How BTS Is Helping Me Cope With Grief And Post Concert Depression In 2021

So, see you next year or in 2023?

This article was written in collaboration with Erica Luna and Angelo de Cartagena

What exactly is post concert depression? While science has yet to formally and completely make sense of it beyond fan culture, here are ways how to deal, with a lot of help from BTS, of course.

Live concerts might still be a thing of the past, at least for us in this corner of the world, there is one thing that hasn’t changed even when the experience is transposed to the virtual space. Remember when after watching your favorite pop star or band play, you’d get this aching void override whatever daze and euphoria you’ve managed to chalk up—and it has only been a few minutes since the encore? Well, for many who have had the good fortune of witness a larger-than-life musical experience such as in the case of let’s say, Britney Spears, Spice Girls, or BTS, this feeling what many have since self-diagnosed as post concert depression.


The Deal With Post Concert Depression

bts muster 2021

Now, clinically and psychologically, post concert depression (PCD) hasn’t been studied just yet. However, while it is more fan culture than science at this point, it doesn’t make the emotional journey and mental residuals less real. In a thorough report on Medium, following the qualitative and quantitative analysis extracted from ARMYs across the world, a clinical definition of PCD was derived.

“The sudden, overwhelming, and rapid downward crash, characterized by a feeling of recurring emptiness, disappointment, longing, and heartache, after a very long-awaited fulfilling high moment, which often comes as a realization that the moment, and how fun and euphoric it felt, is truly over and is precipitated by the wish to relive the moment, followed by a fear of never getting the chance (or anxiety of having to wait to get the chance) to relive the moment again,” it states. “It may also include the annoyance and regret of things you didn’t get to do during the moment, a self-inflicted withdrawal from the real world (usually by spacing out and ruminating about the event, demotivation to do anything, or an overall somber mood) caused by a denial of having to return to a normal life after such an event, and a tendency to talk about the details of the moment obsessively or crave for similar content.”

Just like many of you who have a memory of something similar, this is exactly what happened to me following the 2021 Muster Sowoozoo of BTS earlier this month. Even it was held online, I felt the same surge of emotions as I watched RM, Jin, Jimin, V, Suga, J-Hope, and Jungkook disappear before my eyes, as well of the pang of pain that lingered long after the screen turned black.

Duty To Feel

Before you say that I am overreacting over these seven boys from South Korea who wouldn’t know that I exist, will you just try to go back to your own memory. Yes, that one night where you sang every word, felt every melody and for an hour or so, you were, as the song Lights says, “connected through sound” with the artist and the people in the room or the performance hall. 

post concert depression army bts

I never had the chance to attend any of the BTS live performances so what how am I feeling this way? As an ARMY, I feel that I have the duty to help everyone I could as we continue to live and create a life in the four corners of our own rooms closing in on us by the day. That, and to celebrate the eight challenging but very rewarding years of Bangtan Sonyeondan. Now, to make sense of post concert depression, as well as to acknowlede and honor all the feels, here are my own 8 ways on how I’ve been coping with this form of grief. It’s a process, so let’s go through it together, yes?

Listening to BTS the Best on Spotify

On top of coming to terms with post concert depression and other personal points of grief, here I am, mourning the loss of a missed opportunity to be one degree closer to one of my k-drama favorites. Naturally, I found myself listening to BTS’ latest Japanese album, BTS, The Best. I liked Film Out when it was released last April, but the words didn’t mean a lot until I got slapped with a probably “you-are-not-good-enough” slip yet again. As I let the album play in the background, the Japanese version of Not Today was BTS’ reminder that this situation doesn’t define me as a writer. If anything, it was a challenge whether I needed to be a part of an exclusive presscon in order to create an article that gives the actor the justice that he deserves.

Playing BTS World 

bts post concert depression

When I decided to temporarily leave my current job less than a year ago, I had a lot of time on my hands. So, I downloaded this game with very low expectations and it had sasaeng-vibes in the first few chapters into the game. Now stuck at Level 44 on my phone and 32 on my Samsung tablet, I think I know a lot more about how to promote a boy band than ever, as this game focuses on you as BTS’ manager. Collecting photocards within this alternative universe makes my obsession and my wallet at bay. I also dare you to not have LSS or last song syndrome with its official soundtrack.

