Mental health issues can impact everyday life in a countless number of ways and it is quite easy to fall into its jaws. The real world can be dark and daunting, which makes it a difficult battle to maintain a positive attitude. However, the fictitious universe(s) can also have an affect on handling mental health too. Whether it’s something that correlates to the real world or simply getting to the end. Post-Series Depression (PSD) isn’t a topic that’s openly discussed, at least outside the individual fandoms. There is a stigma around getting depressed from books, games, film, and series. It is often faced with comments like “Oh, it isn’t even real.”
But Post-Series Depression is quite real and should be tackled respectfully
Of course, it’s not limited to just post-series depression as you can get post-movie depression, post-game depression, and post-anime depression. Just for ease, I’ll refer to it as Post-Series Depression as it’s all connected.
Post-Series Depression has the potential to be damaging if not handled correctly. Most of the time the feeling will pass in a short period of time (few days). Depression itself is difficult to talk about and power through. So, if the cause is from something that seems trivial like getting to the end of a TV series, it can be extremely difficult to open up. Not exactly an easy discussion that the thing that’s got you down isn’t work, money, friendship related but something in a fictitious world. While I haven’t faced such comments, mainly because I haven’t openly discussed this type of feeling, I feel it’s something I want to address.
Why does Post-Series Depression happen?
I don’t believe there is a great mystery behind it but I everyone will have their own thoughts and opinions. My interpretation is getting an odd empty feeling after finishing a book or series is a natural occurrence, because you want more than what was presented. As a side note, credit to the creators for creating an extremely amazing piece of fiction.
One of my gifts, and curses, is an ability to get absorbed into the world of fiction. Growing up with anxiety and depression, it’s a nice comfort to get away from the harshness and find a reassurance in a different world. In short, it’s good to forget myself for a little while. Using fiction to escape is a juvenile way of dealing with problems, but it can be extremely effective if used right. If used wrong, it can cause problems to worsen, so finding the happy medium is difficult. For me, I try to always stay in control and never run away from my problems. The escapes are to help empower me to tackle the issues head-on. However, a piece of media can strike a certain cord within and it just lingers on and on. Getting invested into something can leave a void once it’s all over.
How to shift the feeling of Post-Series Depression
The fact remains, post-series depression is a thing and maybe there’s more to it than getting to the end of the fiction itself. There’s many different ways you can connect to a piece of media and I suppose the more connections you make the more of an impact it can make on you. The first course of action is to self-reflect, is there a reason why this feeling has come about? Could be there was something within the fictional world that resonated with you or reminded you of a real-life issue you’re facing? Perhaps it’s a chance to sort out a real-life issue? Regardless, there are tactics to getting clear of Post-Entertainment Depression if self reflection yields no results.
1. Take a break
Finishing off something that leaves a powerful void within you isn’t easy to replace. In fact, I would argue that if you find something equally or more powerful to replace it straight away, you may find you’ll end up with a stronger feeling of post-series depression afterwards. The danger here is you may end up simply chasing something to fill that void which doesn’t exist. On the other hand, it may just work if you choose something that leaves a great impression but does so in a way that you don’t feel empty at the end.. All in all, maybe best to try some different hobbies for a little while.
2. Talk about it
Like with standard depression and anxiety, talking about what’s on your mind is a great coping mechanism. People who have either gone through a similar situation or know the franchise well can offer words of wisdom or support. Sometimes all that is required is just a little help to process everything.
3. Write about it
Something that crops up regularly is to write fan fiction (and by that extent read fan-fiction) to help overcome the emptiness. Perhaps there wasn’t a sufficient enough ending for you or there were loose ends that didn’t get tied up. Writing out new scenarios can help ease the sadness. You could also write a review (for yourself or make it public online) as that could help too. If fan-fcition isn’t your thing then you could simply read other people’s reviews and opinions on it.
