The mental health of gamers (also me)


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As a rule I try not to be too personal on anonymous message boards because quite frankly, I'm not too interesting. I mean yes, it's true I'm incredibly smart and sexy, have excellent taste, and my opinions are pretty much facts, but other than that I'm just a regular dude who's super cool.

Seriously though, as a psych major (who is presently in a field that has zilch to do with psychology, but oh well) I am interested in the mental state of my peers. With that said!

Is anyone else as screwed up as me? I've dealt with severe depression my whole life and have obsessive-compulsive disorder that, at times, verges on crippling. Those are crummy and exhausting, but the condition that has perhaps most defined my life is an obscure little dealy termed schizoid personality disorder (SPD). The name is deceptive, in that it has nothing to do with schizophrenia. Rather, people with SPD tend to be weird in some very specific ways.

The most relevant of those for this discussion is my habit for existing inside my own head, having a rich inner life, indulging in fantasies, and so forth. Or to put it another way: Pathfinder is pretty much my personal little paradise. And just so I don't weird anyone out too much, I'll note that an important distinction for people with SPD is that we don't actually believe our inner worlds are real. In real life I'm an agnostic with heavy atheist leanings, find most conspiracy theories just dumb, don't believe in astrology, mysticism, cryptozoology, or the like, and am about as pragmatic a person as you'll find. I like facts, proof, and logic.

But man, crack open my brain pan and it's all wizards, dragons, alternate universes, monsters, etc. I have this vast and elaborate inner world that I've been building since I was a preteen, and it might just be the most important thing to me other than a few loved ones. I've officially been a grownup for a while now, and I see no signs of this letting up. Nor do I want it to. I am who I am.

On one level there's a sadness to my condition. People with SPD lose a great deal, and almost always describe a feeling of being on the outside looking in. We know from when we are little that we're just off somehow, and always yearn to belong without ever knowing how to belong. The desire to be "one of the guys" is intense and, ultimately, doomed to failure.

At the same time we are never, ever bored. All I need is a notepad and a pen and I can go to work creating my own little world. Does that sound pathetic? Perhaps it is, but for me it's a true joy.

So how bout you all? How do your various eccentricities, foibles, and crippling mental issues manifest through games like Pathfinder, Dungeons and Dragons, video games, and the like?


I will respond to this properly when I'm not falling asleep, but I'm dotting because I am a gamer, I also wasted my degree with a psych major (if you don't plan to go to grad school immediately and don't have a plan to afford it, you should probably switch majors, because you're only slightly more marketable than a philosophy degree), and I suffer from a couple disorders. This subject interests me.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I had a lot of nicknames growing up. :-)


Generic Villain wrote:

As a rule I try not to be too personal on anonymous message boards because quite frankly, I'm not too interesting. I mean yes, it's true I'm incredibly smart and sexy, have excellent taste, and my opinions are pretty much facts, but other than that I'm just a regular dude who's super cool.

Seriously though, as a psych major (who is presently in a field that has zilch to do with psychology, but oh well) I am interested in the mental state of my peers. With that said!

Is anyone else as screwed up as me? I've dealt with severe depression my whole life and have obsessive-compulsive disorder that, at times, verges on crippling. Those are crummy and exhausting, but the condition that has perhaps most defined my life is an obscure little dealy termed schizoid personality disorder (SPD). The name is deceptive, in that it has nothing to do with schizophrenia. Rather, people with SPD tend to be weird in some very specific ways.

The most relevant of those for this discussion is my habit for existing inside my own head, having a rich inner life, indulging in fantasies, and so forth. Or to put it another way: Pathfinder is pretty much my personal little paradise. And just so I don't weird anyone out too much, I'll note that an important distinction for people with SPD is that we don't actually believe our inner worlds are real. In real life I'm an agnostic with heavy atheist leanings, find most conspiracy theories just dumb, don't believe in astrology, mysticism, cryptozoology, or the like, and am about as pragmatic a person as you'll find. I like facts, proof, and logic.

But man, crack open my brain pan and it's all wizards, dragons, alternate universes, monsters, etc. I have this vast and elaborate inner world that I've been building since I was a preteen, and it might just be the most important thing to me other than a few loved ones. I've officially been a grownup for a while now, and I see no signs of this letting up. Nor do I want it to. I am who I am.

On one level there's a sadness to my...

