elomaran: (Bipolar)
[personal profile] elomaran
You can have lots of fun with the insane. For example, there's the website paraplush.com, where as a game, you can cure mentally ill cuddly toys. There's a depressive tortoise, an autistic hippo, a sheep with multiple personality disorder or a paranoid crocodile. In nice flash animations you can psychoanalyse the patient, drug it, do therapy with it, and in the end, watch it walk into the light. That's all very nice, very sweet, made with love, and it's fun to play. But is it good? No. It isn't.

The problem is not that it makes mentally illnesses into game content - if you ask me, you need to be able to laugh about everything, and I don't mind if it's about diseases that may lead to murder or suicide. The cuddly patients are not exposed, taken surprisingly serious and mostly cause compassion within the players. Only reluctantly you let the pet undergo the torture of electroshocks, as helpful as they may be, or inject them with bad anti-psychotics that instantly make them hallucinate. And when it's over, you know the cause of the disorder and the poor creature is cured, you're all happy and relieved.

But that's just the point. The game advocates the popular belief that all mental diseases origin from some traumatic experience and are, once that's worked out, curable. I once had a psychologist who was just like that, tried to blame everything on my mother who had obviously not given me enough love as a kid. But truth is, most mental illnesses have a genetic component and come with a disorder of brain metabolism. They are not conceited, no overreaction on a horrible experience, they are diseases. Just like diabetes, parkinson's, mucoviscidosis: There's something wrong with the patient, physically and not only mentally.

Wouldn't it be lovely if common belief were true! Just one session of psychoanalysis, and there's no more crazy people on earth. I've got to explain, though, before anyone gets angry with me for using that word, I as an affected person prefer the term 'crazy' or 'insane' over 'psychically ill', as it's called in Germany. There's nothing wrong with my soul, thank you very much. It's my brain that's in disorder. Still, in Germany it's considered politically incorrect to speak of a 'mental' illness… However, it's laudable that there's pages like Paraplush that try to take the stigma out off this type of illness and sensitise folks towards it. But they simplify it for themselves and hardify it for those affected. If we're so easy to be cured, with two or three sessions of conversational therapy and a little hypnosis, it's all our own fault if we still dare to be sick, isn't it?

Of course, Paraplush want to entertain, be fun, and in the end sell the patients as very real live cuddly toys, lifelike and made with love. The page belongs to a whisky retailer - a little cynical, regarding the fact that many mentally ill people take to drinking to ease their problems. Just add some bromide, pseudo-scientific forum entries, and all folks think that they are looking at a cutely trivialised image of the real black-and-white world of mental illnesses… No, they aren't. All they are seeing are the everyday prejudices you have to confront as a crazy person. And in the end, this is more harmful than letting it be at all.

Date: 2011-01-03 09:57 pm (UTC)
hallowspite: (9 - 3 & 4 :o? :o?)
From: [personal profile] hallowspite
Amen. It's entertaining, but not very truthful. I've yet to meet anyone that's been "cured". Oh, sure, they're out of the woods for a while every now and then - but it's always there. They can always fall in again.

My flist seems to have exploded about the term "crazy" lately. I felt like I was the only one not offended by that term, but then again, we don't call it "psychically ill" here.


Date: 2011-01-04 12:56 am (UTC)
hallowspite: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hallowspite
Why is geistekrank considered rude? (Not to dispute it, I'm just curious as to the culture differences since I'll be learning Spanish this year - it's not German, but language differences make me curious!) (And - I don't speak German, but is it possible it means "psychologically ill"? Though, I probably don't know what the heck I'm talking about, that word just came up for me so I thought I'd pass it along.)

"Insane" means "mentally unhealthy" but it's rather an understatement. If you say to someone, "I'm insane," they'll have mental images of you picking up a gun and shooting up a school or kidnapping someone. Insane makes them think "off the f*cking planet and about to blow at any moment," so it's best used with people who know you and understand you're not about to kill someone.

How do you like living in Germany? Did you grow up there? I've lived in Australia all of my life, only ever gone overseas once, and I'd love to travel to Europe one day and Germany will invariably be on the list. :) My mother lived there, for a time, many years ago.

Date: 2011-01-05 08:23 am (UTC)
sidheblessed: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sidheblessed
My flist seems to have exploded about the term "crazy" lately. I felt like I was the only one not offended by that term

I call myself crazy and nuts all the time. I've been known to refer to myself as nuttier than a Nutty Nutbar. I guess it all comes down to the intent behind it. I feel the need to keep a sense of humour about my mental illness. If others feel the need too, I won't be offended by it.

Date: 2011-01-04 07:55 am (UTC)
near_epiphany: (Default)
From: [personal profile] near_epiphany
I love this post!

Also, that game also infuriates me because I can't understand it! I got the snake better, but I totally harmed the hippo.

Date: 2011-01-05 08:21 am (UTC)
sidheblessed: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sidheblessed
Amen to that. It always bemuses me when people insist you can't cure, say, epilepsy, because it's a problem with the chemistry or electrodes of the brain but that mentally ill people should be able to be cured or can snap out of it, even though that's about brain chemistry too. Sometimes, it's something you treat rather than cure.

Date: 2011-01-06 12:44 am (UTC)
casimiera: (beginnings)
From: [personal profile] casimiera
It's definitely an interesting game, but yeah, mental illness cannot be cured. I can technically say I am free of depression, but I'm not. I still have those days when I'm just down, and I still am extremely paranoid. Still, definitely an entertaining website.

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