Most of us have reached our Burning Man quota and are ready to move on to discussing other distasteful things such as pumpkin spice season — but not everyone. Some burners who recently returned from Black Rock Desert are now experiencing a sort of PBSD- a post-burn stress disorder. Symptoms of the post-festival withdrawal include massive whining, sensitivity to noise and crowds, an obsession with David Bowie’s ashes and the overwhelming desire to wear Day-glo costumes. The New York Post reports on the unusual phenomenon affecting these unfortunate souls who can’t seem to readjust to normal city life after experiencing the zen magic of the desert event.
“You have cars honking at you, subway doors closing on you, and people’s MO is to serve themselves and not you. It’s very harsh — it’s very hard to leave Burning Man,” laments Dina Kaplan, a five-time Burning Man veteran. “You’re trying desperately to hold onto the good energy [of] Burning Man, but it is so hard to do that amid the bustle of NYC.”
As such, many of those trying to cope with a post-Burn depression are now attending support groups — aka “decompression parties” — around the city.
The letdown is particularly hard for corporate types who return finding themselves questioning their city way of life.
“How do you transition back? You feel fake — you feel like you’re an impostor. I experience depression because I have impostor syndrome — that’s what I suffer for weeks coming back,” says Joanna Nabholz, a mom of three kids under 6 who works in tech. “You feel like you’re lying to yourself.”
Kaplan concurs, ““You find people who question their job or who quit their corporate environment — some job that’s not their mission.”