Support ESC Insight on Patreon

What Is Post Eurovision Depression and How To Address It Written by on May 15, 2023

The Eurovision Song Contest is over for another year. The bubble has burst, and thousands of fans return to normality instead of the escapism of the Song Contest. A phrase that people throw around this time of year is ‘Post Eurovision Depression’. But what is PED, and what can you do to best cope with it? Nicky Teare writes for ESC Insight. 

The term depression within society is used for symptoms with a wide range, from low mood levels to clinical depression. The term PED is widely used in our community to describe feelings in the aftermath of the Contest, but this does not diminish the complexity and impact that depression can cause. Never be afraid to talk about how you feel to a medical professional. They will listen.

What We Are Talking About

In the days and weeks after every Eurovision Song Contest, many people feel the emotional power of the Contest being over. The community has settled on the term Post Eurovision Depression (often shortened to PED), which can have a different meaning for each person who experiences it. A general definition though could be the feelings of sadness, hopelessness, emptiness and a lack of desire to engage in life that many fans experience in the period following the Song Contest. For some, it can manifest as the credits roll over the reprisal of the winning song late on Saturday night. For others, it may not really be noticeable until days, or even weeks, after the Contest.

Common usage of the term seems to have risen alongside the widespread use of social media in the late noughties, with the now defunct “The Post Eurovision Depression (PED) Support Group” set up on Facebook in 2010. ESC Insight had an article on “The Top Twenty Five Signs of Post Eurovision Depression” in 2013, with the 2019 Eurovision musical “Let Me Be The One immortalising the term “PED” in song.

Many fans may not experience PED. After full-on indulgence in the Eurovision season, for some, there can be a feeling of slight relief when it comes to an end. Many do not want to see anything Eurovision related for months. Contradictory thoughts and feelings within all of us are common, so it is possible to be a bit sick and tired of Eurovision and feel a sense of emptiness now that it is over.

Why Many Will Be Experiencing PED

Certain types of therapy look at purpose and meaning in life as being central to our sense of well-being. Not in the sense of finding the meaning of life, but exploring the idea that each one of us is individually striving to give meaning and purpose to our own individual existence. This can be in the larger sense of an overall reason for living, and also in terms of something to bring meaning and purpose to each day.

There is no hierarchy to these meanings and they are many and varied. Some people find that their life is given meaning by their career, others by their friends and family or pets, some by the travails of their football team and I’d suggest many of us find purpose and meaning in Eurovision.

From late autumn spent watching first quarter-finals from Lithuania or Estonia, through to the glitter cannons firing as the winning act takes to the stage for the reprise in May, for many fans daily life may be increasingly illuminated by Eurovision as the season progresses. A new song, a National Final, the prospect of an event ahead where friends will be seen or met for the first time, or even a struggle to negotiate a ticket website can add a lot of purpose to a day.

Once the Eurovision Song Contest is over, the meaning and purpose that has flowed through daily life suddenly disappears. The source of much of your focus, anticipation, energy, time, thoughts and emotions for the last five months has been removed.

Experiencing feelings of depression as a result of this may be seen as a perfectly reasonable reaction, rather than something abnormal to be cured. Indeed, rather than framing the question in terms of what is wrong with those suffering from PED, it may be better to ask how on earth some others are not suffering from it.

Another potential area to consider with Post Eurovision Depression is the idea of the coping strategy or defence mechanism that is distraction. Letting a hobby consume your time and thoughts and impact your emotions can be a very welcome – and very valid- means of not thinking about other areas of your life that may be causing you difficulties. Once this distraction disappears it can leave you feeling exposed, with thoughts, feelings and circumstances you may be struggling to deal with coming back into focus.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a commonly referenced theory that could also offer clues as to the roots of PED for some people. He suggested that as well as physiological needs such as food, water, warmth and sleep and the need for safety, we also have psychological needs. Without these being met, we can become anxious or depressed. Although like any community, the Eurovision one can be isolating and have ruptures, three of the needs defined by Maslow in particular seem to get met through Eurovision and the surrounding people.