Have you ever considered the possibility that you have an inner Ed Greenwood waiting to be released by the stroke of a pen...(or a keyboard)?

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

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Ed's a big guy. Best let him out. At least the beard


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It sometimes worries me how many disorders psych majors suffer from...

I graduated high school, only, enlisted in the US navy, was fired from the navy when I was diagnosed with a personality disorder.

I'm doing alright, now, 32 years later. Celebrating m,y anniversary with my amazing wife this year of 34 years, my children are all doing well, are all adults and are on their own (I have one daughter and this year she earned a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue her doctorate in South East Asian Studies and will be living in Cambodia for ten months beginning in August).

Oh, and I have been playing D&D since I was 12 or 13 (can't really remember anymore if it was 1976 or 1977 when I started, it's all sort of fuzzy). I am always fantasizing, making up stories, written two self published novels (you could buy them on Amazon, but let me warn you, they are not good).

Good luck everyone


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I write everything upside down. By that I mean, I have the paper turned upside down but the writing comes out not upside down... if that makes sense.

I'm also left handed. :-)


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I suffer from major social anxiety, bipolar depression type 2, and treatment resistant clinical depression. All of this started only a few years ago, and it's made me unable to hold a job (so I draw a gubment check) and do Pathfinder stuff all the time.

I'm ok around my friends (most of the time) but can no longer go to cons or large gatherings. I can manage a concert if I'm so tranked up on Xanax it would stop a rhino, and even going to the movies is hard (usually a lesser dose of Xanax). It helps that at a concert or a movie there is some singular thing to concentrate on, like the band or the movie. But something like a con, with so many people moving about and bumping into me, would send me into either a panic or a rage. There's a small con near my home town in a couple of weeks and I was asked to run a game there, but had to decline. I felt bad turning my friend down but it would really be for the best.


Mental health much like physical health is only something you can understand when some part of it is missing.

There is no closure for this, about the best thing is acceptance of myself as I am and a commitment to myself to take the best care of myself that I can.

In my experience the labels and diagnosis are only important as far as a clinician understanding how to treat a disorder; no diagnosis defines you or who you really are.

When I am trying to understand someone, I think the last thing I would want to hear from them is a diagnostic label (or detailed history of diagnosis and medication regiments), or pop-psychology terms that are nearly meaningless in terms of describing how your mind, body, spirit and life is effected.

Take care of youselves,


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I've also got bipolar. I think it's also type 2 - I can't remember what the last shrink said - I haven't had the kind of horrid mania that ruins lives like cheating on my wife or gambling our life savings away, but it has been pretty awful. I too have a hard time holding a job, so I know the struggle Cal. I also have ADHD, which when you combine with the bipolar means yay mood swings galore and medications that counteract one another.

Unlike Cal, though, I was denied any government assistance...because I've gone a long time untreated, because I don't have money to see a doctor (my wife makes too much for free programs, but not enough to put me on her insurance)...which leads to job losses when I inevitably lose it at work...which leads to no money...which leads to no doctor...which leads to no help...which leads to needing a job...so consequently every single job pays less than the one before it because I have to keep lowering my standards as my resume gets worse and worse.

I f@#~ing hated the one convention I went to. I loved it conceptually, but holy mother of f@$#ing s+~!, there are WAY TOO MANY DAMN PEOPLE at those things! I spent more time wanting to get away than enjoying myself, and my wife, who isn't even a geeky type to the degree I am, enjoyed it way more than I did.

The small, intimate social conventions of gaming has done a LOT to help me therapeutically, though. It's a means of getting my desperately needed social outlets without having to go through the crowded routes the extroverts love. It forces me to get out of my house when I'm depressed and see other human beings, and my newest group is really really nice and supportive. It helps that one person has an even more debilitating condition than I do and goes to mental health support groups with me.

Thinking about RPG stuff helps me center myself when I can't take outside conditions anymore. I can brainstorm just to not have to think about the things that cause my depression - and it makes a great creative outlet when hypomania starts up that isn't nearly as risky as some of my previous endeavors.

It also helps me look like I'm paying attention when the ADHD acts up. People get PISSED when you start to thumb through your phone when a story starts to take too long, but they don't get nearly as annoyed if I stare them right in the face, smiling, nodding, and thinking "I wonder if I should make the temple underwater? Yeah, that would be cool. I could have a lich cleric of Besmara that used to be an undine as the boss..." It seems rude, but trust me, I absolutely cannot help it. I'm GOING to zone out when something gets boring, at least if it's something that keeps people from hating me.

