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Avatar Leading to Depression

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From AJC:

Why, oh why can’t people on Earth move to the planet Pandora – a utopia of peace-loving people in the future in the movie Avatar?

Because it’s a movie? It’s not real.

Still, on Web sites dedicated to the movie, fans have post after post from people who are now depressed -- sometimes so much that they say they have considered suicide – and are looking for ways to cope.

There were 52 pages of comments on avatar-forums.com when it was closed to any more postings. The site offered “ways to cope with the depression of the dream of Pandora being intangible.”

Several news organizations, including Psychology Today, are writing about the the response of fans to a movie that brought in $1 billion in the first four weeks it was out. Many of the posters write that they have seen Avatar multiple times – four, five or six times.

They all say they were moved.

“The day after I saw Avatar, I was completely depressed,” Toruk Makto wrote on avatar-forums.com. “I looked at my hands and thought ‘What I wouldn't give...’, going and seeing again, and again, it makes me feel good… ‘Waking up’ afterwords is extremely hard to do.”

Mike posted on Naviblue.com that he had been depressed since seeing the movie and wanted to be one of the Na’vi, the blue-skinned folk inhabiting Pandora. “I can’t stop thinking about all the things that happened in the film and all the tears and shivers I got from it. I even contemplated suicide thinking that if I do it I will be rebirthed in a world similar to Pandora”

Nancy Schimelpfening, who writes on the topic of suicide for about.com, was outraged at the reaction and said some fans were making light of suicide.

“My first reaction?,” Schimelpfening wrote. “You've got to be joking! I don't want to minimize anyone's experience of depression -- maybe they are already prone to depression and the realism of the movie is simply contributing to what they are already feeling? -- but, to me, this seems to making light of what is in reality a very serious condition.”

Posters also opined about the beauty of Pandora and vowed to be like the people.

“Start living like Neytiri: in touch with nature, the environment, and not being greedy and wasteful,” Neytiri proposed on the forums. “Pass on the burger, for something more healthy for you and less cruel to animals. Spend your time on this forum, or volunteering in your free time, instead of getting high or drinking, twiddling your thumbs, being apathetic and complaining about how bad the world is. Don't get swept away by the wave of negativity, live your dream. Your life has only two switches, to shine or not to shine.”

Someone posting under the name Elquin tried to offer some perspective, however, pointing out scenes of characters “getting chased and devoured by a Toruk.”

“People do forget how dangerous Pandora is,” Elquin wrote. “Jake is almost killed by a Titanthere and a Thanator in the first few minutes after being on Pandora. Then a few hours later he is almost killed by Neytiri and a pack of viperwolves. So in the space of a few hours he could have been killed four times. And I haven't even included the time when Tsu'tey attacked him, and he was even with Neytiri at the time. Also, when the Toruk chased Neytiri and Jake, it showed that even the Na'vi could be potentially be victims of predators on Pandora. They are by no means immune.”

But to deal with Avatar depression, one poster suggested watching a sunset or the stars, reading a book, walking in the woods, starting a garden or raising chickens.

Are you one of this guys?

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