Giving the franchise another go through can help ease the burden. You may find little details you missed first time around and it’ll help process everything. Throwing yourself into a franchise for the first time can be daunting and by giving it another go can help with the processing of it. It also reinstates that even though you’ve completed it you can come back to it and it’s not gone.
5. Look into prequels, sequels, spin-offs, and alternative adaptations etc.
Sometimes these pieces of fiction are spread across different types of medias or gets expanded on in certain ways, so there’s potentially more for you to discover. Dedicated fans may have created their own extension to the franchise such as game mods/fan games, fan-fiction, soundtrack covers, animations, and live action videos etc. People may have also created memes which will help lighten the burden. Plus, you could create something in celebration of the fictional world.
6. Extras and behind the scenes
Watching behind the scenes can help too and can even bring you back to reality how it is just a fabrication. For example, if you’re stuck on a character’s death then you probably can see interviews with the actor/actress, which may help that really they’re not actually dead-dead. It’s little extras that keep the magic of the world going.
7. Join a fandom
Many of the fictitious universes out there have a following and joining one is an excellent way of getting over the sadness. Rather than this is the end of something, it’s the beginning. If there isn’t a fandom for what you’ve just witnessed, then you could set one up. You can make friends with people who like the franchise and the feelings of bitter and emptiness are filled by making these new connections. You can’t be left feeling too sad if as a result you make new friends or acquaintances!
8. Purchasing goodies/soundtrack/extras
When it comes to these elements of fiction there is also a market to sell goods from it. Having a little physical reminder like the soundtrack or figurine can immortalise the fictitious world. They’re no longer lost to the digital world and become more accessible to your eyes and ears, so to speak. Instead of having to load it up to enjoy it you can glance across to your shelf or put on the music as you’re doing something else. Also, by supporting the creators it may convince them to create more. For me, if something leaves an impact I save an image of it and add to my desktop wallpaper slideshow – occasionally one of these epic shots will pop up to give me a bittersweet reminder.
9. Moving on and finding something new
When you feel it’s about time to move on find something new to jump into, go for it. Who knows whatever you’ll pick next will have a similar affect on you, but that’s all part of the excitement and fun. If something powerful can linger on inside you, then that is something special. All forms of art and entertainment whether it’s paintings, music, games, films, series, books, manga, anime etc. are there to provoke the emotions and if something can have a profound effect then it’s done a powerful job. While the sadness is an awful feeling, I personally love the bitter-sweetness of it. I tip my hat to any creation that isn’t easily forgettable, if at all. At this point it is a challenge; can what you produce leave a lasting impression on me or will it simply get forgotten?
What sparked this post off?
It would be fair to assume that I’ve fallen into the trap of Post-Series Depression recently and yes you would be right. Probably only fair to share what it was. An anime called Your Lie in April (Japanese title: Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso). There are so many things within it that has resonated within me and left a lasting impression. Anime is one of my unsung hobbies and I keep it on the down low. It’s a planned topic for another day.
Getting back, there were certain key things I wanted to happen in the series as I was watching. Some of these never came to fruition, which is probably why the series has lodged itself in my head. The fact it didn’t turn out how I really hoped it would doesn’t make it a bad series, in fact quite the opposite in this instance. In case you’re interested in the series then here’s a link to where you can watch it: https://www.crunchyroll.com/en-gb/your-lie-in-april (includes both the English Dub and English subtitles version).
Rounding off Post-Series Depression
Post-Series Depression may not be as serious as depression and anxiety itself but it still is important to tackle. While it normally disappears within a few days, that isn’t guaranteed and if there are any other underlining issues like anxiety or depression then it can add to it and not shift. Which is why something like Post-Series Depression is important to deal with as it can be dealt with much easier than other mental health issues. When suffering from mental health issues the last thing you want is any more burdens weighing you down. But as a final thought, if something leaves a profound impression on you it can help keep your mind off any other negative thoughts.
In fact, I’m interested to know has there been any pieces of entertainment that caused you to have a post-entertainment depression?
Until the next time, take care!