...I hate my brain so much. It's like a Bethesda game - amazing, but shipped out with way too many damn bugs. I have a ridiculous IQ and I can learn anything like it's a joke, but I can't even hold a mediocre job. I'd trade it all in a heartbeat to just be "normal."


Bipolar type 2 was described to me as "all of the down, none of the up", so I don't have the manic episodes, just really depressive ones. It's kind of a bummer.


Generic Villain wrote:

As a rule I try not to be too personal on anonymous message boards because quite frankly, I'm not too interesting. I mean yes, it's true I'm incredibly smart and sexy, have excellent taste, and my opinions are pretty much facts, but other than that I'm just a regular dude who's super cool.

Seriously though, as a psych major (who is presently in a field that has zilch to do with psychology, but oh well) I am interested in the mental state of my peers. With that said!

Is anyone else as screwed up as me? I've dealt with severe depression my whole life and have obsessive-compulsive disorder that, at times, verges on crippling. Those are crummy and exhausting, but the condition that has perhaps most defined my life is an obscure little dealy termed schizoid personality disorder (SPD). The name is deceptive, in that it has nothing to do with schizophrenia. Rather, people with SPD tend to be weird in some very specific ways.

The most relevant of those for this discussion is my habit for existing inside my own head, having a rich inner life, indulging in fantasies, and so forth. Or to put it another way: Pathfinder is pretty much my personal little paradise. And just so I don't weird anyone out too much, I'll note that an important distinction for people with SPD is that we don't actually believe our inner worlds are real. In real life I'm an agnostic with heavy atheist leanings, find most conspiracy theories just dumb, don't believe in astrology, mysticism, cryptozoology, or the like, and am about as pragmatic a person as you'll find. I like facts, proof, and logic.

But man, crack open my brain pan and it's all wizards, dragons, alternate universes, monsters, etc. I have this vast and elaborate inner world that I've been building since I was a preteen, and it might just be the most important thing to me other than a few loved ones. I've officially been a grownup for a while now, and I see no signs of this letting up. Nor do I want it to. I am who I am.

On one level there's a sadness to my...

Sounds like you're an awesome DM. Your gameworlds must really come to life.

I think I'm mentally healthy. Hard to be sure, of course. I do need to escape reality from time to time, and "wizards, dragons, alternate universes" is one of the ways I do it.


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DungeonmasterCal wrote:
Bipolar type 2 was described to me as "all of the down, none of the up", so I don't have the manic episodes, just really depressive ones. It's kind of a bummer.

That's just clinical depression. BP2 has to feature at least one confirmed incident of hypomania, which is like a much lower mania that isn't nearly as debilitating - in fact, some people utilize it positively, but when you crash from it it makes the depression so much worse as you realize how stupid and foolish almost every decision you made during that time was.


Recurring depression means repeated downs, no ups. Hypomania means sleeping far too little and not getting tired, having tons of ideas, feeling very social, and so on. You just never cross the psychotic threshold over to mania, where you can no longer keep it together. That is when you flirt with your pal's wife, tell your boss what you really think of him, spend far too much money, and are angry with everyone who doesn't let you destroy your life. Bipolar I means with mania, II means hypomania but not mania, and III means you are one of those who can get manic from antidepressants.

As for me, it is seasonal depressions. Guh. November is a poor excuse for a month. I sodding hate it so sodding much. Double guh.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Not wanting to brag, but the state of my mental health is pretty darned good.

I am generally happy most of the time. I am very comfortable just being me. I don't feel that I have anything to prove to anyone.

Despite the occasional setback, my life seems to keep getting better and better as time goes on.

I tend toward optimism. I get along with most people, and I make friends easily.

I had a very happy childhood. I get along very well with my parents. I've been married to the love of my life for more than 20 years. I have a great relationship with my teenaged child.

I have a decent job that I like, that pays pretty well, and I get along well with everyone on my team... including my manager and the director.

Basically... I think I'm in a good place and am pretty much okay.


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Pretty much a lumberjack, then? :-)


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Haladir wrote:

Not wanting to brag, but the state of my mental health is pretty darned good.

I am generally happy most of the time. I am very comfortable just being me. I don't feel that I have anything to prove to anyone.

