You are climbing down Rogers Center’s last stairs after The Weeknd’s Toronto tour show. With a sweat-soaked body and adrenaline-pumped heart from belting out songs previously roped off for shower sessions, you feel like you just left an illegal rave.
The Weeknd’s performance was transformative. You can swear your soul left the body during Starboy’s high-pitched notes and you feel like nothing will ever be the same again.
Grandiose statements about how your life changed forever flood your mind and run through your veins – plus, you are ready to write a three-page argumentative essay defending for anyone who thinks otherwise.
In some ways, it kind of is. You attended a show where reality ceased to exist. The only thing that really, absolutely, and unquestionably mattered for a few hours was the high you got from witnessing your music hero’s rawest form.
As you leave the venue with a hop in your step and a glint in your eye, a gloomy ecstasy comedown washes over you – that’s when post concert depression hits.
We’ve all been there. The beats stopped to leave room for a ringing silence and the artist vacated the stage in a manner that doesn’t vow an encore. But for some reason, you are still holding on to the front-row barrier, probably begging a security guy to give you five more minutes to pull yourself together.
WTF is post concert depression?
No, this is not a severe case of moshing or crowd surfing. Nor was your beloved music artist’s performance a wretched fiasco. You’re just down with post concert depression – also known as PCD – a popular phrase in the concert community that translates into a post-show grieving process.
But that’s how post concert depression feels like – it hits like a freight train and turns bliss into a seemingly incurable nostalgia. You feel abandoned in a puddle of sorrow and heartbreak when the mass exodus leaves the venue with their heads hanging in defeat.
You’re pretty much left in shambles, aimlessly scrolling through last night’s shaky videos while wearing shoddy merch for too many days to be socially acceptable. Post concert depression sounds like an addiction where you would travel five states for a one-hour show because it is not far from it.
Is post concert depression a real thing?
Or at least this is what science says. A foundation study that examined the psychological phenomenon found a correlation between dopamine production and live music performances.
Our brains have three happy hormones – serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine. The latter is released when we take steps to gratifying experiences, such as eating your beloved Chinese takeaway or buying something that has been on your radar for a while.
Well, the same rule of thumb applies to the whole attending-a-concert process. When you book the tickets, your brain makes it rain with the joy-fuelled chemical. When you realize that only a few days are separating you from your music demigod, your skull screams, “get this human being more happiness.”
By the time the concert’s setlist approaches its middle, the dopamine levels have reached higher levels than petrol prices.
Once the curtain falls on the show, your body runs on an almost non-existent amount of happy hormones.
In other words, post concert depression is a dopamine hangover that makes you feel like crap because there is nothing in your body to fight it.
If you relate but still feel lonely, the study further revealed that 90% of survey participants experienced a sense of euphoria immediately after the concert, while 60% of them suffered from separation anxiety feelings two weeks after.
For Christ’s sake, how do I make it stop?
Just like a heart-wrenching breakup, post concert depression hits hardest the next day. After the adrenaline rush jumps out the window, you have to – literally – face the music. One of the best nights from your short, millennial life bit the dust and there is no way to relieve it again because Musk is yet to have his time machine Eureka moment.
In the concert’s aftermath, you will need to return to your everyday life, which will seem inferior to how you felt 24 hours ago. You’ll label your daily routine as merely living, lingering on last night’s odds and ends. It’s a bittersweet high you ride on for days – until you hit the wall.
Since you can’t sit around and wait for a miracle from above to cure your post concert depression, we gathered a few things that might do the trick.
Share the pain
But not with the people who used a half-hearted “oh, that sounds cool” response to your “last night was amazing” sobbing phase.
They will make you feel like a needy outcast whose post concert depression shouldn’t be validated. Instead, search for the peeps who share the same die-hard fan spirit as you.
You might not have them in your social circles, but God bless the internet and its extensive Facebook groups, Twitter threads, and Reddit forums.
With some keyword research and a few minutes of scrolling, you are doomed to land on a digital playground where people share your thoughts, feelings and PCD symptoms.
Let it hurt
Running away from the heart-wrenching post concert depression will be your first instinct, but it will catch up with you at some point. Since everybody experiences this grieving process differently, forget about following a secret one-size-fits-all cure.
Letting PCD soak in can translate into a wide array of things. Blasting your music hero’s go-to tracks while driving solo might ease the pain.
Completely switching off from their music genre and discovering new music could fill your empty heart.
Buying merch and transforming it into your go-to PJs might sound like a consumerist approach, but it could make things easier.
Anyone can deal with post-concert depression in their own way. Reflect on what can be your ally in the ruthless post concert depression battle and go for that instead of avoiding the feeling.
Gratify your concert experience
Gushing about every song? Check. Routinely going back to that night through videos and photos? Double check. Looking forward to their next show? Triple check. It’s a full house – you got yourself a die-hard fan starter pack.
Although it might sound like an addiction withdrawal, thinking about what you now label as “the best night of your life” and finding ways to relieve it again might cure your broken heart.
Remember what we previously said about dopamine levels – through those steps, you’re trying to achieve something that could potentially flood your music aficionado soul with happiness.
The good tidings are that the post concert depression doesn’t linger for longer than two weeks.
But take this time to reflect on the feeling instead of dwelling on it. Concerts are transformative experiences where you connect with the lyrics, feel the music beats in your chest, and bond with your idol.
One day, you will get to relieve the feeling again. But the best thing is that your music hero’s discography is always there to catch you at your all-time lows and heydays – even though it is not always live.