
    Have a decent day everyone. Have fun, Wil. Get yer geek on :)

  4. HI, I suffer from depression and anxiety which started after i had an accident and was stuck inside for months and I also suffer from chronic pain. I’m a massive star trek fan, I love the escapism and the ideal of a better future. Its one of the things that helps me to forget. Its also something that i share with my best friend. i had always wanted to go to a convention but it seemed like it wasnt going to happen as crowded places just caused me to have panic attacks. But my best friend bought us tickets to the 1st destination star trek London as a goal to work towards and with the help of my counsellor and my husband and friends i made it and even though there were some panicky moments I loved it , I met Brent Spiner and John de Lancie, i was just smiling all day and im looking forward to the next one this year! With that in mind I just dont understand why someone would want to in effect steal or aggressively take a moment or autograph from you?! surely as it would be unwillingly given it wouldnt mean anything, it would be tarnished? I would never force myself on someone like that its just awful and it ruins it for the rest of us genuine fans. I hope this doesnt happen to you again.

  5. I just want to give you a great big bear hug. I know that might be stressful so … yeah, I wouldn’t but I’d want to (I’m a hugger by nature) … but you are surely now one of my biggest heroes. I posted about your other blog post on my own page seeing as comments were closed. I want to thank you for your candidness about those kinds of encounters. It encouraged me regarding how I act (and get chided/pushed around for acting) with celebrities, and even other cosplayers. No one should have their personal space violated.

  6. This is the first time I’ve been able to read that blog post about the camping psychos, and while I could say before that I could imagine how stressful that can be, your words put more perspective to that imagined situation.

    I doubt I’ll ever see something like camping psychos in person, and I doubt I’ll ever understand them, or even the people who will wait in a line like civilized folk only to throw hate in someone’s face. I do understand that sharing things like this further proves why you’re an awesome dude, and if I were to meet you, I’d only want to say thank you for doing awesome things.

  7. I’m crew. You know what that means, and all it entails. For 32 years I’ve worked as a Steadicam® Operator around actors, dancers and performers. What has been a consistent and sad reality is that the people who suffer most intensely from “camping psychosis” ( brilliant ) are the folks least likely to be able to differentiate ANY person’s private life from their professional mantle. They cannot walk past Hugh Jackman or Halle Berry on the sidewalk and give a quick, ” Hey – love your work ! ”

    Folks do research on the syndrome of Celebrity Worship. ( http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2008/11/23/the-psychology-of-celebrity-worship/ ). For most people, it’s almost disabling to witness an intense confrontation. People are confused and unsure if they should step up, if they should interfere or try to reduce down the intensity of the moment.

    Since almost all of my work has been location shooting in New York City, I’ve seen copious examples of this kind of behavior.

    We’re all there to WORK, folks. If you are such a huge fan then show your support, admiration and fandom by stepping back. Enjoy that “zing” you get from having seen a celebrity you admire and know you did NOT get in the way of their work day.

    Attending a fan-centric event like Comic-Con must be tougher on performers who agree to attend and meet and greet. No matter how “big a fan” you may be, show the performer whose work you admire so much the respect of engaging them when it’s the right time, room and setting. In the elevator five hours later? Perhaps not so much.

    It seems that the percentages are mighty small of people suffering a true pathology.

    You’re attending Comic-Con? If you see a frightening situation emerging before you, a crush of üuber-fans doing what they did in the situation shared above, step up. Remind them that the event in toto exists because of a delicate balance of exposure to and respect for the actors attending.

    Have FUN at Comic-Con, and share the admiration and respect with the actors attending !

  8. I am very excited to say that I will be attending Comic-Con for the first time this year. I’ve been “meaning” to for years, but finally got tickets. Myself, the wife, and 2 kids will be attending.
    If we see you, we’ll give you a polite “Love your show!” and keep on truckin’.