Despite the occasional setback, my life seems to keep getting better and better as time goes on.

I tend toward optimism. I get along with most people, and I make friends easily.

I had a very happy childhood. I get along very well with my parents. I've been married to the love of my life for more than 20 years. I have a great relationship with my teenaged child.

I have a decent job that I like, that pays pretty well, and I get along well with everyone on my team... including my manager and the director.

Basically... I think I'm in a good place and am pretty much okay.

I'm very happy for you! That's not sarcastic at all! :-D

It's my goal. A handful of people in my support groups have reached that state. It's wonderful to have it naturally. Nothing matters more in this life than simple joy. Money, power, prestige, ability - trade it all if it will bring you joy.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Have you ever considered the possibility that you have an inner Ed Greenwood waiting to be released by the stroke of a pen...(or a keyboard)?

If you do some cursory research on schizoid personality disorder, there are a lot of people who have retroactively been diagnosed with it. They're usually the very creative types, like authors etc. Granted it's a little irresponsible because only a psychologist/iatrist should really do that after administering the proper tests, but still. And of those, a great many were what I'd term "world builders." But another thing about SPD, is we do it for ourselves. Me personally, I create this elaborate inner world but don't have any inclination to share it with others. That may sound dumb or selfish, but it's just the way I am. Maybe one day...

Terquem wrote:

It sometimes worries me how many disorders psych majors suffer from...

I see it differently; I think to truly appreciate mental illness, it's a great help to suffer from it yourself. That's not to say that "normals" can't be excellent practitioners in the field. Only that there's a certain leg up when you know first hand just how messed up the brain can be. It's the same way that many former addicts go on to become addiction counselors, I suppose.

KenderKin wrote:


In my experience the labels and diagnosis are only important as far as a clinician understanding how to treat a disorder; no diagnosis defines you or who you really are.

A diagnosis is a major double-edged sword. On one hand, it automatically labels you as "wrong." There's no two ways about it. On the other hand, it allows you to come to terms with your condition and know that you aren't alone. For me, a big part of coping with my mental illness has been overcoming the stigma. I sometimes think the stigma of mental illness is worse than the condition itself. At least in some cases. For example, I felt like such an outsider my whole life, and a big part of the reason I became fascinated with psychology was to find out what was wrong with me. When I stumbled on to the definition of schizoid personality disorder, it was very much a eureka moment for me. Bittersweet, yes, but also such a profound relief.

DungeonmasterCal wrote:
I suffer from major social anxiety, bipolar depression type 2, and treatment resistant clinical depression. All of this started only a few years ago, and it's made me unable to hold a job (so I draw a gubment check) and do Pathfinder stuff all the time.

I've seen your posts before DMCal, and feel for you. I can't really relate exactly, because my depression is more the dysthymia variety. Which is to say, not so severe that I can't get out of bed, but just this constant Sword of Damocles hanging over me. But I understand intimately what it's like to have your brain turn on you.


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thegreenteagamer wrote:
...I hate my brain so much. It's like a Bethesda game - amazing, but shipped out with way too many damn bugs. I have a ridiculous IQ and I can learn anything like it's a joke, but I can't even hold a mediocre job. I'd trade it all in a heartbeat to just be "normal."

I can absolutely relate. Except I wonder - if I were suddenly normal, how much would I still be me? Would I be happier, more at peace with the world, more able to function in a manner that society deems appropriate? Almost definitely. But at the same time, what would I lose?

*EDIT: I want to emphasize here that I think treating mental illness is the good and right thing to do, especially in severe cases. If you're miserable and in need of help, therapy and/or medication are absolutely worth pursuing. The idea that you suddenly won't be you anymore has been shown time and again to not be the case. My point was mostly that I wonder how much mental illness has shaped my life in the aggregate.


Sorry for the triple post. I just keep thinking of stuff.

Haladir wrote:

Not wanting to brag, but the state of my mental health is pretty darned good.

That's awesome and by no means a brag. Being mentally ill isn't special or advantageous - I'm not a unique little snowflake because I'm a little nuts. As thegreenteagamer said, good for you (said with no sarcasm whatsoever).

Guang wrote:

Sounds like you're an awesome DM. Your gameworlds must really come to life.

I think I'm mentally healthy. Hard to be sure, of course. I do need to escape reality from time to time, and "wizards, dragons, alternate universes" is one of the ways I do it.

