Realisation Depression

A while ago realised that I would often get quite depressed after watching movies. While the movie is running, everything fine, I would be engrossed in the story, putting myself into the place of the characters and feeling all there emotions, but as the credits roll I’m thrown back into myself without that feeling of resolution that all the characters get at the end.

Assuming that this would be something common among cinephiles I tried to google for it. I essentially decided that it would be called “Post Movie Depression”, and that top result on google for that search was a blog post from a friend and work colleague, Gemmell (You can read his post here: ). In his post, Gemmell talks about watching movies with fantastical plots then returning to his life and feeling mediocre.

In my case, I find that I get affected by movies at the other end of the spectrum. For me, watching movies that are fairly close to real life, with people dealing with everyday(ish) issues (personal issues, break ups, relationships, work issues etc) leaves me feeling empty and depressed afterwards. I guess this is because I follow the character on their journey and see/feel them get their resolution, but as the movie ends I’m suddenly back in my life. I think that this is because during the movie I empathise with the characters and then afterwards get catapulted back to reality, with my brain being overwhelmed by the characters happy ending in contrast to my real life.

I think that this phenomenon can probably be generalised more into something that I think of as Realisation Depression. I believe that during the movie (especially towards the end) the brain begins to normalise, thinking that the feeling of resolution is the expected/normal/resting state that it should be feeling. Once you go back to thinking about your “real” life, this seems worse in comparison, and thus gives you that feeling of depression. I think that this sort of feeling could also come from other mediums of story telling, but is probably more prevalent in movies because of their realism and ability to completely draw us in.

Gemmell mentions that the underlying cause of his feelings is probably based on deep seated delusions of grandeur. In my case it’s probably just based more on standard depression and my un-acceptance of my current situation/life.

With all of this said, and knowing that I am going to come away from certain movies with this feeling, I still watch them. I guess that good feeling that I do get makes it worth it, even though there is the risk of the depression/feeling bad afterwards. Now if only I could take that same approach of risk taking (for potential emotional benefit) to other aspects of my life….

One Comment

  1. luke.worth
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    After reading any of your blog posts, everything I look at has horizontal black and white stripes across it.

    And you should move into your own place.

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