  9. I’m really sorry that people like this have wrecked experiences like ComicCon for you, it’s really not cool. Just a couple of weeks ago I was at the Zoo with my son, looked over, thought “huh, that looks like Lorde” then realized it WAS Lorde.
    When I told someone about it they said “Oh did you take a selfie, with them in the background, did you ask for a picture with them?” Taken aback, I said “No, it was her day off, why would I interrupt that?” The most I would do is a quick smile then move on because everyone deserves their space, even when they’re a public figure.

    1. Good for you! I think this is such a good attitude about celebrities. Why would you want to bug someone who is trying to have a private moment/day/whatever?

  10. You are your own person, only you can make yourself happy and when it comes down to it…I do my own thing and if anyone doesn’t like it, then..u can guess the rest..haha. life is made of stress and anxiety…just flow with it and it shrinks away to nothing, and u always come out ahead.

  11. It’s really sad that GRRM had to post something like this too. I mean seeing Wil or George would totally make be nerdgasm I hope i would be able to contain myself

  12. This is very well written and so very honest. In the end, honesty, sincerity and authenticity are the hallmarks of good writers, good workers and, in short, decent human beings. All organizations and associations in my experience attract the weirdos, and possibly more especially anything to do with science fiction. Anyone with the slightest bit of “cop on” or common sense would understand and appreciate where you are coming from when you wrote your blog entry for 2011 which you linked above! Take care and enjoy the upcoming convention!

  13. Hi Will. I just walked by you & your lovely wife on the sky bridge here at SDCC. Didn’t want to bug you. Are you cool about being randomly stopped for a chat like that?

  14. I’ve met a few celebrities and I always feel like I am just doing something wrong if I approach them. The few times I met them, it was appropriate to say hello (a function). But I could NEVER approach someone just on the street or at comic con or something like that. I just imagine how I would feel with all these screaming people around me wanting autographs and pictures and all that. I’d probably have a coronary and die on the spot.

    So, I suggest you carry a piercing horn with you. You know those ones that are at football matches? When threatened, blare that and run the hell away!

  15. I’ve never been to a con in my life. However, I have spent my entire career in IT, so basically that’s like attending a con forty hours a week.

  16. i dunno – this is one comment in a sea. but should you get that wave, when it’s all overwhelming, come to Norfolk, VA. I have a 7 and 11 year old sons. We over the past year have taken up board games to combat the phones. I’ve brewed beer and have a minimalist beard. I’m now 40 and love the discovery with my boys. We argue, discuss rules which add another 45 minutes to bed time and I’m drinking Miller Lite because I’ve been too lazy over the past year to brew another batch. I try not to be a dick . I have watched TableTop before a game purchase and have bought some anyway despite your video. I am thankful for your influence in not only meaningful games but also the meaningful moment – that surpasses all understanding. I can only hope to leave the same legacy for at least one generation.
    Thanks, Wil.

    ~Matt

  17. I had an incident last year involving Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett) Where all I really wanted to do was say hi and that I appreciated his work which, of course, ousted him as a celebrity once people overheard what was going on. After the scene had died down (this was after he had finished eating at the restaurant I worked at.) He ended up asking me to give him and his wife a ride back to their hotel. One of the coolest nights of my life, riding in the car with Boba Fett and his wife and talking about English actors like Sylvester MCcoy whom they are friends with.

    I guess my point is that I didn’t want to cause an issue for him or gain anything from him but I felt like I caused him a lot of trouble. I like meeting Celebs because the celebs I like, its because of their personality. I would love to just sit and chill with Wil and listen to him tell stories over a cup of coffee because I think he’s brilliant and I’m sure I’d be laughing my ass off all night. Like with Boba Fett, We didnt really talk about his career, we talked about shared interest and about how awesome his wife is. (She is cool as shit).

    Anyways, Stay awesome Wil, I’m one of your fans even though I don’t care for Star Trek, And if I ever talk to you, It’s because I think your cool not because your Wil Wheaton.

  18. Wil,

    Saw the awesomeness that was w00tstock! Loved your intros and interactions with the Geek and Sundry panel [wish you could have stayed]! All I can say is that you have fans, you are appreciated, and depression and anxiety can just go take a flying leap.