Oh man, I put so much effort into my campaigns. I know my PCs will be lucky if they see even a fraction of the work I've done, but that's okay, because again, it's as much for me as for them (if not moreso). As for needing an occasional escape, I think that's just human nature. Whether it's television, video games, tabletop RPGs, or whatever else, escaping reality for a time is a healthy outlet for everyday stresses.


Is being a social chameleon a mental problem? I always wondered.
If I am going to the Governor's party I can completely become a rich bored daughter. If a college friend asks me to head to some hipster bar he won't recognize me when he picks me up I will be so hipster. I instantly and subconsciously mimic accents and mannerisms. And while this seems awesome to instantly be part of the crowd... It just as quickly turns ugly when people who "know" one version of you see another version.


Aranna wrote:

Is being a social chameleon a mental problem? I always wondered.

If I am going to the Governor's party I can completely become a rich bored daughter. If a college friend asks me to head to some hipster bar he won't recognize me when he picks me up I will be so hipster. I instantly and subconsciously mimic accents and mannerisms. And while this seems awesome to instantly be part of the crowd... It just as quickly turns ugly when people who "know" one version of you see another version.

First off I'm not a psychologist, and even if I were, no one can diagnose you with anything via Internet. But out of curiosity...

Do you have difficulty empathizing with other people? Are you impulsive? Do you often do things without considering the consequences?

If you answered yes to any of those, you might have psychopathic traits. Being a social chameleon happens to be one such trait. Regardless of your answer, self-diagnoses is a very risky venture. But it's something you could read up on. And also, I am in no way implying you are a psychopath, because that'd be a dick move.

Furthermore (and this is IMPORTANT), having some psychopathic traits doesn't make you a psychopath, anymore than having some autistic traits makes you autistic. Lots of people have some traits of a great many mental illnesses without actually suffering from them. For example, another classic psychopathic trait is an inability to be shocked by horrific imagery. That's one reason why psychopaths make excellent soldiers (and surprise! Doctors) - they can see things that would drive most people mad and walk away like it was nothing. I happen to absolutely have that trait myself. However, I do empathize and am not impulsive, so I wouldn't meet the criteria for a psychopath.

Also to digress even further: do you know if anyone in your family has been diagnosed as a psychopath or sociopath? There is a lot of evidence that these conditions have strong genetic components. Oh, and to further complicate matters, both psychopathy and sociopathy are usually lumped together and referred to only as antisocial personality disorder in the DSM 4 and 5 (which is the manual that medical professionals use to make mental health diagnoses).

And lastly! It's important to remember that psychopaths and sociopaths are human beings who absolutely did not choose to have the afflictions they do. They are as much victims of their affliction as someone suffering from depression, bipolar disorder, cystic fibrosis, etc.

*EDIT: And lastly lastly! Keep in mind that being a "social chameleon" has advantages which you noted. Clearly it has disadvantages as well, which you also noted, but the ability to adapt to a crowd can be very beneficial. Some people might label it as disingenuous, or "faking it," but by itself and in my absolutely not professional opinion, there's nothing wrong with it.


Oh my... psychopath?

Difficulty empathizing with others... no I sometimes over empathize with others letting their emotion cloud my own.

Impulsive? Nope not at all. Well I might get an impulsive moment here and there but most of the time I am a pre-planner.

Do things without considering the consequences? Yeah I have fallen into this trap repeatedly.

Inability to be shocked by horrific imagery? The opposite. I get dizzy and nearly pass out at the sight of blood. And I have walked out of horror films because I couldn't handle the fright.

So probably NOT psychopathy...

Scarab Sages

Pseudopsychopartialpathy maybe?


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Duiker wrote:
Pseudopsychopartialpathy maybe?

That sounds like a food additive you'd hear someone complaining about.


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I don't have any official diagnoses, but I don't really need one to know that I've been depressed for a large portion of my life. On the plus side I've always been functional. Interestingly, one of each of those follows from one parent. My mother lives with major depression, and my father was a functional alcoholic (he did eventually quit).

I also have occasional inappropriate emotional affect, almost always with a laugh response. I once went to try waxing at salon, and every time a strip was torn off it hurt, but I could not stop laughing. The salon workers thought it was strange at first, but found it cheerful after a bit. This could be an outgrowth of how I use humour as a defense against depression.


