Feeling blue?


Avatar (2009)

Jake and Neytiri fly through the skys of Pandora

Mark Cosgrove

   Oel ngati kameie (I see you). This powerful phrase has slowly worked its way into my personal lexicon. 

   This phrase is commonly spoken by the Na’vi but It doesn’t mean I see you literally. 


   It means I see into you. 


   I see through you.


   I see into your soul. 


   I see into your mind. 


   I see into your thoughts. 


   I see into your emotions.


   I see you.


   In English, it can be similar to the phrase “I love you.” Jake Sully and Netiri tell each other this before they “mate for life” in the tree of souls. They say “I see you” once again after Jake restores his honor and becomes Toruk Makto (Rider of Last Shadow), the recognized liberator of the Na’vi clans of Pandora. 

Avatar the Way of Water (2022)

   The world wide phenomenon of James Cameon’s Avatar re-emerged when the sequel, Avatar the Way of Water came out in late 2022. The original Avatar (2009) still holds the record for highest grossing movie of all time. The movie features a heart touching story, high action sequences, and the most stunning, industry-changing CGI of all time. The immersive visuals of the second installment in the franchise only tops those of the first. 


   Sr. Raegan Lantz said “I loved them both. I think these movies have a strong story line and are very engaging, keeping you involved at all times. I wanted more. I wanted them to continue the story so they just got excited for the next one to come.” Getting to see more of the stunning world of Pandora brought back an issue for viewers that started back in 2009 with the first movie.


   When first thinking of an idea for this article, I mentioned writing about Post Avatar Depression Syndrome (PADS) almost as a joke. PADS was a phenomenon I heard about on Tiktok. The idea of it seemed a little ridiculous to me. It was just something I heard about on social media right? It couldn’t be real…  right?


   Although Post Avatar Depression Syndrome is not a medically recognised condition, it is a phenomenon that many viewers claim they experienced after watching both the first Avatar (2009) and Avatar the Way of Water (2022). I spoke on the phone with Dr. Mark Cosgrove, Taylor University psychology professor. He believes that the phenomenon of PADS is similar to the fear of missing out (FOMO). He said that viewers yearn to be like the Na’vi, tall, slim and incredibly strong. They float through the trees effortlessly. They live in a gorgeous colorful world. When viewers return to Earth after the movie, it just doesn’t feel the same. 


   He believes that PADS is similar to the way people feel when they see things on social media that they missed out on, such as a friend getting to tour Europe when you didn’t. It makes one sad when they feel like they missed out on something that they wish they had. In this way, PADS and FOMO are similar.


   As a lover of the Avatar franchise, I believe that the phenomenon of PADS is caused because of the beauty of Pandora. For three hours, viewers are immersed in the gorgeous world of Pandora where the Na’vi people live harmoniously with nature. All of the Na’vi have an extremely strong sense of purpose. I believe that this causes viewers to question their own world and be disappointed when returning back to the real world, Earth. It wakes them up a little to environmental problems here on Earth that don’t exist on Pandora. But at the same time, viewers are woken up to the beauty of Earth. After all, much of Pandora is based on Earth.

Avatar the Way of Water (2022)

   While in the immersive world of Avatar, viewers are put through a wide range of emotions. Excitement, chills, “awww” moments, and of course, sadness. Throughout both movies there are a handful of heart wrenching moments. The audience’s strong connection to the characters can cause these hard moments to be even sadder. This strong connection can be another reason behind viewers’ Post Avatar Depression Syndrome.



West Ottawa students have their opinions on Post Avatar Depression Syndrome


   Jr. Lorri Duer was a big fan of the movies; she thought the CGI was particularly astonishing. “I was in awe. The animations looked so real and incredible.” Duer was particularly awe stricken by the way that the Na’vi live. “The only thing I would say I’m unsatisfied with is I long to have what they have. They live peacefully in a wonderful area with no complications. They have this wonderful community who have each other’s backs as well. We don’t have that in the real world. There are so many complicated things, and some of the time we lack the wonderful community.” 


   Duer does not suffer from PADS.


   Sr. Jackson Field also loves the Avatar franchise. “I really enjoyed both movies and was blown away by both the storytelling and the visuals.  I really wanted to be able to visit Pandora and be immersed in the story.” Coming from a future movie director, this says a lot. Field himself does not deal with the pain of PADS but he has witnessed it first hand and knows the power that it holds. “I do believe that post Avatar depression syndrome is real. I’ve seen friends of mine deal with it after watching Avatar: The Way of Water”


   Field does not suffer from PADS.


   Jr. Emma Defries is an Avatar fanatic. She’s a fan of Avatar, but a superfan of Avatar the Way of Water. “Avatar 1 and 2 are great movies, the first one obviously starts us off with a good background about Pandora and the true plot of the story which leads to the second one. Although the first one is good, I think Avatar 2 is phenomenal, left me in tears.” The Avatar franchise tends to have that effect on people. “That night after watching the movie all I could think about is so much but nothing at the same time. I was speechless and had so much on my mind about the ending but I didn’t know how to put it in words.” Defries is exerting classic, by the book symptoms of PADS. Defries herself believes that she deals with the hardships of PADS “ I think I still do, I am counting down the days to cure this syndrome when the new movie comes out again.”


   Defries suffers from PADS.

Avatar the Way of Water (2022)

   For those of you who are reading this article and have realized that you yourself suffer from PADS, do not fret for there is a cure! 


   An environmental action group named Ancient Forest Alliance, has realized that PADS is a big issue facing our nation and action needs to be taken. They have devised a three-step plan to help the masses of people who long for the world of Pandora. This method is simple, yet effective.


Step one

   Get out and experience nature.


Step two:

   Take action to defend nature.


Step three:

   Get others to do the same.


   Although Post Avatar Depression Syndrome is not a medically recognised condition, the feelings that viewers feel are still very real.


   Based on my research and interviews for this article, one in three suffers from Post Avatar Depression Syndrome. 


   Check in on your friends everyone.