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The 'Avatar' Effect (TW)


OpenAce
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[I'm not sure if this is the right place for this, please move if it belongs somewhere else]

So, just wondering if anyone else had heard of this- the avatar effect: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1242409/The-Avatar-effect-Movie-goers-feel-depressed-suicidal-able-visit-utopian-alien-planet.html

Pretty much, a large number people were getting sad, depressed, and some suicidal after watching the film Avatar. From the articles I've read, they felt this way because the world of Avatar was so beautiful, and we could never have that, we could never experience it truly for ourselves. Which brings me to my point- I've been experiencing a similar sad, empty feeling after watching pretty much any film recently (though not to the point of depressive episodes and/or suicidal thoughts). I went to see the new Jumanji film, The Greatest Show Man, and Downsized in cinemas recently, they were all great films (and I'd recommend them to anyone who asks) however, after each of them, even during, I felt sad in the way described by the Avatar effect. The difference for me though was that i didn't crave the beautiful world, but instead I wanted the connections the characters had. Specifically those in relationships. I'm sex and romance repulsed/adverse (somewhere in between) but long-term long for a QPR. But being younger its hard to find someone who wants that kind of relationship even in a short term way (like dating, but QP), so I feel quite lonely and all these films are just making it worse, even if they're not romance films.

 

Has anyone else experienced this?

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I've definitely felt those feels before! I'm a bit romance-adverse, so I don't tend to get them while watching most movies, just occasionally if there's a really touching closeness between a couple characters in one of the shows I watch (like Diane Lockhart and Curt McVeigh in the Goodwife). Then I get those achy feels because I want that kind of closeness and intimacy with people, but it seems almost impossible to find without romo-strings attached. It doesn't really cause me a great deal of sadness, just a temporary dissatisfaction and pang of loneliness. I think you just need to find some kind of coping mechanism when these kinds of feelings come up though, especially since romantic-type connections are in our face, all the time. Maybe instead of dwelling on the kind of connection you don't have, make a list of things you have instead - like independence, freedom, the ability to live your own life without compromising for another person. If you're old enough for online dating, maybe post a profile about what you're looking for - who knows, there could be someone else in the same boat as you! :)

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  • 4 weeks later...

I can relate. I think it is some sort of emotionally self destructive envy.

There was a period of time when I couldn't walk and I got really obsessed with snowboarding, especially one movie that I would watch literally  play-rewind-play-rewind-play (in the good old days of VHS). There have been other times in my life where I wanted a movie to be real and I wanted to be a certain character and as soon as the movie ends I get all melancholic. It was very much a feeling of "I want but it is never going to happen" sadness. I think the point is to change the part about 'never going to happen' to if it can happen I will make it happen or blow the whole thing off as 100% fantasy. I don't know how I got to this stage, I think it may have been my apathy kicking in around my 17th birthday when I started thinking about a whole heap of things as pure fiction and never gonna happen so why worry? and if it does happen I will be very happy to be proven wrong! (yeah I am totally not the type to focus on a social target and work to make stuff happen)

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On 3/1/2018 at 2:57 PM, OpenAce said:

 The difference for me though was that i didn't crave the beautiful world, but instead I wanted the connections the characters had. Specifically those in relationships.

 ...

Has anyone else experienced this?

 

Pretty much the story of my life .. thanks a lot .. :)

I have always had problems with social skills - something along the Autism / Asperger spectre ..
(which may also be some of the reason for my aromanticism)

This made my life very hard in my teenage years ..
I was tolerated during my high school years, but I did not understand and could not take part in the social 'games' they practiced ...
F. ex. I could not figure out what partying was all about, and really never took part in it ...
As a result, I felt very much excluded, as I wanted so much to be part of the circle, to have fun, to be accepted ...
And as I have told, I had (have) a pretty intense sexuality, so feeling left on my own was just terrible. I did not have one bit of a chance to live out my sexuality.

 

I have once read a description by an autistic woman, she wrote:
"It was as if all my friends from my childhood days suddenly went away on a train to which I couldn't get a ticket"

 

At last, I had a total collapse at the age of  18  with anxiety, depression and derealisation, as if my mind shut down and cut off from the outside world ..

 

So yes, I can relate to the feeling of sadness when watching all kinds of movies where people have relationships and have good times together ...
I have learned to cope, to a certain degree, some of the time ...
But there is an underlying depression all of the time, and I never really got over that ...

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Does this all mean we should watch movies about terrible people and relationships so we don't have the possibility of getting these feelings? Basically only watching The Room for the rest of our lives.....I think that would actually make all of us worse. That would break even the most stable of us. 

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10 hours ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

Does this all mean we should watch movies about terrible people and relationships so we don't have the possibility of getting these feelings? Basically only watching The Room for the rest of our lives.....I think that would actually make all of us worse. That would break even the most stable of us. 

I dont think that's necessary, I was just wondering if anyone had felt this.

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  • 3 years later...
  • 1 month later...

Craving that deep non romantic connection? Yes I felt it went I watch that movie, I feel it when I see platonic marriages, cherished friendships irl that are bounderline qprs, sci fi/supernatural stories where the beings have telepathy or soul connections or meld into each other.

 

Gets me everytime. While I wish for that type of connection, I'm not ready for our closest equivalent to it so I'll try to pursue it when I'm ready for one.

 

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  • 1 month later...

I opened this thread thinking it was going to be about the TV show... *facepalm*

As someone who's pretty emotionally invested in fantasy worlds (I play and run Dungeons & Dragons games, and I'm a big fan of sci-fi), I think that you have to have a balance between enjoying imaginary things and knowing that art isn't, and can never be, life.  Stories can be inspiring and an escape from the worst aspects of reality, but you can't immerse yourself in them so deeply that you lose contact with the real world.

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