Bleed. We’ve all heard the term thrown around LARP circles. Maybe you’ve experienced it, maybe you haven’t, but you’ve definitely heard about it.
First things first, what the heck is it?
Technically there are two types of bleed. Bleed in and bleed out.
Bleed in is when aspects of your own out of character personality present in your in-character personality. This can also extend to things you may know that your character wouldn't know. Ignoring bleed in and allowing it to happen can often make bleed out a lot worse.
Bleed out is when aspects of your character's personality or emotions present in your normal life. This one is the trickier one to manage especially if your character has been through some heavy shit.
Before I talk about how to deal with bleed out once you have it I want to talk about how to avoid ending up with it in the first place, and that is through managing bleed in.
When you create and play your character make sure there are very tangible differences between you and your character. If you're new to RP don't make them so different from you that you couldn't possibly act like that character, Just make sure you're aware of the things that are different about them and you. You can write them down if this helps, but make sure there are 2-3 things that you remember easily that are different. Could be as simple as:
1. They are more sarcastic than I am
2. They eat people
3. They believe/don't believe in a deity (whichever is different for you)
When you talk about your character (and you are not playing them) make sure you refer to them in the third person, As a separate entity to you. Do not use I and Me. Use They/Them, He/Him, She/Her. Practice this and ruthlessly correct yourself if you slip into I/Me. Additionally, if they have done something that would be particularly out of character for you in real life, make note of that and avoid defending your character's actions, particularly aggressively.
Make sure you check out in the third person. Talk to a trusted group of friends and talk about things you saw their character do that you enjoyed. Don't talk about your character at all in the first instance. After everyone has talked about someone else, tell the group about something you're proud of your character for achieving. This helps separate and delineate you from your character and your character's actions.
Now the hard part.
You've done all this and you're experiencing bleed out hard.
First of all, is it bleed out? Or is it post LARP drop? What's the difference?
We know that bleed out is specifically character related, post LARP drop is not. It is a feeling of general lowness or depression, exhaustion, malaise that comes after the high of being with your friends, having fun etc.
If it is post LARP drop, chill out, get some rest, avoid making big life decisions and eat some junk food. You're gonna be fine.
If it is bleed out the cure is pretty much the same, But you may need to do some unpacking with someone you trust to see why you/your character is feeling those things.
That's where your warband comes in! Talk to them about your feelings! They understand a lot about what your character is going through and the more seasoned larpers among them can not only help you flavour your soup but they can help you unpack your feelings about an event or piece of online RP. Unpack those feelings using the same process I mentioned earlier and make sure to create a mental line between what your feelings are and what your character’s feelings are. If there is too much blurring between the two, it might be time to talk to your warband or other players about steering RP in a way that doesn’t have such a detrimental effect on your mental health.
Remember, you are here to play a game, to have fun, to have a break from your own life, not to make things worse for yourself. So stay healthy! Both mentally and physically.