Purchasing fan-made merch

I couldn’t wait for that special day where a huge box from Weverse Shop arrives at my doorstep. But until that day comes, I started to bring more BTS into my life, from the shirt that I wore during the release of Butter to the customized, purple vinyl sticker that reminds me of RM’s iconic rap lines in Ddaeng, supporting local businesses during a pandemic never felt so good. I always find myself smiling whenever I wash my hands because my soap is called “Holding Hands with Namjoon.” As my social media account gets flooded with more content from the septet, I get hit by countless BTS-inspired paraphernalia, from glass paintings to bento cakes that make me drool at 2 AM.

Looking for memes and crackhead videos on YouTube

My Twitter account was not active for years until I became a part of the ARMY in 2020. This social media platform is one of the many ways that the Bangtan Boys interact with fans through their @BTS_twt account. But what makes Twitter a goldmine for ARMYs is the memes that they create. Usually taken from BTS’ appearances, the ARMY never fails to make something funny and witty. If you find yourself crying at any time of the day, whether through yet another bout of post concert depression, try checking KOOKIESTAETAS, tiger taehyunq or jeonlina on YouTube and you will find yourself tearing up because of laughter. Run BTS is their own show that can make comedians lose their job over BTS. But the edited videos of the boys on these platforms can Save Me from my own black hole. 

Reading I Decided to Live as Me

First spotted in Bon Voyage Season 3, Jungkook brought this book with him to Malta. A bestseller in South Korea, ApopBooks released the first english translation in the Philippines last October 2020. As a Namjoon stan, I had a long reading list to at least have an idea on how his “sexy brain” works. But I thought that I should start with something more relatable. Packed with calming illustrations and no holds barred advice such as “Don’t blindly work hard just because you’re anxious,” author Soo Hyun Kim teaches you to fiercely live according to what is good and what feels good for you. If the golden maknae is using this book as he navigates adulthood, I think everyone of us can also learn a thing or two from this book, heaving post concert depression on your heart or not.

Communicating with fellow ARMYs on social media

I would consider myself a Baby ARMY as I only became part of the fandom in 2020. My first BTS-related Instagram story triggered a number of unexpected responses from a lot of people, from batchmates in elementary school to former and current officemates. One conversation led to another, and BTS has revitalized a lot of my friendships and strengthened my current relationships. I don’t think that I am allowed to disclose which Facebook groups that I am a member of, because more than anything, I respect the privacy of the people involved in it. These communities in social media, together with the stan accounts that I interact with, became my sanctuary, a space of no judgment where I can share my unfiltered thoughts about anything bangtan.

Supporting BTS’ new releases and ARMYs donation drives

We all have very limited time and resources. And being part of the ARMY comes with a lot of responsibilities. I was never pressured to participate at all, but I consciously make an effort to return the entertainment and artistry that BTS has given me. Whether it is purchasing their latest collaboration merch, streaming new content or video shared on BangtanTV at 12:00 AM KST, or donating to a legitimate philanthropy effort by fans such as the Magic Shop community pantry by Borahae from Manila, I encourage you to spread the love. Take for example McDonald’s Philippines who first shared the BTS to the frontliners last June 16. Give what you can, with what you have because we all have the responsibility to Make It Right. Besides, while large scale live events may not be permitted just yet, this could help get you through that post concert depression.

Rewatching BTS content on Vlive and Weverse

After seeing the boys perform in the Seoul Olympic Stadium this year, I realized why a lot of people can’t Jimout from BTS. Their music, performance, or visuals may have caught your attention, but it’s their personalities that made you love each of them. We all have our favorites, but let’s admit it, we know that your bias will never be as good as he is now if it weren’t for the other six that makes him shine even more. Seeing BTS running around the stage, throwing water at each other and how they fought against the bugs while performing reminded me of the precious moments in Bon Voyage, In the Soop, the Bangtan Bombs and Burn the Stage.

A lot has to be ratified in the community of psychology, but for me, post concert depression is indeed real. I can even dare say that after all the drastic changes lately in my life, I need more than just BTS to keep me sane. As Namjoon rapped in the end of the song of last week’s 6th Muster, “People change, things change, everything changes. After this pandemic, what will be here? We don’t know, but one thing for sure: we will just move on.” And, I am taking BTS with me.

So, will we see each other then and go through a tear-stricken, dazed PCD after? Here’s to hoping.