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How a 'Supernatural' Fan Convention Helped My Mental Health

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Fan conventions — the land of the nerds, as you might say. A place where hundreds of fans come together and enjoy a weekend dedicated to a fandom.

Many people may view this as a waste of time or money. I view it as a chance to feel included. From the second you walk into a convention, the vibe is upbeat, though slightly nervous. Everyone is there for the same reason: because they love the show.

I recently attended a “Supernatural” convention. I expected to have fun and meet some people, but what I got was so much more. The second I stepped through the doors, I realized I was in a no-judgment zone. People proudly wore mental health shirts and donated to the mental health charity tables; people wore tank tops showing their scars and no one stared; fan support workers calmed down nervous fans. I was no longer self-conscious about being in a wheelchair because of a pain flare up because I wasn’t the only one. I witnessed groups of people help sobbing people to the bathrooms. I witnessed brave souls sharing their stories on stage. I witnessed growth. I witnessed acceptance on a level I never had before. I passed people with pride flags draped over their shoulders and bonded with people in line over anxiety attacks and depression.

young woman with supernatural actor richard speight jr who plays the angel Gabriel at fan convention

I found so much more than a fandom; I found a community. I found that even when I was panicking, I knew I wasn’t alone. I left the theater when I needed to without worrying about what people would think. I didn’t hide my anxiety behind a mask, and nothing bad happened. No one told me not to be dramatic; no one told me to suck it up. I left knowing I had joined a community where struggle only brings you closer. I left knowing I don’t always have to hide.

young woman with supernatural actor Ruth Connell who plays witch Rowena MacLeod at fan convention

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Originally published: April 4, 2018
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