Documentia: a state of mental disorientation caused by long term exposure to documentary films. Lack of sleep and consumption of alcohol or other drugs may trigger the onset.
It most commonly presents at documentary film festivals in attendees who have some form of all-access pass, allowing them to go from one screening to another without respite. Sufferers may experience short term memory loss, often unable to remember, for example, the title of the documentary they just watched. Or what day it is. Or that list of important work-related emails and phone calls they were supposed to make while at the festival.
Treatment consists of removing the victim from the theater environment and administering fresh air and sunshine for at least five days, with no access to documentary stimulation. The condition usually resolves spontaneously with no lasting effects. However, an episode of documentia can indicate a predisposition toward future episodes. Untreated documentia can become chronic.
Documentia is closely related to DCD or Documentary Compulsive Disorder: a disorder characterized by a compulsion to watch and make documentary films to the point where it interferes with a person’s psychological, social, emotional and financial well-being.
Documentary compulsives often engage in risky and self-destructive economic behavior in order to fund their habit. They may mortgage their house, quit jobs or run up enormous credit card debt with no hope that their films will ever repay the debt.
DCD suffers may also obsessively think about documentaries, seeing stories that need to be filmed behind every tree and fantasizing about doing Q&A’s before sold-out theaters at unobtainable, A-list festival premiers. Other fantasies can involve lucrative HBO presales, ITVS grants or Sundance bidding wars for the sufferers’ otherwide B-rate films.
Besides feeling a need to produce documentaries, DCD patients are usually compelled to watch them in binges leading to documentia.
Unlike documentia, DCD has no known cure. The world is just too interesting.
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Thanks to my D-Word peeps for “documentia.” “DCD” is my original.