I'm paranoid schizophrenic. I deal with it by taking my meds every night, only working half days(4 or 5 hours), and dealing with problems rather than going after the people I know caused them.

It's complicated by stress narcolepsy and allergies. Stress Narcolepsy is my own term for when stress causes me to start to pass out. I used to react violently when teased, and always get beaten bloody. Now I can use meditation to remain partially conscious.

Contact Altec in the east coast area to see if they can help get you a job. There are some plans for the government to pay part of the wages for disabled persons. This makes hiring us more appealing. They also train you to apply for jobs and go on interviews. They helped me go to a psychiatrist to prove I was disabled.

If a character had stress narcolepsy, then someone tried to verbally or magically force them to do something they did not want to do, they would pass out for probably 2D6 rounds. They might just stay that way till someone removed the source of stress.

It sometimes helps to put this stuff in game terms and look at it as most health professionals do. Paranoid schizophrenia causes me to act as though spirits are crawling in and out of my skin. I don't just feel it, I just react to it. 100 milligrams of Seroquel or a generic equivalent a night stops me from shaking violently, and helps me to get to sleep. A character with this condition might be trying to brush something off whenever something weird or threatening is going on. Magic that can cure insanity might stop this for about a day allowing them to go adventuring or something. Only a wish, miracle, or a heal check 30+ will cure defect level insanity permanently.


Aranna wrote:

Oh my... psychopath?

...

So probably NOT psychopathy...

Yeah, "social chameleon" is one of the really minor symptoms of psychopathy, but it's the only mental illness I could think of to answer your question. I probably should have emphasized that a bit more. The big three are lack of empathy, impulsiveness, and being incapable of anticipating/understanding consequences. If you don't have all three of those, you can pretty much rule out psychopath. So... congrats I guess!


Goth Guru wrote:

I'm paranoid schizophrenic. I deal with it by taking my meds every night, only working half days(4 or 5 hours), and dealing with problems rather than going after the people I know caused them.

As you probably know much more than me, schizophrenia is by far the most mysterious mental illness. Psychologists/psychiatrists can usually get a handle on pretty much anything else, but when it comes to schizophrenia it's just one big stupid shrug.

I try to stay up to date on the latest popular psych, and have read that they are now thinking schizophrenia isn't just one condition but rather a number of interrelated ones. If I remember right the number quoted was roughly 20, which blew me away. That could explain why you can have two people with the same diagnosis, and they can display completely different symptoms.

Anyway I can relate to trying to look at your own mental illness from the perspective of an outsider. I was in denial for a long time about my own issues, but then just reading about them like I would any other subject that interested me, like let's say Medieval architecture - that really helped. It'd be damn nice is someone could drop a greater restoration spell on us and suddenly we don't have to ever make an insanity check again.


Schizophrenia is a chronic condition characterized by psychotic symptoms, which consist of positive (in the sense that they add something to the person's experience), negative (which remove something), and cognitive symptoms. Positive symptoms are the classic psychotic symptoms, divided into hallucinations (false sensory experience that is felt to be real, most commonly voices in schizophrenia in the West), delusions (such as paranoia, megalomania or religious delusions), and changed patterns of thought (like not having thoughts, having so many that it hurts, having your thoughts "leak" i.e. You feel everyone else knows what you think). Negative symptoms are withdrawing socially, talking less, doing less, loss of emotions and so on. Cognitive symptoms are the consequence of all this, meaning you lose mental capacity with every episode, even if just a little. It begins in early 20s for men, 10 years later for women. 0,7% of every population gets it. The only known way to not have psychotic symptoms is medication, and sadly all of those come with side effects. The specific symptoms vary within the above, but are usually remarkably constant for each person. It is quite possible that there are twenty or more types of schizophrenia. Causes have been determined to be somewhat genetic, but that does not explain all of it. Identical twins do not necessarily both have it if one does, for example, the risk is around 50%.


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The most sad part about schizophrenia is just how many people in America have it. Estimates run around 1% of all Americans, which is a HUGE amount, when you think about it. Further, it's estimated that around 50% of all homeless people have a form of schizophrenia, which directly contributes to their economic conditions.

Oh, but they should just pull up by their bootstraps and get a job, right? The stigma of mental disease in my country is disgusting.

