Handling Hiatus Distress

Handling Hiatus Distress

Jasmine Knight

You’re watching the season finale of your favorite TV show when, all of a sudden, the scene jumps to the credits. Whether you’re sitting there with your mouth agape or bawling your eyes out, no matter how much you complain and cry about the last episode, your favorite show still won’t be back for several months to reveal the secrets of next season. As a certain feeling overcomes your senses, you begin to realize that there is nothing you can do to advance the clock to when the next season begins.  All fandoms know this feeling, and I like to call it ‘hiatus anxiety.’

The definition of hiatus, according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, is “an interruption in time or continuity,” usually referring to a program or activity. Dealing with hiatus anxiety is a common problem among, but not limited to, teens and young adults who are emotionally attached to online comics they read, bands/artists they listen to, TV programs they adamantly watch, video games they play, etc.

There are many ways to cope and deal with hiatus anxiety. One of the most popular ways to relieve some stress about a hiatus is to blog or read blogs centered around your fandom. There are many sites you can join that host people with similar interests as you.  Some that are popular and user friendly are Tumblr, Blogspot and WordPress. When blogging or reading blogs, you may run into people who have very different views than you, but don’t take their opinions too seriously if you don’t agree.  You should blog for you and only you, and the right people will respond positively and support your ideas and  theories or give you constructive criticism that will help you to advance your writing skills, communication of your opinions, and building of your theories.

photo courtesy of Jenny MacLean

Another way to relieve some hiatus anxiety is to join chat groups or talk to friends who are also interested in your topic.  You can even try to convince your friends to join your fandom if they aren’t already a part of it.  However, be wary of becoming a ‘fandom elitist.’ Fandom elitists have a difficult time sharing fandoms with their friends for fear of becoming less informed than the people they shared the fandom with. Phrases to look out for when you’re in danger of becoming a fandom elitist are; “I heard of them first” or “you wouldn’t even know about it if it wasn’t for me.”

Other fans get creative during a hiatus. These fans contribute fanart, fanfiction, gifs, music, merchandise and more. Fanart takes serious time and dedication, and can be amazing. Fanart contributors sometimes sell their art online or at conventions or post their finished products on sites like deviantArt. Most of the time fanart is even more intricate and beautiful than the original art that inspired it. Then we have the cosplayers, who are some of the bolder fans.  Cosplaying is basically dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game as well as perfecting the character’s mannerisms and dialogue.  Most cosplayers enjoy role playing and modeling as their favorite characters. They work for hours, do extensive research, and put in a lot of money to get their cosplays just right.

Photo courtesy of ill-heichou-you.tumblr.com

If all else fails, you can always re-read the comic or book, watch re-runs of a show, or listen to old albums over and over again until the hiatus ends.

Many fans go a little loco-coco when they hit a hiatus wall, but if you stick to these tips, the hiatus will end sooner than you think!