Friendships, belonging to a group or tribe and connection with others all seem highly relevant to reasons why the Eurovision season may bring a sense of well-being that fades from mid-May. There are also what Maslow terms “esteem needs”, such as receiving attention and recognition, that seem to be met for some through the wonderful thing that is the world of Eurovision.

Johann Hari has also written considerably on depression, especially around the idea of loneliness and how social connection with a shared purpose can help alleviate depression. The Eurovision Song Contest seems to me to offer this in abundance. This can be in the form of meeting up with friends at various events, but also in the sense of warm interactions with people who you may have never met before through a shared moment of enjoyment on the dancefloor, or a quick chat about your favourites in the queue for an event.

There are many views on the role of social media in terms of its impact on human interaction, but in the Eurovision world a strong online community offers many people connections during the Eurovision season. This doesn’t necessarily disappear immediately after the Song Contest’s Grand Final, but there is very little happening in the Eurovision world to instinctively react to and fuel engagement in the community. Some may feel familiar faces and interactions that they were used to having on an almost daily basis slow down, to the point where they feel far more isolated than they did during the season.

It’s Not Just Eurovision

Whilst Eurovision is unique, the idea of post-event depression certainly isn’t unique to this extravaganza. Low mood tends to be experienced by many after Christmas and New Year – an event some people spend a long time planning and building towards and often a time featuring lots of social interaction. American writer Hunter S Thompson, an avid NFL fan, was never a fan of the period of the year following the Superbowl and took his own life in February 2005, leaving behind a suicide note entitled “Football Season Is Over”.

Suggestions for alleviating PED

Rather than offer advice, I’d be minded to listen and offer empathy and understanding to anyone dealing with feelings of PED. Every person will have their own specific needs, feelings and circumstances, but for those who do find themselves susceptible to PED, a few potential techniques to think about could be as follows. These suggestions may help some, and they may also be the last thing some others need, or are even capable of. Learning what has an impact for you as an individual is key.

  • Work towards accepting that PED is a valid feeling, not one imbued with any shame.
  • Talk about your feelings as openly as you feel able to, maybe with someone else who is in a similar position, or someone you trust. Or a therapist. They will not laugh.
  • Potentially look at creating other meanings. That could be picking up an interest you’d not given much attention to since Festivali i Këngës started, booking in a catch up with a friend or a trip out somewhere, or just planning for Junior Eurovision in Nice come November. Very small purposes can sometimes create a shift – it doesn’t have to be a time of finding an overarching life project to direct yourself towards.
  • Be kind to yourself. Accept your limits and if the period after Eurovision is a time when doing nothing but rewatching the contest is all you can be arsed doing, then do that. It’s not a case of “curing” your PED, just maybe feeling slightly less terrible.
  • Do something for someone else. The “self-care” industry may suggest a route back to tranquillity is having a bath and lighting some £30 scented candles, which may work for you, but sometimes feeling you’ve made a difference to another person can create a sense of well-being.
  • Keep up your social connections, even if this is a quick message to someone on social media you had interacted with during the season.
  • Unlike the post-Christmas period, light nights and warmer weather may be present post Eurovision, at least in Europe. Although the “get outside for a walk and you’ll be fine” school of therapy can seem a little simplistic, being out and about in nature and the world can help some feel slightly better.

If you feel that you are at risk of harm to yourself, ask for help from medical services where you are. Some may suggest that going to a doctor and saying “I feel depressed because Eurovision is over” is a bit ridiculous, but hopefully this article has helped to show that these feelings are about much more than just a TV show. Instead it’s about the purpose that many of us take from everything else that happens outside of the TV screen.

The ESC Insight team, and some friends of the parish, talk about their experiences with Post Eurovision Depression and how we address it here.

You Can Support ESC Insight on Patreon

ESC Insight's Patreon page is now live; click here to see what it's all about, and how you can get involved and directly support our coverage of your Eurovision Song Contest.

If You Like This...

Have Your Say

Leave a Reply