PCD usually follows a very specific pattern of behavior. It starts months before the cruise and you may feel completely normal. While you look forward to the cruise, it is not causing any abnormal feelings or behavior other than just general excitement. The days and weeks leading up to the cruise you may have elevated levels of excitement and adrenaline knowing you will soon be on a cruise ship with Howie, Brian, Nick and AJ. The feeling continues to grow and grow such that by the time you are walking up the gangway, you may outwardly appear calm, but on the inside you are bursting with excitement.
During the cruise you will be in a state of complete bliss and unparalleled happiness. You become absorbed into the cruise atmosphere. Your face hurts from smiling so much due to seeing the boys just a few feet in front of you. Your throat hurts from screaming so much and belting out Everybody. During this phase, you are on top of the world and no one can touch you. For lack of a better word, you are on a Backstreet High.
Immediately following the cruise, you are still running off of adrenaline and experiencing the Backstreet high. You will still be singing BSB songs in your head and you can't bring yourself to cut off that wristband as it is a reminder that the past 3 days actually just happened. You are thrilled to go home and swap stories and pictures with your newly made friends and squeal with delight over every minute detail. You continue to share the stories and pictures with anyone else willing to listen, even knowing that they don’t care. You are uploading your pictures to facebook to smugly show off to others that you were in the Caribbean vacationing with the Backstreet Boys. If you have autographs or pictures of you with the boys, you are most certainly be showing these off. This is when PCD may start to set in for many of you.
Days or weeks after the cruise as the adrenaline wears off, you will experience full blown PCD. Usually coincides with dreading going back to the tedious routine of work or school after having such an amazing time on the cruise.
- The desire to relive the entire experience again.
- Can't stop picturing Howie wiggling.
- Having repeated thoughts such as “OMG, the Backstreet Boys were right there!” or “I’m not going to see BSB again for months or even years!”
- Emotional pain while looking through your pictures and hearing BSB songs.
- An increased obsession with the Backstreet Boys and listening to nothing but their music.
- Partial amnesia- the inability to remember all the little details of everything that happened on the ship.
- Have 'I'm Sexy and I Know It' stuck in your head.
- Regret- Possibly over things like going to bed too early and a chance to party with Howie at 5 in the morning or not seizing that opportunity you had to say hi to Brian at the lido buffet.
- Loss of interest in non-BSB activities.
- Spontaneously bursting into laughter thinking of Howie humping a pillow.
- Desire to create a time machine to go back and relive the cruise.
- Feel a swaying motion because you still feel like you're on the ship.
If you have 3 or more of these symptoms, you may have PCD.
It is a widely known phenomena that I’d say the majority of cruisers experience but it does not impact everyone the same way. PCD can last up to months, depending on the awesomeness of the cruise. And let’s face it, the cruise was awesome.
While there is no guaranteed way to prevent PCD, you can take some of the following steps to help prevent it or ease the symptoms.
- Make the most out of your experience on board and meet as many other fans as possible.
- Take a ton of pictures and videos on the cruise to help you relive all the great memories.
- Treat yourself to some awesome BSB cruise merch.
- Make a scrapbook to help you remember the cruise by.
- Try to enjoy every single moment, even the not so good ones of you being trampled by other fans who want to touch Brian.
A relapse can be triggered by a number of things. You may experience a relapse when you look at your cruise pictures or watch your videos. Another common occurrence of relapse is when the cruise DVD arrives and you watch that for the first time. Yet another common cause of relapse that is hearing a song that you heard on board, perhaps at a deck party.
At this point there are no known cures for PCD. Some suggestions to help those with serious symptoms cope include seek support from your fellow cruisers, be thankful you had the opportunity to go, remain optimistic that the boys will cruise again in summer 2013, and reminisce about all the good memories (though for some reminiscing could make the depression worse) You can also get tickets to see the NKOTBSB tour in Europe (That's what I did!)