Technically you're not allowed to be fired for having a disorder, but I can't share that I have bipolar when I apply to a job - they may not be able to say no for THAT reason, but they can and do start looking for any other reason they can use as an excuse as soon as they find out. You can't prove WHY someone fired you, and when it comes down to your word versus theirs, the legal system inevitably sides with the corporation, as the burden of proof is on the accuser.

I know a woman with schizophrenic hallucinations who is a kindergarten teacher. She takes her meds and has no issues, and is very popular with the children, but what do you think would happen if she admitted that to anyone? Most people do NOT want their kids in a classroom with someone with schizophrenia because of the portrayals the media give of people with mental disorders. We're statistically actually less likely to be violent or dangerous, but more than twice as likely to be the victims of such things, but no, you be sure and pull the kids out for their safety, right? Sickens me.


Absolutely. When a person with schizophrenia is violent, it is usually due to being in acute psychosis, and then because someone got too close. In that state, it is very clear the person is not functioning, and he/she needs more personal space because it is difficult to deal with the world as it is without someone coming too close.


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For many people the onset of schizophrenia is a horrifying reality, persons with life success, families, careers, etc are suddenly unable to keep any portion of their life, their plans, hopes and dreams all suddenly come to a screeching halt.


That tends to be the consequence, yes.


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I have worked in mental health for almost 15 years. Stigma remains the biggest daily obstacle I face professionally. I talk about it in every group I run, with everyone on my caseload. It is a generational plague that refuses to die. Education is the only thing that can even begin to counter it.


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It's not just schizo. My BP hit me like a Mack Truck in the middle of my second decade. I was diagnosed relatively early, but it's gotten progressively worse since then.

Ten years ago I was blowing through a job, a superstar rising in a company, finishing my bachelor's degree with a 3.9GPA, and prepping for med school all at the same time. Now, I haven't had a job that requires more than a high school degree or makes more than $12/hour in about a decade, and I'm doing better than a lot of people I talk to in my support groups. I've met former CEOs who now live on disability, and I've met other ignorant douchebags who think we're lazy for trying to get help.

I'm a good actor, so I can hide my symptoms around people for a little bit - but it's like tensing a muscle, you can only hold it for so long. Sometimes I wish I couldn't, or that I had something more visibly disturbing to others, if only so I didn't get the same contempt or expectation that I should be doing so much better than I am.

You really wouldn't believe how people react when you're honest with them. They act like you are either faking, or overdramatic, or like you're trying to diagnose your way out of responsibility. The contempt people without disorders have for those of us with them is disgusting. Again - I can hide it well, so I hear others talking about this all the time with me. It's remarkably similar to the racism I hear from people because I'm the poster child for whiteness until they realize my wife is black.

It's just another Us vs. Them the majority tries to make in America.


KenderKin wrote:
For many people the onset of schizophrenia is a horrifying reality, persons with life success, families, careers, etc are suddenly unable to keep any portion of their life, their plans, hopes and dreams all suddenly come to a screeching halt.

WRAP plans in particular are good at countering this when used in conjunction with advance directives.


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My thoughts go with you, tgtg.


Freehold DM wrote:
KenderKin wrote:
For many people the onset of schizophrenia is a horrifying reality, persons with life success, families, careers, etc are suddenly unable to keep any portion of their life, their plans, hopes and dreams all suddenly come to a screeching halt.
WRAP plans in particular are good at countering this when used in conjunction with advance directives.

True, as I understand it, but unlikely to help the first time around.


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I have to say as much as I complained about a certain bias on the boards here, the Paizo community is way more understanding and awesome than you see on average, both on the internet and off. :-D

Scarab Sages

I'm pretty boring. Other than being generally "weird" - odd sense of humor, interested in most geeky stuff, etc. - my the biggest thing about me is that I am very introverted. I am perfectly happy, most of the time, to be alone. I could happily go for days without seeing another person. Even if I'm surrounded by people, as long as I don't have to interact with them, I'm fine. I can interact when I need to, but it takes energy.

I doubt this is anywhere near a mental health issue, though.

Occasionally, I wonder about OCD or ADD or other things, but seldom very seriously. I certainly haven't been diagnosed with anything...

