The UMD Health Center has been flooded for the past week with students suffering from PPSD, or Post Performance Stress Disorder. This ailment refers not to the stress experienced by performers themselves, but to their friends and family members. The moral obligation to attend friends’ plays, recitals, and showcases often proves too much pressure during an already hectic time of the semester. With every single performance group on campus trying to cram its play, comedy sketch, film screening, or musical recital into the last week of classes, tension is running high among friends of actors, musicians, comedians, and other entertainers.
“It’s so stressful,” tearful freshman Sue Poplar explained. “I had one friend acting in the Shakespeare Players, another in the Bureau, and another in Film Festival, but their showcases were all on the same night–how was I supposed to attend all three? No matter what I choose, I ruin two friendships AND miss out on an amazing piece of entertainment!”
When asked what her ultimate decision was, Poplar burst into tears. “Neither! I lied to all my friends and said I broke my leg, which meant I couldn’t go to ANY of them. It was the coward’s way out, but at least my friends know I didn’t choose one show above the other.”
An anonymous member of The Bureau admitted that he only joined the comedy group in the first place to avoid a situation like Poplar’s.
“See, if you can’t make it to your buddy’s show because you’re rehearsing for your own thing, they can’t get mad at you,” he explained. “I learned my lesson last year. I really, really didn’t want to go to my roommate’s a capella concert, but he asked why I didn’t have a good excuse. Then I realized that being in constant rehearsals for something else would get me out of it.”
When asked whether the time commitment of constant rehearsals was worth getting out of attending friends’ shows, his answer was unequivocal. “Yes. It means I don’t have to lie or have awkward conversations when people invite me to things. Also, whenever people get into ‘who’s busier’ contests I always win.”
Even the most stellar and entertaining show takes up valuable time that could be spent on activities such as Netflix or sleeping. Sitting through a boring comedy show or an off-key a cappella performance can actually push some students over the edge.
“This week has ruined music for me,” a haunted former music education major reported. “I actually changed my major to physics. Do you know how many of my friends’ senior recitals, plays, and concerts I’ve been to? When I fall asleep, I have nightmares that I’m caught in this never ending parade of my friends’ music. I can’t handle it anymore. Sometimes I wish I was deaf. Or dead.”
While many drugs and treatments for PPSD are still in clinical trials, the Health Center offers its usual resources for students–insanely long waiting periods, a difficult-to-navigate website, and free condoms.
“These are all helpful for students,” a local doctor reported, “But honestly the best thing for those with PPSD is to concentrate on their final exams–the stress and hell of pulling all nighters and questioning one’s self worth is a good distraction from PPSD symptoms.”