You just bid the Ultra weekend goodbye. Less than 24 hours ago, you were basking in its vibrant atmosphere of electronic dance music, mixed with alcohol, sun, rain, mud, and everything. But now, it’s back to reality again and you’re left to deal with that empty chasm in your chest, all alone. I’ve been through this many times, inflicting this torture upon myself. So perhaps I am in the right position to diagnose you – You have PUD, Post-Ultra Depression, sometimes more commonly known as its generic counterpart, Post-Concert Depression. I’m sorry.
PUD works in a similar way as grief. You’ve just experienced the death of a good time, so that explains it. The first step to curing yourself is to understand what you’ve got so let’s look at the phases of PUD to know how bad your condition really is:
Your wound is the rawest here and the chasm within your chest the deepest. You question yourself uncontrollably: “Is it really over?”, “How can it be?”, “How could that amazing-ness just end like that?”, “It’s not Monday yet right?”, ” It’s not you, it’s me, no wait it’s you how can this be over????” You just can’t believe it’s over and that the concert gods have blessed you with this experience. Symptoms of this stage include scrolling through the pictures and videos you took at hours on end.
I have to say only a minority goes through this stage. The denial you’ve experienced has now evolved into a bout of PMS, especially when you still have one full leg in the denial pool. When your friends start to post their photos and videos, their long captions about how great of a time they had at Ultra, you start to feel a burning within you – the empty chasm is now a fire pit. YOU. REFUSE. TO. ACCEPT. THAT. IT’S. OVER. And you just want to tell the world to stop talking about, stop saying it’s over!
Because you’ve reached such a stage of helplessness, the need to regain control of your life and emotions begin and the process of bargainings starts. “If only I lived in the moment more”, “If only I listen to all the songs before this weekend”, “If only I danced harder”, “If only I took more pictures/videos”, “If only I brought my poncho”, “If only I didn’t wear white shoes”… If only you didn’t have PUD, oops.
You will reach a low you never thought you’d experience, as this is the part where the first three stages will culminate. The mourning for that wonderful feeling of adrenaline and high you’ve experienced in the two days will come crashing upon you, especially when the reality of life starts to sink in – Yes, the work, deadlines, and commitments you ignored during the past weekend… They still exist.
Time heals all wounds, indeed. If you’re not at this stage yet, chant “this too shall past” 10 times, your PUD just might go away. If not, chant for 10 more times. Sooner or later, you’ll come to accept and be thankful that you even got the opportunity to experience something like that. Yes, you’ll actually find yourself looking back and smiling at all the fun you had – muddy legs, sweaty bodies, drunken craziness and all, because you got a chance to dance to your favourite DJ and the company you went with. Such a thing can happen, believe it or not.
PUD has the power to affect us so deeply because when you feel the bass climb and come to a drop, you feel like your adrenaline alone is enough to get you through life’s hardships. When you finally get the chance to see your favourite DJ/band live, be it 5m away, 30m away or 100m away, you can’t believe this could actually happen. When your favourite song that’s been on repeat for the past month is finally played right in front of you, you thank God for forgiving all your sins. Concerts and music festivals present us with the feeling that we can live forever. And that’s what makes PUD all the more unbearable.