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm currently taking medication for mild depression. Triggered by several stress-related incidents that overwhelmed my ability to cope and basically reduced me to a crying mess unable to function properly. I have never seriously considered suicide but without the medications, which have (according to others) brought my old self back, I doubt I'd havwe been able to continue at my job, even with the support of my manager who has been incredibly supportive. However, I still have my old tendencies towards self-criticism and to pick andprod at things until they're 'fixed', including me.
I don't think it's influenced me much in rpg terms. I was always strange and introverted (every test puts my into the top 1% for introversion at the low end).


Ok I guess I needed to answer my own question. Most of my information comes from googling so it may be inaccurate.

I answered the first question with an online test; Am I really a social chameleon? at 80% out of 100 I am definitely Yes there. Oddly as I read the questions I would have answered more strongly in High School than I do now. Perhaps getting close to 100.

And that fits with what I am reading about Borderline Personality Disorder, a total lack of self. Something I suffered from in High School. BUT I seem to have found a sense of 'self' later in life. So I may still be a social chameleon but I am recovered and no longer suffering from BPD. Many thanks to the Lord Jesus for my sense of identity.


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Aranna wrote:

Ok I guess I needed to answer my own question. Most of my information comes from googling so it may be inaccurate.

I answered the first question with an online test; Am I really a social chameleon? at 80% out of 100 I am definitely Yes there. Oddly as I read the questions I would have answered more strongly in High School than I do now. Perhaps getting close to 100.

And that fits with what I am reading about Borderline Personality Disorder, a total lack of self. Something I suffered from in High School. BUT I seem to have found a sense of 'self' later in life. So I may still be a social chameleon but I am recovered and no longer suffering from BPD. Many thanks to the Lord Jesus for my sense of identity.

I would be careful with any personality test taken online and personality disorders in general. The majority are badly, badly skewed.


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Not to mention personality disorders are a rather outdated concept. In all likelihood, they are other disorders or neurophychological handicaps.


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Surely someone has done a study on personality types and TTRPGs?

When I go to one of the FLGSs in my area it's quite clear that this isn't a general cross section of the larger community. People that take the time to play and adjudicate a TTRPG are a definite minority. The only TTRPG friends I have are ones that I met at the table but some of my PC-gaming buddies were (and are) friends/associates outside of PC-gaming first.

I know I've read a post or two on the messageboards of people who only PBP out of necessity and not due to geography.

Others have mentioned that the group they TTRPG with is the same group they've been gaming with for decades.

I don't think gamers are any more "variable" in their mental health than any other group defined by a general hobby (after all gamers, in the spirit of the OP, includes LARPers, Console gamers, PC gamers, TTRPG gamers, PBP gamers, etc.), but I wonder if we are more predisposed as a group to certain afflictions.

I "second" TGTG's observation that the Paizo forum is nicer than the other similar places on the Internet. Largely because of constant moderation (which, to be candid, unfortunately included one or two of my own posts). Though I have found a sub-set in GitP that at least equals my experiences here. Whereas the old WotC site was so bad I never participated.


Freehold DM wrote:
KenderKin wrote:
For many people the onset of schizophrenia is a horrifying reality, persons with life success, families, careers, etc are suddenly unable to keep any portion of their life, their plans, hopes and dreams all suddenly come to a screeching halt.
WRAP plans in particular are good at countering this when used in conjunction with advance directives.

Wellness Recovery Action Plans and if it is in your area an ACT program.

Freehold DM. What do you do in mental health? I have been working in the field a long time as well. Feel free to message me directly if you prefer.


KenderKin wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
KenderKin wrote:
For many people the onset of schizophrenia is a horrifying reality, persons with life success, families, careers, etc are suddenly unable to keep any portion of their life, their plans, hopes and dreams all suddenly come to a screeching halt.
WRAP plans in particular are good at countering this when used in conjunction with advance directives.

Wellness Recovery Action Plans and if it is in your area an ACT program.

Freehold DM. What do you do in mental health? I have been working in the field a long time as well. Feel free to message me directly if you prefer.

i.am a rehabilitation facilitator working in a psychosocial clubhouse following a work ordered day model. I cannot say anything more due to the way my job works, even by pm.


Hard to tell if its a people thing, a gamer thing, or a people thing that goes double for gaming people.


Sissyl wrote:
Not to mention personality disorders are a rather outdated concept. In all likelihood, they are other disorders or neurophychological handicaps.

Fortunately, the DSM-5 dragged psychiatry into the 20th century by eliminating the concept of personality disorders as "axis 2 disorders." I believe they're all axis 1 now, which is where mental illness goes.

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