  19. Happy Birthday! I doubt you will read this, but I just wanted to say HBD … and say I found it a shock today when I read you were 42. I am only 40… and for some reason I had always thought of you as much younger than me lol. Likely because I tend to re-watch my favorite shows, and did a back to back run of all the TNG shows just about a year ago or so. In any case, I hope you have a very happy birthday. (From Dave in Thailand)

  20. Happy Birthday Wil. Thank you again to you and everyone else who was involved with W00tstock and HopCon, I had an absolute blast.

  21. Wishing you a happy birthday from someone else with the same birthday. Hope yours is a good one and that this year continues with the awesome. I’ve enjoyed your blog and your writing for a good many years now; thanks for all the good stuff you do. My husband and I have been revisiting TNG in the past weeks and watching it again having read your blog really changes how I look at the character of Wesley Crusher as acted by you.
    Happiest birthday wishes and I hope that ComiCon is less scary and overwhelming and more fun and awesome.

  22. Unfortunately, today, we live in a society where too many people feel entitled. They can drive like total idiots because they need to be there quicker than everyone else. They can force what they want when it is not offered and then complain about how hard it was to get. The scary part is what they do when they cannot get what they should have. Being older, I remember being told you get what you earn. Not anymore.

  23. Reading your older post made me think of my visit to the beach recently. Geese were harrassing people for food and annoying everyone. Then I saw there were two ladies down the beach feeding them. I wanted to yell…you are making them aggressive! No one likes geese (or people) with an unearned sense of entitlement. I hope your obnoxious fans/geese go unrewarded for long enough that they learn to behave like civilized people. Hope this ComicCon was a positive experience.

  24. When I was younger I would often go to the stage door of whatever musical was playing in town and wait for some of the actors to come out. I often attended with a friend and we would wait patiently and politely ask for an autograph and talk about what we thought was awesome in a person’s performance. Though we could be giddy teenagers at times we were very much about not getting in the way and if someone came out who didn’t feel like stopping that was never a big deal. We’d wish them a goodnight and get the heck out of the way. But we were not the only one’s doing the stage door thing and man were there some crazy people. People who would tell the lady playing Christine in Phantom that she just wasn’t quite on par with Sarah Brightman after she had just given a brilliant performance. Or people who would not let some poor actor get past them to their bikes to go home after an exhausting show. At about age 18 I actually stepped in between one 30+ yr old woman and the guy playing Marius in Les Mis because she was literally pawing him and begging him to go out to dinner with her. She then assumed I was his girlfriend and started calling me some rather rude names until security showed up to escort her away from the theatre. It was bizarre and for someone who suffers from anxiety a rather uncomfortable experience, but I was damned if I would let that crazy woman think what she was doing was okay. People really just need to understand that everyone needs space and if you’re polite things are just so much better for all involved.

  25. I sometimes wonder about creative ways for celebrities to deal with pararazi. Like I imagine a celeb who is beset by so many photographers when they come out of a door that they cannot walk just stopping in their tracks and waiting, without responding to any of the verbal assault, even if it takes 15 minutes. If they just stood there and demonstrated that nothing of note is going to happen as long as they are crowded by the photogs, what would happen? Would they riot? Or would they finally stop shooting off their cameras and maybe take a step back?

    In the scenario that Wil talks about here, where people are demanding signatures and not getting out of the way, maybe something more dramatic is called for, like curling up in a fetal position and lying on the ground until people calm down.

  26. So many things cause stress and depression in daily life. Stress can appear in the body in many ways and forms. It is not easy to prevent stress. This is the number one health problem for most people. Although stress it self cannot be a cause of death, the side effects from it can be. Stress is brought on differently in every person and for some people; it is a debilitating disease that can ruin an entire life. One way to help prevent stress and depression is to have a good diet. You need to make sure that you are filling your body with healthy foods that will support your mental and physical health.

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